Dear Bob ...
I work for an enterprise that sports more than 50,000 employees, with a large technology group serving the users' needs. It has your typical project prioritization process, which takes at least a six-month heads-up on new projects and requires that all projects have thorough requirements before considering the project for development.
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I personally work for a specific business line in said bank, in an operation center of 400 employees with a broad array of job functions. My role is a software development for just our operation center. I'm part of a team of six people, and we've existed for 10 years.
More and more, we are finding other pockets of embedded development groups within business lines and business areas to provide applications quicker than our corporate technology group can. We write applications ranging from small-batch job processing to larger workflow systems; projects take from days to months in our group versus months to years in the corporate technology group.
It seems we are finding more of these embedded development groups as the corporate technology resources are taken up by high-impact projects and the constantly changing landscape of the business environment. Could you speak to this particular arrangement? Is this typical of large corporate technology groups? What typically happens to these embedded technology groups?
I don't have a particular problem to solve. And I'd like to keep it that way.
Dear Embedded ...
To answer the question you asked, yes, it's typical. Big companies have something in common with national economies. In both cases, centralized planning and economic management break down in at least two related places: fine-tuning the balance between supply and demand; and taking care of small communities of interest.
Countries that tried to manage everything centrally, like the Soviet Union, suffered chronic shortages and oversupplies of goods and services. The localized planning that results from a free-market system still suffers shortages and oversupplies, but by comparison they are minor in size and scope.
And scattered throughout the United States are people who love (for example) klezmer music. In a free market but not a centrally planned economy, someone will figure there's a way to make money by taking care of this small constituency.