5

I have 7 years experience but I've been working with my company for 6 and a half years, so I know only its work organization. Here IT people like me (developers, operations, network, team leaders, architects, etc.) does not belong to any division whereas project managers and above belong to a single division.

Furthermore IT people, according to seniority, work on different projects at the same time, usually with different roles in each one. For example in the last 2 months I worked on 11 projects:

  • 3 on a daily basis, 2 twice a week, 1 once a week, the other between once every two weeks an once a month
  • On 1 I’m (acting as) project manager, on 3 I’m a coding team leader, on 1 I’m a non-coding team leader, on 2 I’m a simple developer, on 1 I'm an analyst, on the other I’ve mixed roles
  • On 6 projects write code, on 5 not
  • 1 project is in a preliminary stage, 3 are in development, 2 are near final release, 1 is going through post release process, the other are in maintenance mode
  • Projects refer to 6 different divisions
  • 9 projects are for external clients, 2 are internal projects
  • 1 is a product my company sells to multiple clients, the other are client dedicated projects
  • 1 project is using agile methodologies, 4 are agile-ish, the other standard projects
  • Smallest team is 2 people (me and a coworker), biggest is 24 people

Especially during the last 2 years (when I attended meetings with clients where I met people from other companies) I listened to many comments from external people saying that they are very surprised (someone even frankly shocked) by the way we work and how I am able to not burn out after a month. I have no experience outside my company and I genuinely thought that this was the standard.

So I’m asking you: is my company work organization so uncommon? In the event that I decide to change job, will this situation affect my chances?

  • 1
    I can only say about my company, thus only a comment: It is quite similar at my place. Our team isn't that big (less than 10 developers), so everyone is sometimes leading projects, sometimes coding, reviewing, testing, or doing IT support. I think it will for sure affect your chances, but most likely in a positive way. You showed that you can fill multiple roles if needed, have experience in not just one but many roles. Sell this the right way to your next employee and it will for sure boost your chances. – Dirk Sep 9 at 11:21
  • will this situation affect my chances? that's really hard to answer without knowing what your goals are. What kind of employer do you want? What kind of role? Your current situation will certainly set you up well for some goals but poorly for others. – dwizum Sep 9 at 12:46
  • @dwizum In the future I maybe want to move to another IT consultancy company: if everywhere you are supposed to work on a single project at a time with a single role, maybe a background like mine can worry some employer. – MultiTasker Sep 9 at 12:51
  • There is almost nothing about employment that is the same everywhere. Some consultancies (typically larger and more formal ones) will be rigid, others will want staff that can wear many hats (typically smaller, younger, more fluid). I think you have good answers below, but keep in mind, the real secret to this is knowing as much as possible about your intended next step in order to frame your current concerns through that lens. – dwizum Sep 9 at 12:54
  • So - think carefully - do you like your current environment? Do you perform well there? If so, focus on finding a future employer with similar characteristics, and play up your capability to do many things at once. If you don't like it, consider that in your job hunt, and find a way to show a future employer how this current situation has prepared you well for their environment (i.e. be ready to say something like, even though you like X the best, you know how Y and Z work because you've done them too, which makes you even better at X). – dwizum Sep 9 at 12:56
6

Is really uncommon to work on multiple projects with different roles at the same time?

Actually, no. It is not uncommon that one person undertakes tasks and roles for multiple projects.

However, your current job description is colorful above average, and sometimes not desirable. Why? Because of two factors:

  1. attention / focus - when lost, leads to mistakes and errors;
  2. the "flow" mind state.

Just making a simple division, getting an average how often you need to change activities and projects, one can see that you performance is at risk of being sub-optimal.

Of course, it is quite clear that you do almost nothing for some projects ("the other between once every two weeks an once a month"), but even so, you are unique.


In the event that I decide to change job, will this situation affect my chances?

Most likely, not. Some recruiters might complain about things like your involvement in too many things, inability to focus, inability to organize, inability to say "No", inability to prioritize or inability to delegate.

However, it is more likely that you will have a chance to be abused, when some future employer notices that you are prone to that. I am not able to estimate if that chance is small, or big, or anything.

Overall, if you are as good as suggested by the many things you do, then you will be bale to protect your interests, and there should be no real worry, either way.

2

At that scale I would say it's uncommon, but it's definitely not necessarily a bad thing.

If your expertise in a particular area can be utilised on a different project and save the company a few hours of time compared using someone else, it's a good investment.

I listened to many comments from external people saying that they are very surprised (someone even frankly shocked) by the way we work

Just a difference in workplace culture. I work for a small company and lead about 6 different (interlinked) projects. Some customers are shocked, others it makes sense to.

In the event that I decide to change job, will this situation affect my chances?

Exposure to multiple projects, team sizes, programming languages (?), areas of your industry etc are all great conversation pieces and is not a hinderence.

It shows you can be flexible with your workload and help where required if nothing else.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.