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  • FIRST POST
    • Vindicare101
    • By Vindicare101 3rd May 18, 4:53 PM
    • 3Posts
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    Vindicare101
    "Suitable" Alternate Employment
    • #1
    • 3rd May 18, 4:53 PM
    "Suitable" Alternate Employment 3rd May 18 at 4:53 PM
    Hiya guys,

    So a little background, I work for a high end Insurance company as a Software Tester in their inhouse IT department for the past 15 years.

    2 years ago, we were bought out by another large international insurance company, and as part of that takeover, the majority of the IT teams from my company were made redundant. All were made redundant with a respectable redundancy package.

    My team of 4 are the last to go through this process, which started back in February and is still ongoing..

    Where with the other teams they were just straight up made redundant, we are being offered alternate employment instead, which the company sees as "suitable".

    In my case, my role will be changing from a Software Tester, to a Test Manager. This is not seen as a promotion or a change in status, and has vague assertions that in a years time they will re-review my salary and possibly raise it at that point.

    On first glance, other than the pay aspect, it doesn't sound too bad, as it will be a natural progression to my career...

    However... (isn't there always one of those...) the role is much much more than it appears at first glance..

    As the Test Manager, I will be managing 9 test teams spread across the UK, France, Central Europe, India and South Africa. All of these teams are externally contracted into my company, and the majority of these testers will be working on fixed price contracts. What this means is that they are not going to be receptive to change, as they have to get their work done within fixed time limits and budget limits..

    But it doesn't end there...

    I will also be Quality Assurance managing 9 development teams (which the testers are linked to), so also spread across the UK, France, Central Europe, India and South Africa. These development teams are also externally contracted, and working to fixed budgets. It will be my job to review their code using various tools, ascertain the quality of the code, and as part of my goals, improve the quality of those code over the course of the year. For a team that is more concerned about getting the code out within time and budget restraints, where it will be functional and not all that bothered about quality.

    I have no prior experience of management, let along managing multiple teams in different time zones, continents and language barriers.. additionally I have no experience of Quality Assurance... and due to the nature of the teams and their fixed budgets, feel like I am being setup to fail, to act as a buffer to the fallout for the actual managers of the department.

    And of course, all of this is not deemed to be a promotion or a change in status, despite being a job several large jumps up the corporate ladder than I am currently..

    I've argued that this is clearly unsuitable, but the company is reluctant to acknowledge this fact.

    By biggest fear is that they finally acknowledge the unsuitable nature of the position, but because this has come about as a different round of redundancies from the main group, they'll palm me off with just statutory, rather than the enhanced package everyone else got.

    I
Page 1
    • Ozzuk
    • By Ozzuk 3rd May 18, 5:43 PM
    • 1,394 Posts
    • 2,016 Thanks
    Ozzuk
    • #2
    • 3rd May 18, 5:43 PM
    • #2
    • 3rd May 18, 5:43 PM
    How much of a stretch is this for you? I'd be looking at is as an opportunity - a year doing this then move on to a better paid external role. If in the year you make yourself invaluable and succeed you could always put a case together for increase before looking to leave.

    It doesn't sound like you need to manage people - which is a nightmare, you'll be managing a contract. Regular review meetings, watertight SLAs/OLAs, penalties. Use time/project tracking tools - doesn't sound too challenging but I don't know the scale.

    I'd be thinking amazing chance to grow and throwing myself at it, sure change is scary and having the buck stop with you even more so but if you have the ability then you'll be surprised how quick you can adjust and step up.

    Good luck!
    • Peelerfart
    • By Peelerfart 3rd May 18, 9:01 PM
    • 1,920 Posts
    • 1,678 Thanks
    Peelerfart
    • #3
    • 3rd May 18, 9:01 PM
    • #3
    • 3rd May 18, 9:01 PM
    Hi OP

    2 questions,

    How old are you, I'm guessing at least 33, and what's your highest level of education?

    I'm not being nosey, I worked for a large European IT company for years

    Cheers

    PF
    Space available for rent
    • Vindicare101
    • By Vindicare101 4th May 18, 12:02 AM
    • 3 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    Vindicare101
    • #4
    • 4th May 18, 12:02 AM
    • #4
    • 4th May 18, 12:02 AM
    Hi Peelerfart,

    Im 38 and have a IT based degree, if that helps?

    If I were to be made redundant and got the package that the others previously got, id likely try my hand at contracting, as the funds would give me a safety net to fall back on.
    • getmore4less
    • By getmore4less 4th May 18, 9:38 AM
    • 32,701 Posts
    • 19,673 Thanks
    getmore4less
    • #5
    • 4th May 18, 9:38 AM
    • #5
    • 4th May 18, 9:38 AM
    Who has been doing that job up till now or have they created it.

    What tools and processes are already in place to manage quality?

    The big one, how are these teams doing in terms of post delivery quality.

    IME what happens is the development teams use up all the time and the QA teams can't do their job properly.

    The second big one is who signs off that the delivery is of a good enough standard.

    if you have a "times up ship it" policy leaving a mess for support in place this has all the hallmarks of an scapegoat position.


    There is a lot of potential to get involved in lots of good career enhancing areas.

    If you have been company aware you should have a decent idea of how well the current project management structure is at delivering if it is generally good then it may be worth a shot.

    Do you know the style of the people you will be reporting to

    Look at trial periods and a training program to fill your skill gaps.

    Another aspect of this global role will be travel, it could become quite intensive not everyone has a home life that is compatible with lots of international travel.

    which salary bracket are they paying for this job?
    • Vindicare101
    • By Vindicare101 4th May 18, 2:20 PM
    • 3 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    Vindicare101
    • #6
    • 4th May 18, 2:20 PM
    • #6
    • 4th May 18, 2:20 PM
    Hiya getmore4less,

    The position is a new one, being specifically created for the team, though if I don't take it, it will be offered to the market.

    In terms of quality management, there are few if any processes or tools at present, and going forward they will be bringing in a suite of systems, and the processes will have to be thought up.

    At present, post delivery quality is iffy at best, with high level defects being triggered almost every week.. and this is before all 9 teams will be operating at the same time! I'm currently involved in testing a small element of this, mostly support rather than active development so I'm continually seeing the defects that arrive and the technical debt that they are accruing.

    In terms of sign-off, normally its the Testers, but I'm not sure if that will now fall onto the Test Mananger to take ownership of (as well as the sign-off on quality as well).

    With the way the contracts have been designed, from what I am unofficially aware of, there is little in terms of quality written into it, and so the development teams are more likely to adopt a "times up ship it" as long as it's functional, they're not getting payed for quality.. and won't have the time or budget to give it the attention it would really need.

    So far they are offering a months trial, with training, and the potential to extend that trial.. though to date they haven't acknowledged if they believe the role is suitable or unsuitable.

    Salary wise, they'll be paying me my current software testers salary, rather than anything like a QA / Test Manager of an international team salary... with the vague allusion to reviewing it in a year and finding another excuse not to pay me.. as they don't see this as a promotion or change in status within the company..

    I can see the value in the role, in terms of experience, but at the same time could take the redundancy and move into contracting myself, without the stress that would arise from this role.

    It's a tricky situation.. I have another consultation meeting next week (my 4th meeting since Feb..) so hopefully that will possibly shed some light... though I won't hold my breath !
    • AnotherJoe
    • By AnotherJoe 4th May 18, 2:38 PM
    • 10,136 Posts
    • 11,399 Thanks
    AnotherJoe
    • #7
    • 4th May 18, 2:38 PM
    • #7
    • 4th May 18, 2:38 PM
    Self evidently that is a completely different job.if they claim it's the same, I would be confident no tribunal would accept that. I would really push back, list all the responsibilities of your current job and this one in a two column format highlighting where they match. "Turn up on time for work" would be about the only common factor AFAICS.

    Whether you want to take it is a separate matter but I wouldn't without a matching rise in salary for the hugely increased responsibility.

    My worry would be, you are set up to fail, and they get rid of you in 6 months time for underperforming.
    Last edited by AnotherJoe; 04-05-2018 at 4:45 PM. Reason: typos
    • Peelerfart
    • By Peelerfart 4th May 18, 3:15 PM
    • 1,920 Posts
    • 1,678 Thanks
    Peelerfart
    • #8
    • 4th May 18, 3:15 PM
    • #8
    • 4th May 18, 3:15 PM
    Does sound to me like you have a career choice to make.
    On the information provided being set up to fail or given a fantastic opportunity?
    At your age with a degree and experience, finding suitable alternative employ shouldn't be too difficult, emphasis on shouldn't.

    I don't need to tell you about IT contract work you've got that worked out I guess.

    Agree with other posters, the two roles do seem radically different but on the face of it, why hack you off? It may well be that they have plans for you? Only you can answer that.

    This is,I think a tough call but it does sound like your role as it is, is redundant.
    Last edited by Peelerfart; 04-05-2018 at 3:15 PM. Reason: Dreaded typos
    Space available for rent
    • getmore4less
    • By getmore4less 5th May 18, 10:56 AM
    • 32,701 Posts
    • 19,673 Thanks
    getmore4less
    • #9
    • 5th May 18, 10:56 AM
    • #9
    • 5th May 18, 10:56 AM
    Hiya getmore4less,

    The position is a new one, being specifically created for the team, though if I don't take it, it will be offered to the market.
    I would be pushing back and getting a lot more information of objectives and accountability.

    I would want to be comfortable that those stakeholders driving this have the power an influence to back up any proposals as these are not going to be cheap to implement.

    Are they going to be happy that to do the job you will need to be in right at the beginning of the project life cycles signing of the contracts have more suitable measure of quality.

    Having contracted test teams signing of contracted development could be a conflict of interest.

    Is support of these buggy deliverables also outsourced to contracts?

    The people that sign it off should be those that are to own the support as they are responsible for their budget


    why now, what are the objectives make it clear you know that the current process and procedures and contract are lacking and highlight the that these project are not getting delivered on cost and time if they are full of defects they are costing a lot more money if another team has to pick them up and fix them


    Another problem with outsourcing is you have no idea who is working on your projects unless you have people on the ground at each of the companies you use

    Standard redundancy suitable alternative trials are 4 weeks but negotiable if there are identifiable training/experience needs to make the job a suitable alternative.

    I think I would push for a 6 month trial because of the learning curve and training required, with a redundancy package at the end if it does not work out(if they push back 4 months)

    Even a well experienced person would be up against any culture of resistance to change if that is around.

    Might it be this new overseeing position needs more than one person potentially a team.

    one option might be to limit the scope to one or two project trains where any new ideas are implemented and tested before rolling out company wide.


    From experience a lot of the outsourcing houses they are not short of a trick or two and forget any confidentiality they will be moving people from your project to other and using that knowledge and experience to their advantage.


    I think there is a good opportunity here but it will need internal support to grow into the role and I would be quite concerned about the lack of commitment to funding if they are reluctant to review the remuneration.
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