Staffing Model WTF


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    So, we recently revised our staffing model from 'six developers responsible for everything from support to QA to artsy stuff to product development to tooling development to communication and project managers' to 'A total headcount approaching 100 including specialized developers, specialized QA folks, specialized support staff, specialized artsy folks, specialized tools devs, specialized admin assistants, and specialized project managers'. It's been grotesquely expensive, but as of this past month, we break even on cost recovery (which we never did when there were only six of us) and actually finish projects now.

    The revamp was triggered by staggaring turnover losses from stress, mismanagement and stupidity. 40% annually for two years running. Of the handful of us who stayed on (there are now four of us), one actually quit and was paid MAD money to stay, two more of us were within hours of following when we heard senior management was coming and decided to stay and hear them out, and one is just biding time until retirement. We all ended up effective middle managers in charge of chunks of the revised structure.

    We did all the onboarding and training of the new contractors - it was not without missteps, we ended up trading a few contractors in for better fits. We arrived at a given target team size and then at management's penny-pinching behest, when two developers left of their own volition, we didn't backfill them. So the team is slightly smaller than comfortable, but not bad. Everybody on the roster is both 'good enough' and 'trained in the specialized shit that we do'.

     

    And now we've had it handed down from on-high (VP level) that we will fire and replace the "bottom 10%" at the start of each fiscal year. Natural developer turnover does that quite well,  but it's spread throughout the year and therefore doesn't count. This means that, due to natural turnover, you lose 10% (Often the TOP 10%, and due to idiotic policies, you lose the bottom 10%. 20% annual turnover, minumum. Given contractor's propensity to never stick around more than 3 years at any given gig, more likely near 43% annual turnover You can stem the tide of contractor loss by making the ones amenable to that arrangement into FTE's - but we've been informed that those positions will be minimal if they exist at all. We would need dozens. In short, they took their crippling turnover problem and...Increased the number of people turning over at that rate.

     

    I have a shortlist of employees I will defend literally to my resignation. If they go, either at management's behest, or on their own volition without management at least making a legitimate FTE offer, I go.



  • @Weng said:

    I have a shortlist of employees I will defend literally to my resignation. If they go, either at management's behest, or on their own volition without management at least making a legitimate FTE offer, I go.

    This sounds like the setup for a quirky NBC sitco--

    Oh, fuck it.



  • You have to hate it when, seemingly out of the blue, something monumentally right starts happening; something unsustainable actually starts getting "fixed". It's awesome at the start, and that awesomeness is only tarnished by the nagging doubt that it's going to eventually be mismanaged into a fiery ball of horseshit.

    You have my sympathies; normally this is the kind of thing that happens to projects, and we get over it, but your entire staffing model, sheesh that sucks.



  • This is no longer the era of education. In the era of education, there were so many teachers around, that the saying became "Those who can't, teach". Now we're in the era of management where the motto is "Those who can't, manage".



  •  You have been reading Dilbert last week??? http://dilbert.com/2013-06-20/



  • Every so often my Boss says "I read that Cisco dump the bottom 20% of performers every year - we should do that".

    I counter with "they also pay the top 20% massive bonuses - will we be doing that?". That tends to finish the discussion.



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    @Weng said:
    I have a shortlist of employees I will defend literally to my resignation. If they go, either at management's behest, or on their own volition without management at least making a legitimate FTE offer, I go.

    This sounds like the setup for a quirky NBC sitco--

    Oh, fuck it.

    nope, Fox: Does someone have to go?



  • @Weng said:

    one actually quit and was paid MAD money to stay, two more of us were within hours of following when we heard senior management was coming and decided to stay and hear them out,

    So...TRWTF is that the two of you who didn't leave lost out on the MAD money and now have the same job title/responsibilities but much less pay???

     

    @Weng said:

    Given contractor's propensity to never stick around more than 3 years at any given gig,

     

    I don't know this, but maybe 3 years is the MTF for a company to either 1)Lose the interesting projects or 2) Become the WTF-ery -- hence spurring any decent contractor to find greener pastures.  When I did contracting I was happy to put up with a decent amount (a job in the hand is worth 1E5 postings on Dice/Monster/etc...) but at a certain point you need to move on.

     

    - chooks



  • Just a comment on high turnover. I did IT/junior sysadmin for a collection agency. We had a conservative 150% annual turnover. About 450 employees across 5 offices. As I wasn't even allowed to glance at the HR/payroll system, I became quite adept at scripting Active Directory.



  • @Weng said:

    And now we've had it handed down from on-high (VP level) that we will fire and replace the "bottom 10%" at the start of each fiscal year.

    This guy read some Jack Welch case studies in B-school, but didn't understand the part where he fired the bottom 10% of his managers each year.



  • @chooks said:

    @Weng said:
    one actually quit and was paid MAD money to stay, two more of us were within hours of following when we heard senior management was coming and decided to stay and hear them out,
    So...TRWTF is that the two of you who didn't leave lost out on the MAD money and now have the same job title/responsibilities but much less pay???

    When that happened to me at a previous company, all 3 people on the team for MAD money. I ended up getting a huge raise for a job I actually enjoyed and had no intention of quitting. Go figure.

    EDIT: they also demoted the manager who caused the problem.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    MAD money
     

    That's funny money.



  • @dhromed said:

    @blakeyrat said:

    MAD money
     

    That's funny money.

     A whole lot of it.

    Yes, MAD Money

     



  •  That's one of only two reasons I can think of for writing MAD in all caps.  The magazine has always insisted that's the way to write their title.

    The other is as an acronym for Mutual Assured Destruction.  Which makes the concept even more troubling.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    @chooks said:
    @Weng said:
    one actually quit and was paid MAD money to stay, two more of us were within hours of following when we heard senior management was coming and decided to stay and hear them out,
    So...TRWTF is that the two of you who didn't leave lost out on the MAD money and now have the same job title/responsibilities but much less pay???

    When that happened to me at a previous company, all 3 people on the team for MAD money. I ended up getting a huge raise for a job I actually enjoyed and had no intention of quitting. Go figure.

    EDIT: they also demoted the manager who caused the problem.

    About 5 years ago a friend of mine was fired by a new manager who had 1 week on the job because his performance was in the lowest 20% of his 7-people team and the manager wanted only A-Players. It happened on a Friday in the late afternoon. On the following Tuesday he received a call from HR, and was told that he should not have been fired and that the new manager was gone. However because of some stupid clause in his work contract he could not be hired back for 3 months, so they offered him a severance package of 3 months salary and made him an offer to come back to work in 3 months and 1 day with a salary increase. He took the offer.



    The funny thing is that my friend actually sucks at his job and knows it, which is why he would not have challenged his firing. But in the end he got a nice long vacation and a small salary bump.



  •  My father heard of a contest on the radio, I don't remember what it was for but here were the prizes:

    Winner - 1 year subscription to MAD Magazine

    Loser - 2 year subscription to MAD Magazine



  • @Rick said:

     You have been reading Dilbert last week??? http://dilbert.com/2013-06-20/

    the fast link is better http://dilbert.com/fast/2013-06-20/



  • @esoterik said:

    @Rick said:

     You have been reading Dilbert last week??? http://dilbert.com/2013-06-20/

    the fast link is better http://dilbert.com/fast/2013-06-20/

    You want "Fast", try the punchline mashup. I don't know how they did it but at the moment it's freezing every single browser I tried (which is really 3).


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