High-tech companies (and other companies too) publish some indicator numbers from time to time. Those indicators can be very meaningful to shareholders, financial professionals, investors and so on. However, these numbers mean (almost) nothing to the company’s prospective employees. Knowing the stock prices won’t tell you anything about company internals.
Let’s say you’ve got to choose between two job offers. To take money and challenges off the table, let’s just assume that both companies are paying around the same and the work you have to do, seems pretty nice at both places. How do you choose? The only thing you can really rely on is the information you gathered during your interview rounds. Maybe helpful, but way too subjective. What if there were some truly objective indicators out of which you could guess how well-organized the team you’re about to join really is? Would it help you if you were provided numbers like:
- How many days does it take, to get your environment up and running? It can take enormous amount of time to get all the access rights, accounts and many others. Which also means, that during that time you may be completely blocked – trying to get past your 8 working ours per day being bored is sometimes more tiring than actually doing some busy-work.
- How long does it take for a new employee to become productive? Most of us like to produce solutions as fast as we can. It could pretty much destroy one’s self-esteem to wait for 2-3 months to actually get something done. Going one step further, this metric would even be able to reflect on some aspects of internal processes (for sure, with pair-programming one catches up much easier with the new technologies and architecture).
- How long does it take to test a release? Is it just running a comprehensive test-suit that takes at most a few hours, or do testers have to manually click through the different test cases over and over again?
- How long employees stay with the company/team?
To me, these information would mean much more than the usual “Forbes 500”, “Dynamically growing”, or “fast-paced” stuff. Too bad such metrics are almost never collected. Some companies could easily drop the high part from the high-tech attribute.