ビジネスモバイルITベンチャー実録【朝メール】から抜粋します

No More Tragedies, IT Engineers!

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The people who worked as IT engineers outside of e-Jan might understand what I mean by the title. The ones who have worked only for e-Jan might not know the reality.

In the IT industry in Japan, the majority of business is in the field of custom software development. In other words, companies who want to customize their systems, outsource their projects to large IT companies. The following is a usual process to accomplish a project.

  • A large IT company receives development orders. Customers trust them because of those large companies' established brand-names are less risky to do business with than unfamiliar developers.
  • Once the order is received, they create projects and begin development.
  • The engineers at the large IT company create system specifications.
  • The people who actually develop according to the specifications are temporarily hired engineers who work for dispatching agents and mid-small sized IT developers.
  • Dispatching agents only manage name lists of engineers with their respective technical skills and send them out according to customer requests.
  • Engineers at the large IT company only manage the projects and check whether they're on track or not.
  • When the project is over, the contract expires.
  • The large IT company then offers maintenance packages along with a few maintenance people to look after the customized system.

One of the neighborhood companies have a similar work style. You can see many expressionless people in the middle of the night or very early in the morning, looking like zombies.

In this kind of development environment, engineers' skills are not acknowledged. They do what they are told to do. The projects they work on change every several months or years. They say programmers retire around the age of thirty-five, and by around forty, they have a hard time being selected to join new projects, their income does not increase, and they're mostly burnt out.

Regardless of how much effort and spirit engineers pour onto the coding, eventually, they'd get separated from their "children", and would have to move onto the next project. It is said the reason why open source program projects are so popular among engineers and they contribute their work for free, is because of their desperate wish: "I want my "children" codes to be used openly world-wide! I want my proof of living."

I consider the above-described environment and system creates tragedies. I believe that we, as a society, and a company, should prevent people from being consumed like this. Thus, we created what we have at e-Jan; we are capable of controlling our working environment. People should not sacrifice their life, and companies should not take benefits of it. How do we accomplish this? e-Jan seriously worked on that. This is what we do:

  • We create our own product and challenge the market as a creator.
  • We do not obtain customization orders.
  • We actualize customization requests, but make them standard features.
  • Engineers do coding in a way that helps themselves in the future. They do coding with high quality and detailed documentation so they would help themselves when they revisit.
  • Engineers create the product as if raising their own children.
  • The product evolves until the society accepts it.

By doing this, engineers can devote time to the things in front of them to create their own future. And this doesn't only apply to engineers, but also to all people in different sections of business in the company.

A company that plans, develops, and sells its own products, gets rewarded or complained by the products. Thus, workers think products are representing themselves. They feel they are in charge of getting better reputation to the products, so they'd improve the products livelier, including business processes involved.

Doesn't it sound nice? And it's doable. No more tragedies!

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