A while ago I was inspired by a blog that I saw linked here and cannot seem to locate in my favorites list, but it was in effect a diary of a software engineer taking on a new job at a dysfunctional organization shortly after the dot com bust, and his trials, tribulations, successes and failures in his attempts to stir positive change from the bottom up within an organization.
There were a lot of parallels in my current job but I used my inspiration and ideas from this blog to start preparing a long term strategy to get a band of rag tag software engineers to trust each other, work together and start slowly chipping away at the massive elephant in the room that we are essentially powerless to change.
We have made immense progress and actually function like a team now. We have come up with common process, standards, document templates and sold higher ups on the benefits. We have had a new business requirement guidance and template document approved through committee and I put in extra hours preparing training materials so that the process is smooth and painless for the analysts. New standards on requirements and testing have drastically reduced defects and improved quality in a measurable way. We have a common source control repository, common sharepoint and wiki, regular code reviews, and have even started to demonstrate the power of iterative development.
Our director is sold on all of this now and is a lion for our cause, but his software engineering group is just one cog in a much larger IT project. The IT project itself has been mired in difficulties and failures from the beginning. We had originally partnered with enormous IT conglomerate A and they couldn't get anything started. We ditched them and then partnered with IT conglomerate B who made fantastic promises, then seriously let us down by designing some of the worst database schemas I have ever witnessed in my entire professional career. Now that they are gone IT conglomerate C has the ball in and we are starting to see them start to wrap their tentacles around the organization, holding RIE's, pat-on-the-back way to go meetings, and start reorganizing and setting process and policies for various groups without concern or input for how employees feel about these things.
I am not sure why but somewhere along the line upper management seems to have lost faith in us in particular when in reality it was the previous two consultants who failed the company. My group in particular is being continuously marginalized by not really being represented well in the new org charts and by having childish training classes that make us feel as if we are seen as children. Now without our input they are basically tossing aside all that I have worked on in favor of their scripted waterfall-like development process that has been tried in the past yet has failed. My director is powerless but has been voicing concern which apparently is falling on deaf ears.
- In this scenario, what steps can I take to try and salvage something from the self immolation?
- Is it appropriate for me to prepare a document demonstrating the successes of our process improvement projects for demonstration to my directors bosses?
- I get the feeling that they really don't understand what we have achieved without the consultants. I know going above the chain of command to report a problem is a faux-pas, but is this also the case when you want to report optimistic and positive news? Any input is welcome except for "find a new job".