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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Epic in the News

I saw this article pop up in one of the various epic-related LinkedIn groups: Epic opportunity: The software giant is positioning Dane County for an economic breakthrough. Lots of interesting facts--Epic plans to add 800 positions a year for the next several years, and about 1200 employees leave each year. It also included Epic's 12 principles, which I'd forgotten about. There's enough in those 12 principles to fuel at least a couple of posts.

(Updated after a current Epic employee posted the comment below.)
Epic's 12 13 principles
1. Do not go public.
2. Do not be acquired.
3. Expectations = reality.
4. Keep commitments.
5. Be frugal.
6. Have standards. Don't do deals.
7. Create innovative and helpful products.
8. Have fun with customers.
9. Follow processes. Find root causes. Fix processes.
10. Don't take on debt, no matter how good the deal. Don't take on debt for operations, no matter how good the deal.
11. Focus on competency. Do not tolerate mediocrity.
12. Teach philosophy and culture.
13.  If you disagree, dissent. Once decided, support.


  1. I'm close to getting a job as a QA at Epic. I know the hourly will suck and I'll be working 50 hour weeks, but I was thinking that working there a year and then getting a good consulting job would make it worth it. I'm scared that they do not hire consultants that were QA people with a year of experience; all I hear is about IS with 2+ years of experience. Is my plan highly unlikely to happen? How much training/certifications do QA people get (that can be used later in consulting) ?

    1. You'll learn build for sure--as a tester, you'll have to do all the underlying build to create the scenarios you'll need to test. You'll just have to be able to really sell that during the post-Epic job interviews. Some organizations have dedicated testing teams, others do just need builders. As with any interview, study the position and tailor your cover letter and interview responses to that.

    2. QA'ers are not really in demand as consultants, but there are other companies looking for skilled QA people in the Madison area (and elsewhere).

    3. Oh no...I guess my dreams of 6 figure consulting jobs are out? I don't understand why QA would be much more lowly that IS for consulting positions? Everywhere I am reading they seem to have build experience and sometimes help at go-lives. What about jobs at hospitals? Would they turn their nose up at a QA person? Even if that person had the Epic certification they were looking for?

    4. @Monica: It's all in how well you present your skills at the interview. The certification gets your foot in the door; but your ability to articulate how your unique experience with Epic will benefit the company that you're being interviewed for is what will actually land you the job. You just have to talk to all the consulting firms you can find (start with the ones mentioned in one of my previous posts) and go from there. Don't get discouraged; just learn how to market yourself.

    5. I know this question is old, but here's a bit more recent summary of what QA is and why it might not be the greatest place to springboard from:

      At the time I left, QA was about 10% of the company. QA is basically where they stick people who are talented, smart, and/or experienced until they can figure out what to do with them or decide they're not ever going to be Kool-Aid chugging company men, and they figure this out by means of making us feel responsible for pretty much everything that goes wrong. It was an entire division of maladjusted whipping boys.

      Of course no one comes right out and says that the problems aren't with the developers leaving these obvious bugs in the software or the implementers not picking up on the quirks in the customers' systems or the project managers not telling the customer that if you don't turn feature X on then feature Y won't work right. No one ever said "QA, you fail" in so many words. That would be too easy to see through. But when they send the division head into whole-division meetings talking about how many QA Notes we "owe" and how much time and effort it would save if we could just find bugs earlier in the process...when you have "root cause meetings" repeatedly where the developer gets credit for sussing out the bug that you found and told him about and he blew you off and closed your QAN... when you are documented as responsible for literally zero missed bugs and still get reamed for a low note count, while your more proficient co-workers are giving lectures on why they feel bad for missing one occasionally...yeah, it's pretty clear what the message is.

  2. A13th principle was just tacked on within the last few months: "If you disagree, dissent. Once decided, support."

    Additionally, principle #10 has been reworded to "Don't take on debt for operations, no matter how good the deal." Apparently a loan was needed to build one of the new buildings on campus, so "for operations" was added in...