Backstop Solutions

  www.backstopsolutions.com
  www.backstopsolutions.com

Backstop Solutions Reviews

Updated November 11, 2014
Updated November 11, 2014
11 Reviews
3.9
11 Reviews
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Recommend to a friend
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Clint Coghill
5 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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  1.  

    Collaborative, fast changing company

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Backstop Solutions full-time

    Pros

    Fast paced, Balanced, quick and nimble company

    Cons

    Many priorities, Lots of different client types

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2.  

    Best career move ever! Amazing company with fantastic people!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Corporate Operations in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Corporate Operations in Chicago, IL

    I have been working at Backstop Solutions full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    There are so many perks to working at Backstop. There is a meditation room, a game room, a VitaMix, and awesome snacks in the employee fridge & pantry. The dress code is casual and we can wear denim every day. The benefits (vision, health and dental) begin within the first 30 days of being hired. Every Thursday there is a company-wide (town hall style) meeting to ensure everyone is on the same page. I can give my coworkers praise and appreciation by putting a virtual Post-It note on the ‘Wall of Awesome.’ Working here is the best career move I ever could have made.

    Cons

    The company is transitioning from tech start-up mode and there are challenges associated with even faster than anticipated growth. However, everything is moving in a positive direction.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keep doing what you’re doing. I like seeing the big picture and understanding how my role fits in.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  3. 3 people found this helpful  

    Great place to work, learn and develop a career

    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Backstop Solutions

    Pros

    I've worked at a variety of places and Backstop is by far the best place I've worked for so far. I look forward to coming to work every day and have a strong sense of personal and professional learning and accomplishment.

    The best part of Backstop is culture and the quality of people. The company has a very high hiring standard and a lot of effort goes into the making sure that the person is great for for the role and for the culture. This creates an atmosphere where you get to work with very smart team-players, build awesome products and have fun along the way.

    Most of people are self starters and care passionately about what they do. Recent organizational changes opened up substantial opportunities to make a difference and make a "dent in the universe".

    There are also lots of perks: cafeteria with snacks, great coffee, company lunches, ping pong and foosball table, casual attire, flexible hours, annual training budget for conferences, courses and industry events.

    Cons

    Some very opinionated people have historically been allowed to create disruption, not in a positive sense, while not getting evaluated for their actual contributions. The process should not trump the product.

    The new management introduced many changes to take the company to next level but had some bumps along the way. Communication can be improved.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Improve communication to make sure that information is properly distributed within the company. Make sure that the employees are engaged in the strategic decisions and the goals are clear.

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  5. 1 person found this helpful  

    Great place to work

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL

    I have been working at Backstop Solutions full-time

    Pros

    Really laid back, casual atmosphere
    Beer, pop, coffee, tea, snacks, food, lunches provided often
    Development positions have flexible work hours as long as you get your work done

    The culture is very good here. I've worked in a bunch of places and this one is the best. I like coming to work every morning and I sometimes work in the evenings or weekends just because I want to (not because I need to), which has never been the case with my other jobs. Of course, no place will be without some problems, but the problems here are pretty minor compared to other places. Most of the people who work here are extremely sharp and are willing to pitch in however needed to get the job done. If you're into work just being a job that is fine and we have people like that here, but if you're into having fun with your coworkers over a game at lunch or over a beer after work then this is a great place to find that.

    Cons

    Employees who underperform or who "don't play well with others" are often not reprimanded or corrected
    Some non-development positions are not paid in a way that reflects the amount of institutional knowledge they've had to build to do their jobs
    Recent leadership turnover means some talented employees have left and some others are taking a wait and see approach as to how things will shake out

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    The more transparency you can keep the better, especially right now when we're in a season of change. Pay non-development positions a more fair salary.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  6. 5 people found this helpful  

    Casual atmosphere and fun work environment don't make up for the lack of opportunities and poor upper management.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL

    I worked at Backstop Solutions full-time

    Pros

    - Casual, relaxed atmosphere. That means couches, shorts and sandals, and a breakroom filled with games. You'll find this at most software companies.
    - Loads of excellent employees, though they're mostly on the engineering side of things.
    - Fairly solid location.

    Cons

    - The office is divided into two sides: Client services and engineering. Thought CS makes up for roughly a third to half the company, they are treated differently than the engineering side.
    - Poor communication from the new upper management.
    - Pay is below industry standards, especially for the client services side.
    - Some of the client services people can work 60-70 hour weeks, simply because of how their pay is structured. Engineers are free to work whenever they want.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    - Be far more open with your employees. We all know you eventually want to sell the company, and to do that you'll need to grow. We all want to share your goals.
    - The new CEO really needs to learn to present. Seriously. Stop reading all your slides 1:1 in a deadpan voice. Take a class or something.
    - Make the separation between CS/Engineering less apparent. It's perfectly acceptable if they sit in separate places, but someone who gets paid half as much as an engineer should NOT work twice as much.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  7. 4 people found this helpful  

    One (soon-to-be-former) development manager's view

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Development Manager in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Development Manager in Chicago, IL

    I have been working at Backstop Solutions full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    Software Engineers are the best treated employees by far. In fact, they are buffered quite thoroughly from the rest of the organization, which gives them quite a bit of freedom. There is a super casual work environment and members of the middle management group work really hard to help people perform.

    Cons

    The new leadership team (CEO, COO in particular) are having trouble getting a handle on Backstop's original culture. As such, many of the more senior folks (myself included -- I was one of the earliest employees) are in the middle of leaving or have already left. Withholding information people need even before it's not fully vetted, or sharing information that does more harm than good, are some of their most recent blunders.

    There are currently two parallel power structures (we were in the middle of implementing a new structure when the old executives were pushed out), and the new executives only really operate in one of them (the traditionally corporate one), which causes all kinds of friction when they accidentally trample on the other one. At times, this causes people to quit. We have tried to educate them on how to appropriately handle various sorts of situations, and they continue to reply that they don't have time for that.

    Finally, the new executives have been known to make snap decisions, often heavily affecting other people emotionally, without appropriate care for how tight-knit the community is. As soon as a blunder is made, half the company hears about it, and a back-channel uproar ensues.

    The environment has never been more negative in the 6+ years I have experienced of Backstop's 10-year history.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Pay attention to emotions. Backstop was a very tight-knit family-like organization, which enabled it to grow steadily for 10 years. In your desire to increase the speed of growth at a break-neck pace, you are ignoring the fact that a small business is much more sensitive to change than a larger one. If you don't pay attention, and give proper care to people's emotional state, you will lose more mindshare than you intended, and have the opposite effect. Short term growth may continue for a while, but eventually the system will grind to a halt with nobody left to man the engine room.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  8. 2 people found this helpful  

    Great people and culture

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Senior Support Analyst in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Senior Support Analyst in Chicago, IL

    I have been working at Backstop Solutions full-time

    Pros

    Beer at weekly meetings, super-smart coworkers, fun job, challenging job, foosball and ping pong in office, FANTASTIC middle management, interesting software

    Cons

    New senior officers, unclear vision, multiple recent changes (new CEO being one of them), inability to dismiss employees who aren't doing a good job, sometimes don't utilize employees to their full potential, unclear path for job opportunities within the company

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Clear up the vision a bit. You seem to be working on it, so we'll see how things go. A career path program would do wonders for the company. Let folks who start as administrative assistants or support or qa know how they can become a project manager or a sales person, or move somewhere else within the company where they think they may be effective.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
  9. 1 person found this helpful  

    Fun work environment with smart, creative people

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Quality Assurance Manager in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Quality Assurance Manager in Chicago, IL

    I worked at Backstop Solutions full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    Smart and creative people.
    Management lets you run with various ideas to try them out.
    Interesting opportunities to work with an agile coach.
    Many opportunities to influence how work is done.
    A beyond-excellent support staff.
    Retrospectives!

    Cons

    A little bit of confusion regarding the role of modern approaches to quality assurance. (Which only matters if you are in quality assurance.)

    Testing (as a role) had perhaps a bit of a glass ceiling. Testing became a bit of a one-note affair.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keep doing what you are doing.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
  10. 1 person found this helpful  

    Great Product, Great People

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Backstop Solutions full-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    Awesome products.
    Very intelligent staff.
    Hardworking Company.

    Cons

    C-Level Management don't necessarily listen to staff.
    Not a big player yet in terms of dealing with international offices.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Hold regular Q&A sessions with staff and take notes.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  11. 2 people found this helpful  

    Just "okay"

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Backstop Solutions

    Pros

    Casual attire, mostly flexible hours, open seating, positive and friendly employees, rigorous interview process

    Cons

    Unfortunately, I had a negative experience at this company. I did not feel respected by my boss and many of my colleagues. Often times, there were rude, unprofessional comments thrown in my direction. Occasionally, there were rude, insulting emails sent to colleagues and to other employees at the company. Many people were unwilling to compromise or be helpful.However, the senior management is positive, encouraging and intelligent. There are some divisions of the company that may be good places to work, unfortunately, mine was not one of them. I suggest this company to those who wish to pursue software development, but I don't recommend it for other positions. I wish I could say something more positive, but unfortunately I cannot.

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Backstop Solutions on the 39th floor of Willis Tower

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