Wednesday, November 5, 2008

How to Keep Your Development or IT Organization Happy

Here are some tips about how you can keep your development or IT organization happy. Hope this helps! Happy Organizations Communciate Well So, make it easy for employees to easily communicate with each other. IM (Instant Messaging) * Ensure that everyone including senior management use IM (Jabber for example) and are in one or more global IM lists that are setup for all employees. * Allow all people in the organization to easily see the "online" IM status of each other and tell them they should try not to abuse it; let them know that it is not helpful to "always appear online", but that it is ok to set status to offline/busy when they are busy just as long as they don't do that frequently, otherwise many would always set it to busy/offline. Email * Allow employees to be able to post to an organization-wide list and encourage all to use it, even if it should just go into an SMTP folder somewhere that the user doesn't check quite as often. Politics are religion are obviously not good topics usually (unless that is what your organization's business is), but most other things should be allowed. Just setting up a water cooler list doesn't do any good unless you tell everyone about it and senior management tells employees that they should join it. * Setup lists for each team and each functional group, keep them current, and let everyone post to them. Even if you'd rather people use some ticketing system, it is important that they have this means of communication also, and just tell them to use the other one if you'd rather for your business process. Status Reporting * Make sure all employees report status daily to their team and that these notifications are sent to the rest of the company in easily digestible form. All employees should have access to the top status items of any employee on a daily basis, and to its parent group, and its parent group's status, etc. Each status report should be short with about 3-5 bullet points. Happy Organizations Listen to Their Employees * Beyond some random unused "suggestion box" you need something that can track what everyone thinks and encourage all levels of employees to post their opinions and suggestions there (although be careful with anonymous suggestions- that's not usually a good idea). * Act upon those suggestions, even if it is to try to gather everyone's input on a somewhat radical idea. Try to take it as seriously as possible. It is very important to value your employees' opinions and ideas about how to make things better. * Create an environment that welcomes people to communicate about what mistakes they made and how we might all learn from them. We all learn by making mistakes. If people are too concerned about not announcing the bad as well as the good, you're going to have serious communication issues, leading to ineffective and unhappy employees. Think of your organization as a family. Families have problems and they work through them. (And some families are dysfunctional, but they are still families!) Conclusion Oddly enough you might think, the main things are communication and listening to and acting on what the employees say. People think that just paying people higher salaries, providing better benefits, and providing a nice workplace are adequate, or that a new tool or methodology might help, but in the end those things are really artifacts of having good communication throughout the organization, listening to your employees, and letting the participate and acting on what they have to say.

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