• Subject: Re[2]: Legacy code. Was:Dates
  • From: Buck Calabro <mcalabro@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 16 Sep 1997 11:54:14 -0400

<Big snip>

> >> 5. How do you train all your staff in the use of the new techniques?
> >
<snip>

>> If I write code that takes better advantage of the platform, then I'll
>> be stuck maintaining that code unless we either hire another
>> very experienced /400 person, or grow one ourselves.Right now,
>> we're hiring anybody who's HEARD of the AS/400; we can't find
>> any experienced people here in Upstate NY.  This means that
>> our median experience level is low.  Thus, the training issue
>> is of huge import to us..
>>
>Personally I'm starting to get the feeling that someone in your company
>just can't say no to a client request..
>Sometimes a company that is running old code just has to stand in line
>and wait, or just bite the bullet and pay a higher price so your company
>can hire experienced people..

You've got it.  The thing is that we're using the current maintenance load's
income to support development of the "next generation" product which will
be more generic (less customised).

<snip>
>I can't imagine there is more of a shortage of manpower in upstate NY
>then the remaining US, there just aren't any willing to move there at
>the price your company is willing to pay (which probably is a reflection
>of the price they charge).  There is an old business rule that if your
>services are under high demand, you're charging too little.  The client
>knows they are getting a bargain for their requests so the requests just
>keep rolling on in.  If your billing rate went up, some projects just
>wouldn't seem as important to the client any longer.  Therefore they
>invest in more meaningful projects..

It seems that the area is unattractive to move to.  Perhaps we're just
too far from the Big Apple... 

<snip>
> 
>> Makes sense (of course.)  The problem is that we have SO few senior
>> people and so MANY junior ones that it's a real economic issue to
>> the company to pull the senior staff off of programming to do mentoring..
>> Not that we don't try, mind you!
>
>How about the senior staff doing project management and making mentoring
>a part of that function?  At one to two hours per day per junior member
>with allowances for other duties a senior person should be able to
>handle at least five maybe six junior members.  Remember that this time
>is billable to the client as part of the project. The senior person is
>still responsible for the deliverable. If your ratio is higher than that
>you may want to brush up your resume'.  Your employer may not survive
>much longer..
>
>Could you give some ratios on senior to junior and client count?  Don't
>name names, just wondering how bad off your situation is..

Considering only the RPG staff (not the Synon developers working on the
new product), we have something like 10 people with 0 experience, another
10 with less than 3 years, 4 with less than 10 and 2 with more than 10.
Only the 2 most experienced have worked at other companies.  The rest
are home grown and trained, or have S/36 experience elsewhere.

We'd LOVE to do mentoring; we have done some internal training, but
the workload gradually stops that until the training needs become
desperate.  Again.

I'll bring up mentoring again.  Thanks for the motivation!

Buck Calabro

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