The Best Companies are Progressive

Monday, April 06, 2009 4:30 PM

I couldn't disagree more with what Max is saying here.  Now, I've worked at some pretty conservative companies, and pushed through process improvements everywhere I've been.  Believe it or not, one time the first thing I did was implement source control.  I'd say that reworking my department was part of my job description, but my job title is Architect.  Remaking a three thousand man company?  Not something I can do on my own.  For that, you need senior level management's involvement.  If you can't get it, that's unfortunate, but if the change is worth making, it's the job of those that can make it happen.

There do exist progressive companies that have extremely senior people with a hawk's eye on process.  Google is the obvious case, where a set of coding standards and acceptance standards is implemented across the whole,huge, development community.  If you're at a similarly sized organization, the chances are that you've got different processes in different areas: basically, the areas in which co-ordination is both possible and productive.  Again, I'm not saying you shouldn't try to co-ordinate with your peers, but if it's either unworkable or positively detrimental ("We want to standardize on SSADM.") you can just walk away and don't blame yourself.

It's not the only one, though.  How about Starbucks?  It's not always perfect, but the fact remains that every time you walk into one, you're seeing an organization where process optimization is taken seriously by the CEO of a massive multi-national.

Of course, coffee shops is most of what Starbucks does, code is most of what google does.  There are plenty of organizations in which development isn't the primary focus.  It's still surprising when you discover that this is true of a dotcom, but it does happen.  Now, I do see way too many people who think that process re-engineering is somebody else's problem, either someone more senior or someone in another department, but it's always management's problem.  Seriously, what manager can you think of who shouldn't be responsible for what his reports are doing?

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