I am writing this not as owner of Baselines Incorporated but as someone who makes his living doing DOORS work.
While Baselines Inc does keep me busy, I cannot currently make enough from it personally without a full-time job. So even though I do some Requirements Management consulting, I also work DOORS during the day. DOORS has been my day and night job for quite some time.
I currently do not have a full time job, so I’m out and about searching postings and putting my resume out there. And I’m starting to notice a disturbing (to me, anyway) trend: companies don’t want to pay DOORS admins what they’re worth.
I’ve had a few conversations with recruiters and headhunters saying that I am definitely qualified for the positions they have but the problem is they don’t know if the client will pay the rate.
The economy is slowing down so prices are down in many sectors. But they aren’t down among all sectors. I worked for a nuclear engineering company last year and in that sector, nuclear engineers are currently very expensive to attain and retain. Why? Because they are specialists.
I’m a specialist too, and as such, my work costs money.
My response to these recruiters and headhunters is always the same, and if any of you out there are ever in my position, I highly recommend this response: “Your client purchased a $10000 per license program. I have a hard time believing that they can’t afford to hire someone who knows how to maintain it.”
It really bothers me that the people who buy DOORS don’t always seem to understand this. Whenever you buy a software package like this, there are always extra costs. We could debate all day whether or not DOORS is truly worth what IBM charges, but that’s not the point. The point is it’s expensive.
I drive an Audi TT. When I take it to the shop and something needs to be replaced, am I surprised that it costs more to fix than my old Saturn SL1 did?
When customers purchase DOORS, they are told that there is also a yearly maintenance fee that is per license. So the more you lay out initially for DOORS, the more it costs you to maintain DOORS.
To me the whole purpose of DOORS is to help do things right the first time. Requirements Management is a cost center. You do it up front so that at the end of your project things aren’t so expensive to fix. A competent DOORS administrator is the same way. I’ve seen just about everything that can go wrong in a requirements management database. And I’ve had to fix it. And that takes time.
So all you project managers/budgeting types out there using DOORS need to budget for a competent DOORS admin, and this means researching what they make. Sure, you could hand DOORS off to IT and you won’t have the expertise to help plan your schema, but DOORS will be up and running. Do it yourself and you may have install, backup and license issues. And in both cases, you won’t have anyone who readily knows some DXL to make life easier for everyone.
Think about my nuclear engineering example above. College kids studying nuclear engineering are being wooed with $200,000+/yr jobs. Now, a nuclear power plant company could decide to save money and hire regular engineers and train them and possibly come out cheaper in the long run….but probably not.
A colleague of mine who reads this site once said to me that he learned when he was a manager that if he spent $50/hr on a contractor, he got $50/hr worth of work. So many companies don’t flinch when purchasing DOORS, but they don’t think about the total cost of ownership when they make the purchase. And even IBM/Telelogic’s training and consulting fees aren’t exactly cheap.
If you’re thinking about buying DOORS, remember, DOORS is not for mom and pop shops. When you use DOORS, you’re saying that you’ve got money to compete with the top dogs. Telelogic knew that and thus could charge what they charge. Well, your potential admins also know it, and sure you may be able to train some intern to do DOORS administration, but it will probably cost you big time in the long run.
And if any of you know of any unadvertised openings, feel free to shoot them my way.