in which we use qt3 to blog about our tech jobs

#41

Yeah thats really a tough problem. With that amount of colleagues I would lean on the spec/review/iterate/review process. Anyone on the team can be part of the review process for anyones work for any aspect they wish.

The reason I like that for smaller/mid sized teams is everyone on the game should understand the whole project at least in principle. All my alarms bells go off when an engineer is focused entirely on something and never looks up (graphics programming for example). Thats scary in a lot of ways to me, this is entertainment which means it is holistic software, not functional software. So how it all “feels” working together is everyones responsibility.

But anyway I am gonna shut up and learn now from what others say, great topic for discussion.

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#42

Or maybe on the flip side, this is more of an organization problem?

If the problem you’re having is figuring out how to communicate technical stuff to tons of non-technical people, one solution can be to limit the number of people who need that information in the first place (i.e. make it someone’s job to be the translation layer).

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#43

Strictly as a JIRA replacement, I’m a strong advocate of Trello. It’s such a great UX, non-tech friendly, and doesn’t feel like the constant drag that JIRA is.

But if the main issue is documentation, I think the problem is that people are always searching for better tools in the hope that with just the right tool, documentation will kind of happen automatically. In the end it’s a process and prioritisation question. What needs to be documented, who’s going to do it, how much time are you going to allocate to it. Unless you have the upfront conversation about those questions, the search for a better tool feels a bit too much like the search for a magic bullet.

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#44

That’s certainly true, but I don’t think it’s necessarily specific to this organization – more of a typical growing pain of a small company getting larger. I think a lot of growing businesses face a similar problem – at least I’ve seen it many other places.

When I worked at Impressions, pre-Slack days, important documentation was checked into Source Safe and that was that. Communications were done by email.

So the rub is that decisions are made here and things are documented. Sometimes they are in official Google Docs. Other times, the decisions and “documentation” are posted as snippets in private Slack channels. While we have a corporate Slack account that allows us to view and search archives, Slack itself is very much not made to be used as a repository for important information. It’s for throwaway quick chats.

Part of me actually views this as a bit of an insidious problem with Slack. Companies adopt it and during the honeymoon phase, everybody absolutely loves how it improves communications. Later, you find people preferentially posting to Slack instead of elsewhere because it’s simply easier. That’s where things start to fall apart. There’s been backlash against Slack going on for several years now (though it seems to have quieted - maybe the haters bailed).

I think the challenge here is two-fold: 1) Helping people realize that Slack is not the place for documentation and 2) Finding a tool that is as easy to use as Slack that is more robust with regards to providing a collaborative work environment. Solving 2) would make 1) a lot easier.

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#45

I don’t think better tools can solve that problem honestly.

Sounds like a new rule to summarize decisions in a doc or e-mails needs to be implemented.

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#46

This has been common to pretty much every company I’ve worked for. It’s more or less acceptable depending on scale. The problem is that nobody likes documentation, and so nobody wants to think about it. Nobody on the dev / design side actually owns the documents. The people that do own docuents (e.g. technical writers) are generally not technical enough, and also hard to hire. I’m not aware of a good answer. There might be some library scientists or something with some thoughts, but it isn’t a “solved” problem in the industry afaict.

A big part of the problem is culture, but honestly, I’m of the opinion that if a tool allows people to fail to work the right way, it’s a bad tool. If the culture is such that people don’t update their documentation, they have reasons (i.e. its too difficult, it isn’t clear which documents should be updated, there isn’t time allocated to it, so they have to move on to the next thing, or they just don’t have the skill set, etc.)

I think somebody could make a lot of money with some kind of managed/collaborative (non-wiki) internal document CMS, because I really want one, but for most people a wiki is “good enough” (in that it’s terrible, and literally the worst possible solution, but people think it works).

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#47

I do really like Trello, but it really needs better support for assignment. On a sufficiently busy board we end up wanting enough people added to a card that the actual task/project owner becomes muddled and people get too many notifications.

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#48

Boy, things sure have changed in a week! No CoL increases this year and a voluntary separation program to cut costs - with mandatory layoffs if (when) they don’t save as much as they want. My department is excluded for now… except for my team.

Productivity has understandably gone to shit today.

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#49

Sorry to hear that. That’s stressful.

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#50

Market Capitalism is the worst.

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#51

Sorry to hear that, man. We’re coming to the end of a bubble (housing affects us greatly,) and I dread it. I’ve survived multiple rifs but it’s always a shitty time. Good help leaves, some crappier help is kept for reasons that only upper management understand, etc.

My rant today is that I’ve been going full blast since January 2nd and have 5 very busy weeks of travel in the year already with more on the way. Beyond that, we’re doing a migration project until the end of June and I’m on the hook for at least 1 weekend day for 13 different weekend cutovers.

I’m already having high anxiety, the first cutover is next weekend and relies on a ton of work I’ve been doing on travel weeks. I’m just hoping I make it through this project.

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#52

So I got a really good offer the other day, at a place I’m stoked to go work for a bunch of reasons (more interesting project, really liked what the director of technology had to say, close friend works there and vouches for the place, nice stable ~50 person company).

It’s not an insane offer, but it’s definitely at the high end of what my experience realistically qualifies me for in this (excellent) market. 1.5x my starting salary out of the bootcamp. Well more than I’ve ever made previously, that’s for sure.

This is all awesome, obviously! I’m super excited.

My current boss, when I told him earlier today, gave me the ol’ “don’t do anything official yet, take tonight to think about it, and think about what we could do to keep you here” routine. Which is neat! I’ve never gotten that before. And it’s not like I hate my job, I just don’t love the megacorpness of it and the layer I’m currently working on is not amazing (it’s an intermediary API in a large microservice ecosystem, so most of what I do is map request<>domain<>response objects and collate calls to other services). But I’m actively excited about the new place, to the point where like they’d have to beat the new offer by quite a bit to keep me here.

OTOH, I absolutely get why he’d bend over backwards a bit to keep me here. Not just because I’m good for my level (I am, but I’m not a wunderkind or anything), but we’re like two months out from a business-critical deployment that is on everyone’s mind for sure and losing a fully onboarded engineer will definitely sting.

But even if they write a big check, I feel like shit would be weird.

I dunno. I’m kinda talking out loud (and blogging about my tech job, y’know), but I’d love to hear if anyone has any experiences navigating similar waters.

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#53

I think the general rule of thumb in these types of situations is that it’s best for you to have an exit plan in the near future - many people who stick around in a counteroffer find themselves getting the short stick in future promo opportunities, etc.

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#54

Yep this. I’ve not heard a lot of great things about staying after announcing you are leaving; they’ll likely second guess you or assume a near flight risk for a foreseeable future. It’s still a nice boost of confidence to know they would like to keep you.

I have seen people return after leaving though with some success… so that can happen if the bridges are still there.

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#55

Do you think they’ll offer significantly more than the offer you got? If so by how much, and is it enough to continue doing something you don’t particularly like.

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#56

Yeah. I feel like it’d be weird.

Yeah it is! It’s nice to feel wanted for sure.

It’s common to the point of being a trope that “the way you get paid isn’t so much by grinding out promotions, but by leaving and coming back” in dev (and a ton of other fields as well, I’m sure). So yeah, I could see that happening. I’m certainly not doing anything to burn any bridges on my way out – I don’t bear my team, boss, or the company any ill will, and even if I did I value my reputation and being a professional.

Doubt it. If anything I expect they’ll come back with 5-10 percent more which, hooray, but I don’t think it would keep me here. Like I said, the new offer is toward the high end of the realistic range for my experience.

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#57

I think it depends a lot on the situation. If you’re underpaid from the market, you can definitely approach it from a “look, I like it here but I can’t be working for so little compared to an offer like X” and probably get by without any hard feelings if they counter and you take it. But it’s something you should definitely try and feel out how they feel about it before you take a retention offer.

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#58

This is exactly right.

A good counter-offer should address why a person considered leaving in the first place. That’s rarely exclusively financial.

FWIW, I’ve extended counter offers to multiple people over the years. Some took it, some didn’t. Those who did have consistently stayed with the team because as part of the counter-offer we talked through all of the things that they wanted to talk about relating to their interest in other opportunities. We had realistic discussions about what we could, and couldn’t, do about those things in the current organization. They then made informed decisions based on that. I’ve not seen any biases from the company towards those folks in the years since. Interestingly, the folks who were looking to leave for primarily financial reasons have typically been the least likely to accept a counter-offer. That’s all just my experience, however. YMMV.

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#59

I think the challenge here is that there is no way to know if your employer will screw you over or not - there is 0 visibility on the opportunities that you miss as a result.

Separate from this there’s also the possibility of unconscious bias that management may have against you even if there are attempts to not prejudice against you - so I feel like making exit plans is the right choice 90% of the time.

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#60

Yeah, I agree with that. Exceptions can be made when you have a very solid trust build up with your manager. On the gripping hand, when that kind of trust is there, it’s far less likely someone will be looking to leave in the first place.

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