A typical day at Merchants Insurance as a Software Development Manager includes attending multiple project status meeting and reporting on progress. This would include any areas of concern that might jeopardize the project delivery date. On average, the Development Manager may handle 15 - 20 active projects ranging in scope of a few days to several months.
At Merchants, there is a lot of opportunity to learn and use advanced technology as they continuously assess their competitive position, especially in the area of technology.
While the Software Manager is responsible of his/her own department's budget, senior management could (and did) often commandeer portions of your budget and redistribute as they saw fit. While the reasons for this are understandable, the reductions in budgets were seldom communicated and were discovered only during monthly reconciliation time.
For the most part, Senior Management is approachable, but there seems to be a trend where positions of employees reaching retirement age were eliminated, forcing early retirement. This, of course is a personal observation and may not be the case in actuality.
I felt that compensation did not keep up with the market. However, on a very positive note, Senior Management did implement profit sharing for all colleagues, which helped offset the lower than average salaries. It wasn't uncommon for new comers to start at salaries higher than current employes having many years of experience. This may be typical of many companies, however.
What makes the job enjoyable is the professionalism of the colleagues. At every team meeting, colleague would contribute ideas and learn from others, especially those from other disciplines. Team members shared many successes as projects moved from development to production.