longest-serving employee, Joyce MacDonald, has worked her last day with us.
She’s moving away to the other side of the country, where I don’t doubt another
firm will soon find themselves blessed with her skills. Joyce joined us full
time 16 years (and one month) ago, and had been working part time for us long
before that. From the very beginning, every task that she took on she
transformed and improved. We needed data entry when we were building a website
for a local real estate firm; she took the procedure for adding a listing and
kept streamlining it – open these three files at once, copy this once, then
paste it here, here, and here – until she had cut the target time in half and
then in half again. Later, she helped to develop our Quality Procedures and to
bring order to chaos in our software development process as we moved to agile
and changed our client mix. She helped our developers to become more organized,
to report progress more thoroughly, and to test before committing or deploying.
She trained our clients to think about what they really needed and to consider
the consequences of what they were asking for. I have never met anyone who
cared as much about the success of the firm as Joyce. We’ve employed dozens of
people who’ve done good work, worked hard, and cared about our clients. The
majority of them, like the majority of people everywhere, never gave much
thought to whether the company was doing well, except perhaps to wonder or
worry if their job was safe, or if there would be money to spend on perks. I’m
not complaining; I think that’s perfectly normal. Joyce is wired differently:
it’s fundamentally important to her that things are done right, that the client
gets what they want, and that the company makes a profit. That’s what just has
to happen, and it’s generally what she’s able to make happen.
started doing data entry and office administration but quickly moved into more
complicated tasks. She’s been managing projects and client interactions for a
long time. She also made sure that people did what they were supposed to do
when they were supposed to do it, and kept everyone informed and contented. If
you’ve ever called our office, you’ve probably talked to her. She’s probably
reassured you about something and made sure it got taken care of for you. She
has her PMP now, which formally recognizes how well she manages projects, gets
requirements out of customers and organized in a way we can all understand, and
builds appropriate processes for developers to follow. She’s taken on the challenge
of managing not just seasoned, well-behaved, adult developers, but also
students and our own grown children, who are not always easy to control. Let’s
just say they meet their deadlines for her .
Joyce to the west coast hasn’t been a total surprise for us. When we came back
from the epic Pacific trip, she got the opportunity to move and though she
delayed it, we rather knew it was inevitable. Over the past 6 months or so
we’ve adjusted the balance of work we take on so that our remaining clients
will be those I can handle client support for, and whose projects I can manage.
(Brian will continue to be an architect, developer, and star debugger who
doesn’t have to talk to the clients.) For our clients, nothing much will
change. For us, there will be a hole in our lives – personally and
professionally – that will take a while to settle down. When she joined us,
Joyce was a neighbor (I believe we first met in the summer of 92), and for a
long time she walked or rode her bike to work in the office attached to our
house. Our kids have grown up together. When stuff happens, Joyce is the one we
talk it through with – business and not-business. We were able to go to the
other side of the world for five weeks, often with no internet, knowing the
company would tick along fine without us. It’s going to be an adjustment not
having her with us every day, not having her to count on. Still, we know why
she’s moving, and we wish her all the best in this new phase of her life.
you’ve found this entry as part of due diligence in a hiring process, let me be
clear: Hire Her. You won’t regret it.