SEP’s Vision: Are we There YET?

June 13, 2012

SEP’s Vision is: to be the preferred partner for software product development and a recognized industry leader in the application of software engineering practices.

I like to say it this way:

*We want to be THE partner to hire and THE place to work. *

The connection between “THE place to work” and industry leader may not be totally clear. You may accurately say “the organization our competitors wish they could be” but I prefer the focus on the people in the industry. Thinking about what we get out of becoming an industry leader demoralizing the competition was definitely on the list and attracting great people was even more appealing.

For software product development, I like to say:

• THE partner to hire and

• THE place to work.

When we first put the vision statement together some people were concerned that it wasn’t measurable. Good visions are often like that. It is a destination you drive towards and you know you may never arrive. If we won’t get to declare “we have arrived,” what will it look and feel like as we get closer to our vision?

When SEP is THE partner to hire….

SEP will have a backlog of work because new companies will seek us out and executives will refer their friends to us. SEP will come up in business discussions in the boardroom and on the golf course. The name will be spoken with a deep level of respect and even some awe. Having this level of business SEP is able to carefully pick work our people want to do, strongly preferring projects with big impact. We end up turning away many disappointed clients and project managers. This makes our reputation grow all the more. People and great opportunities are seeking us out.

When SEP is THE place to work ….

Great employees will gush about working here and we will have a solid pipeline of great candidates. Our interview-to-hire ratio will climb even higher as we tighten our filter. We will be training our people in the newest practices and techniques. Most of our employees will be actively involved in opportunities to learn and teach their fellow employees. People would rarely leave SEP except for dream jobs, referring great employees and clients to us. Pay and benefits at SEP would be very competitive and we would win against huge, brand-name employers like Google, Microsoft and others that can afford to pay above market. When we poll employees to gain feedback we would receive high levels of participation and great ideas for improvement that SEP would act upon. In connection with the other part of the vision (Partner) our employees would receive wide exposure to variety with ample opportunity to grow and mature. SEP would become a place where people could enjoy a long-term career in their industry despite fluidity and change. Our people could stay current. We would be asked to present at conference and what we say would be quoted. Our blogs would be highly anticipated. We will have many organic groups cropping up to lead changes and improvements to SEP. It would feel alive, active and expansive at SEP. You can feel the excitement and engagement.

These draft narratives offer a number of measurable attributes:

The Partner to Hire

Backlog, work turned away, referrals, clients approaching us, and higher rates charged

The Place to Work:

Interview ratios, employee turnover, candidates approaching us, pay, employee satisfaction, industry presentations and invites, and followers

I would say that these are all metrics we can use to measure our progress towards the vision even if we can’t define when we get there

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