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Department Deep Dive: Technology

Office Thermostat’s Department Deep Dive is a recurring feature that educates you on each department.  This feature will go into what each department is supposed to do, what they actually do, how they’re run, and how to work best with them.  

Department Description:  the Technology department is one of, if not the, most important department in a vast amount of offices.  They maintain all IT/development/engineering projects. Their main responsibilities will focus around uptime, infrastructure support, and rolling out new features for the user (frontend) and improves to the infrastructure, as well as quality of life improvements to the rest of the business (backend).  

Actual Department Description:  the people actually building and fixing all the ideas and workflows that the business wants to support.  In an ideal world, their systems all mesh cohesively and tie in to each other seamlessly, pushing website metrics into data warehouses that integrate into multiple platforms while continuously adapting to new features and requirements.  In reality, they’re building on top of rickety foundations and coming up with on-the-fly solutions that they don’t necessarily understand but for some reason work out in the end. Trust them, it all makes sense in their heads. Also, deadlines are more of a suggestion than a hard rule.  

How Will They Help You:  uh, by actually building the stuff you need?  Someone has to take all those spec sheets, BRDs, mocks, concepts, ideation strategies, scraps of napkins, etc., and make it real.  This usually means getting pulled into meetings with business teams that have no idea how any of the work is actually done but will happily volunteer ways to do it faster.  Usually by cutting corners.

How Will They Screw You:  that’s a pretty tech request you put in there.  Did you forget to use a numbered list and instead used an unordered list?  REQUEST DENIED. Remember: tech can always beat you on pettiness. Throw them under the bus enough times and they will go out of their way to make sure everyone knows you’re stupid.  In fact, that’s what gets the senior team members motivated to come to work.

Who’s in Charge Here:  Chief Technology Officer.  Come in a variety of shapes and sizes.  Almost all consider themselves visionaries that are humoring the CEO’s interests.  Will spend an inordinate amount of time on LinkedIn and/or Quora writing incredibly long articles about how to build an efficient team, tech stack, product development cycle, whatever.  Meanwhile, their actual team will be a tribal mess that feuds with the business teams, lacks basic social manners, and pretty much start thinking about where they’re all going to lunch the second they sit down.  The CTO has absolutely no idea whether the company is profitable or not.

How to Get Along With Them:  let’s say you hired a construction crew to add another bedroom to your house.  Would you follow them with a level and measure everything they’re doing while they’re doing it?  Sure, and they would install your light switches into the attic. You need to check in, but pace yourself.  Micro-management does not look good here.

If They Drink, Should You Be Worried:  not at all.  Every single person in this department drinks.  Every team building event is built around drinking.  You should only be concerned if they drink before 10am, and even then, only if it’s hard liquor.

 

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