Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Recent Random Bits

Lots of lightening and little biking today. Some random bits:


Yes, thumbs up to the start.com folks for getting something out there. I especially like this snippet from Sanaz's blog:

so we get to scoble's office, pick him up and drive back to redwest to steve's office to do the interview!!! it was fun! he gets it! he gets the concept of a lean and mean team that just gets shit done! you don't need a hierarchy and 50 ppl to ship cool stuff! and he so gets it.. it's been a particularly rough day filled with tons of politics today, so it just feel SO refreshing to run into ppl like scoble...

(My blog high-fives your blog!)

This all happened about the same time I re-read Mr. Lippert's How Many Microsoft Employees Does it Take to Change a Lightbulb? post when I saw it was going to be in Joel's upcoming book of essays. Good lord, yes, this is the life some of us have to live (usually ending up with me back in my office contemplating the handfuls of hair I've ripped out of my scalp, muttering "Pleasing customers... while cutting features and keeping Elbonians happy, too..."). Meanwhile, Sanaz and her team and other inspired teams can show how to kick butt and get, ah, stuff done.


Dare Obasanjo has an interesting post called Ten Ways to Improve Productivity and Morale at Microsoft that looks at the "10 Crazy Ideas to Shake Up Microsoft" ThinkWeek paper and gives it a thumbs up. He encourages Microsofties to take a few minutes to track down the paper and then ruminate on its points and proposed solutions. Often.

One fantastic thing about Microsoft, and the reason it can be saved from its current bloated, slow, process-ridden, 20-person-lightbulb-changing ways is that it does encourage teams to just take responsibility and get out and there and ship something. Obviously in this day and age you have security and privacy to deal with, but you have the keys to all the other shackles we've managed to laden ourselves with. Cut the ropes with other external teams that represent "feature synergy" and focus on shipping as much fantastic code as you can possible bang out. We need to be a swift reacting armada, not some bizarrely entangled super-tanker manifestation.

Sometimes, you've just got to say, "I don't give a flying %#@& about the Turkish 'i' today!"

The "10 Crazy Ideas" paper, the personal blogs that include work-life gripes, the employee negative comments within blogs, and the anonymous blogs like this one are "steam-blowing" representations of the increasingly growing discontent employees have with where our company is going ("...and just why are we in a hand basket?"). And I don't know about you, but I've heard zip and nothing from our leadership since the Oprah-esque Company Meeting 2004.


I wish that I had a webcam recording my more funny quizzical expressions, especially when reading Computer Science Graduates Turning Away from Technology. Whuu?!? Come on, outsourcing can not be consuming computer science jobs at that rapid of a rate, especially given the low quality programming results I've seen from overseas so far. I must be pretty out of it. Reading a snippet like this:

The research firm Gartner Inc. predicts that up to 15 percent of tech workers will drop out of the profession by 2010, not including those who retire or die. Most will leave because they can't get jobs or can get more money or job satisfaction elsewhere. Within the same period, worldwide demand for technology developers -- a job category ranging from programmers people who maintain everything from mainframes to employee laptops -- is forecast to shrink by 30 percent.

Somehow these numbers are also wrapped up in folks like us who do "Deep Code." What I accept as fact is that far fewer students are enrolling in computer science. I haven't come around to accepting it's a dead-end career choice to be relegated to the dank basements of the corporate world. I guess you need to make that decision for yourself. If you agree with that article then it sounds like if you have a chance to get out to do something else you're passionate about, you should give it serious consideration.


Finally, one theme that pops up quite often in folks who post comments here and say they used to be Microsofties but left and now work elsewhere is: life is so much better now that I don't work at Microsoft.

Personally, I love my job and I love my company. I'm just one terrified voice screaming from the back seat that we've taken a horrendously wrong turn into a bad, bad neighborhood (Cut Alley, Product-Slip Row, and naked emperors in .NET stockings on every corner - shudder) and need to turn this car around and get back on the right route.

But if you work at Microsoft and it's a burden and you don't feel like you're fairly compensated: look elsewhere. It doesn't take much effort to put your resume together and try to build some buzz around yourself. While you're working on your review, you might as well channel all that insight by creating your updated resume / CV, put it up on the web, and go around and talk to some local companies about what they do. Stick your head up and you might find a truly greener pasture for yourself that isn't that far away. Where-ever you might go, I can absolutely assure you that you'll attend less meetings.

And if you agree that Redmond (or wherever you are) isn't that groovy of a place for you, do some focused targeting of places you'd like to live and get the heck out of Salmonberg.

42 comments:

Anonymous said...

So the geeks hear ya, the suits don't.

What else is new.

Steve said...

You mention performance reviews. A lot of Microsoft folks are presently slaving over their reviews this month, stack rank meetings are being scheduled and managers will shortly be writing up their feedback.

Driving home from the campus today I got to thinking about these reviews and what purpose they served. I also noticed one thing about the parts of the form that the employees fill out.

I always ignore that part.

Except when I'm filling out feedback for my own directs, of course. Otherwise I can't remember the last time I bothered to pay serious attention to what the employee wrote. In most cases when I pull up a review from the past or scan one sent to me by HR when I'm hiring, I tend to focus on just the bits that the manager wrote. And I'm reasonably sure that this is also true for a lot of other managers at Microsoft. After all, what real value is there in reading what the employee wrote about themselves. After all is said and done, very little.

As a means of streamlining the process, I'm suggesting that maybe it is time to scrap the current method and replace them by bi-annual appraisals. Instead of having employees write their own review, just have the manager write their feedback, add in a score and then send it off to the employee to read.

What could be simpler?

No need for employees to waste time telling their manager exactly what he or she should already know anyway. No need to spend time writing up commitments that everybody knows will change in a few months anyway. And who cares about listing my development activities. If I need to get a book, go for training or find a mentor then I can do that when and as the job requires.

And why bother giving myself my own rating. The only one that matters is the one that your manager is going to give you.

There. Simplify the process, put accountability on the manager where it belongs and make that appraisal form actually be worth the paper its written on.

Anonymous said...

1) In the article on Thinkweek that I read, it indicated that Gates never bothered reading that particular document. So I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for its recommendations to be implemented.

2) When I heard of this document, I was quite intrigued to see the innovative ideas that the smartest folks in the company would send to Gates. If this really is the list, what stands out more than anything is how boring, insular or otherwise stupid they are. For example, review cost-cutting? There's an excellent idea. Let's see now, the stock is tanking in part because of anemic earnings growth, so let's repeal the relatively modest cost-cutting thereby hurting earnings more - that'll help the stock. Of course, part of the reason for the cost-cutting is that the company isn't growing worth shit and blowing $.10-15/share/year on the "emerging" businesses. But, let's just ignore that. Or how about the ones on adding more compensation/rewards? Are these people delusional? Do they see the MASSIVE comp charges? The issue isn't that MSFT isn't paying out enough in bonuses. The issue is that these bonuses haven't been clearly tied to results - because in many cases the latter just aren't there.

If anyone inside the company thinks that shareholders who are flat over EIGHT years and down 50%+ since 00 are going to underwrite even more charges for further vague promises of future growth, then they must be on drugs. MSFT needs massive reorganization and accountability. Ballmer shouldn't be CEO and Gates no longer has the vision to do it. As such, both should be replaced. The company definitely should be broken up to speed decision making and to unlock shareholder value. Emerging businesses should be forced to get to profitability and/or seek their own funding based on their own discrete valuations. If the market won't lend them the funds required, then they should be shut down or sold. Somehow though, I suspect they'd get a little smarter in their execution if their ass was truly on the line.
Finally, would someone please get rid of Alchin? Tens years and access to virtually unlimited resources and what do we have? An OS that is hardly innovative, can easily be substituted and is increasingly considered to not even be on a a par with competitors offerings. And I'm not even adding the current Longhorn fuckup...

Anonymous said...

what costs more?

the extra time to ship if you resolve issues like turkish i, or...

the cost of having to change the codebase later?

i suspect it is the second, and despite your ranting about more ship, less test, the stuff we actually ship under this model is supremely high quality.

Anonymous said...

Which makes more money and pleases our customers and shareholders:

(a) Shipping now and often in the markets where you actually sell a lot of products, or

(b) Spending an extra year to ensure you dot every i?

We don't have to be the world's software savior for every product and technology we make.

Anonymous said...

I laughed for about five minutes straight at the Turkish i comment.

JESUS CHRIST I HATE THE TURKISH I.

Anonymous said...

If you ship too often you'll ship things even more alike than they already are. Office and Windows both seem to have problems competing against their own previous releases, which were already "good enough". What the hell would happen to either of those battleships if they shipped more often? "Ship more often", like any simple "solution", isn't going to solve all of Microsoft's problems.
That said, props to Sanaz and Steve. It's good to see someone shipping software.

Anonymous said...

Hate the Turkish I? Look at the response to your link, it says: "it is good to see, someone interesting about our (Turkish) problems :) "

The funny thing is developers don't even need to make sure they get this right. MS developers are typically backed by decent to great test teams. Included in almost all of those test teams will be someone (or someones) dedicated to globalization testing. There job is to make sure that the Turkish I and other important issues are done right.

Maybe you don't want to fix that bug because it "interferes with shipping software". Maybe you should have just written it correctly the first time and avoided the hassle. Maybe you just want to be a sloppy developer.

If you can't "give a flying %#@&" about something that isn't really that complex (the explanation is much shorter than your rant!) than maybe you're one of the softies who needs to be downsized.

It's a freakin' bug man, fix it, get over it! It doesn't deserve mention here. It's not the reason we're not shipping software.

Anonymous said...

"so let's repeal the relatively modest cost-cutting thereby hurting earnings more - that'll help the stock. Of course, part of the reason for the cost-cutting is that the company isn't growing worth shit and blowing $.10-15/share/year on the "emerging" businesses."

Many of MSFT's cost cutting efforts are penny wise and pound foolish. Saving on office supplies and free towels is pocket change compared to the costs of poor project management and ineffective decision making which have led to wasted man-years of development and bloated several teams in ridiculous ways.

If you really believe skimping on putting office supplies on all the floors in a building is the last idea left for growing the stock, you might as well close up shop now and send your resume to Amazon or Google.

-- Dare

Anonymous said...

"Many of MSFT's cost cutting efforts are penny wise and pound foolish. Saving on office supplies and free towels is pocket change compared to the costs of poor project management and ineffective decision making which have led to wasted man-years of development and bloated several teams in ridiculous ways."

And many aren't - that's the nature of forced cutbacks. Net net, in lieu of progress on the major items, the minor ones are ABSOLUTELY essential for the stock to maintain even its current pathetic price. Take a look at the latest action for example - 7 CONSECUTIVE days of market underperformance.

"If you really believe skimping on putting office supplies on all the floors in a building is the last idea left for growing the stock, you might as well close up shop now and send your resume to Amazon or Google."

You miss my point entirely. What the company and employees should be focused on is fixing the big chronic challenges facing it - not navel gazing whether all of the current modest cost reduction efforts were well implemented. Obviously some won't be but instead of getting wound up about not finding paper clips when you need them, I would hope that any good employee would simply see the bigger picture, understand the need to contain costs at this time overall, and stay focused on the strategic challenge of righting the ship. The solution to MSFT's problems isn't going to be found by writing bigger checks to Staples.

Anonymous said...

The fact that we fix issues like the Turkish i - ie, attention to detail, especially when it comes to integration of UX - is exactly what differentiates us from our competitors.

You are a fool if you think it's better to fix later than fix now.

Anonymous said...

"You miss my point entirely. What the company and employees should be focused on is fixing the big chronic challenges facing it - not navel gazing whether all of the current modest cost reduction efforts were well implemented."

The paper did focus on the macro issues as well. Specifically it suggested a number of ways for us to improve the lot of emerging businesses by not forcing them to pay the Microsoft strategy taxes before they can deliver.

Secondly, petty cost cutting affects morale. Management needs to weigh the benefits of cost cutting against its effects on employee morale.

Finally, the most effective way to cut costs is just to get rid of people and in some cases entire product units NOT nickel and diming your employees' benefits.

-- Dare

Eric Lippert said...

We have all those people to change that light bulb because we've learned from bitter, bitter experience that it is more costly to not have them than to have them.

Every time we don't worry about localization, accessibility and security (and Turkish-i is a security issue! Think of the potential canonicalization errors!) we create a barrier to entry for customers and thereby make an opportunity for competitors to eat our lunch.

Does it sometimes suck to have to obsess over the insane complexity of the relationship between the real world and software? Sure. There are plenty of days when I think that I could be happier pulling lattes at Starbucks. Not much complexity there. But ultimately I get a lot of enjoyment out of my job -- shipping software that hundreds of millions of people can use is a great feeling, and you don't get that feeling without putting a lot of work in to dot every i that needs dotting.

Anonymous said...

Let's try this again since my last attempt got cut for some reason. This site isn't hosted by MSN China by chance? :-)

"The paper did focus on the macro issues as well. Specifically it suggested a number of ways for us to improve the lot of emerging businesses by not forcing them to pay the Microsoft strategy taxes before they can deliver."

Take you word for it since I don't have access to it and if the "Microsoft strategy" tax includes such things as delaying the CRM effort to integrate Office, then I'm all for it. That said, I don't think Xbox or MSN (the two biggest money losers) are failing because of the "strategy tax".

"Secondly, petty cost cutting affects morale. Management needs to weigh the benefits of cost cutting against its effects on employee morale."

Those petty cuts combined equal some $1B in cost savings - which isn't petty at all. Obviously mgt thought about the impact - which is why they spent so much time explaining the rationale. Their mistake seems to have been in assuming all employees were mature enough to understand the need.

"Finally, the most effective way to cut costs is just to get rid of people and in some cases entire product units NOT nickel and diming your employees' benefits."

No, simply the most expedient. In almost all cases, the impact to morale of massive layoffs will be far more than not having free towels or soda anymore. Bottom line, folks who no longer think their overall comp/benefit package at MSFT is above average should quit and go elsewhere. What they shouldn't do imo is whine about the modest cutbacks when mgt has bent over backwards (via salary increases, option trade-ins, no-risk grants, etc) to try and insulate employees from the full impact of the company's current marginal performance. Wake up call: shareholders (the actual owners of MSFT) have made nothing off their investment in 8 years. Do you really think they're going to continue sitting idly by underwriting massive charges in order to keep employees in the style they became accustomed to back when MSFT could actually ship products and deliver strong results? Some employees need to give their heads a shake and wake up to the realities of a company growing at less than 8% that hasn't grown shareholder value since 1998 and be thankful they still have a job at all.

Anonymous said...

"You are a fool if you think it's better to fix later than fix now."

Too late.

Your only option is to fix later as it is already later. Look at the overall picture. Digging a hole in dry sand only gets more difficult.

El Deliciomismo said...

Come on, outsourcing can not be consuming computer science jobs at that rapid of a rate, especially given the low quality programming results I've seen from overseas so far.

You are out of it. I worked for a small web software developer, and despite being personally responsible for $12 million in sales over 5 years (something like 10% of the company's total), I got the ax in favor of fucking dirtclods from Russia. The owner of the company, when he was sending other jobs prior to mine overseas, put it thusly: "it doesn't matter if what they do is shit, it's shit for $8 per hour, so if they have to do it three or four times, I still come out ahead."

Jonathan Quince said...

[blockquote]"I don't give a flying %#@& about the Turkish 'i' today!"[/blockquote]

That attitude shows a total disregard for software quality. This is not a matter of a missing feature: The software was exhibiting an incorrect behavior (read: a bug). If you want to do something, you must do it right; and if MSFT is going to support Turkish, it had better damn well get case conversions right for the Turkish I.

To sum up Mini's attitude, “I don't give a flying %#@& about correct behaviors in my software; and I don't give a flying %#@& about bugs!” What this really means is, “I don't give a flying %#@& about quality; to hell with my customers, who actually have to suffer with my bugs after paying good money to my employer; I just want my free sodas and office supplies!” If this is the attitude of the typical Microsoft employee, no wonder Microsoft has a reputation amongst end-users for shoddy products.

Fortunately, there are employees who do care—such as the one who actually fixed the damn problem—such as any Softie who takes pride in his work and says, “I don't want to dump broken crap on my customers.” But how many of those are still there, suffering along, being weighed down by the ones who don't give a %#@&—and how many have moved on to (10^100s of) greener pastures?

The saddest part is that a coherent approach to software quality (and thus to correct behaviors when implementing, oh, say, i18n details) is supposed to be one of the primary factors that differentiate Microsoft from OSS. For example, Microsoft had beautiful, internally-integrated Unicode support at the platform level years ago—whereas today in 2005, much of the open-source world is still, ah, slightly Unicode-challenged (though increasingly less-so every day). If Microsoft loses this competitive advantage—which includes a properly-behaving ToUpper() and ToLower() for each and every supported character range—then Microsoft has nothing. (If I'm not paying for some kind of quality guarantee, then why am I paying?)

After all, BigCorpCustomer has offices and customers in Istanbul; they need a platform that will let their internal apps ToUpper() and ToLower() with the greatest of ease, from one end of their worldwide network to the other; and if they realize that Microsoft's devs “don't give a flying %#@& about the Turkish 'i' today!”, they may decide that they want to go somewhere else today. Say, somewhere that begins with an L and ends with an X and has an INU (read: Japanese dog) in the middle, where their in-house devs can patch the problem in the source and be done with it. Somewhere where they don't have to put up with devs anonymously bragging about how they little they care if they ship shoddy code.

As a paying Microsoft customer and long-time Windows fan who is currently evaluating alternatives, I found this post quite edifying. If I were a MSFT shareholder who was still hanging on, desperately hoping for the stock to recover, I would find this post instructive as to what kind of future this company has in a market where it actually has to face competition. Thank you, Mini, for today's lesson.

Jonathan Quince

Anonymous said...

"As a paying Microsoft customer and long-time Windows fan who is currently evaluating alternatives, I found this post quite edifying. If I were a MSFT shareholder who was still hanging on, desperately hoping for the stock to recover, I would find this post instructive as to what kind of future this company has in a market where it actually has to face competition. Thank you, Mini, for today's lesson."

Who just happens to frequent a militant softie blog? Give me a break. BTW, it wasn't his smartest comment but only a moron would take one employee's opinion on one issue, extrapolate it to the entire company and from that divine the future direction of the stock. Net net, it seems you came with an agenda which is fine - just don't lay it all on Mini's comment/head.

Anonymous said...

At least I have hope that longhorn will ship next year now that they brought ChrisJo back to run the team! And they actually fired a vice prez - today is a 2fer.

Anonymous said...

Which VP was fired?

-MS field employee "we're in a different world out here"

Anonymous said...

I heard Joe Peterson took the fall, but I'm at MSKK..

Anonymous said...

Peterson's not on the Exec list at PressPass any more...

Anonymous said...

the axe is starting to fall freely ....

fire at will commander ...

Anonymous said...

I've only met him once, completely different division, but I actually liked Peterson, he seemed to have his head firmly screwed on :-(

I wonder who ValenChin will draft in to replace him?

Anonymous said...

I still see Joe Peterson in the GAL as a VP. Could he be moving to a different position?

-MS field employee "we're in a different world out here"

Anonymous said...

Sigh, he's not being canned, just given a cushy job to avoid the appearance of non-performance. A public source:

http://www.microsoft-watch.com/article2/0,1995,1833182,00.asp

Anonymous said...

That's outrageous! What would happen to us if we had sub-3.0 'reviews' several years running?

Mgt, fire him and fire others like him too!

Anonymous said...

C'mon, you don't think being publically removed from direct authority over the next big version of Windows isn't enough of a career killer? He's not going to wind up in a position with that kind of power and responsibility again, I'd bet, but that doesn't make him a complete waste of space. Smaller team, smaller charter, different goals, he might be great.

Anonymous said...

"C'mon, you don't think being publically removed from direct authority over the next big version of Windows isn't enough of a career killer?"

At what point do we look at the never ending series of fuckups and delays that equal Longhorn and conclude that accountability should be taken at the top - i.e. Alchin?

Anonymous said...

Claria?! You have got to be kidding me.

Of all the odious 'market research' data firms out there, we have to buy the most reviled spyware company of them all?

What the hell is going on?

Anonymous said...

what do you make of the claria deal? also some guy is trying to set up some kind of union to protest stack ranking? what's up wiht that?

Anonymous said...

And let's remember, Claria's former name was Gator . . .

Yeah, that's one of the products I want to tell people we develop . . .

Anonymous said...

Heh, looks like something is definitely going on with Claria...

Microsophist said...

Mini,

It occurred to me that the termination of my blog might have you worried about your own well-being. So, for the record, the decision to turn off my blog was my own choice. Neither Microsoft nor anyone else knows my identity, as far as I am aware. I was not fired, rubbed out, or otherwise harassed.

Please keep up the good work. It is having a positive impact.

-Microsophist

Anonymous said...

Come back Microsophist!

Anonymous said...

Shane? Shane!

Anonymous said...

And how exactly is the wonderful Sanaz going to monetize start.com?

Advertizing? Puh-leeze.

Everyone should be able to state the business value of their product.

If they can't make it profitable in 2 years it should be scrapped - make this 5 for MSR.

Anonymous said...

No Microsophist, don't come back, and while you're away take Mini-MSFT with you.

I haven't worked myself to the bone for this company for dumbasses like you to present your pathetically obvious reasoning to the world to inflate your 3.0 egos.

Your comments about the Turkish i show just how crap the quality of your work must be. Be part of the 'solution' you believe in so fanatically, resign, and good riddance.

Anonymous said...

"Your comments about the Turkish i show just how crap the quality of your work must be. Be part of the 'solution' you believe in so fanatically, resign, and good riddance."

Translation: please don't comment publicly about our numerous problems - outsiders are starting to notice.

Anonymous said...

yikes, Google is about to open a can on Microsoft w/thier IM.

Im guessing thier strategy is take Msft while off guard. High employee dissention, low morale, and from what i understand from my friends at Microsoft,in Redmond a deep (but silent)apathy in making the execs richer.....

I think todays news off of MSNBC, has got me thinking time to stop hoping for a stock recovery, this cows run its course, and wont be revived.

Unfortunate, but I guess all good things must come to an end. Thanks Microsoft for some of the best years of my investment life.

(-non employee) shareholder or at least until the closing bell.

man, i feel like im at a funeral.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree that MSFT is in a lot of trouble, as GOOG shoots.

I enjoy this blog-thanks.
My unbiased observation of working here.(Im an engineer in Premier services)

1)is that the culture has slowly slipped, the exitement that were doing something new and changing the world just isnt there...

2)The disgruntled employees are (generally speaking of course), 2nd and 3rd generation(1st cashed out), and have seen thier networth decline before they realized what hit 'em. Now that the Market has bounced back over the past 3 years. MSFT is a dead cow, part of the lifecycle of the company I suppose...

3)The new blood/college grads, are grateful to get a job, at a company with MSFT brand recognition. From thier perspective a great place to start, and they dont know what they missed(never fortunate enough to experience the true culture of this company before it thinned). Cant say Id blame 'em.

4)For those who think there are plenty of jobs in support, your sadly mistaken. From someone who's been in Premier Support over the past 5 years..and who has to explain to several execs why we(msft) screwed up a support escalation, because our folks in India are green, dont have the same sense of urgency, or just plain below par, its not pretty.

Sales/Relationship jobs will still be around for some time, but engineers---your the textile workers of the new erea.(sorry)

5)Some of the above can be attributed to culture, where we seem to be the "anal americans, obsessed w/email, returned calls etc... Culture Shock

6)Microsofts internal support is in India, ie you have problems w/support -you dial in and get Bangalore for 85% of all apps/os issues.

7)Huge apathy in support, they wont have jobs in a few years..who cares!

8)If your a software engineer, supporting an infrastructure, and can be replaced over the next few years.....you will! Microsoft has done a great PR job of slowly moving these roles oversees..unfortunate at the expense of customer service for our strategic accounts.

9)This company still has great benefits. If you dont like it- the job market has picked up-do yourself and everyone a favor and cut the cord.

10)Its no longer an experience, it a plain 'ole everyday, average, ordinary JOB. With politics, too many managers, and the impact that you will have on this company is limited(no matter how talented you are). I no longer brag about where I work, I still give it 110%(as opposed to 150% of years gone by).
Morale has truely tanked, and the metrics show it. I think its just part of the lifecycle of a company though..

If you want to make the impact that some on this board seem to hold on too so desperately, take the risk-start your own company, one that is in its infancy, or Google. Some thrive on being a big fish in a small pond vs vice versa. The risk of course *might be job security-but one you may have to take*

Anonymous said...

Another field softie chiming in...

Morale is crap because the things that used to make good workers (hard work = good bonus and stock) isn't true anymore. I can work as hard as you like, but because I'm not political enough (i.e. don't work hard enough on getting my name out there) others get the fat bonuses and stock.

It's what happens when you change from a small, fast, agressive meritocracy into a slogging, large, middle-manager-driven company, and it started first with Services and is just now moving into other areas of the company.