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I need help please

I have a college assignment on acting like I am the founder of a software programming company.  There are many questions that I know nothing about that maybe someone can help me answer.
Thanks
Cherrie

Cherrie Bearden
Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Based on your name, I'm assuming you're female.

Before I can help you, I have to ask... Are you hot?  Got any pictures of yourself online?

I ask because the hotter you are, the more likely I am to help you.

Mr.Fancypants
Tuesday, July 27, 2004

They act like this: http://users.pandora.be/bonte/forumafbeeldingen/dancemonkeyboy.mpg

Matthew Lock
Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Cherrie,
Please, give us more details about your assignment. Otherwise we won’t be able to help you.

Cecilia Loureiro
Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Hi Cherie,

Check the http://fastcompany.com. It has lots of good articles.  and interviews.

Also check with people like Eric Sink, Joel, and others. But you will need to ask pointed details questions.

I am just a developer and not a founder.  So cannot say anything from personal experience

Nitin Bhide
Tuesday, July 27, 2004

> There are many questions that I know nothing about.

That's typical for upper management. You typically wouldn't be aware of the fact though.
  -tim

a2800276
Tuesday, July 27, 2004

I have the feeling this post was meant as a direct request to Mr. Spolsky. After all this is the "Fog Creek Blog."

www.MarkTAW.com
Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Cherrie:

Read.

Seriously.

There are a ton of articles and many books on people like Bill Gates, Larry Ellison, Scott McNealy, Jeff Bezos, Steve Jobs, etc.

If you're looking for a summary, be smart, confident and agressive.

That's how those guys got to be billionaires.

Joe
http://www.joegrossberg.com

Joe Grossberg
Tuesday, July 27, 2004

white... male... geek...

Kenny
Tuesday, July 27, 2004

I have to agree. Being white, male and looking confident is being there half way. It doesn't matter if you got skills or not.

RP
Tuesday, July 27, 2004

ok well to start with answering these replies........

Yes I am female, no I don't find myself hot ...although I am a married and a mom of 3, age 28.  There is nothing better than a fulltime job that is paid with pure love.  If you can't help me because of that well I am sorry you base your help on a persons looks rather than their inside.

I will be doing research on these myself.  I done alot of research last night, however I didn't find much information.  I will be researching more today, this assignment is due Friday.

ok well this is my assignment, so feel free to help me out any you can............I really do appreciate your time and consideration.

You are the founder of a small but growing high-technology company that develops new computer software.  With your current workload and new contracts in the pipeline, your business is thriving except for one problem: you cannot find computer programmers for product development.  Worse yet, current staff members are being lured away by other high-tech firms.  After suffering a particularly discouraging personnel raid in which competitors captured three of your most-valued employees, you schedule a meeting with your director of human resources to plan organizational changes designed to encourage worker loyalty.  You already pay top dollar, but the continuing exodus tells you that programmers are looking for something more.

Identify some ways in which specific organizational changes might improve the working environment and encourage employee loyalty.  As you analyze the following factors, ask yourselves the obvious question: If I were a programmer, what organizational changes would encourage me to stay?

Level of job specialization.  With many programmers describing their jobs as tedious because of the focus on detail in a narrow work area, what changes, if any, would you make in job specialization?  Right now, for instance, few of your programmers have any say in product design.

Decision making hierarchy.  What decision-making authority would encourage people to stay?  Is expanding employee authority likely to work better in a centralized or decentralized organization?

Team authority.  Can team empowerment make a difference?  Taking the point of view of the worker, describe the ideal team.

Intrapreneuring.  What can your company do to encourage and reward innovation?

With the average computer programmer earning nearly $70,000, and with all competitive firms paying top dollar, why might organizational issues be critical in determining company loyalty?

If you were a programmer, what organizational factors would make a difference to you?  Why?

As the company founder, how willing would you be to make major organizational changes in light of the shortage of qualified programmers?

Cherrie Bearden
Tuesday, July 27, 2004

mom of 3 at 28?  I think you need a new hobby.

muppet
Tuesday, July 27, 2004

yeah well the factory is closed permanently.

Cherrie Bearden
Tuesday, July 27, 2004

> After suffering a particularly discouraging personnel raid in which competitors captured three of your most-valued employees, you schedule a meeting with your director of human resources to plan organizational changes designed to encourage worker loyalty.

How about "schedule a meeting with your remaining most-valued employees" as well as or instead of with HR.

> If I were a programmer, what organizational changes would encourage me to stay?

Let me put this another way: what factors encourage me to go or stay? If I can say what factors are important to me, perhaps you can figure how organizational changes may promote those factors.

Incentives:

* Job security
* Variety of tasks
* Opportunity for "growth" (more variety, more responsibilities, more learning opportunities, (more pay), ...)
* Humane working conditions (for example, I like 6 weeks holiday per year ... splitting the year into 46+6 weeks instead of 50+2 weeks gives me 200% more holiday-weeks and only 8% fewer work-weeks ... a big bonus for me, at only a little price for my employer; or, for example, if I'm up at night supporting a customer then it's nice of you to not expect me to come into the office the next day as well)
* Inexpensive creature-comfort items (for example, free soft-drinks including juice as well as pop, an espresso machine)
* More-expensive creature-comfort items (for example, adequate hardware, clean offices, good air, convenient commute)

Disincentives:

* Higher pay available elsewhere, lacking any corresponding incentives (see above) that encourage me to stay
* Lack of control over my own destiny or projects

Some disincentives may come as a surprise: for example I would prefer to not be offered stock options, than to be offered stock options that never amount to anything.

> With many programmers describing their jobs as tedious because of the focus on detail in a narrow work area, what changes, if any, would you make in job specialization?

If you're interested in changing *something* (anything), then:

* If developers currently work on a team with well-defined roles, then either switch the roles (e.g., to take an extreme example, architect becomes tester, coder becomes architect, tester becomes coder), or split the work that that each person is responsible for all roles of one small subproject
* If developers currently each work alone on small projects, then amalgamate so that they work as a team on bigger projects

> What decision-making authority would encourage people to stay?  Is expanding employee authority likely to work better in a centralized or decentralized organization?

Again, some change-for-change's-sake ideas:

* If developers currently report to you, then hire (or promote) a development manager, so that they can report to someone who knows more about development and developers than you do, and leave you to do your thing without your bothering them directly
* If developer currently report to a development manager instead ofto you,  then fire or transfer or demote the development manager so that developers now report to you directly (so that they get their information straight from the horse's mouth,  and so they know that the person who is supervising their performance is the person who holds all the purse-strings and who owns all authority in the company)

> Can team empowerment make a difference?  Taking the point of view of the worker, describe the ideal team.

Isn't "empowerment" about my relationship with my manager, not about my relationship with me team? If so, then: tell me what you want; ask me to tell you what I'll do for you, and approve what I tell you or correct me if I'm wrong; and, answer my questions / make the decisions that I ask of you (if I'm asking a question, it's because for whatever reason I can't answer it alone).

> Intrapreneuring.  What can your company do to encourage and reward innovation?

I can't answer that.

> With the average computer programmer earning nearly $70,000, and with all competitive firms paying top dollar, why might organizational issues be critical in determining company loyalty?

Because 70,000 is enough to be comfortable ... paying an extra 10 or 20 or more doesn't necessarily make as big a difference as other factors. For example, if I have a family, I might prefer to get 3 times as much holiday instead of twice as much salary. Similarly if there's anything "poisonous" about a work-place then "no amount" of money will cause me to want to stay there.

Christopher Wells
Tuesday, July 27, 2004

IF you're paying top dollar in a market with average 70k, then you're probably paying 100-120k.  You could drop pay to 90 and still be in the upper 15 percent paywise, then use the 10-30k saved to provide developers with dual head large screen displays (which will increase productivity anyway and reduce eye strain), private offices, a large budget for technical books and development conferences, and an espresso machine, or even hire a full time chef for the company .

As far as authority to make desicsions, st udy the way MS does it. Employees OWN their work and are respensible for it. NO ONE tells them how to do their job, not even the CEO. MS recognizes that they are professionals, like surgeons or architects and it is foolish to second guess their decisions or proscribe their methods of solving problems as long as they are competant.

If your employees are not competant then that's a big problem and harder to solve since most actions to correct this will result in the good guys leaving and the boneheads staying.

Dennis Atkins
Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Tell your employees that you read Peopleware?

www.MarkTAW.com
Tuesday, July 27, 2004

"private offices"

IMO private offices cut productivity immensely.  I've found that a private office with one's back to the wall (instead of to the door), encourages the less motivated among us to surf the net more with little chance of being caught.

The most productive I've been is in a shared office situation where I can put on my MP3 player's headphones when I want no interruptions, or interact socially and professionally as the need warrants.  Except for the time I shared an office with a fresh-out who spent his time juggling balls (he got fired after a long time of goofing off; should have been far sooner), this has worked out best for all parties.

Allez-Allez
Wednesday, July 28, 2004

thanks this is all some great help.  I appreciate each one of you.  Thanks for taking your time to help me out.

Cherrie
Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Well done for asking specific questions: much easier to answer than your original post.

Christopher Wells
Wednesday, July 28, 2004

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