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consolidation works! June 16, 2009

Posted by That Guy in A Stunning Example of Synergy, Success Stories.
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In the old days, if there was something I didn’t know how to do, I had one of two choices:

1. IM the people in my position at other offices and see if they could help.
2. E-mail the one developer in my division of CorporateSpeak and hope he could find the time to help me.

And then my boss — and all the webmasters — in my division were fired, replaced by a centralized web development group led by the guy in #2, who now is the manager of this new group. Of the 25 webmasters that were fired, seven of them were rehired into the new group (two others were not fired because they weren’t technically webmasters).

There was much consternation about who would be doing what on the web, especially at smaller offices. But yesterday I learned that the new centralized system works.

I was working on a project that involved a Twitter feed for one of our clients, and importing it into their CMS (which is not the CMS that we offer to all our clients, but a homebrew that they insisted we use). The code I have requires dependencies in our CMS that doesn’t work outside the system, and I didn’t know how to hack it because I don’t speak jQuery.

So I e-mailed the group.

Ten minutes later, four people had responded, and of those four, the guy in Des Moines had the best, easiest-to-use solution — he’d used it before and showed me an example.

One hour later, I had built the Twitter applet for the client and given them instructions on how to integrate it into their CMS. They were very happy.

The system works!

So, here’s the scorecard:

LOST — 18 employees, with salaries ranging from $40,000 to $90,000.
MOVED — 7 employees, same salaries, now working for an entirely different branch of the company.
GAINED — a team at corporate, equivalent to the group that services the largest branch (whereas my branch is the smallest), with specialists in .NET, Flash, JavaScript, CSS, HTML, and database development.

Photo by Flickr user thetruthabout.

Photo by Flickr user thetruthabout.

This is the way consolidation should work — it should consolidate a disparate group of people into a smaller, tighter-knit group that can focus on providing solutions. Now, the guy in Des Moines doesn’t have to call me and ask me for CSS help, or hope the one developer at corporate is available; he can talk to Melinda from Kansas City (for example), who is a CSS expert. And when I need help with Flash, I don’t have to hope that Tim in Seattle is available to help me; I e-mail the group with a request and Tim puts it on his list, which consists of only Flash projects.

I was worried at first, but it turns out that this is for the best. Finally, something has.

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