Another Tower Overview

Today our new company sent down from the corporate office the head of one of the “towers” in the IT department. Tower is just another word for department, but maybe they like it better because it makes it sound more powerful. I’d rather call it a well since that is what feels like working with them. Anyway, the purpose of the visit was to introduce us to her tower to see if we would want to work there once our new company is complete with the dismantling of our IT department.

This person is in charge of the public facing ecommerce web sites. I have to first say that our company web site is currently written in ASP.NET. She told us that they are working on a new site written in J2EE, so at this point I lost all interest. She touted this as a great improvement from their current site written in a mix of ASP, JSP and others.

My interest did peak when she mentioned that they do code review (all coding, architecture and design is done in India). I am big on this especially with offshore coding. I asked her who does the code review since they don’t hire software engineers (in the US). She told me “Knowledge Specialists” did the review. I had no idea what this title was and inquired more. She explained they were knowledgeable in the subject and could have been software engineers in the past or might be taking classes. I could not believe what I was hearing!

I told her that usually code reviews are done by peers or senior software engineers, not beginners or programmers that have not coded in 10 years! I also said that most code I have seen from India or have heard about from offshore is horrible. She brushed me off and said that their code has gotten a lot better. Better from what???

At the end she asked if anyone had questions and I said I did… at this point my boss rolled his eyes and got worried. In the near future, her team is going to basically shut down our web site and roll our 3,400+ products into their site. I asked her if she has ever looked at our web site… she replied no. I could not believe this either. I further told her the reason I was asking was that our site was written by about 1.5 people (non senior level software engineers) and looks better, is easier to use, is faster and has more features than their site written by an army of people offshore.

The reason I brought this up is that more and more of our customers are using our web site and are use to our site that comes up in milliseconds (their site comes up in about 20 seconds) not to mention the ease of use and am worried that they will not be happy when moved over to theirs. Again, my comments fell on deaf ears. Too bad.

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