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A few months ago, a 550-person software company in Oregon cut a significant part of its developer workforce to reduce expenses and align its salaries with industry averages. It had already streamlined its software development practices, which increased productivity and improved product reliability. During the year-long streamlining program, the company had mapped existing processes to make explicit exactly how software was being developed and then carefully refined the processes to reduce the cost and time required. Implementing these changes required people to relocate into multidisciplinary teams and eliminate tasks that added no value. The majority of staff, facilitated by consultants, participated in this process. At the end of these initiatives, our research team did a follow-up survey and investigation to gauge how well the company was now organized to let staff attain their corporate goals. We found room for more improvement, but also some interesting results regarding employees' attitudes toward staff reductions.
Date of Publication: Sept.-Oct. 2004