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Black Duck Software Photos
Doesn't RecommendNeutral OutlookDisapproves of CEO
- Work/Life Balance
- Culture & Values
- Career Opportunities
- Comp & Benefits
- Senior Management
I worked at Black Duck Software full-time (More than 3 years)
When I first started working at Black Duck I thought this was the best company I had ever worked for. And possibly ever would work for. I told my friends, “OMG, I’ve found a unicorn!” We had a week of new hire training, where I got to meet all of the senior management (it had been six months at my previous job before I had even laid eyes on the CEO). I was super impressed with the management (which is rare, usually there is at least one example of the Peter Principal in every company). The people are excellent, very bright, willing to help out, and willing to mentor and train new hires. The technology that you work with is cutting edge and very cool. You have lots of opportunities to learn new technologies and useful skills. There is lots of cross-functional interaction between departments. And anyone can contribute ideas or take on projects. My manager granted me a great deal of leeway as far as making improvements, making changes to improve efficiencies, etc. I felt like this was a place that I could learn and grow for a long time without getting bored. Plus the company culture is fun, with black rubber duckies, social activities like a Talk Like a Pirate Day, Halloween costume contests, and other fun themed social gatherings. And have I mentioned the really great people you get to work with?
For me the company culture changed considerably when we had a change of CEO in December 2014. Our new CEO made some major changes, including removing some managers and making at least one bad choice of promotion. We immediately began to hemorrhage good people, because rude and demeaning behavior that that might be tolerable from a peer becomes intolerable once that bully is your manager. In the 18 months after our CEO changeover we lost our entire layer of senior management (everyone listed on the Management page of the web site is new in their position). We also lost about 45 out of 180 employees, which is 25% turnover in 18 months (and those are just the people that I’m aware of!). HR can’t hire fast enough to keep up with the people who are leaving. In May 2015, there were 30 open positions waiting to be filled. In July 2015 there were 27 open positions listed, many of them the same reqs that had been open for months. The week I gave my notice, four of us announced that we were leaving. If you choose to take a job at Black Duck, be sure to ask questions about the workload, staffing in your department, and if there is anyone available to train you who has been there longer than a year? The company as a whole lacks process. They say they’re doing Agile, but other than having daily standups, they’re really not following Agile processes. But there are no sprint planning meetings or sprint retrospectives, so nobody really learns from their mistakes. The release cycles are unreasonable, with too many features and not enough testing time. Product Management needs a better road map and vision for their products. And they need to be proactive in planning the product suite, instead of reacting to customer demands for customization. Adding features just to appease the customers who scream the loudest is a lousy way to design a product. Black Duck is no longer the company that I came to work for. The company culture has changed from one of technical innovation to a frat house, where there is free beer in the kitchen, a ping-pong table in the sales area, and a dart board in the developer cubicles. The news on the television monitors in the kitchen has been replaced by ESPN. If you don’t enjoy a sports/frat house company culture, then this is not the place for you.
Advice to Management
People don’t leave companies they leave bad managers. Take a look at where you're losing people, and consider some leadership training. 401(k) match is much more important that free beer and snacks. When we can't get new hires because we're offering low salaries and no 401(k) match it's time to reassess your compensation plan. Also, stop posting faux positive reviews here. The number of nearly identical five star reviews is a dead giveaway. When the top positive reviews all contain the phrase “Keep up the good work” as their advice to management and the only con is “the commute”? Yeah, that’s not suspicious at all.