138 The Technology Balance Sheet
start-up is to be based on an ingenious use of a recently introduced or established technology, hiring prospects will be much better. Some innovative ways of finding appropriate personnel were discussed earlier in the chapter.
Does the company have hiring criteria, and is there a systematic recruiting process?
This rule checks whether the firm has established hiring criteria, covering both work habits, management ability, and technical skills. Having specifications for each person to be hired is helpful and perhaps essential. In addition, the company needs a first-rate process for initially identifying potential employees and then bringing them in for an interview, screening them, and finally selling them. A critical part of the process is thorough reference checking of all candidates!
Does the job candidates' prior experience show evidence of operational management ability as well as resources- and schedule-planning ability?
This question examines the planning and management history of the engineer/ management team. History is likely to be the best predictor of a manager's ability to help people enjoy their work and be productive in it. And with regard to scheduling, if the candidates have historically been on time, then they will most likely continue to meet their commitments in the future.
Has engineering outlined a quality design and product-release process together with engineering, manufacturing-engineering, and product-release standards, including, for example, coding practices, design rules, code walk-throughs, and design reviews?
This rule measures the existence and effectiveness of the company's engineering design process. For a software team, it would not be unreasonable to ask whether the process at least satisfies the Software Engineering Institute's process-capability requirements for level 1 and what plans exist to upgrade the process so it will satisfy the requirements of increasingly higher levels (Humphrey, 1989).
It is not uncommon for engineers to react negatively to the establishment of standards and processes. For example, engineers who have just left large firms frequently rebel at anything that might look like bureaucracy or restrictions on their freedom, and engineers coming from a research environment are unlikely to understand the need for any rigor in standards and processes. Object-oriented programming languages and m enable modules to be built in a more isolated and independent manner and because more software is likely to be available from other sources and to be reusable.