Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Meeting with SteveSi, cat-fights, and then some.

This is an almost 100% comment paste job post, with a touch of commentary at the end. The first two comments I think are just great and worth repeating, especially for those poor people who just read the web feed.


One: Lou Giliberto provided the following interesting tale of sending feedback to SteveSi and then ending up having a meeting to follow-up on that email:

Hey Mini et al.

In my group we were having an e-mail discussion about process. Someone forwarded the link to Steven Sinofsky's blog entry on Bureuacracy.

In it he said:

We’ve put in processes that make no sense. We’ve decided things as an organization that are plain dumb. How do we excuse these? We don’t. MS people send me mail. I want to know about them.

So, I sent an e-mail to both him and Jim Allchin about process in Windows. I tried to make it not a rant, but I sure part of it ranted because it's a subject that burns me up.

But what I did was try to give personal examples of where the current process fails.

Jim Allchin took the time to respond to me, and he agreed with certain points, disagreed with others, and said he would look into trying one of my suggestions.

Steven Sinofsky thanked me for the mail and asked that I find some time to meet with him and bring some of my peers along.

So, on Friday me and 4 of my peers went and met with Steven. We outlined a bunch of problems we had with the process, how it affected us in our day-to-day jobs, etc. We had people from test, a dev manager, devs from two different windows orgs, etc. So it was from several points of view at the IC or low management level.

He listened, agreed with certain points, disagreed with others. He also challenged us to come up with a next step to fix things and offered to help us with it in any reasonable way he could.

BTW, Steven doesn't wear Gucci loafers. Though, he wasn't dressed like me either (hair past my shoulders, "No, I will not fix your computer" thinkgeek T-shirt, and torn jeans). AFAIK, Allchin doesn't wear Gucci loafers either. I don't have a foot fetish, so I usually don't pay attention to such things.

The thing to remember, especially about Sinofsky and Allchin, is that they started at a level where this stuff would affect them. They do understand how to do development. They weren't born into senior exec positions. They do have other concerns and a different view because they have different responsibilities at that level. So, opinions are bound to differ on some level.

But they obviously don't want things that stop us from shipping good products, so if there is a real problem, they want to know about it.

Sinofsky and Allchin want to fix any problems. When they disagreed with me, they were clear why certain processes were in place. That gives me an opportunity to offer an alternative to that process that may work better.

But, you can only have this kind of give-and-take discussion if you are willing to talk openly and face-to-face (or at least in e-mail).

Do I fear retribution? Nope. Because I didn't make a jackass out of myself, I stated things factually (with a tinge of bitterness and frustration), and by being non-anonymous they were given the opportunity to understand exactly how the process affected me and my peers.

By coming with some peers in a non-confrontational way to an invite from an exec, he was able to see this wasn't one disgruntled dev. Myself and peers have been at MSFT from probably like 3-13 years. We weren't people with a string of 3.0's (deserved or otherwise) looking to grind an axe.

But yes, I have received retribution from a manager who didn't like being confronted with the truth. The thing is, though, he could afford to be petty. A senior exec is not going to be petty. They don't have time to waste. They're not going to waste their time singling someone out who is trying to fix things even if it's bad news.

And it goes both ways. I don't waste their time. I'm not going to complain to Allchin or Sinofsky about a personal problem. If my manager is a jerk, I'll either tough it out or leave. HR is worthless as many people pointed out because they are there to protect the company, and admitting fault doesn't protect the company.

If you are going to raise heck at work about a serious problem, you need to target the right level, and you need to be clear about the problem.

In this case, comment was invited, so I took Steven up on his invitation. I never met the guy before because I was always in Windows or MSN, but if someone is willing to listen, I have something to say. I CC:ed Jim because Windows is his org, and I don't talk behind people's backs about them or their orgs.

Now, will things change based on the feedback given?

I don't know (LOL). Though I received agreement from both execs on certain items, some of the problems are really hard to fix. Some of them can't be done right now - you can't change how everything is built in the middle of a release, for example.

The important thing, though, is that I talked and was listened to without retribution. There is a way to provide feedback in the company without losing your job or getting a 2.5.

You have to find someone who wants to fix the situation. Managers apply retribution when they don't want to fix the situation or when they are the direct cause of it and they're CYA scumbags.

So, my advice is if someone says "I want to hear about it" the right thing to do is to tell them about it.

You can always find someone willing to listen if you try hard enough, and you won't get fired for telling the truth.

Anyhow, I just wanted to make the point it is possible to give non-anonymous feedback about touchy subjects. I encourage people to do so whenever possible.


Two: I_LOVE_MEETINGS provides the following long-timer's perspective:

Geez. So much misinformation here. I am really surprised that so few (if any) middle- or senior- managers are saying anything.

Let's clear some of the rumours.

First, some background: I have been here for a looong time. I came in back when Developers were hired in as a "10" instead of a 59 or a 60. Years before the basketball courts were plowed to make room for the EBC. Back when there were half as many tiles as there are now in front of bldg 16. I now manage those who manage Developers, PGMs, and Testers. Saying too much more than that will give away who I am, but suffice it to say that I know what I am talking about.

Ok, here we go.

1. They do Stack Rank in MSN. I am not sure how Kevin's group is immune from that.

2. MSN is failing, and is mediocre, because it is staffed, for the most part, with mediocre people. MSN and all of the RedVest "Rest and Vest" teams are simply where the 2.5's, 3.0's, and burnouts from other (profitable) divisions go for in-office retirement. Hell, we've all been to RedWest, gazing at the women sitting around on the grass eating lunch, marvelling at the similarities between RedWest and a posh ski lodge. Many of us have seen the server labs that take up half of a floor, with their walls flanked with flat-panel HDTV LCD monitors that immediately switch from Halo2 to "Latest BVT Results" as soon as a senior manager walks in. Many of us know about the weekly morale events for the near-death teams (Autos, Homes) that include water-skiing on Sammamish and beer on Thursdays. The entire operation is a complete scam, and MSN should be spun-off as its own separate entity and allowed to die on its own. No more also-ran technologies. No more clueless SDEs and SDE/Ts who have benefitted from the rampant, stereoptypical MSN Level Inflation and promoted to L62 even though they only know how to write javascript and link together aspx pages. No more of my time spent warning my hiring managers to be wary when a L62 from MSN interviews for a L62 in our division, because more than likely the person is 2 levels higher than where he is supposed to be.

2. I severely doubt that if someone receives a 2.5 and is moved out of the org, that the ONLY reason it happened is because he/she voiced ONE dissenting opinion, one time, to ONE manager. 2.5's are held under careful scrutiny before they are given out, as are 4.5's. A lead/manager has to have some super compelling data that justifies giving someone either score. "He didn't agree with me once" simply does not cut it. On the other hand, though: "He never agrees with me, and is always moping around telling other people on the team that we are not doing the right thing, and in general is a drain on morale" is a solid justification.

3. I hate to say it, but here at MS, similarly to almost every other company in the world: Networking and social skills do help. If your manager likes you, and understands what you are doing, and sees your contribution, and doesn't see you as a drain on productivity or morale, he/she will go to bat for you.

4. The Stack Rank is a game, just like everything else. Learn to manage it. Learn to manage the perceptions that people have of you. Folks get ahead here because they increase their scope and span of influence. You'll get that next promotion when you have demonstrated that you can operate at that ladder level (in terms of scope, accountability, and skillset). A manager who promotes someone and then gives them a 2.5 (or sometimes, even a 3.0!) the following year OFTEN gets questioned. ("Why did you promote them to their level of incompetence? Are you not in tune with their ability?")

5. When the other senior managers and I sit around in {insert discipline here} Coordination Forum meetings, reviewing stack ranks for every team for that discipline in the division, there is always a person who is penciled in as a 3.5 yet who deserves a 4.0. When the manager cares, and goes to bat for the person with the right kind of data, I often see that person changed to a 4.0 instead. And do you know what helps? If that person has contributed in such a way that OTHER managers at that roundtable are aware of the contribution, and thus all can go to bat for the person. A senior manager is never going to argue a corner case, and is never going to push for someone whom they know has (choose one): angered folks on other groups, messed up a cross-team collaboration, rocked the boat with no apparent positive effect, etc.. A manager who cares will have collected the data beforehand, synched up with his/her peers prior to the coordination forum meeting, and communicated his/her intentions to "get an extra 4.0 for Susan". And when the support is there, it happens more times than not.

(Of course, this typically means that someone else might need to occupy the aforementioned 3.5 slot, which is where the "Rank" part comes in. But I digress.)

6. Someone asked, a few blog posts ago, why employees are asked to self-rank. For my teams, and the teams of my peers, the ONLY reason I want to see the self-ranking is because I care about the differential between the manager's rating of the employee, and the employee's self-rating. A differential implies a misalignment in understanding and/or communication. I always tell my managers: "The Review is not the time for surprises. If your direct ever leaves a review discussion surprised by the message or the overall rating, you have failed in communicating with that person over the last year."

7. A manager is NEVER forced to give someone a particular rating. If your manager says, "You deserved something else, but I had to give this to you because the curve forced me to", don't even bother escalating or pushing-back. Just start doing informationals and get the Hell outta dodge. If someone that weak has been promoted into a management position, it implies something about the overall caliber of the team that you really don't want to have to deal with. Trust me. I have seen high-performing, high-profile teams in my division where a full 40% of the team is given a 4.0, because the manager has gone to bat for the team, done the right thing, and made sure the VP(s) have understood why so many folks on the team need to be rewarded. Yes, again that means that there is a team somewhere else in the division that receives 40% 3.5s, or even 3.0s. At the end of the day, though, because we have divisions such as MSN which, in my opinion, are staffed with lifetime 3.0's, it all works itself out.

8. Yes, there are incompetent managers here. I have been here for a long time, and I am amazed that some of my peers are in the positions that they are. They are not leaders; they are pureplay "managers" who, because they can not innovate, lead, instill trust in others, or enable their teams to succeed... They spend the bulk of their time playing politics, name-dropping, dreaming up new processes that are ONLY meant to "get their name out there", etc.. It is frustrating, but I have seen it at other companies as well. My hope is that over time, the weak manager who promoted them eventually moves on, a stronger manager is put in place, and the person's incompetence 'rings loud and clear' with that new management. And that new management enacts change.

9. Yes, there are useless processes here. Some were obviously created by folks who were motivated to create them for their own self-preservation. It's not these people's fault; typically there is a situation where a person's ladder level demands an increase in scope, but the person is so hopelessly incompetent that they they are in a senior position on a product/team that has maxed out in terms of strategic impact. What's the solution? Make something up! No offense to Ben and the rest of the innovators on the Feature Crew effort, but there are parts of the FC process that were apparently put in place by people who just wanted to have their name on the FC process. Some of the fields on the Infopath form, some of the hoops Dev and Test need to jump through in Product Studio... The common conception is that they were put in place just so one person could say, "Hey that's the part I created". Yes, I predict that Ben, Dean, Stefan, etc etc may respond here and say "Let me know what improvements should be made..." For the record, you already know about them. I have told you in person. :-)

10. I have heard of people being prevented from interviewing for much longer than 90 days! I remember an acquaintance of mine who did an Informational with me for one of my teams last year. We spoke, determined there would be a good fit, and agreed to proceed with next steps. Immediately after that, he went dark on me. I pinged him a few weeks later, and he said that his manager had told him, "If you interview with that team and don't receive an offer, I won't be able to support you here any longer. Just wait until we ship, and then I'll help you". Mind you, this was last year, and the product in question won't be shipping until NEXT year. A 24 month 'stop loss'! I was going to say something, but the particular manager (a GM who over the years has also made a name for himself as being a complete incompetent) was "moved into a different opportunity" in another division only a few days later. And to make the situation a complete mess, the individual (who had almost a decade of tenure and a lifetime review average of ~4.0) left the company a short while after that.

11. I'll probably stop reading this blog soon, because most of the topics here are rehashes of the same issues, simply restated. But suffice it to say: We do work for the greatest software company in the world. Many love us, and many fear us. We are going through some growing pains. Some of them will be addressed as a result of the top-level reorg and subsequent reorgs that will be announced at lower levels in the future. Some won't be addressed until some of the mediocrity is drained out of the middle-management tier. But as Stephen mentioned in his blog: It will all work itself out. Posting here won't help; the gears are already in motion. If you want to expedite the cranking/turning of those gears, talk to your manager, or HR, or write up an anonymous letter and slip it under your VP or GM's door. :-)


Three: the following comment builds on some of the growing disenchantment here:

I feel like the original intent of your blog - which was about how to help our company identify and perhaps stop some of its potentially fatal behaviors - has deviated way off course into a Redmond-centric developer and tester bitch session. I'll check back in a couple of weeks to see if you have it back on some kind of constructive track.

(Hmm. I've been on a constructive track?) Even I blew a gasket last night and had to plead to people to stop the... sorry, no other way to put it... dumb ass cat-fight bantering. Now, maybe I'm throwing a black pot around my glass house, but please don't go making broad, unsubstantiated put-downs of testers, devs, PMs, or HR. If you have a specific troublesome event you want to share, that's great. That's real. But saying that none of us knows how to format a drive? Geez. I'm glad to see at least a few people followed up with positive stories to help offset the sniping.

If you really want to explore Dev vs. Test, go create a fun blog or community space on your own and roll-around in it to your heart's delight. It is super easy to do.

Now, given the cat-fight, I think there is something at the heart of this. And I think there's an issue regarding the push for testers to suddenly wake up one day as SDETs and start cranking out automation as if that's going to be the solution to all of our non-shipping ever slipping woes. It's a solution. But in some cases, it's been taken too far and we have to be strategic in reducing it. E.g., if it takes 10 minutes to make a UI fix but two days to update all of the broken automation, well, repeat that many times and you start realizing you might need to tweak the process a little.


Fourth: looks like my broad and somewhat insulting statement towards HR and the exit-interview process in my last post wasn't 100% right, according to this commenter:

I went through an exit interview not an awful long time ago at MS. Now I know some folks who didnt bother showing, just dropped the badge at reception. I know others who showed up and noted it being a formality.

For my experience, I took the time to ask every question I had about exit benefits and such. The fellow who conducted the interview was helpful and answered all the questions he could. Those he couldnt answer, he researched and contacted me to answer them a few days later. When we got to the "why" question, I asked how long he had blocked out. And I let it all out. The review process. The internal transfer politics. The directions the company was taking. The lack of action within my group on negative feedback in the company poll. I backed up the dump truck and emptied it. I went item by item down my notes.

To his credit, he listened attentively only interrupting to postpone a task he had on his schedule.

Now whether or not he acted on my opinions and experience is not known to me. But he at least did the courtesy of listening to me until i was done.

I'd still prefer that the reason for people leaving be collected and shared and turned into action items vs. the occasional bit of text cropping up in the blogosphere. As for HR in general: it would certainly benefit folks in HR if the rest of the company had some visibility into what you do and why their everyday worklife is better because of you. Most people, like me, only deal with HR when something bad is about to happen or has already happened.


Finally: oh, great, another anti-trust settlement involving an orgasmic flood of shareholder's cash. When I saw the headline with the dollar figure my mouth fell wide open for a good ten seconds. How does that make you feel, Mr. Shareholder? I certainly hope this was the last act of contrition and we're not reading about our billion-dollar settlement with Google five years from now.

 

62 comments:

Anonymous said...

First!

Anonymous said...

Sorely tempted to print this post out, hand it to my org's VP, and follow it up with a solid explanation of what's wrong with our group.

... of course the last time I submitted some feedback in that regard, I got an evasive answer that never actually answered the question. Maybe an in person approach might work better.

Anyway, some people might figure some of this is a rehash, but I'm new to the blog and really appreciate knowing that I'm not alone out here.

Anonymous said...

It's obvious that I_LOVE_MEETINGS works somewhere under Raikes, or more accurately, under SteveSi. Office is the only division that has those ridiculous "Gestapo" Office Development Coordination Forum meetings.

So is THAT what happens in those meetings??? Dev Managers all sit around and look at review scores for folks on other teams? If that's true and this is not a load of HR-spun BS, does it mean that we are not only competing for scores amongst our immediate peers, but amongst similarly-leveled peers on OTHER TEAMS too?!!!!

Anonymous said...

If it takes 2 days to fix a 10 minute UI change then your automation solution isn't designed correctly. I'm not sure if you were just proving a point or using real-world data. Since we are talking about MS, I'm afraid it might be the latter.

I think the path MS choose to evolve STEs might have been executed poorly, but I think that STEs who can code is a natural evolution of the skill set and not an abomination. In my org, I can say that very very few STEs who have successfully made the transition. This isn't a criticism or a low-blow, just how I see it.

Anonymous said...

"MSN is failing, and is mediocre, because it is staffed, for the most part, with mediocre people. MSN and all of the RedVest "Rest and Vest" teams are simply where the 2.5's, 3.0's, and burnouts from other (profitable) divisions go for in-office retirement."

Is MSN that bad a team? or is it just a jealous ranting of I_LOVE_MEETINGS...

Could someone give me another opinion, before I decide on my chance to interview for one of the MSN teams...

Anonymous said...

Is MSN that bad a team? or is it just a jealous ranting of I_LOVE_MEETINGS...

Well, the group of buildings ("campus") that most of the MSN groups are housed in, is in fact referred to (by internal folks) as "RedVest". I don't think any employee will be able to refute that. The campus (real name is Redmond West, or RedWest) got that name because so many tenured/vested folks traditionally end(ed) up there after burning out on other groups. And as someone who worked on the Carpoint (now MSN Autos) team before moving to Visual Studio, I can attest to the fact that MSN is different than the other groups at MS. Different caliber of people, different culture, different pace, different mindset.

Anonymous said...

How is the RTC group doing?
I am planning to do an informational interview and any chance anybody can share some valuable info.

Is it the same kind of process crap like in VS? I already hear there are 500 people in a RTC that does communication over SIP. Cant figure out why that many?

Anyway your help is appreciated.

Anonymous said...

" If that's true and this is not a load of HR-spun BS, does it mean that we are not only competing for scores amongst our immediate peers, but amongst similarly-leveled peers on OTHER TEAMS too?!!!!"

I believe that has always been the case, not just in Office.

Ben Canning said...

For the record, the meeting in question is called the 'Office Coordination Forum', and it meets every two weeks as a forum for managers to discuss any issues that might put the project at risk (e.g. how are bugs looking across the teams, is feature X coming together, etc.), and for folks to share information of general interest to the org. With the ~30 teams that make up 'Office' it's very useful to get everyone in a room from time to time to stay on the same page. I don't know what's 'Gestapo' about them, but YMMV. We don't discuss reviews, rankings or anything of that sort in that meeting.

As to whether I_LOVE_MEETINGS works in Office, I can't really say. There are only about 10 people that fit the description the poster gave of himself, and I'm not aware of any of those people coming to me or anyone else working on Feature Crews with suggestions, so I'm somewhat at a loss. It's certainly possible that I've forgotten.

I will take the bait, though - I_LOVE_MEETINGS, if you want to talk to me specifically about Feature Crews or anything else, please fell free to ping me directly. Via an anonymous account if you prefer. Perhaps I've already heard what you have to say, but since I don't know who you are or remember the conversation, I'd hate to lose the input.

Oh, and Mini I'm not really where the buck stops for Feature Crews in Office. A bunch of other folks did a bunch of work on the concept and deserve the credit for it. I'm the 'ship driver' for Office 12 so I end up sending lots of mail on Office process issues, but I can't take the credit for Feature Crews.

Anonymous said...

I think the dev and test discussion was a refreshing break to the usual whining about stack ranking and managers-screwing-my-life. This is also important for the company since the biggest image problem for microsoft to its users is quality and secuity both of which involve screwups by dev and test. So asking it to be taking beyond this blog while still showing up an image of I-really-love-the-company-and-want-it-to-improve is simply hyprocritical. It just proves that a majority of the posters here are lazy folks who simply like to complain instead of getting into the depths of issue.

Anonymous said...

The comment about the gross generalization regarding formatting a partition is just as much an overstatement as the typical comment - My manager is trying to screw my life and all managers @ MSFT is like that OR Steve B has no interest in the company's well being

Anonymous said...

During triages, I have seen Devs get really pissed off when the tester puts in a lot of details about where a bug is and suggest a possible almost-code-level change suggestion.

Anonymous said...

How is work in the performance teams as an SDET? Does the SDET actually analyze the code to identify bottlenecks. I.e. As an SDET is work in a perf group more Glass boxy than working on normal testing?

Anonymous said...

During triages, I have seen Devs get really pissed off when the tester puts in a lot of details about where a bug is and suggest a possible almost-code-level change suggestion.

I'm SDE and I envy you :) Our SDETs are rarely capable of this, we are glad when they have a solid repro with good description, rather than just 'it fails'.

Those Devs who are pissed off by good Test team are code-jealous idiots.

Anders Kargaard Jensen said...

I guess that this all just shows that Microsoft never actually has been a great company! You have just had the strategic adantage of owning the operating system - that's all. And with Google and search - those days are over! Welcome to the real business world of competition!
http://investinsearch.blogspot.com/2005/10/microsoft-is-old-school.html

Anonymous said...

Is MSN that bad a team? or is it just a jealous ranting of I_LOVE_MEETINGS...

Could someone give me another opinion, before I decide on my chance to interview for one of the MSN teams...


I used to hear the RedVest rumors as well before I came to MSN but decided to come here anyway and I don't regret it. Before I came to MSN I worked on the XML team [which due to long forgotten political battles is part of the SQL Server org] and I got to see a close look of what things were like in SQL, DevDiv and even Windows.

Those orgs are so big and full of people that your main challenges are dealing with process and inertia. At MSN, my main challenges are how to ship as much as possible as quickly as possible. It is telling that I already have a ShipIt from MSN and yet the product I spent two years working on before I came to MSN hasn't shipped yet.

Note that due to the relative independence of MSN properties, there are different cultures and even technologies used by different teams. Working on the MSN Music team is different from working on MSN Messenger, working on Spaces is different from Search, etc. Some of these teams I'd recommend, others I wouldn't. Still I'd rather be working at MSN than anywhere else at Microsoft except for maybe XBox.

-- Dare

Anonymous said...

I_LOVE_MEETINGS perspective confirms:

1) there are entire divisions where employees don't have to work as hard (i.e. MSN) - (#2)
2) your incompetent manager (#8) may screw your career (#10) by trapping you working for him
3) managers don't have to stick to quotas in reviews, but only if they are "good" managers (#7). As
far as it "all working out", that is company wide, meaning dozens of injustices along the way.
4) the curve is very real - arguing that somebody deserves a 4.0 means somebody else up for that
consideration gets a 3.5 (#5)

This sounds like hell! Point #3 says MS is like many other companies... the key here at other companies, you
can solidly do your job (i.e. get a 3.0) but expect to keep working there. MS wants to shove you out. And to
be blunt, the possible rewards of working at MS just aren't there like they used to be.

Anonymous said...

If it takes 2 days to fix a 10 minute UI change then your automation solution isn't designed correctly.

Um, not true at all. What if the 10 minute UI change REMOVES info status on the app state? Now the automation framework might have to do a ton of work to verify state because it isn't readily available.

Anonymous said...

These discussions are becoming state - same points repeated again and again.

Why dont you focus on other groups at Microsoft where there is rampant mismanagement and the majority of the headcount of MS comes from - more so than product development and people are continuing to get paid for their mismanagements.

E.g:

PSS
OTG
consulting
sales
HR - the mother of all beureucracies
Legal
Finance

Anonymous said...

Shareholder meeting and proxy vote coming up soon. This is where you really need to vent. Vote with your shares. If you think Ballmer and Gates (or the rest of the board) need to go, then make sure to fill out your proxys. Might not mean much with all the institutuinal ownership of shares, but maybe (doubtful) someone will notice and wonder why people want to push the BoD out.

Anonymous said...

"How does that make you feel, Mr. Shareholder?"

Not very good. Obviously it's nice to see a major remaining legal action resolved, but it would be nice to see MSFT actually win a case for once on the merits vs lose or the new "strategy" of just write a very, very big cheque. To put it in perspective, the total bill for anti-trust and post-antitrust lawsuits is something like $10B and counting and the impact on MSFT's reputation is incalculable. Meanwhile, there's still trouble in the EU and growing trouble in Korea. I guess what bothers me most is that Gates and Ballmer still refuse to accept any responsibility for what happened. I suppose you could say it was concern over legal exposure, but I think they actually believe they've been wrongly accused. And while I agree that much of the action was/is competitor initiated, it seems that in every case MSFT has done just enough wrong that it either loses in court or is forced to settle to avoid a court hearing. Oh well, another $400-700M gone - and watch them take a charge for this settlement in the upcoming earnings report so that they can once again totally muddy results in hopes of smoothing over what likely wasn't a strong Q. It's MSFT's version of the ol' shell game - now you see it, now you don't.

Anonymous said...

"During triages, I have seen Devs get really pissed off when the tester puts in a lot of details about where a bug is and suggest a possible almost-code-level change suggestion.

I'm SDE and I envy you :) Our SDETs are rarely capable of this, we are glad when they have a solid repro with good description, rather than just 'it fails'.

Those Devs who are pissed off by good Test team are code-jealous idiots."



Yep. Been there. Not once but on several occasions I was snarled at by various devs for my lowly "unable to breathe without assistance" STE self for telling a dev "How to fix [his] code". To which I pointed out that I was doing my best to HELP him/her to locate the problem by filing as much relevant information as I could. And I refused to stop doing such.


On the flip side...I did work in a group where the test team augured in badly. I joined the team late in the process as did the test manager. But by then the team was pretty much a train wreck. The TM and I (lowly STE) worked very hard to rebuild that team from scratch (not one original SDET/STE stayed with the group beyond the release date) The TM focused on finding heads while I focused on rebuilding the Dev/Test relationship and getting new team members acclimated to the environment since the team's reputation could only attract really raw talent. I worked my ass off during that time and am proud of my work both as a tester and as an employee helping to salvage a broken team.

I never did understand the dev/test schism and it is a waste of time. It is a *partnership*. Sure sometimes they go at odds. All married couples fight now and again. But on occasion the marriage becomes a bit dysfunctional.


I understand intimately what makes a quality product. I know when a user is getting a poor experience and fight for it to be as best it can be. I can show when a product is not scaling or performing. I know which bugs are worth fighting for and I know which ones can be mitigated through documentation or other ways.

But alas...I was not an SDET and had no desire to do SDET functions. I have no interest in writing yet another test harness that will be discarded in a few months, incomplete and not functioning properly. I have no desire to pretend to a position simply because it is the career thing to do.
And it became clear to me that the company has no desire to employ, over a long term, testers who test and help create high quality product. So now I file quality bugs for another company. At a 20% salary increase this year alone.

Anonymous said...

I_LOVE_MEETINGS brought up the topic of scams. I've seen individuals travel the world in the name of customer visits or "research", which must be conducted in desired locations such as London, Paris or Tokyo on extended expense paid trips. Said individuals would return to show some quasi-scientific chart designed to hide the absence of any useful insights before flying off to the next "project".

Of course, I can't lie, I'm just jealous.

Anonymous said...

Mini-MSFT has done more to expose Microsoft's crumbling infrastructure to the public more than any bad Ballmer interview in Businessweek could ever have done. For many of us wondering for years just what the heck was going on at Redmond, it's all so clear now. The mass defections to Google now make sense.

Anonymous said...

Is MSN that bad a team? or is it just a jealous ranting of I_LOVE_MEETINGS...

Could someone give me another opinion, before I decide on my chance to interview for one of the MSN teams...


I came to MSN from Windows and while there are cultural differences from Windows, it's not like he states.

First off, most of the long-time vested moneyholders are still in Windows or Office. You can walk around MSN and tell from the age of people alone they weren't there in the heyday. So, I'm not sure what he means by "rest and vest". I know I work my ass off.

Second, it's easy to take a swipe at a group. I don't know if he's ever worked in MSN so I'm not sure how he would know unless he has.

The culture is definitely different, and for good reason. MSN has to ship a lot of stuff in short intervals (i.e., several times a year). Windows has to ship one very very big thing with the highest quality bars. There are different software goals. It would be stupid if the culture were blindly the same.

In any group there are pockets of people who work their asses off and people who coast. Just like at any company. I can name some slacking groups in Windows as well.

Look, don't worry about MSN vs. Windows. Worry about the group you are interviewing with. They will set the tone for their employees, their bar for quality, their demands, etc.

I liked working in Windows, and I like working in MSN. You have to pick what fits you and not go by some random rant on a blog.

Anonymous said...

>And with Google and search - those days are over! Welcome to the real business world of competition!
http://investinsearch.blogspot.com/2005/10/microsoft-is-old-school.html<

Google is a bunch of hype. They have done thing really well. They have not proven anything beyond that. They have no clear revenue generating strategy and do not have the diversity of products. Right now it is just a lot of smoke and mirrors and theories. That does not necessarily translate into $$. It remains to be seen what they will actually be able to accomplish. Don't count Microsoft out. Remember back in the 90's how poorly Apple was doing? Remember how close the came to being purchased by Oracle and IBM. Microsoft is going through some growing pains and is adjusting but they will turn things around. Contrary to what a lot of people say on this Blog, Microsft does have some smart people and the resources to execute on stratgies and form strategic alliances ie. Real Networks, Yahoo and soon AOL. 99% of the companies out there would love to be in Microsoft's position. Most of posts deriding Microsoft and lauding Google and saying how MS is doomed etc. is only wishful thinking buy folks that hate MS. MS is always at it's best with it's back against the wall. Yes the company is struggling but they will be just fine thank you. By the way. I think Google does have a good search engine but the name of the company is lame. There used to be a peanut butter called Google. It sounds like a cartoon character.

NewYorker said...

Yeah, well, what's the deal with having to cut down one or the other? Google may SOUND lame, but anyone with a modicum of education knows that it's actually a mathematical term indicating a huge number, specifically a 1 followed by a hundred zeroes, which makes it very specific to the possibilities of a search engine, while still making it a simple and quirky household word. MS is great. Google is good. But I don't thank either for my food.

Get real.

Anonymous said...

Mini, you said:

"I think there's an issue regarding the push for testers to suddenly wake up one day as SDETs and start cranking out automation as if that's going to be the solution to all of our non-shipping ever slipping woes."

THIS IS NOT THE ISSUE. The issue is not that testers aren't automating everything. The issue is that the testers around today don't know how to code. They are either incapable of doing it or they are too lazy to learn and make themselves better. As a tester, I'm irritated that many of my fellow testers don't bother to learn some basic coding skills and that there are managers who don't care. My manager simply told me "you should learn how some C#, here's a project, go do it". I couldn't thank him enough, in my off time I worked on it, then worked on another, and another. It truly helped me become a better tester, and I was a pretty good one before. The fact is, learning basic coding skills only adds to one's ability to test. Anyone who believes that isn't the case is, in the words of Napoleon Dynamite, a "friggin idiot!".

Anonymous said...

"99% of the companies out there would love to be in Microsoft's position."

I guarantee you that 99% of their shareholders wouldn't.

Anonymous said...

I've only been at MS for about six months now, and got in after the cutoff for the last review period, so I can't speak to the Stack-And-Rank practices yet, although I am making an effort to be "visible" around my team, and known for getting good stuff done. Hopefully this will help with my long term goals. I do have this blog to thank for some advice on managing the non-dev-work side of my job.

As for the antitrust settlement, that did disturb me. Everyone I know dislikes Real's software, and refuses to install it, and that comes from MS likers and haters alike. I suspect we settled because there was a marketing opportunity there, and that was the best way to take advantage of that opportunity, but I really don't want to see MS becoming a "VC by lawsuit" firm, where companies sue us with the intent to get a couple of million out of our bank accounts in settlement fees. As a stockholder and employee, I just want to know that we made the best or all possible decisions in that deal.

Anonymous said...

Google is a bunch of hype. They have done thing really well. They have not proven anything beyond that. They have no clear revenue generating strategy and do not have the diversity of products.


Microsoft is a bunch of hype, they only have two profitable products, Windows and Office, and have not proven anything beyond that.

While they have a wide variety of products, they are subsidized by MSFT's two cash cows, and can not stand on their own.


Right now it is just a lot of smoke and mirrors and theories. That does not necessarily translate into $$.

Last I checked, GOOG had 4.48Billion in revenue from smoke and mirrors, with 1.89Billion EBIDTA.

It sure as hell looks like whatever GOOG is doing actually does translate into revenue and profit.


It remains to be seen what they will actually be able to accomplish.


Yeh, and it remains to be seen if MSFT can avoid DEC's fate.

Hows that topline and bottomline growth going, anyway? oh right - there isnt much.

Anonymous said...

Processes and the dependence of your career on how 'visible' (I started hating this word once I landed in MS) you are and how happy you make your manager are just some of the things that prompted me to leave MS. No wonder there is little or no innovation coming out of Redmond. Most of the dev/test/pm are busy doing the little things that will 'garnish' their reviews...testers--> right a small piece of automation..there is your innovation, go get a 3.5/4.0..whatever...devs-->do something to improve the process, PMs..i dont know what their job is? oh wait...make dev/test feel better about themselves while sneaking work out of them to get their own 'visibility'. If little things like these get you a 3.5/4.0 otherwise get a 3.0 (which I found out is not considered good only after I started reading this blog, me-->clueless), most of the practical, hardworking, smart folks (and there are a lot of smart people at MS) will take the asy way out. I am not against stack ranking, but MS should atleast consider 3.0 to be what it is..'you are doing your job'...and really reserve 3.5s and above for real innovation...

Anonymous said...

Visibility... in a nutshell, that's what the problem with our career model is. We're not even trying to reward actual contribution.

There are tasks that require a lot of work and are important to get good product shipped that generate little visibility - and there are tasks that require little work but generate high visibility.

In dev, everyone is scrambling to get the high payoff assignments, with the best going to leads and the rest handed out due to office politics.

At least half of the frustration of being a dev is working hard, going above and beyond and then seeing the guy who got the most fun work because his boss likes him getting promoted/snowed with bonus, while looking at another 3.5.

The other half, of course, is seeing management pat themselves on the back with the lions share of the bonus budget.

Ideally, we'd run some sort of market for tasks and features (with features being 'sold' to the lowest bidder, using the sum of satisfaction with end result times bid to determine review score rank order), but that's just my economics background talking.

Anonymous said...

"Yeh, and it remains to be seen if MSFT can avoid DEC's fate.

Hows that topline and bottomline growth going, anyway? oh right - there isnt much."

Go back to the Yahoo MSFT board dufus - where you and your pals normally are.

Anonymous said...

I do have this blog to thank for some advice on managing the non-dev-work side of my job.

That's something that could come out of this board - a no-BS manual about how to survive and thrive at MS for all the noobs. I finally got a decent lead after a couple of years that filled me in, but the ones before were not telling me the whole story.

Anonymous said...

Google is a bunch of hype. They have done thing really well. They have not proven anything beyond that. They have no clear revenue generating strategy and do not have the diversity of products. Right now it is just a lot of smoke and mirrors and theories. That does not necessarily translate into $$.

And yet MSN is obsessed with following their every move. Google actually ships products, is one of the top-rated brands, everyone loves them, and their stock price wipes the floor with MSFT's. "A bunch of hype?" I call it results, and MSFT would love to have that right now...yet they don't. Why?

Anonymous said...

Lou Giliberto, can you please post the issues you you raised with Jim and Steven? Maybe people here could help come up with some practical solutions to these problems? I for one would like to try!

Anonymous said...

While you guys discuss your poor managers, Apple is changing the world of digital media (today was mind-blowing...Apple's 6-button remote compared to Media Center's 40...bye-bye Microsoft in the living room) while Google changes the online world of search and the web.

If you guys don't like your managers....LEAVE. And go work at the companies you might enjoy. Or stick it out at Microsoft and hope for the best.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the previous comment - instead of innovation, MS people are talking about how "to lick an ass, sorry, be visible", how to make your manager happy, devs vs. testers fighting, groups fighting, department (Win vs. MSN) fighting and etc. Instead of focusing what's going outside and why you are losing more and more every day, you simply don't understand the point. You hate Google but I bet that, at least, the half of MSN dept. uses it for search at work. You don't understand that you become followers more and more.

Anonymous said...

Visibility... in a nutshell, that's what the problem with our career model is.

It isnt a problem thats unique to the software industry, self-promotion is a necessary skill in any profession.

You need to market yourself, and make yourself visible. Did you have an opportunity that directly generated significant revenue? Toot that damn horn!

Caught architecture problems? Make sure that you take credit for it, and that your superiors know it? Caught extra bugs? Make sure that your name is on them.

Stayed all night to finish a feature? Send out an email to everyone that cares at 4am before you go home.

You must self-promote. Yes, it would be great if everything is a meritocracy, but it sure as hell isn't, and its not going to change.

A couple further points about this...
* Don't EVER take credit for someone else's work. Ever. If someone helps you, go out of your way to include them in your promotion.
* Don't ever let someone take credit for your work.
* Making your boss look good makes you look good.
* Make other people on your team look good. They should reciprocate, and you will be building up a power base.

THis is a business, and you need to become a businessman to succeed.

Anonymous said...

MSN has either the lame ass folks doing the rest vest, or hugely arrogant punks thinking no end of themselves.

KenMo's SEARCH folks are alright but act elitist and wont hire people. I have been a dev in windows for five years (with no review below 3.5) and interviewed with four teams and got offers from three, the Search team dinged me for technical ability. The first time in my career I have been told that I dont meet the technical bar - yeah right.

They want to f***ing compete with google and dont have a tenth of the devs good luck with that.

MSN_Class_of_2000 said...

MSN a bunch of coasters? Maybe that's why we can't get anything done. Hmm. I always thought it had more to do with the general corp strategy which seems to be spend huge money on marketing and as little possible on building something great. MSN has plenty of problems - it IS mediocre and a flailing business - but it is not because the people here don't work hard. Hell, most are so new they wouldn't know a stock option if it bit them in the ass. Nope, MSN is full of people who are just like you poor souls stuck on main campus. We all mean well and have love - we just don't know what to do with it.

Anonymous said...

"A couple further points about this...
* Don't EVER ...
* Don't ever ...
* Making your boss ...
* Make other people ..."

Let me add a few -

* Be a girl. Microsoft values diversity, so your chances for a good review score. On top of that it can't hurt to be attractive and work for a dev or test manager who is male and single. You can actually get away with doing next to nothing and still get good review scores.
* This is a corollary of the first point. If you're a girl, get pregnant. I was in a group where virtually every girl on the team had a baby in the same year and took the max time out. All of them got great review scores, even if they sucked before they left. When you have the baby take off as much of the year as possible, then you'll get a good review score (even if you don't deserve it) because the company knows you'll sue them if you don't claiming it's because you had to take time off for the baby.
* Stab people in the back. The fact is, you can't work at Microsoft and get ahead without stabbing other undeserving people in the back. People who claim you can are either liars or in denial.
* Disagree with your peers all you like, but don't disagree with anyone in your management chain or their peers.
* Rephrase other peoples suggestions and comment on them positively if they are well received, negatively if they are not (I've met people who are simply masters at this, it generally serves them well).
* If you ever get a 3.0 from a manager and you worked hard, get out. Always. Trust me, that manager will screw you every possible opportunity they have.
* If you ever find yourself in a position where you're most likely going to be let go (like you're being "performance managed" wait until you're really being nitpicked, act really stressed out and get a doctor to write a note explaining that you need three months off because of the stress. It's basically a paid vacation and the company will grant it (if they didn't, they'd get sued).

ex-microsoft said...

"f you guys don't like your managers....LEAVE. And go work at the companies you might enjoy. Or stick it out at Microsoft and hope for the best."

That is exactly what I did. It is not just about your manager..it is the corporate culture that has turned software development /technology into a 'popularity contest'.

Quotes like this "This is a business, and you need to become a businessman to succeed." are ingrained in MS management...and as long as this remains as the core value in a technology company , you are going to be on the receiving end of antitrust cases and a follower in the innovation space with nothing to take credit for.

Anonymous said...

"* Rephrase other peoples suggestions and comment on them positively if they are well received, negatively if they are not (I've met people who are simply masters at this, it generally serves them well)."

Found your comments pretty harsh overall but this one is accurate. On a related note, I had a totally useless mgr for three years who never had one orginal idea in that entire time (of course, now he's a Director). His strategy? Answer every question with "I don't know, what do you think?". Sure, it frustrated the crap out of all the performers on the team - we even started referring to him privately by that phrase since he used it so often. But his mgrs and weaker performers ATE IT UP - it made them feel powerful and appreciated. Try it - guaranteed to earn you at least one rating level higher or money refunded! Such is the stupidity of getting ahead at MSFT.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I don't mean to be harsh. But then again, if management at Microsoft were doing it's job I wouldn't feel the need to be. The interesting thing is, I haven't suffered from most of the things I listed, but I've seen so many that have it's painful to think about. The worst part is, no one can say "this is crap, that girl was gone for six months having a baby and I was working my ass off". God forbid they simply remove pregnant women from the curve/review process while they're gone. They're still part of t he stack rank. This company is truly going downhill, most of the people who were worth anything left. I think I speak for most of the company when I say to SteveB "thanks for the speech at the Company Meeting, yada, yada, keep giving me a paycheck while I search for a better job online during the day".

Anonymous said...

yes, god forbid that a pregnant woman be given a fair shake.

i know, lets go back to the old days when women were fired when they got pregnant, thats better. Barefoot and pregnant at home in the kitchen.

You do know, that men can take paternity leave, too, right? Do you have a problem with that?

Picking on pregnant women is a disgusting chauvanistic trait. Maybe one day you'll get married, and understand the sacrifices that women go through to have a baby, and worrying that work is going to screw them because they wanted to take care of their babies is a horrible, disgusting choice to force on anyone.

seriously, picking on pregnant women? what a low-life.

Anonymous said...

Why Google Shouldn't Attack Microsoft


It makes no sense for Google to try to compete with Microsoft on the desktop, and any sign that Google is getting into that business would be evidence that Google has jumped the shark.

As all good couch potatoes know, "jumping the shark" is what happens when a good television show goes bad. The name comes from an episode of the 1970s sitcom "Happy Days," where teen idol Fonzie does a waterski jump over a tank full of sharks, to demonstrate how courageous and cool he was. As if that wasn't ridiculous enough, he did it wearing swim trunks and his trademark leather jacket and T-shirt (because nothing says "cool" like a guy wearing swim trunks with a leather jacket).

Like TV shows, software companies can jump the shark. It starts happening when the upstart company attracts cheerleaders that say the upstart is the company that's going to take Microsoft down. Microsoft starts believing the hype, and begins to target its massive resources on destroying the upstart. Eventually, the upstart itself believes the hype--and that's the beginning of the end. The software company loses focus on its customers, and instead starts focusing on beating Microsoft. Eventually, the company gets fat and bloated, hemorrhage money, loses market share and customers and--in the final stage--top management bails out, often accompanied by the company being acquired. It happened to Borland, Novell, and, most famously, Netscape.

So now Google is acquiring its "Kill Bill" cheerleaders. As reported in this week's InformationWeek, Google cut a deal with Sun to offer Java combined with the Google Toolbar. Prior to the announcement, there was widespread speculation in the blogosphere that Google might be offering Sun's OpenOffice.org, and the two companies fueled that speculation by saying their deal included joint marketing and development of technologies including that office package.

One question for those who think Google will offer an office package to compete with Microsoft:

Why?

Oh, sure, I know why you want it. You hate Microsoft, or at least you want to see some competition for the big ol' monopolist. But why would Google want to get involved in peddling office suites? It's a tough business, requiring companies to maintain and update large amounts of complex code. Moreoever, that code resides on users' desktops, outside of the vendor's control. And getting aggressively into the desktop software business violates one of the secrets to Google's success: the code for its strategic products resides on servers owned and operated by Google, where the company can more easily update and maintain it.

Yes, I know that Google offers Google Desktop, a search tool that resides on the user's desktop. But that's the exception; the company's strategic products reside safe and sound on its own servers.

If Google gets into the desktop software business in a big way, it'll be competing with Microsoft at Microsoft's own game. Microsoft has nearly a 15-year head start on Google in offering office suites, and Office is the worldwide standard. Yet, even Microsoft is finding the office business to be a tough one. Microsoft's Information Worker business unit, which includes Office, grew revenue only 2% in fiscal 2005, compared with 17% the year before.

Nonetheless, the rumors about Google becoming a desktop vendor persist. An article I wrote about the subject in April, 2004 still holds up. In it, I quote blogger Jason Kottke, who says: "Google is building a huge computer with a custom operating system that everyone on earth can have an account on." Kottke said more than 2-1/2 years ago: "Google's money won't be made with search. That's small peanuts compared to selling access to the world's biggest, best, and most cleverly-utilized map of the web."

Kottke's prediction then jumps the shark when he speculates about Google selling cheap PCs running Gnome and Linux, tailored to take advantage of the Google service, running their own office suite with built-in Internet collaboration, and priced cheap, cheap, cheap.

Why on Earth would Google want to do that, given that Microsoft, Apple, and various desktop Linux vendors, are already supplying desktops for Google users, and assuming all the R&D and support costs without costing Google a penny?

If Google is smart--and they do appear to be very smart indeeed--Google will stick to the server-based software model that it's built its success on. If Google is smart, they'll let Microsoft continue in the increasingly-difficult business model of licensing software that users install and run on their own machines. Microsoft is having problems on its 30th birthday; the best thing you can do when your enemy is having problems is just stand back and watch.

For an example of Google doing what it does best, see Google Reader, Google's Web-based feed reader for RSS and Atom feeds. I thought I was addicted to feeds before, but since the product was introduced Friday, I've been spending more time than I care to think about just sitting at my desk, tapping the J on my keyboard (which moves the Reader's focus from one item to the next), and browsing my collection of 237 feeds. Behavioral psychologists teach us that the best way to re-enforce repetitive behavior is to offer rewards at random intervals, and that's how Google Reader works. You sit there tapping that J key, and you see interesting articles (the reward) mixed in with boring ones, to create that random re-enforcement.

Google needs to stick with innovative, server-based technology like Google Reader. If it decides to get aggressively in the desktop software market ... well, can I suggest that Google's own Froogle service would be a good place to shop for waterskis, swim trunks, and a leather jacket?

By the way, for a photo of the Fonz making his death-defying leap, see here. The Jump the Shark site that started the catchphrase is here, and makes for hours of time-wasting browsing fun. Wikipedia has an interesting article on the subject here. Wikipedia writes that the phrase "is used to describe the moment when a television show or similar episodic medium is in retrospect judged to have passed its 'peak' and shows a noticeable decline in quality, or when it has undergone too many changes that take away the original charm and interest of the show" (emphasis added).

Posted by Mitch Wagner on Oct 10, 2005 at 05:26 PM

Anonymous said...

Maybe one day you'll get married, and understand the sacrifices that women go through to have a baby, and worrying that work is going to screw them because they wanted to take care of their babies is a horrible, disgusting choice to force on anyone.

Maybe one day you will realize that it's pretty sucky to be the employee picking up the slack of the one on maternity/paternity leave. The job is still there to do, and it's not fair to say "I *deserve* this because I choose to have a baby!"

No. That is your choice. No one was picking, simply pointing out that women who get knocked up get an edge. I'd think that you would be pleased with that.

... and that's not even touching on the women that get the job to get the benefits, get knocked up, suck it for all it's worth, and then quit at the end of their maternity leave.

Anonymous said...

Interesting. With all the bitching going on, nobody is bringing up the design of our products (and the PMs who do the designing). This, in my opinion, is the root cause of our product slips and general awfulness.

There are SO MANY **OBVIOUS** ways to improve Windows, Office, MSN, and all our other products that I have no idea why we have PMs at all. Instead of spending our time addressing the annoyances that make computing a pain in the ass, we work overtime to deliver grandiose "strategies" of questionable value. Maybe when the Windows org figures out how to alphabetically sort my Start menu and display it in less than 10 seconds, we can let them move on to WinFS or Avalon or whatever other incomprehensible "pillar" they have lined up.

Anonymous said...

"seriously, picking on pregnant women? what a low-life."

Dumbass:

I wasn't picking on pregnant women at all, if you bothered to read my post (and you weren't a stupid fuck-tard) you'd realize that I'm picking on the fact that HR doesn't simply remove them from the stack ranking process. Give them all 4.5's for all I care, as long as it doesn't impact my score. Men wouldn't look sympathetic to a judge or jury if they sucked at their job, took three months off and then got a bad review score. Your post proves that anyone doing anything bad to a pregnant woman immediately puts them squarely in the bad guy camp (even though you weren't smart enough to understand what I said). So if they sucked at their job and had a baby, after taking several months of paid time and several more months of unpaid time they come back and get a 3.5 or 4.0 they didn't deserve in the first place. Do you think it's fair that someone in their org, who has been working their ass off all year, will get a lesser score because HR is too stupid to realize it's unfair. I'm not picking on pregnant women at all, I'm pointing out that the policy of judging them with other people is stupid, and morons like you make sure that nothing stupid ever changes. Good job you dimwit. And try fucking reading for once.

Anonymous said...

"But why would Google want to get involved in peddling office suites?"

Pretty obviously they don't. I think the hope on their part is they can simply redirect their large IB of eyeballs to someone else offering low/no cost Office replacements in hopes that this either hurts MSFT's biggest cash cow (from a profitability perspective) and/or causes MSFT to expend extra cycles ensuring that doesn't happen. Either way, that's good for GOOG. Unfortunately for GOOG, making a dent in Office is likely going to take a whole lot more than simply highlighting OpenOffice - or more likely StarOffice since that's the only one that MSFT can't sue for infringement. But hey, it certainly was ballsy and as the impact on MSFT stock showed, combo of confidence in them and lack of confidence in MSFT made people at least worry it could work...

Anonymous said...

Poster a couple of posts back: if you can't string together a cogent argument AND do so without being offensive, take it somewhere else. You're a non-value-add, and we have enough of those around here. And no, I'm not female.

Anonymous said...

Are you speaking to the person who was offensive and insulting first that said:

"Picking on pregnant women is a disgusting chauvanistic trait."

"...seriously, picking on pregnant women? what a low-life."

Or are you speaking to the person (me) who was in no way offensive or insulting until insulted? If the former, I agree. If the latter, why the double standard?

Anonymous said...

"Or are you speaking to the person (me) who was in no way offensive or insulting until insulted? If the former, I agree. If the latter, why the double standard?"

You knew - or should have - that you were going to take a shot for posting what you did about maternity leave and women taking time off. Personally, I'd just move on. You said what you believed and others will agree or disagree. Getting into a name calling session, regardless of whether you were provoked, doesn't prove anything and actually just detracts from you and your message - not to mention this forum generally. Time to move on. JMHO.

Anonymous said...

Fair enough, but I'm not sure that I really deserved to be called a "disgusting, chauvinist low-life" for stating my opinion. I'm not really sure how someone calling me those names was a "value-add", especially when grossly misrepresenting what I said.

Anonymous said...

Mark my words.
Write it down in your calendar.
This blog will collapse on its own weight and success


I have been reading this blog since the BW article. Frankly, people are ONLY interested in grinding the same topic over and over.

You know the problem with people like you is that you have clearly proven that you are not competent to work for MS and you bastards wont quit.

How the fuck do you justify some engineer saying that he worked for 5-6 years, calls himself a solid performer and yet gets only a 3.0-3.5 score? Come on man, just because you got through the gruelling interview process, doesnt make you all that smart.


What I see in MS is not a process-driven company, but a company with non-process oriented folks.


Children, grow up

Anonymous said...

Mark my words.
Write it down in your calendar.
This blog will collapse on its own weight and success


True. This blog has started to resemble slashdot.

Anonymous said...

"Many love us, and many fear us."

Who the fuck wants to work for a company that is feared? Loved, sure. Respected, definitely. Being feared doesn't mean that you are good. It means that you are a jerk.

It is exactly that attitude amongst the management at MSFT that has made every nice person I know get stuck in their level and position while their least talented but most jerky peers are given increasingly more influence.

Anonymous said...

who wants to work for a company that is *feared*? i dunno, ask the people in Bentonville, Ark.

lots of people work there, and the company is feared. i've worked with them on different occassions, and the OrgB that is implemented there creates a certain type of person, or burns them out.

And frankly, I wouldnt want to be that type of a person, no matter how lucrative the reward.

who knows, maybe thats why microsoft's new CFO came from wally world, to try and implement a WalMart like Software Organization.

But, really... Do you want to be known as the WalMart of software?

I've noticed that the MSFT obsession with "more features" seems to be like WalMart's "Commitment to Everyday Low Prices".

Sometimes, customers dont want the absolute cheapest widget out there, they want something that is higher quality, and a fair price.

And sometimes, end users dont want more features, they want a more streamlined application thats easier to use and gives tehm only what they need.

Anonymous said...

(I_LOVE_MEETINGS)
MSN is failing, and is mediocre, because it is staffed, for the most part, with mediocre people....

In reading this, i'm completely blown away. I can't believe that a person who has supposedly been at the company this long is so ignorant. Have you ever worked in MSN? I do and it's certainly not as you describe.

1. You are generalizing all of MSN to be one team, because we are in Redwest?! That's like someone lumping all of main campus as the same team.

2. Nearly all your comments are cheap shots with no evidence to back it up.

You claim that our monitors are filled with HDTVs? Not in my building.

Somehow we play Halo2 all the time and disguise it with BVT results? Sorry, i guess the pool tables and foozball tables on main campus are the preferred way to waste time (this is my own cheapshot to prove a point). We do not play Halo2 every second of the day.. not sure if I_LOVE_MEETINGS has a cocaine addiction or something more severe.

You criticize morale events and near-death teams.. hmm.. Maybe I should start picking on a complete waste of company money on insane morale events taking teams to Las Vegas and Hawaii? Those trips didn't happen out of MSN. And let's not play the "we make money" game, because either way, it's not a responsible use of money. Let's not forget the wonderful Microsoft Bob product that came out of main campus.

Facts:
1. MSN is not one team. It is made up of dozens of teams each with a different culture, set of employees and management.

2. The whole notion of "Redvest" and cheapshots at MSN being a retiring place for execs is simply bogus. Walk around the Redwest campus and look at the age of the folks around you. Do majority of them even look older than 30yrs?

3. MSN teams ship products all the time. We're not on 3-6 year ship cycles like our friends over in Windows and Office. We ship often, innovate regularly and are making money.

Let's really see where all the press coverage and fanfare comes from for Microsoft in the next 6-12 months. Sure Vista will release and that will get the obligatory press coverage, but MSN's offerings in the next 12 months will blow people away. If people really think google is the competitor to beat, do you really think Windows and Office are what is going to do it and that's it? You gotta wonder why MSN has funding from the very top most level of the company for all of it's offerings from email, communication, identity, etc.

Anonymous said...

An oldie that now appears to have been prophetic:

Microsoft at Apogee