Saturday, July 17, 2010

Why the department I am in is failing . . .

If you have followed my blog, you know that I have seen a lot of failures, both in companies and in people. I watched AMS start its long fall, was laid off from a software development company when it made a huge development mistake, and left a medical claim processing company when it was clear it was going to die on the vine (which it did.) None of the systems I created or worked on prior to my current job is in use anymore. I have seen failures big and small, and have learned from hard experience when to worry. Now I'm working at a software company in the financial industry, and I get to watch my department fail on a daily basis. My boss simply doesn't understand that developing software remotely is a hard thing to do. Even before I read the post about it, I understood this instinctively. Our group has 3 developers (including myself) at our headquarters, and 4 working remotely. Of the group, I am the most experienced developer. The other two at headquarters both are brand new to Java (our primary development language) with one only bring procedural programming and one bring VB to the table. Of the remote people, only one brings object programming to the table and none with Java experience. This means, on a daily basis, we end up spending more time training them than actually developing. The problem is, we aren't just training them in Java, but in using objects, and in a couple of cases in simply thinking about a solution before coding. At least with the 2 in-house, I can touch base with them very easily, especially looking over their shoulder. For the remote people, even with MS communicator's shared desktop, it is a slow painful process. Of course, then I read this item and realized that my boss hasn't really brought anybody into the department who can actually do the job from day 1. Either he or I, and mostly I, have had to train them. Now that I've read these two posts, and the various ones they link to (FizzBuzz!) I think I'll just need to take the perspective that things are going to go the way they are, and I'll do my best, but mostly it is out of my control. I simply don't have the authority necessary to rectify the problem.


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