My best friend who I introduced to my old company that is a start up (which you can read about here: Dealing with a negative reference from a old hostile employer) has turned out to be an extremely loyal employee to them. He is now heading into his sixth year there, I have since moved on and a lot happier as a project manager.
I am however concerned about his overall career development. He acknowledges that the way the project is currently being run is not professionally done. To give a quick summary how:
productivity is not measured properly using burndown charts, cumulative flow diagrams leaving employees vulnerable to management. A typical scenario, which happened to me and ironically my friend (upon joining), where management will threaten colleagues with the sack based on their subjective opinion of what productivity is without properly proving it.
The team lead does not manage his team, rather everyone is expected to work in an autonomous way without any proper guidance or roadmap for what needs to be achieved in a version. Hence, when things go wrong management is never liable but the developer ends up being from the combination of this and point a).
Why I am concerned
- the company does not take career development seriously. He has been there for 6 years and has only worked on one application for the whole time. My friend is hitting his mid 30s now and hasn't got a diverse portfolio like other developers that I have interviewed as a PM.
The team lead also does not do career development meetings. He does not manage at all.
His skill set is becoming stale, since he has worked on only one application for the duration of his time there (written in c#), he is not learning other programming languages or frameworks for him to develop the experience to take on other type of projects. As a PM, I have put him forward for roles as a subcontractor but eventually went for somebody else with a much more diverse skill set.
the company does not respect him. Upper management just sees him as 'just a programmer', or a grunt. He is also being paid well below the market rate for someone who has been a commercial developer for 6 years.
There is no benefits package where he currently works - sick pay, training, 6 month pay rises. His first pay rise came after 6 years, and it was not that much.
The company does not follow best practices - no project management methodologies (Prince 2, Agile etc), test driven development is largely ignored.
He has put all of his eggs into one basket, if management turn against him (like they did with me), management will not think twice about leaving him without a good reference irrespective of the time he has given to the company.
I am concerned as a friend that he will become unemployable if that ever happened.
- The start up is not doing well, only 6 sales in 6 years
Why my friend has decided to stay
He likes the fact that there is a lack of structured project management, where he can also work remotely. For him it means that he has less pressure (no sprints), and doesn't need to go into an office everyday giving him some anonymity.
He is not passionate about IT, he is just doing this role for a pay check at the end of the month.
I have been trying to encourage my friend to move on since after I did it, I realised that there were so many other decent companies out there where you can learn a lot from (and be paid more). He is not listening. Should I give up?