Hewlett-Packard 2011

I worked on a large complex product at Coverity. The VP of Engineering made a lot of promises about schedule and feature set that were impossible, and the team was put through a death march to try to meet the obligations.

Despite that atmosphere, the management team of the product came together and worked well together. My boss was overall manager of the product. He had hire a good project manager. The QA lead who reported to me was excellent. The software engineering lead was friendly and realistic, despite getting beat up constantly because of the VP’s promises.

The product eventually turned into something fantastic and to be proud of, just a year+ later than the VP originally promised.

Right about the time the product was ready, my boss, the project manager, and my QA lead all quit and went to Hewlett-Packard. I did not know anything else about it; by then I was no longer a manager, and I was doing automation work not connected to the big product.

I went into San Francisco for one of my regular visits, and the project manager got it touch and asked if we could get a drink. So I met him for a beer.

“Nick*, John*, and I would love it if you could come work with us at HP. We are building out a system, and we think your talents are well-suited to some work we need done. You would have a good budget, and you could stay remote. What do you think?”

“Well, first of all, thanks.” I stopped and took a few sips of beer.

“I just got my best performance review at Coverity. And a large bonus. Things are going really well.

“I also don’t hear good things about HP very often,” I said, drinking another sip.

He replied, “Our group is great. I like our management chain; we have Product Management buy in, and customers lined up.”

I thought about how to say what I was thinking.

“I like you. I like Nick. I like John. We did some good work together at Coverity. And I would like working with y’all again. But I am in a good place, and I just don’t like what I have read and heard about HP, both from the outside and from people I know who work or have worked there. I think I am going to have to pass.”

“Well, I certainly understand, but if you change your mind, you know how to get in touch…”

Later, his group ended up in HP Enterprise. And even later, they all went elsewhere. I think I made the correct call here.

* Not their real names

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