Great IT Shops

  • Comments posted to this topic are about the item Great IT Shops

  • Well, I'm happy to say I do work for a company I'd recommend to a friend as an employer, and I work for an IT department that generally feels "right". I think the fact that I've been here for over 10 years probably says quite a bit about how I view my employers, and the fact that about half the department has at least 5 years' service under their belts speaks volumes for the company's ability to invest in and retain people.

    I think, though, that a "great" company has nothing to do with adhering to any top 10 best practices list. Rather, I think a great company will actively promote a general attitude where many of these best practices will naturally occur in consequence. You can invest in training as far as you wish, but if you don't respect someone enough to say "thank you" for a job well done, you're still going to risk their feeling undervalued and lose them.

    For me, the biggest giveaway that I'd hit an employment gold seam was when I first noticed the way the finger-pointing was carried out. When someone did a good job, the management team would (publicly) say "you did really well there". When things went pear-shaped, the management team would say (discretely) "we didn't do so well this time. How can we avoid doing that again?". Praise in public, criticism in private. Single out for commendation, look to the whole team for failings, learn from both mistakes and successes. As a consequence of this, people are prepared to take calculated risks when necessary, sure in the knowledge that they'll have management support even if they make a mistake.

    Semper in excretia, sumus solum profundum variat

  • I work for a company that has exactly the same attitude as the one Majorbloodnock works for. ๐Ÿ˜€

    We are not as old as them, but we are actively recruiting application/web developers.

    If the North East of England takes your fancy and you want work for a good company forward your C.V. to me and I'll pass it to the relevent people. (Hey we all got company IPhones :D).


    Hiding under a desk from SSIS Implemenation Work :crazy:

  • The article describes an ideal IT department which I personally never see in my career life (maybe it is just me.) I used to work for a company which I really liked. The development work was challenging and the people were great. Until one day they hired this awful VP for development then everything changed. He made a big organizational changes and within two months at least two dozen people resigned including people worked there for over 20 years.

    My take is management plays a big part . A bad VP, CIO or manager really affects the morale of the staffs, regardless of the company provides good benefits, good training or everything else. People will leave the company because of bad management.

    My 2 cents

  • We're a small company that does software development and the praise in public, criticize in private is here too. I guess it's more of a great company thing than a great IT shop thing. I love working here. The CEO understands all the jobs that people carry out here since he likely did them all when the company was smaller. Even though he's done it all, he tries not to micromanage since he doesn't want to spend his time doing your job and you don't want him to either.

  • In the Info World article that Steve referenced, one item that stands out is dedication to training so that staff will be kept up to date. Sometimes we can (and should) train ourselves, but sometimes you need to sit down with someone who knows a new technology so you can get best practices instead of reinventing the wheel over and over again.

    Maybe this is a subset of an organization that has a philosophy of hiring good people and holding on to them; a good rule for any business. Currently, I work for a small company that seems to have this philosophy. It's made me stay around when I could have gone after positions that paid more but didn't offer the quality of life factors.

    โ€œPoliticians are like diapers. They both need changing regularly and for the same reason.โ€

  • Here's what I look for:

      1. IT valued by management

      2. Flexible work hours.

      3. Upgraded equipment and software

      4. Training opportunities

    I've worked for a company that did all 4, unfortunately that company was run using Enron business practices and the top execs are in jail. The next company that bought my location did not do #1. In fact one VP said, "IT is a necessary evil and brings no value to the company". If you ever hear something like that get out. I think only 2 or 3 new servers have been purchased since 2000 and most desktops are from the same time frame.

    Jack Corbett
    Consultant - Straight Path Solutions
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  • I can say that I do work for a great company with a great IT shop. We're 6 staff in the home office, 2 of which are executive level. There's a lot of work to be done, but we all get along and we get it done.

    I read the list of the 10 signs of a great IT shop and while I think some of those items have merit, you have to take into consideration whether it works for your envrionment. Where I was previously used to be very "loosey goosey". Do what needed to be done to complete the task. Then about two years ago, we had a major power outage in the city and our DR plan failed to go as designed. The owners thought it represented a lack of preparation in the IT department (to which maybe there was a little) so they hired a CIO. In 3 months he and his newly hired management team implemented 8 of the 10 items on that list. Life in IT was miserable. We couldn't get anything done. Projects fell behind because we spent more time documenting and asking if we could work on something rather than doing it. And to make it worse, if you didn't fit the new CIO's model, you were pretty much forced out. It's ultimately what drove me to leave.

    I definitely believe there is merit to that list. Formalized processes and procedures are needed at some times, but don't overkill it. Make sure the people are getting the work done and are happy about it. I love where I'm at now! I write up rough project plans and timelines, but no one hovers over my shoulder to make sure I'm submitting a request, then a plan, then a timeline, then etc. So long as I don't blow anything up or make a poor decision, I'm good.

    I guess that's a long winded way of saying, do what's right for your IT shop. Don't implement a new process if it doesn't make sense for your environment.

    The distance between genius and insanity is measured only by success.

  • IMHO, the article lists all about idealogy even the author still comment he saw just a few.

    Some people reply and proud that his/her company IT is one of the great, I am very happy for them.

    My past experience, some company is great some company is not great and mainly from people or system and it will effect only for someone opinion not all.

    I saw in the same company someone work for 20 years and someone work for only 6 months even I think that is really great company (work in IT, and follow with ~ 8 topics in that list).

    If we base on article, I need to know if someone really work in the company that have all the topics in the list.

    I would like to see more article/story about he/she can help company or IT to be great and what is the main task to get the IT to be great by individual.

    Just IMHO.

  • Brnbngls, exactly. That's why I say comment and document enough to get by, but don't get too caught up in it!

    Do more of what works, less of what doesn't. It's a good way to run any business.

  • I haven't worked for my current employer long enough to know whether it's great or merely good, but it sure looks promising.

    The main thing I look for is morale. If morale is high, in both managers and general employees, if people smile and say hello to each other in the hallways, if requests for help are handled cheerfully and competently, and so on, then I think it's a great company. (Of course, it also has to have a business model that actually works, has to produce a high quality product/service for a fair price, etc. That the baseline.)

    Property of The Thread

    "Nobody knows the age of the human race, but everyone agrees it's old enough to know better." - Anon

  • I work for a small (50 people or so) consulting company in upstate NY. I have been here for over 3 years, and our IT "department" recently doubled in size (from 1 to 2). I have over 25 years experience as a software developer, and I would put these people up against any IT department in the world! We get excellent response time for problem resolution and general questions. We are also encouraged to supply input and suggestions for improvement. There is a trust relationship here that I have never experienced at any other company, and I have worked for several companies, both large (Fortune 100) and small (10 employees).

  • Reading that article was great affirmation. It reads like they're describing the place I work! Most of the time, anyway.


    Mr. Ingevaldson forgot to call out my current favorite hobby horse, though, as number 11: operational maturity of the team that manages production systems.

  • In my 15 years in IT and IT-like functions I have worked at both good and not so good shops and I have seen various levels of the implementation of the factors listed in the referenced article. I have to agree with the points made in the article, this is an excellent breakdown of hallmarks of a good IT department. However, as pointed out by other posters, some of these factors can be tricky to implement without causing uproar.

    On the one hand, Steve, just relying on the developer to document 'as needed' can be a recipe for disaster, especially in a smaller organization with less functional overlap. No matter the experience level, expectations for deliverables and documentation must be clear. Simply mandating a SDLC methodology and project overview reporting, however, does not make you a good IT department, and if roughly, rudely, and/or inappropriately enforced it can ruin a good team. An inept application of SDLC methodology in a formerly 'loosey goosey' environment can interfere with work productivity and morale.

    The implementation of factors such as these must be accompanied by a concise and well reasoned sales effort on the part of management--even and especially within IT. The worst workplace I've been in was one where changes of this sort were being made but they caused confusion and chaos among the participants--both within IT and from the business side. The loss of resources and institutional knowledge as a result was devastating to departmental productivity, not to mention creating political divisions among formerly well attuned teammates.

    I was also fortunate enough to work at a large bank in the 90's where I saw successful implementation of several of the mentioned attributes so I've seen it work, as well. So I know it CAN be done in a manner that is healthy both for the company and the people involved. My conclusion is that it's the marketing of the ideas and wholesale buy-in by those affected that make it work, and that comes from the culture of the company and the personnel comprising the department. (It's the people again!) In this case (and in my opinion) the key factor in success was internal development of standards and methodology that sought (and USED) input from the affected people. That is, leadership as opposed to dictatorship.

    In my more recent experience consulting for smaller companies I have had a lot more exposure to the level of management that the article addresses, and I really liked the article for the way it separated the factors into definite attributes. I surely will refer back to it when next I am looking to form a long term relationship with a company.

    ๐Ÿ˜Ž Kate The Great :w00t:
    If you don't have time to do it right the first time, where will you find time to do it again?

  • I found that this article really reflected a management point of view - as opposed to a programmer point of view. As a manager, what should you implement to make sure that your IT team is able to do its best work possible.

    The company that I presently work for is too small to have a CIO, and has too slim of a profit margin to send people to training. It is undoubtably not a great IT shop. But having a CIO would not make it better.

    In this article, I don't see how management interfaces with workers. I see facts - there should be a SDLC, there should be a steering committee and a security team. But the thing that makes a really great IT shop ar any shop is not the things/facts/attributes, but the glue that binds them together.

    It's the communication between workers and management. The team effort and sharing responsibility and heart-felt congratulations. It's the difference between a leader and a manger. It's the oil that keeps the pistons running smoothly. That's the important stuff.

    In the end, it always ends up being all nebulous. Sorry about that.


    I have come to the conclusion that the top man has one principle responsibility: to provide an atmosphere in which creative mavericks can do useful work.
    -- David M. Ogilvy

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