Thursday, January 06, 2005

Where's the company heading

I believe or at least as of right now I feel I'm working for a great company that's rapidly spiraling into a mess as it grows. The model they have worked good for them when they were small i.e. 10 people in a small building. But now we're growing ( already upto 50 people) and yet they want to retain the old model. It seems like the road they're taking doesn't match with the road that I plan for myself. Not that this cannot change.... it might. But the current state-of-the-union seems very backwards and primitive to me. Here are a few examples:


A quality analyst...someone who is supposed to test and measure software quality by running unit tests, regression testing, automated scripts etc. Our competitors such as IBM and 360 Commerce hire software engineers on their testing teams. Reason? Because you need to know code to test code. Knowing the functional side is usability testing. How do you test rigidity and stability completely merely based on usability? Sometimes a software can be stable after usability testing yet it fails in volume handling. In such cases, companies rely on their testing teams to write, using programming languages, tests that will stretch the limits of the system as a whole. Sounds good so far? Compare this to what we have in our QA staff. Most of them don't have a college degree. I have never seen them discuss work with each other. And they hate (wait that should be upper case) , HATE technology and don't want to have anything to do with it. Try teaching them anything new about technology and you'll hear a la-la-la-la-la. But you get a good recipe for some cookies and you'll have their attention for the next hour. That's not all of our quality analysts but a substantial number. Unless this changes, we can forget about releasing software that we aren't struggling day and night to keep up until well after delivering to the customer. And the management seems to think that our QA team is exactly how a QA team should be. Well done!


Ever been to an interview at a REAL software development company? There are programming tests, multiple interviews, tough technical scenarios that need to be solved on a white board, presentation of something you've worked on. Do you know how we interview? No wait, I better not mock that process because I was hired the same way. But anyway we hire people who write code. Sounds okay but wait a minute...shouldn't we hire people who are passionate about developing software and have a vision as to what we can do to make a difference to the overall product? Writing code is something that can be ( and probably should be) outsourced. Developing ideas and visions about how far we can take this product, isn't something we outsource....we just will never do that. Yet we hire more coders and less software engineers. They had me in the interviewing team for about three recent interviews. I rejected all three candidates - they hired one of them. Turns out he's a waste of time. By the way, I'm no longer on the interview team...which is better. If I don't interview them then they can't hold me responsible after they hire them. Well done again!


The less said the better so I'll keep this short. We have the following managers of the the groups I am aware of within the company. These are not project managers - these are much more important people. They manage entire groups and each group works on multiple projects.

Manager A - Was a programmer. Now does not want to know much about technology and is in marketing. He speaks to customers as if he's selling them real estate on the moon - but is really selling them a horse barn with a broken fence. That's why he's well compensated. We need that skill so that we can continue to fleece customers into buying something we don't have.

Manager B - Loves technology and enforces it on anyone he sees walking around even if they're going to the bathroom. I'm largely in agreement with him on the technical side but he needs management lessons to be on the management side.

Manager C - Thinks that any question that anyone asks him, even if it's about our internal product or or maybe his child's middle name - the answer is on Google. He's more on Google's website than anyone else ever is. You just have to ask him a question to see a live demo. I'm starting to think he's got a second job as Google's QA.

Manager D - Has never successfully delivered a product in as many years as he's been with the company. Let me repeat: Not-To-Date.

Now the best that I can do with this mix and this company direction is find humor in it day in and day out until something changes - me or them. Time will tell. Tick-tock-tick-tock-tick-tock.


Blogger Puppetainer said...

I know I'm the eternal optimist, but it could be worse.

8:00 AM  

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