Monday, January 07, 2008

Company Culture

We hear about company culture all the time, but until you've worked in a few companies it's hard to understand how two software development houses can feel so different to work at.

The Team

A team based company will normally separate groups off into their own little rooms or sections of the open plan office. There is likely to be a hierarchical structure to each team with a one or two Chiefs and then many Indians.

Games companies typically tend to have this structure as game building is very much a large team activity, especially with the modern consoles and large budgets that accompany them.

The Consultancy

Consulting companies tend to treat staff as experts in their field. The company understands that if their staff can't solve a problem, they'll find someone who can.

In this type of company you'll be given freedom to work and you'll be treated like an adult. But you may be left to just get on with it.

This type of company would tend to employ someone with experience rather than a fresh graduate and the office is likely to be fully open plan.

The Start-up

Small, agile, and with time to market a priority, start-ups can be fun, energetic and hectic. If you're lucky enough to have an office you'll be sharing it with just a handful of others, some of whom may have experience but all of whom will be passionate about what they do.

Expect to roll out core software on Monday.
Explain it to your client on Tuesday.
Fix a bug in it on Wednesday.
Deploy a fixed version late Thursday evening.
And spend Friday afternoon in the pub with the directors celebrating a great week.

Don't be surprised if you get asked to help build the company website or install a company-wide version control system as the company will be too small to have a dedicated expert in that field.

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