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3 people found this helpful  

Always looking ahead, existing business secondary

  • Comp & Benefits
  • Work/Life Balance
  • Senior Management
  • Culture & Values
  • Career Opportunities
Current Employee - Senior Software Developer  in  Salt Lake City, UT
Current Employee - Senior Software Developer in Salt Lake City, UT

I have been working at Overstock.com full-time for more than 3 years

Pros

Developers get opportunities to do software engineering on a regular basis. Most development teams still have the proverbial 80% maintenance, 20% new code split.

Developers can get a lot of opportunities to interact with the business owners. Dev leads are usually very open to sharing requirements gathering, etc., with developers.

You can have direct access to the people who staff the Network Operations Center, to the software architecture team, to the project (business) owners, and management. The organization is very good about sharing information if you ask (there aren't a lot of fiefdoms).

We regularly (if slowly) incorporate new frameworks and technologies into our development environment. You can have a company-wide impact.

Cons

This has been the busiest, most engaging place in which I've ever worked, but I know other people on other teams don't have that experience. The reason I've been busy lately is that most of my team was moved to new project teams, leaving two people to continue development on a schedule designed for six people. The focus on new-new-new projects and the disconcerting tendency to move 50% of the IT staff to the current hot project means older software may be neglected for years, until the business, CSRs, or the partners scream loudly and often enough to get someone (or some team) tasked with implementing a hurried fix.

It's tough to recruit full-time employees to the company because it's in Salt Lake City. A lot of people don't want to move to the "middle of nowhere" and don't want to be paid below market-leading wages. When I was hired, Overstock claimed to pay top dollar for developers in the Salt Lake Valley but can't compete in 2013 when other companies (like Goldman Sachs) offer 20% more.

Your success, promotions, raises, etc., are tied to how much your dev lead and director like you. That's true everywhere but it's disappointing that low-level managers don't get better training in evaluation and coaching and that some dev leads are kept in positions they're ill-suited to fill. With the recent (announced April 2013) changes to the IT organization management structure some of these problems may begin to be alleviated. Promotions to new positions (not just a title) are uncommon and are based on popularity, so if you're looking to move up you'll need to practice your politics.

The company is rapidly building out office space in their SLC warehouse/call center location and relocating development and business teams there. With the bifurcated company Presidency (one based in Cottonwood Heights, one based in West Valley) a lot of teams are being moved "voluntarily." (Seriously? Would you say no?) This has been unpopular with people who chose to live near Cottonwood Heights to be close to work.

I feel like the IT organization is not longer committed to learning, developing employees, and improvement, all characteristics that attracted me to the position in the first place.

Advice to ManagementAdvice

Focus on metrics and the ROI. I believe it's important to grow the business and explore new directions, but don't neglect existing business to do so. Focus on the company's core competencies and don't offshore or outsource work that is key to maintaining (or slowly growing) revenue. Stop throwing waves of people at projects, go read _The Mythical Man Month_ and go take a refresher on Agile development: projects and development are broken because we're not creating trust between the business owners, dev leads, and directors.

Recommends
Positive Outlook
Approves of CEO

Other Reviews for Overstock.com

  1. 3 people found this helpful  

    I am unhappy and dissatisfied

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

    I have been working at Overstock.com full-time

    Pros

    Flexible Schedule. Good Pay. Paid Vacation.

    Cons

    Benefits degrading. Bonus are a mirage. Political Mess. No Work/Life Balance.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    More people need to be hired to balance out workload. Hire or train managers so that there is some experience in those positions. The culture of promoting from within has resulted in the blind leading the blind.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  2. 5 people found this helpful  

    Worst corporate environment. Unprofessional leadership. Political Mess.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Marketing  in  Salt Lake City, UT
    Current Employee - Marketing in Salt Lake City, UT

    I have been working at Overstock.com full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    There are some really talented people in the Director, Sr. Manager roles. Some days of work are normal and business is doing well (online retail that is).

    Cons

    Executives are poor leaders. After firing the CFO, CMO, and many key non-c-suite leaders, there is little chance this organization is poised for growth. People are fired all the time with no explanation and often there role is taken over by the person that fired them. The constant struggle for power among the execs leaves everyone at risk of being collateral damage. You can find a better job elsewhere.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Stop political battles and get back to work. The company has a decent value prop but you're losing the people that can execute it because of all of the insanity. I have no faith in your ability to run this company.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
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