Monday, August 21, 2006

Looking Forward - Reviews, The Company Meeting, and Then Some...

Microsofties, what are you looking forward to? My top of mind right now - interrupted only when I take a good-long moment to enjoy this fantastic Redmond summer-weather - is:

  1. Review results.
  2. The 9/21 Company Meeting.

The new review: is the new boss the same as the old boss? Most review models should be closed by now and review deliveries should start in earnest. Some folks have posted comments that we still have a curve and that this year's rewards are going to be pretty close to last year's rewards, with the rating split into two on commitments + stock. Yes, there is a blurry curve that groups get to decide. You don't get to have a group that is 100% exceptionally exceeding everything. Well, you can. But then everyone gets the same meager reward. Different VPs and presidents have decided there should be a ratio of somesort of Exceeds vs. Achieved. All I can say is that I feel like tra-la-la dancing through daisies since I didn't have to be in a meeting with a bunch of glum managers and deal with, "We need to cough up N more 3.0s to meet the model." (Where N = the number of good strong contributors you're about to demotivate and practice giving the speech on peer-relative performance.)

Tra-la-la!

I'm too deep in the middle of it all right now to take a critical, constructive view. The new review model process has been a hell of a lot of work. I think it's worth it, but best practices need to be rolled-up for the next iteration. I'm still amazed that this all came together so quickly and now it's all done except for presenting the numbers and letting the rewards kick in on 9/15.

The 2006 Company Meeting: I feel like I'm in the minority for being a Company Meeting fan, but like I've said in the past it's my yearly chance to chug the MSFT-Koolaid and enjoy being with the best people in the world. Except, of course, I kind of look around at what groups I think we could spin off or downsize. But other than that I'm pretty cheery!

I'm sure the Company Meeting demos and the PowerPoints are coming together now that we're a month away. What do you want to see and hear? Personally, I'd like to skip any Vista or Office demos. Unless they're fast and just part of something else. I'd love to see some consumer focused demos, whether it's Live services or Zune or Xbox / PC games. How about a demo of the new Flight Simulator? And how about actually showing the 360 running games vs. last year. And I'd love it if we're talking about profits vs. revenue. Profits good. And if you're demoing something made with a small, effective, agile team, brag about it.

Some folks might be a bit disillusioned with My Microsoft and the review results by the time the Company Meeting rolls around. I think the Company Meeting would be a great time for LisaB to unleash more goodness. My couple of ideas:

  • ESPP: the return of the old ESPP, 15%, lowest-date and all that. Again, I'm just asking for you to return what was taken away, but, still... please?
  • Internal Transfers: optimize our internal recruiting by throwing away permission to interview, cutting internal interview loops to two-future peers + hiring manager, and starting an aggressive internal recruiting group to help optimize Microsofties we have vs. piling on any more.

Oh, and get those iDrinks actually installed.

Other going ons...

(I have about five pages of notes from the past week of random things to discuss, but I'm going to save some of that until later.)

SPSA Countdown: so, how did the SPSA percent pay-out end-up? Obviously, I'm not in the know. But you can start gently pushing your least-favorite Partner-level-L68+ peer towards the retirement door by leaving in their office various brochures of villas and such they can buy and enjoy their pay-out with. They got theirs. Clap. Clap. Leave.

Email retention policy: is it a good way to keep everyone's email boxes clean to just a six-month history or a cover-ya-ash cynical maneuver to ensure we don't have anymore embarrassing missives pop-up in court when a plaintiff goes on a fishing expedition up Exchange Bayou? Comments are all over the place for this one.

It doesn't bother me too much simply because it hasn't screwed me yet. But it will. I'm sure a couple of years from now I might start panicking because I lost some important email and that the incident in turn will cost Microsoft a bunch of money as we try to reconstruct the information in that email. I agree with Alyosha`: in a hard to quantify way, this is going to be more collectively expensive to Microsoft for losing its tribal wisdom. But, hopefully, no more head bruising, self-inflicted dope-slaps induced from de-contextualized email passages popping up in the news.

My only note of caution: I've worked for a tech company basically run on the whims of lawyers and staying safe and ensuring we stayed out of court. Life sucked. We never achieved what we could have and politically adept people became really good at sic'ing the lawyers on any groups they felt were threatening our legal standing. It's the safe road that leads straight to mediocre-ville.

Buyback Later: so much for Buyback Mountain. A lot of shareholders passed on the dutchee and we're going to get around to it within the next five years. It's done the stock some short-term good, so I'm happy there. But it's caused some confusion and we know how much the market digs confusion (most hated thing, right after surprises). MSFT Extreme Make Over and Packet Storm have more discussion:

Windows Live Writer: excellent! Job well done. Kudos. I enjoy using Windows Live Writer. I'm not using it now for this post because I've got my own custom little content-management-system, but I was really happy playing around with Windows Live Writer and impressed with what it did. I'd be much happier with inplace spell-checking and grammar checking, but it's a nifty little tool that does just as well as stuff I've paid good money for in the past. My only regret is that good stuff like this only comes along when we acquire a product under development. What is wrong with our internal culture to not allow a tool like this to be built from scratch?

Random bits:


310 comments:

«Oldest   ‹Older   201 – 310 of 310
Anonymous said...

Hey! Welcome to the club. Pull up a chair and let me explain how this all works to you.

Brilliant. That whole post 100% right. I've been told that by my dad for years. Time to sit my 8 hours, work hard for them, and then go do something fun outdoors the rest of the time. Regardless of free dinners or whatever else they do to try to squeeze more water from stones! :)

Anonymous said...

optimize our internal recruiting by throwing away permission to interview, cutting internal interview loops to two-future peers + hiring manager, and starting an aggressive internal recruiting group to help optimize Microsofties we have vs. piling on any more

I think this is a great idea. If this was silicon valley I wouldnt need permission to interview down the road. This is a like a leash that strains the employee and the manager. Anyone should be able to get an interview and an offer from within the company and then just be allowed to give a 30 day notice. I think that will shake up the management culture to everyone's benefit

Anonymous said...

Aug. 31 (Bloomberg) -- Microsoft Corp. paid out performance bonuses totaling almost $1 billion in restricted stock to 900 of its top executives.

The bastards! Here I had the worst review in my 5 years at Microsoft. Level 61 (IC) = 200 something stocks for Strong rating...The other two are so low that I ashamed to even mention it here. Oh, and my rating was Achieved.

Anonymous said...

snip about SPSA grants to the tune of $1Beeeeeellion dollars

Now may I suggest that everyone get ready for supply & demand to work their magic on the stock price as these grants are sold to fund, what was it... ah yes, Italian Villa vacation homes?

Now investors know what the rest of that $2.4B shortfall was. Now investors know why MSFT tendered the buyback.

Anonymous said...

I am a partner that got 1 million in restricted stock. I deserve every penny I got. I got here with high IQ, EQ (emotional) and PQ (political) intelligence.

Anonymous said...

That has been some refreshing flow of comments lately. A truly undeserved 3.0 (not the one you are denial about) really hits low.

Six years after my only 3.0 (to an otherwise 4.0 lifer) from the Exchange Server group, I am still lying in wait, hoping for an opportunity to exact some cold revenge on certain people. I am sometimes scared by the thoughts I harbor and I still haven't gotten over it six years after the fact. I moved on to greater stuff and even got the fabled double promo a year after, in another group. But I still get cold shivers when I remember that my otherwise sterling career could easily have been murdered six years ago.

To the baffled fella, leave your team NOW. Simple. As others have said, you will get screwed again next year and then nobody will want you.

Anonymous said...

>>I think you're confusing apathy with malice. I love Microsoft. I'm a 4.0 performer. I bust my hump to get my (and other's) stuff done. But I don't do this for the benefit of the shareholders, I do this so that I can continue to get good reviews

Please let me add another take:

Increasing shareholder value is, of course, a desirable outcome of our work in creating software. However, it is not always necessarily correlated with that creative work. For example - there is a big layoff. Stock price goes up as overhead has been decreased! Shareholders rejoice - briefly, but its unlikely that any benefit is derived by our customers. And you can imagine that those who lost their jobs could care less about the investors who profited from their misfortune.

For employees who actually design/code/test/fix, ship and support the product, our interest is (or should be) focused on customers - creating software that is useful and compelling to the people who buy it. Our primary focus is not to make large institutional investors richer. I'm sorry, but a group of engineers meeting to earnestly discuss "what can we do to increase stockholder value" would be a scenario straight out of Dilbert.

The reason most engineers come to Microsoft is:

- To make there mark on products that have global reach
- To work with other smart, diverse people
- To solve interesting and challenging problems
- To make a reasonable living for their efforts

However, as levels increase, folks become more and more involved with business, and less and less involved with actual engineering. So there is a natural focus on "increasing stockholder value", as opposed to "delighting customers". They are related, but NOT the same. Frequently the former goal leads to "magic bullet" solutions such as outsourcing, automation, and other activites aimed at reducing the cost of doing business, but in many ways harmful to the end product.

So yes - we can all understand the desire to increase shareholder value, but like it or not, that is not the primary reasonn that many of us get up in the morning. Its the software. Its the engineering.

Anonymous said...

L59 SDE, Achieved/Strong, 3% Merit, 3% Bonus, 50 Stock Awards. Frackin BS, I do 3 times the work that my level 63 peers do. I guess I'll need to adjust my hours to compensate. Or start stabbing my coworkers in the back as that seems like the only way to get ahead in 'the game'.

Anonymous said...

Got my results this week. Achieved/Strong, despite busting my ass all year and being one of the top contributors in the team. Below COLA merit increase, too. Fuck this all, I need to dust off my resume. It's 9 to 5 business from now on, till I get a job somewhere else, inside or outside Microsoft. I don't even need the bonus, and strictly speaking I don't give a shit about merit increase either, but when I bust my ass like I did in the past year you better give me my Exceeded rating.

Anonymous said...

This is 61 IC in "Total Shock" again. Wow, so many responses to my post. I must say, I really appreciate all the comments, words of advice, and encouragement.

I would like to respond to some of the remarks, and then pose a few more questions. You all cannot imagine how helpful you've been thus far.

1. To the person who said eloborate some more, well, I just got fed some BS about what I didn't do right, whereas all the good things and hard work I put forth all year hardly got a mention. Basically he found some reasons to screw me, period. The kicker is, Monday was the first time ever, all year, that I heard these things. These were never once mentioned during mid-year, the weekly 1:1s, or any other time. If so, I would have taken steps to correct them.

2. To the person who said the 3.0 bit has been flipped on me, I agree 100%. I got an unjust 3.0 last year, but I didn't dwell on it too much. I was in the middle of a critical project and riding some good momentum. I wrote some good goals, and the 3.0 actually made me even hungrier than before, so I was very motivated to fix things. Busted my butt all year, and for all intents and purposes, got another 3.0. He just found whatever reasons he could to justify it, barely commenting on any of the positives.

3. To the person who said suck it up and fix things so he won't have a reason to do it again next year, see #2 above. I did all this during the past year, and still got screwed. So next year, he'll find some other reason. I cannot go thru another year like this.

And now, my questions:

1. What does it mean "you can escalate it if you have support"? Who's support would that be? Clearly not the manager who just screwed you, and his manager who went along with it. So, I just wonder where this support would come from. I'm seriously thinking about this, and yet, don't want to do anything that'll make things worse. Is there a proper way to escalate matters? Do I not sign the review, if I'm to escalate it? What role, if any, did the skip level manager had in this, I wonder, and would going to him make things even worse?

2. My job search will begin tomorrow. I think with a 3.0 bit flipped, there's clearly no future for me in this organization, so the sooner I leave, the better. The question is, with a 3.0 last year, and an Achieved this year, are my chances of landing another job slim? There's no longer a LAR score (I had 3.6 LAR score), so how far back would a prospective hiring manager go in my review history?

There's no option but to leave. The option to stay and fix things, get a good score, and then leave in 2007 does not exist, because the writing is now on the wall.

Thanks for your time and hoping to get a bit more feedback here. This clearly is the lowest point in my 5 years at MS. I don't so much care about the numbers, but rather being told that I'm in the bottom 20-25% of the org, despite all the hard work I put in last year. Mentally, this one will be very difficult to overcome, because of how unjust it is.

But ultimately, I've got to put this behind me, as much as possible, and find a new home. :-|

Anonymous said...

I'd love to see a "fun" post where we can all post the slogans we'd love to print on a t-shirt and wear to the company meeting. My nominations...

"Where DID you want to go today?"
"Innovation NOT Imitation"
"My GM/Partner got an SPSA grant and all he got me was this damn t-shirt...late"

Anonymous said...

When are we going to start paying execs at the 66th percentile:

http://www.microsoft.com/msft/aspx/section16.aspx
and
http://msnbc.msn.com/id/14608573/

Anonymous said...

To L61 w/ 200 shares of stock:

Go look at the numbers published on HRWEB. You didn't get what you deserved. Management didn't get what they deserved either, but unfortunately it went way too much in the opposite direction (21m and 17m for the guys in charge of office and windows...WTF???!!!!)

Anonymous said...

If hadn’t bought a house years ago in this area, I don’t know how the heck I’d buy one now. The point I'm trying to make is that Microsoft pays well, but not great considering what it means to "live here".

stop yer whining. you guys aren't paying $540,000 for a house that has drive by shootings and bars on the windows like in the Valley.

http://www.movoto.com/real-estate/homes-for-sale/CA/East-Palo-Alto/2239-Poplar-Ave-310884.htm

Ray Myers said...

"Now, every morning I come into work I think about that 3.0 and it doesn't inspire me to "work harder" -- it makes me resent Microsoft. I am still a good employee, but I felt betrayed. Will I ever regain the same passion I once had for Microsoft? Who knows. I no longer pay attention to what I get during my reviews... I’m numb."

I am a customer and reading this just blows me away! What possibly could be gained by telling someone they are in the bottom 25% of their company?

To me, this is a "fear" tactic. Fear only motivates those who live in fear. Would a company want such an individual working for them? Apparently. And, fear doesn't work; ask any Al Quiada if they are scared of us.

Confessions: I have a feature for Vista that will save tons of frustrating navigational time on laptops and PC's when going to the far corners of the window to close, minimize, previous, refresh, etc. It is currently being reviewed by Brad Smith's group.

I know I Brad and Bill could benefit mankind with this feature and, by the same token, could never let it see the light of day.

So, I risk a lot to comment here. But, I cannot sit idly by while I submit my innovative idea to a company that treats others so poorly (including myself; you don't EVER want to audition for MSFT!). The money will be nice but IS THIS TRULY THE PLACE I WANT TO CULTIVATE AND PROMOTE THE GIFT I GIVE TO YOU AND OTHERS?

It's a tough one and one which I will continue to address knowing that I endanger my financial future. Hey...life's too short!

Anonymous said...

900 parter get money

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/businesstechnology/2003238652_microsoft01.html

Anonymous said...

It will be interesting to see if the Board awards Balmer another 8% raise - 'cause I'm not seeing that (again) this year for the rank and file. I wonder what he did for his 8% raise last year?

Anonymous said...

"I guess so. Why don't you explain it to me?"

Why bother? You've clearly decided to be contrarain regardless. Continue on in your blissful ignorance.

Anonymous said...

"I am a partner that got 1 million in restricted stock. I deserve every penny I got. I got here with high IQ, EQ (emotional) and PQ (political) intelligence."

Was posting this here a sample of that surperior IQ/PQ/EQ in action? If so, I seriously question how high it is.

Anonymous said...

>Anyone else think it is time to form a union?

No.

Next question?

Anonymous said...

>>I am a partner that got 1 million in restricted stock. I deserve every penny I got. I got here with high IQ, EQ (emotional) and PQ (political) intelligence.

Can you explain in a little more detail? What is your role? What did you ship? If you manage an org, what is your OHI? I'm actually not terribly opposed to incentives for senior execs, but I don't like just giving 900 people huge bonuses in a blanket decision. I think each of you needs to be evaluated individually, just like the rest of us.

In my group, I am watching our VP have his entire portfolio of products taken away, re-orged to Office one at a time, and it's clear to me that he's on the chopping block, as he's left with a bunch of dogs that have sunk hundreds of millions into R&D and have misfired at every turn strategically.

Since he's a VP, I assume he's a partner. It makes me barf that he's walking away with a cool million.

So, tell us how you've been successful? How you've made us all money, how you've built a better team, or how you've engineered a better product.

Anonymous said...

I am a partner that got 1 million in restricted stock. I deserve every penny I got. I got here with high IQ, EQ (emotional) and PQ (political) intelligence.

Well, Mr/Ms Partner, you may have great attributes, but Microsoft's failures (shipping on time, lack of security, bugs galore) suggests that your ability to get results well and truly Sucks, despite all your "intelligence".

Arrogant boneheads like you who prompt me to be short MSFT. As long as the company gives piles of stock to unaccountable and underperforming execs, my short position will continue to increase in value.

Keep doing what you're doing.

Anonymous said...

I designed and implemented a certain feature during my last year at Microsoft.

Before I started coding, I met with two leads in my team about the proposed design. They voiced some concerns and we discussed some alternatives, and they agreed that my design was feasible and had certain advantages. I thought it was a good meeting. At no point then or in the following months of coding did I get the impression that they thought my design was sub-par.

During my subsequent review, I was told that a big reason I didn't get a 4.0 was because these two leads didn't like the design of my feature. Had they looked at the code? No. Did they have any specific problems with its behavior? No. If they thought the design was bad, why had they allowed it to go into the product? "Uhhh..." How would this seemingly gross oversight affect their own reviews? "Whaa?" Somehow my lead didn't see a problem with any of these answers.

Anonymous said...

The shareholders happiness isn't my concern, it's the concern of my (snicker) superiors who in turn are appointed by the shareholder representatives. If their appointed management aren't observing their formal fiduciary responsibilities, why must I risk my livelihood to counter their wishes?

The measure of a person is whether he does what is right regardless of what those around him are doing.

You have shown us your measure. Ask yourself how you are any different than the superiors you snickered at.

The National Society of Professional Engineers carries no weight at Microsoft or any other enterprise for that matter.

A side rant:
Perhaps not, but then again perhaps it should. While no lives are on the line, as is the case with the licensed engineering fields, it's arguable that our engineering mistakes have a vastly greater economic impact[1]. Even if we are not PEs, even if our industry and our internal leadership fails to recognize it (conveniently exemplified by you), we as individual software and hardware professionals still bear the same awesome respnsibility and must hold ourselves to the same high standards to discharge them honorably.

[1] For example, SQL Slammer alone is estimated to have cost roughly one billion dollars to businesses. Sasser, roughly $500 million. Ditto for Blaster.

Anonymous said...

I am a partner that got 1 million in restricted stock. I deserve every penny I got. I got here with high IQ, EQ (emotional) and PQ (political) intelligence.

Dude, you aren't impressing me with your IQ, EQ, or PQ by saying that on this site. You're impressing me that you're either a troll or a self-important jerk with an inflated sense of entitlement.

Anyone with any empathy or political savvy at all would not say such a thing to the people here who are already doing a slow burn about how little they got this review cycle.

Both for your own sake and for Microsoft's, I hope you're just a troll...

MSS

Anonymous said...

"We need a mobile employee package that allows more people to live wherever they want AND work in a corp (Redmond based) group."

I assume you know that you are spilling unannounced information?

Don't ruin all of the surprises!

Anonymous said...

To the disillusioned L61 IC: Hard work is not the same as results. What results did your hard work produce?

Also, I empathize with you, and can certainly see you are frustrated, but to you and to everyone else reading this, let's understand that we are seeing only one side of this story, only one side to all the stories here. And frankly, there is surely some bias occurring.

So let's take a deep breath, and apply some objective analysis to this.

Anonymous said...

http://www.marketwatch.com/News/Story/4L2JvH90Lqg5XfrDrzPN4lx?siteid=yhoo&dist=morenews

Anonymous said...

Level: 58
Position Name: STE
Org: Windows
Months in Position: 18+
Years at MS: 5+
Rating: Achieved
Contribution rating: Strong
Merit %: 2%
Promotion %: N/A
Bonus %: 7%
Stock Count: 75
Assessment: I actually got much more of a bonus and stock award than I expected. Taking the bonus into account, I am ahead of cost of living/inflation for the first time in 5 years at MS!

Anonymous said...

Man, reading all these comments only makes me more bitter... A lot of people are unhappy.

As for myself, level 61 IC, Dev, I got an Achieved/Strong rating with nothing but words of praise on my review, but no promotion, the measly 3.5% merit and 10% bonus. Disappointed, but motivated.

I know that I could have done better and I missed a couple of opportunities to do so that would have increased my impact. I missed those partly because of some inefficiency on my side - which I am well aware of, therefore I'm not being in denial thinking that I have been wronged - partly because of the extremely competitive atmosphere in my group (the dev side): everybody's very smart, and lots and lots of people work evenings and weekends, either because they are super-motivated or because they have no life and nothing better to do. This had lead me to burnout fast...

My goal, as that of a previous poster, is to work 8 hours, be super-efficient, without getting into the whole rock-star competition more than I need to, and then get the hell out of here and enjoy the many other things that I like. I'll still get ahead in my career, maybe not as fast as I could, but you only got one life and it's easy to spend it all at the office...

Anonymous said...

Interesting that a management team that can't accomplish most things in a timely manner, wastes absolutely no time dumping stock to turn some of that SPSA windfall into cash:

http://finance.yahoo.com/q/it?s=MSFT

Unfreakinbelievable.

Anonymous said...

"I wonder what he did for his 8% raise last year?"

I don't think you can critize Ballmer's pay. It's nominal for a person in his role esp at a company the magnitude of MSFT. His performance on the other hand, is definitely open to question, as is his judgement wrt the size of this recent exec handout.

Anonymous said...

IMO, the management team/compensation commitee should have locked down the payout amount BEFORE announcing the recent tender offer/new buyback that served to pump up the stock 10-15% (and therefore the cost/impact of the SPSA awards). Doing it after the fact, leaves them open to the charge of having willfully pumped the stock using shareholder money, just so executives who've managed to lose 10% of shareholder value over the past 3 years could get more of a bonus and turn around and sell on a high - which is exactly what they've begun doing. Brutal.

Anonymous said...

"As for the whole Dev vs. Test vs. PM thing: from the UA perspective Dev and PM can both be insufferable, though occasionally useful. It's QA who knows how the software ACTUALLY works, and without them, the customer would never understand it."

Exactly - Testers rock!

PM = It was spec'd to do "X"

Dev = I coded it to do "Y"

Tester = you are both wrong, it actually does "Z" (slowly) and has a huge security hole :)

It weirds me out that testers are often leveled below Technical Writers. If anyone has a right to whine, it's test.

Anonymous said...

Remarkable that the move from options to stock awards now apparently guarantee our executives multi-millions every year even when the stock is flat or sinking. At least shareholders were profiting at the same time when execs were getting rich off of options.

Anonymous said...

Interesting that a management team that can't accomplish most things in a timely manner, wastes absolutely no time dumping stock to turn some of that SPSA windfall into cash

I think what you are seeing is the shares they used to pay their tax bill.

I would be interested to know what the garden variety partner got out of this. Lisa & co. have been good about sharing pre-partner comp which is a great step. But what precisely is the GM/corp VP making?

Anonymous said...

"I am a partner that got 1 million in restricted stock. I deserve every penny I got. I got here with high IQ, EQ (emotional) and PQ (political) intelligence."

Relax everyone, we all know this is Martin Taylor crying in his beer that he missed the payout!! He had the highest IQ, EQ an PQ in Microsoft. If you don't believe it, just ask him!!

Seriously, the kind of jag off that would write this is either a troll or 99% of the VP's at Microsoft.

Anonymous said...

Hey! Welcome to the club. Pull up a chair and let me explain how this all works to you.

Wow, this is probably the best written, most meaningful and honest posts ever.

Anonymous said...

I completely agree with the earlier post around compensation and living in the Seattle area. We get paid a crap load of money compared to someone in the mid-west. We could all live like kings if the cost of living was the same here as it is there. I too have just dumped 500k in a house in Redmond and I am realizing that after paying for the mortgage, diapers, baby food, gas, etc I am slowly digging a hole I can't get out of. Its quite depressing.

Anonymous said...

2006 National cost of living increase: 4.1%

Nurses average raise in 2006: 8%

King county leading the country in pay cuts*: priceless.

http://money.cnn.com/2006/01/30/pf/real_wage_growth_slow/index.htm

*adjusted for inflation.

Anonymous said...

I recieved my review last week and have given it some time to settle in. Overall - the numbers are mildly worse than expected, but part of that is due to my own PM ego :) However, the one noticible difference this year was the respect with which I was treated as an employee. That alone is a vast improvement from last year.

Last Year: "We could not have shipped our tool without your heroic efforts. Thanks for working every weekend and holiday I asked so I didn't have to. Here's your new hire 3.0 and a $100 bonus! Try to be more like me and next year you'll do as good as I did! I am great! ME!"

This Year (new manager): "Thanks for all the hard work. Your work on the following 5 items has been especially positive for your feature teams and for the prouct as a whole. I appreciate the efforts you've taken to help the entire team grow and mature - keep it up! I wasn't able to get you a large bonus, but I did get you the promotion you asked for. Thanks again for all the hard work."

I could get used to my employer actually showing me some respect :)

Results:
Level: 59 -> 60
Position Name: PM
Org: Office
Months in Position: 22
Months at MS: 22
Last Promo Date: Never :(
Rating: Achieved/Strong
Merit %: 3.5
Promotion %: 4.5
Bonus %: 9
Stock Count: 175 (150 target, 300 max)
Assessment: Mildly worse than expected

Anonymous said...

Interesting that a management team that can't accomplish most things in a timely manner, wastes absolutely no time dumping stock to turn some of that SPSA windfall into cash:

http://finance.yahoo.com/q/it?s=MSFT

Unfreakinbelievable.


Those look like grant vests with corresponding forced sales to cover tax on the income. You know - the same thing you have to do when your grant vests, just with a few fewer zeroes.

Anonymous said...

L59 SDE, Achieved/Strong, 3% Merit, 3% Bonus, 50 Stock Awards. Frackin BS, I do 3 times the work that my level 63 peers do. I guess I'll need to adjust my hours to compensate. Or start stabbing my coworkers in the back as that seems like the only way to get ahead in 'the game'.

Devil's Advocate-

How long have you been at Microsoft? How long have you been in your current position? How efficient are you vs. your coworkers?

I know I work my butt off but I'm too new to be reviewed yet. However, I don't think I'm as good as most of the people in my group that've been here 5 years. It definitely takes a lot longer to do the same thing when new. I know I'm faster at things than I was even a month ago. I know I won't be as efficient as most of my coworkers for a while, but I still try....

Anyway I'm terrified of next years (non) bonus.

Anonymous said...

"So yes - we can all understand the desire to increase shareholder value, but like it or not, that is not the primary reasonn that many of us get up in the morning. Its the software. Its the engineering."

It's not just a desire - it's the primary mandate of a public company. That said, it doesn't have to be - and probably shouldn't be - your day-to-day focus or that of most other employees. Responsibility for delivering that goal and ensuring that resources (including yourself) are being productively invested to contribute to it, ultimately rests with your senior management team who are being paid extremely well to worry about it (they just happen to be sucking at it, while still paying themselves lavishly). However, only an ignoramous would ignore the obvious connection, or miss an opportunity to materially influence that result (if possible) via say some process improvement suggestion or breakthrough product idea. Plus, the company provides employees with shares at least in part so that you can participate in the company's overall success and think like an owner vs just an employee.

Anonymous said...

How does one become a partner?

Anonymous said...

I was told by my manager that he loves me, I make his live so easy and that I am so close to a promo. Of course I've learned to accept the spin by now. I was told by my mentor that my division concentrated all promos for lower levels this time and that I should hang on for an off cycle promo. I've been offered a job out of state for 150% of my current salary, this review sealed the deal I am outta here.

Results:
Level: 62
Position Name: PM
Org:
Years in Position: 6
Years at MS: 6
Last Promo Date: Never
Rating: Exceeded/Strong
Merit %: 6
Promotion %: n/a
Bonus %: 13%
Stock Count: 900
Assessment: What I've learned to expect at MSFT

Anonymous said...

Level: 63
Org: (PG, Ops, SG) PG
Years at MS:5
Last Promo Date: ~18 months
Rating: Exceeds
Contribution: Outstanding
Merit: 5%
Promotion: N/A
Bonus: 14%
Stock Count: 1,000
Assessment: Midly worse than expected.


I too got crushed by a low review score my first year at MS. It was a terrible thing, driven by a now-gone clueless GM and not my actual manager who put his job on the neck to help me. Getting a low review score was depressing, especially when I had a great first year including receiving a gold star award. It was like hearing "let's just be friends" from a girl I want to marry. Ouch.

It took me a while to care about the company again, low morale, no motivation, no drive. I consider my first year losing my "review cherry" and every year it hurts less and less.

Now I focus on enjoying my job for what it is and striving to be a beacon of hope in an otherwise turblent storm of corporate mediocrity, rather than, say, waiting for a financial reward that in my five years here has never shown up.

Anonymous said...

From Barrons:

Microsoft Grants 37 Million Shares To 900 Execs
Posted by Eric Savitz

Microsoft (MSFT) yesterday granted 37 million shares to 900 executives under its shared performance stock award program. The plan, which was installed after the company stopped issuing stock options to employees, has a three-part vesting schedule, with a third vested immediately, another third in a year and the rest in two years. Based on today’s closing price of $25.94, the shares are worth $956 million.

As required by SEC rules, Microsoft disclosed the specific grants to its most senior executives in a series of Form 4 filings, which you can find on Edgar, or on Microsoft’s own Web site. Here’s a list of the specific grants, with their value based on today’s closing price of $25.84.

* Jeff Raikes, President, Business Division, 875, 334 shares, $22.6 million.
* Kevin Johnson, Co-President, Platforms and Services Division, 724,193 shares, $18.7 million.
* Kevin Turner, Chief Operating Officer, 630,240 shares, $16.3 million.
* Robbie Bach, President, Entertainment and Devices Division, 328,250 shares, $8.5 million.
* Brad Smith, General Counsel, 277,750 shares, $7.2 million.
* Lisa Brummel, Senior Vice President, Human Resources, 176,750 shares, $4.6 million.
* Chris Liddell, Chief Financial Officer, 148,134 shares, $3.8 million.
* Frank Brod, Chief Accounting Officer, 25,250 shares, $652,000.

In a separate set of filings, each of those executives also disclosed the sale of a portion of their shares. Each sale was reported at $25.70.

* Jeff Raikes, 102,795 shares, $2.6 million.
* Kevin Johnson, 81,838 shares, $2.1 million.
* Kevin Turner, 72, 789 shares, $1.9 million.
* Robbie Bach, 40,710 shares, $1 million.
* Brad Smith, 31,119 shares, $800,000.
* Lisa Brummel, 19,082 shares, $490,000
* Chris Liddell,16,505 shares, $424,000
* Frank Brod, 2,669 shares, $69,000.

Anonymous said...

So many people have attacked the person who questioned whether his first priority should be shareholder value. I've read this with curious amusement, especially in the wake of our top 900 or so executive leaders effectively ordering that they all receive buckets of money. There is no plausible justification for this action, and it has clearly been done at the expense of the shareholders. The next email from an Exec that I read that stresses how we all hold great responsibility to the shareholders will leave me laughing.

'Do as I say, not as I do.'

Anonymous said...

Some comments:

1."Testers are the most important": If this is true, that talks to the low quality level on design & dev. Whant proof? Look at years of TQM where relying on auditing (testing) after the fact to discover faulty pieces is just a waste of resources.

2."Skip level is impossible": Wrong! Sometimes you can be at 120% in your level because of past manager's deals, and (specially with moving to other teams) your managers can negotiate getting you at 80% two levels up (these are figured %'s, but you get the idea).

Anonymous said...

Just for reference:

The U.S. Department of Labor statistics for the last year (from July 2005) puts the CPI (Consumer Price Index) at 4.1%. Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) beneficiaries will receive a 4.1% COLA for 2006. Compare to http://esj.com/enterprise/article.aspx?EditorialsID=2052.


So if the COLA (Cost of Living Adjustment, not this screwed up Cost of LABOR value that HR uses), why are we not budgeting for the 4% increase to base pay, AND THEN have a "MERIT" increase on top of that? Why should my manager try to explain to me that I should be happy with a 2% MERIT increase when my buying power is now 2% behind where it was last year at this time?

Anonymous said...

Just wondering if Chris Jones who said he will not be taking his bonus if Vista slips has indeed kept his word or was it another political gimmick.

http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/nov2005/tc20051118_179356.htm

Anonymous said...


In a separate set of filings, each of those executives also disclosed the sale of a portion of their shares. Each sale was reported at $25.70.

* Jeff Raikes, 102,795 shares, $2.6 million.
* Kevin Johnson, 81,838 shares, $2.1 million.
* Kevin Turner, 72, 789 shares, $1.9 million.
* Robbie Bach, 40,710 shares, $1 million.
* Brad Smith, 31,119 shares, $800,000.
* Lisa Brummel, 19,082 shares, $490,000
* Chris Liddell,16,505 shares, $424,000
* Frank Brod, 2,669 shares, $69,000.


3 points I want to make:
1. Why execs have 1/3 vested right away?
2. Why are execs selling them if they believe in the company?
3. Why other employees have to wait for 12 months and span across 5 years?

Anonymous said...

Try this one on for size:

Level: 63
Role: PM in PG
Years in Level: 3
Years at MS: 10+
Commitment Rating: Exceeded
Contribution Ranking: Limited
Merit: 4%
Bonus: 11%
Stock: 700

Some of you may not realize it but the Contribution Ranking is a forced bell curve, and in many cases, applied to a statistically invalid sample size. Performance ranking studies prove sample size must be close to 30 or greater to be valid. In many cases, it was applied to groups much smaller than that. 5 or fewer for example. This new system is flawed in this regard as it negatively impacts people who in reality are in the top 33% percentile of MS contributors overall. Believe me, I've been doing a lot of research on this. I thank Lisa for daring to change a Performance Review system that was less than perfect in the past. Now let's hope she irons out the wrinkles in this year's grand experiment. Some of us are paying a price we shouldn't have to pay.

Anonymous said...

I work on a team, where last year a number of people were 'promoted' to manager. Promoted in they got more responsibility, but no pay/level raise.

So what happens at review time? These folks get the 'Outstanding' rating to make up the difference.

Now did these managers do 'Oustanding' work? No. They did Achieved to Strong in the position they were given but *not* level promoted for.

This was a shell game that totally screwed the curve in our group, as at their proper level they would have been judged appropriately.

Instead, you have people who should have received Outstanding who 'just missed' the bar as a result.

Lame.

Anonymous said...

IMO, the management team/compensation commitee should have locked down the payout amount BEFORE announcing the recent tender offer/new buyback that served to pump up the stock 10-15% (and therefore the cost/impact of the SPSA awards). Doing it after the fact, leaves them open to the charge of having willfully pumped the stock using shareholder money, just so executives who've managed to lose 10% of shareholder value over the past 3 years could get more of a bonus and turn around and sell on a high - which is exactly what they've begun doing. Brutal.

Not only this, but those of us who actually buy stock via the ESPP get hosed because the timing is just prior to the end of an ESPP period.

As a result, those of us who actually put our own money back into the company have 20% fewer options due to the offer driven increase.

So while it may have been bad that the partners and above were getting the big payouts, it's worse that effectively we're each taking a 20% hit as a result.

Anonymous said...

It's quite a contrast to see the spsa payout comments interpersed with accounts of individual reviews.

It seems to me that there are a couple of things that are fundamentally broken:

1. Microsoft's policy of paying 67% percentile appears to apply to
L67 and below. There is no way that these payouts, combined with their other comp are at that percentile for our industry.

2. Nobody - including those executives - has a really strong tie to financial performance in their comp package. Why aren't individual bonuses tied more to company profitability and revenue growth?

I love LisaB but the comp system is just broken until you get to the magic level of partner.

Anonymous said...

Buyback mountain... LOL :)

Bill to Steve: "I wish I knew how to quit you!"

Steve to the world : "DEVELOPERS DEVELOPERS DEVELOPERS!"

Anonymous said...

In a separate set of filings, each of those executives also disclosed the sale of a portion of their shares. Each sale was reported at $25.70

Could this be a sign that Vista might be delayed. MSFT only has 2-3 weeks to implement changes from the feedback they receive from RC1 testers.

Anonymous said...

* Lisa Brummel, Senior Vice President, Human Resources, 176,750 shares, $4.6 million.

>
And we have a bunch of morons on this board thanking Lisa for a less than inflation raise.

Anonymous said...

If you're internal, you can check out chris jones' blog where someone asked about his bonus sometime back. He replied that he indeed refused his bonus for this year (which I imagine runs into the seven figures).

Anonymous said...

Is it just me, or did everyone you know get a 4% raise and a 10% bonus regardless of contribution?

Anonymous said...

If you're internal, you can check out chris jones' blog where someone asked about his bonus sometime back. He replied that he indeed refused his bonus for this year (which I imagine runs into the seven figures).

I had such a nice chuckle when I read this comment ... everybody including Chris Jones talks a good game until it comes to the almighty dollar.

Of course there is no way to prove or disprove Chris' statement but the only thing I can say here is that my ranks are full of very capricious people.

- The partner who occasionally posts here

Anonymous said...

If you're internal, you can check out chris jones' blog where someone asked about his bonus sometime back. He replied that he indeed refused his bonus for this year (which I imagine runs into the seven figures).

Yeah, but can he prove it?

And why reject it? Why wouldn't he just take it and give it to his team to make up for the shitty bonuses that sub-67's get?

Anonymous said...

Position Name: Field - Services
Months in Position: 1 year
Years at MS:3
Rating: Exceeds
Merit %: 7
Bonus %: 47
Stock Count:700/190%
Assessment: Better than Expected

So the bonus pot is higher in the field, but the stock pot is higher in corp. Makes sense. I'm happy with this review. The curve for the rating is still around but a lot gentler - definitely a fairer system

Anonymous said...

There is a great opportunity being wasted here. As they say, when life hands you a lemon, make lemonade!

Steve to the world : "DEVELOPERS DEVELOPERS DEVELOPERS!"

All we need is a chorus line of partners, all dressed in tutus, doing the cancan while SteveB shouts "Developers developers developers!", and chorusing "Monkeyboys monkeyboys monkeyboys!" in counterpoint to SteveB.

Let's take Manhattan!

Yours Eponymously
Epon

Anonymous said...

Has anyone out there received the "underperformed" commitment rating?

In my experience, this year most folks ended up in either the acheived or exceeded buckets, and I'm wondering if that's company-wide.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

It is very disappointing to get a 2% hike while the executives rake in millions.I for one have decided not to attend this year's company meeting as a protest.Hope very few people show up.

Anonymous said...

The MSFT hiring freeze has not gone unnoticed - I was headhunted by one unnamed biggest local competitor to MSFT last week.

Anonymous said...

I got a ladder increase finally this time after more than 2.5 years since the last one but the numbers ( merit increase, promo increase, bonus and stock ) are all very low compared to other people posted here(promoted as well as non-promoted) at same or similar ladder levels to mine.

What can I do about it? If I tell my manager that I am not happy, he might scream "I gave you a promo,you are still not happy you ingrate sob???!!!"

Is there any possiblity of engaging with him about the numbers? Is it possible to get any of those changed?
Since I did not get any promo for 2.5+ years I was desperate that this promo would make a change in my bottom line pay but looks like it is not, so I am feeling disappointed.

Wondering what the veterans have to say.

Anonymous said...

This year review sucks; more accountability (where???) but zero implementation..HR Web talks of something and on ground something else. Take stocks whatever HR Web might say give XYZ but with a disclaimer "Manager can change" ; isn't it making fun of transparency or in India rules are different.

Anonymous said...

I got a ladder increase finally this time after more than 2.5 years since the last one but the numbers ( merit increase, promo increase, bonus and stock ) are all very low

The fact that you got promoted after 2.5 years shows you have a low promotion velocity. It also shows that you were slowly moved through the range of your compa ratio by your Manager. People who dont know what Compa rations are: its a number between 0.85 and 1.15 and shows how you are being paid corresponding to the median salary for your role in the Industry. So if you are at 1.0, it means you are making the median of the Industry. OK, so now when Manager promote people, they tend to put them towards the lower end of the Compa ratio of the new level which gives the employee room to grow over the next few years, before getting promoted again. If your manager gave you a realy low raise even on a promo this means that he put you real low in the range for your new level and expects you to be at this level for another few years.

Anonymous said...

Level: 60 (EMEA) = 62 (US)
Position Name: Field Technical Sales
Org: EMEA Emerging Market Sales
Months in Position: 16
Years at MS: 6.5
Last Promo Date: Feb 2005
Rating: Meets (Achieved)
Merit %: 9
Promotion %: n/a
Bonus %: 16%
Stock Count: 250 (125%)
Assessment: Mixed. Nice to see higher merit increases. Stock was much lower than expected based on LisaB's myMicrosoft info.

Anonymous said...

So if the COLA (Cost of Living Adjustment, not this screwed up Cost of LABOR value that HR uses), why are we not budgeting for the 4% increase to base pay, AND THEN have a "MERIT" increase on top of that? Why should my manager try to explain to me that I should be happy with a 2% MERIT increase when my buying power is now 2% behind where it was last year at this time?

BINGO! You're getting screwed like the rest of us.

I have come to realize MSFT's HR is there to serve the partners, VPs, Steve, and Bill and only them.

I have never seen a HR organization so disconnected from reality. Do they not know we can Google (yes Google) for competitive information, COLA stats, etc.?! 4.1%! That's right. Anyone who received less than 4.1% effectively got a pay DECREASE. The U.S. government and probably all state and local governments understand the concept of inflation. Yet MSFT ... nope, not saying it! They understand it and they are screwing the < partners over to allow for those million dollar payouts at the top.

I was an Exceed, Strong, and will be pushing for a promotion in few months only after getting bumped a year ago. I have decided to leave MSFT and tell outsiders not to bother... at least not until there is a changing of the guard and culture.

Bill, Steve..if you're listening - you are leaving a legacy that on the surface looks great but once historians dig deeper it might just turn out to be the biggest avoidable corporate disaster of all time... thanks to your greediness at the top.

Anonymous said...

I'd love to see a "fun" post where we can all post the slogans we'd love to print on a t-shirt and wear to the company meeting. My nominations...

"Where DID you want to go today?"
"Innovation NOT Imitation"
"My GM/Partner got an SPSA grant and all he got me was this damn t-shirt...late"


I like:
50% say "I am Mini!"
Other 50% say "No, I am!"
-or-
"I'm with Mini" with big arrow pointing to side.
-or-
"Will work for 4.1% COLA or higher"
-or-
"People Ready. Stock Not."

Anonymous said...

Anyone else think it is time to form a union?

No.

Next question?


Yes! Not because a union in and of itself could accomplish anything. But the amount of bad press it would generate for Ballmer and other fat cats would hopefully force them out or attract a hostile takeover or something (anything, please).

We need a shock to the system. A BIG shock. Bill retiring in a few years is nothing close. It would take Bill, Steve, and 30% or more of partners to get "fired" to even start the recovery IMHO. I was hoping My Microsoft was a step in the right direction. It's not. Just more of the same. A union move could force more outside attention on the issues.

Anonymous said...

I said it earlier, but I'll repeat it: I love Microsoft. I love my work. I bust my hump. I'm a 4.0 performer. And I don't care about the shareholders. My goals and shareholder's goals are not aligned.


So... you are assuming stockholders cannot connect the dots. WOW! What you are saying is stockholders, of which we all belong, cannot understand HOW to make the stock go up? How to make us money? YOU SIR ARE AN IDIOT... YOU ARE A 4.0?!

I work at MSFT, own MSFT, but also own other stocks. I don't sit there and invest in other companies because they have strategies to "increase stockholder value, blah, blah, blah". Yes, I get it. Ballmer and others that pander to the "stockholder" speeches don't reach you or anyone else. But to say you don't care about stockholders is just false. You are a stockholder. All the stuff you are SUPPOSED to be doing at work is ALL, I repeat ALL, in an effort to make the stocks go up and please the owners. Sure, you can say directly you are working to make that kid in Hoboken happier with Vista, blah, blah, blah. But in the end you are kidding yourself. Companies exist to make their owners money. Period. Obviously you did miss Finance 101.

Anonymous said...

>Not because a union in and of itself could accomplish anything. But the amount of bad press it would generate for Ballmer and other fat cats would hopefully force them out or attract a hostile takeover or something (anything, please).

That's like hoping to get an infestation of tapeworms to deal with being overweight.

No hire.

Anonymous said...

The fact that you got promoted after 2.5 years shows you have a low promotion velocity.

Actually it doesn't. It could indicate that he transferred between teams during that time.

In some groups there's the flat out ridiculous "can't promote someone moving between teams in the same org as it would encourage poaching"

Sounds great on paper, but what happens is that people either leave (Microsoft or the org) or get demotivated.

I know someone who was a multi-year 4.0 performer with a multi-year A stock rating who got 'held back' for just such a reason.

Anonymous said...

I got Achieved and Strong(contribution) review with no negative comments(I am not sure why my manager didn't give me "Exceeded" review(don;t want to fight with him),my manager told me this is 3.5 review in old scale,i am not sure he is telling me truth or not)

current review system is more confusing for me,if somebody got Achieved means,it is avg review or it is bad review?

Anonymous said...

All I can say is: I am so glad that I don't work in Redmond. I'm a L65 and have been with MSFT for 7 years, and reading this blog constantly makes me realize that either we have a bunch of malcontents working in the PGs rank and file, a bunch of idiots as executives running the PGs, or both.

Working in the field with customers appears to be a much better place to be. I talk to my manager once a month, see him two or three times a year, and still get my 4.0's (or exceeded) + bonus + shares. In the time in between, I work with customers who want to deploy our products (either from home or onsite) and have to deal with almost none of the crap you guys deal with in Redmond.

Anonymous said...

A union? Are you kidding? Have any of you folks actually worked in the real world, or did you just go right from frat house to product group?

Unions are nothing more than enforced mediocrity, where everything is dumbed down to the least common denominator. Maybe a few poor performers would get a bit more due to the union getting them more, but everyone else would get less, in a one-size-fits-all world. Add to that the fact that unions will use your money to support political parties that oppose free enterprise and innovation (only one that fits that mold here in the US), and you're shooting yourself in the head.

Unions had a place 100+ years ago when 15 years olds were made to work long shifts in dangerous coal mines. Now they are nothing more than an excuse for mediocrity and shake down.

Anonymous said...

Level: 61
Position Name: SDE
ORG: Windows Live
Months in level: 51
Months in position: 6
Years at MS: 14 (!)
Last promo date: huh?
Commitment Rating: Achieved
Contribution Ranking: Limited
Merit %: 3
Bonus %: 9
Stock: 211

Assesment: A bit low, but I've only been in this current position for 6mo -- "new guy" takes the lower end of the curve.

Anonymous said...

Level: 62
Position Name: SDE
Org: (PG, Ops, SG): PG
Months in Position: 4 years
Years at MS: 6+
Last Promo Date: 2003
Rating: Achieved
Merit %: 3.5
Promotion %: 0%
Bonus %: 10%
Stock Count: this year got 700, Total 1800
Assessment: As expected, because I knew nothing would change. My "merit" did not cover inflation.

Anonymous said...

Sure, there's some negative things that come along with unions. If management is actually trying to steer the company in the right direction and is taking care of there employees, they're probably not needed.

But what's going on at MSFT is management and executives shitting on their employees and giving themselves lots of money. Nothing more - "MSFT has a lot of cash, and we're going to give it to ourselves and the rest of you can go to hell."

If that doesn't call for the workers to band together and give the finger back to management, what does?

Anonymous said...

SPSA is no different from your stock grant if you are not an L68. The size of the stock grant for L68 may be higher but that's about it. The vesting only begins after 3 years and ends after 5 years.
This means that the first payout of a non spsa grant is 1/5 of the full grant. The first payout of an SPSA grant is 1/3 of the grant. The fourth and fifth vesting have 1/3 each.
There was a real risk of the grant being 33% of what was awarded based on cust sat scores.
There is no mystery or anything special about these L68 folks. The only differences is that the compensation is tightly corelated to business metrics (confidential because these metrics are important to the strategy of the business).

Anonymous said...

Dear mini,

I'm using Vista RC1. I can add comments to this thread, but I'm unable to even view the comments in "Kicking the SPSA Can Again".

Please file a must-fix but for this.

Thanks,
Your friends in the Windows team

Anonymous said...

From my review today:

Level: 62
Position Name: PM
Org: (PG, Ops, SG): PG
Months in Position: 10 months
Years at MS: 6+
Last Promo Date: Today (previous was last review cycle)
Rating: Exceeded
Contribution: Strong
Merit %: 6.0
Promotion %: 7.0%
Bonus %: 15%
Stock Count: 130% / 780 shares
Assessment: As hoped - my manager had been dropping some hints that I was doing well and we did a walkthrough of my CSP ratings a few months ago

Anonymous said...

Level: 62
Merit %: 6
Promotion %: 0%
Bonus %: 11%
Stock Count: 600 shares

Anonymous said...

All you guys/gals should stop complaining. It has really taken some of you years to figure out that your salary increases are not keeping up with increases in the cost of living? Hell, there are some numbers in this thread that make it look like some of you are getting merit increases that don't even keep up with the rate of inflation!!

But you all should sit tight. Take it, and like it.

Face it, 99% of you will be here again next year (perhaps even posting the same gripes on the same blog). You love it. You love being abused and taken advantage of. You are all afraid to take risks, and explore the world outside of MS. You are excited by the prospect of having less purchasing power next year compared to this year.

Bunch of masochists. Some of us out here have no pity.

Signed,
Ex-MSFT, left 2 years ago and now makes 2.2x the salary (with only 75% of the stress) at a competitor.

Anonymous said...

Ex-MSFT, left 2 years ago and now makes 2.2x the salary (with only 75% of the stress) at a competitor

Please tell us the competitor's name.

Anonymous said...

"Sure, there's some negative things that come along with unions."

Understatement of the year. Is your problem that the ship isn't sinking fast enough? And how do you think you get to mini-Microsoft with a union?

Anonymous said...

Group Dev Manager at MS (70 person org, 3 direct-reporting Dev Managers) -> Director at Peoplesoft -> Sr Director at Orcl via acquisition -> promoted to GM last month

I am sure the Oracle bashing will commence in short order, but is it what it is. Recieved a very nice 'incentive' during the acquisition that more than eliminated the real estate and COL price differentials between CA (pleasanton) and Redmond.

Just leave. There are other things out there. Better things.

Anonymous said...

Level: 60
Position Name: SDE
Org: Windows
Months in Position: 2 years
Years at MS: 3
Last Promo Date: Jan 2006
Commitment Rating: EXceeded
Contri Rating: strong
Merit %: 4
Promotion %: n/a
Bonus %: 12%
Stock Count: 200 (100%)

"PATHETIC, PATHETIC, PATHETIC"
Explanation for almost non-existant pay raise- This is what happens when everyone performs well. I know everyone thinks they work hard, but I really can't justify all the stress and pain I went through the last year for a 4% hike. Who are they kidding?

Anonymous said...

L64 Dev Manager
Achieved, Strong
4% Merit, 10% Bonus, 1100 stock
Right around what I expected

Anonymous said...

L62 SDET
Achieved, Strong
3% Merit, 9% bonus, 700 shares
Slightly better than expected

Anonymous said...

L59 peon too new to be reviewed. After hearing about MS culture and interviewing almost immediately after, I dropped my grad school plans and threw my life into a direction I never expected. I go in excited every morning, and can't bear to call it 'work.' The environment and opportunities are amazing.

The day MS unionizes is the day I'm out of here, probably to grad school and investigating creating a startup in my spare time. I thought the purpose of this blog wasn't to plunge the company into mediocre conformity, but to remove the bloat and make MS once again the efficient, opportunistic place we all came here for.

All this talk of unionization and complaining about the salaries of our most productive leaders is saddening, to say the least.

Microsoft takes in almost $40B in a year, with over $12B in profit. Exxon makes almost triple that in profit, but requires $359B in revenue to do it. The profit margin is just plain amazing for the company's size, and that doesn't come from bad leadership. Sure there are surely some execs who are getting more than they deserve, but the numbers don't lie. The company is doing something right! (numbers from http://montecitojournal.net/archive/12/14/200/)

I haven't been disenchanted by the review process, so I'll have to see for myself next year. I am hoping MS really is the visionary place I see it to be, though, and as long as I don't get an unexpectedly bad review next year I'll stay motivated, stay at MS, and keep on track to doing as well as I am able to.

A few of the comments above, from people getting good reviews after a year of hard work, are inspiring. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

"Will work for 4.1% COLA or higher"

To really make the point, you'd need to put on the back:

COLA is part of a Registered TradeMark of Coca-Cola, Pepsi-Cola, etc.

Anonymous said...

Since the majority of posts seem to be from the bitter veterans, thought I might chip in some newbie perspective.
All the “been there done that” folks that have posting in this thread are not that great.
Some of them might be genuine victims but definitely by no means all.

I am a fresh Ivy League college grad that joined a windows server group last year. I worked really hard and got a decent review this year. Numbers pretty much the same as others posted here.
I have a 10 year veteran in my org who acts like a “been there done that” dev but in reality I think he is overpaid and under qualified. At his level one would expect a certain class, team spirit and quality in his design and code that I simply do not see. He was a self designated superdev who built the basic base protocol upon which all other features of the team are built. But the basic framework that he designed is completely inconsistent, horribly designed, completely undocumented piece of crap. Entry level devs have better code writing and design skills than this obnoxious snob.
On top of it this so called veteran left the group right in the middle of the Vista ship cycle (but of course conveniently after the review cycle of last year) for an outside dream job which he boasted about shamelessly in every team meeting. Then 6 months later he appears back in the same group telling the dream job did not work out.
All the managers treated his re-arrival as the second coming of Christ and scrambled to get him a brand new laptop, a corner office and all the bells and whistles despite the fact that he had spit on everyone’s face just recently and left leaving all the other devs to struggle to meet the deadlines.
This con artist no doubt made thousands in this “transaction” and on top if it picked up a habit of criticizing every line of code that was written in his absence by other devs who scrambled to make up for his departure despite the fact that a lot of new code written after he left fixed most of problems in his original code.

Do we need obnoxious con artists like this in the company just because they have been here for 10 years? Shouldn’t they be constantly evaluated on the basis of their skill set, leadership skills and ability to improve their own knowledge base? Isn’t it better for new blood to come in and weed out this overpaid disloyal group?

I hope the critical posts here do not turn the tables to such an extent that the “been there” type people are automatically treated as gods who need to have a certain piece of meat dedicated to them come every September irrespective of how much loyalty or talent they really have.

Microsoft should start the concept of demoting. If some one is here for 10 years as an IC without being able to pull his weight he should be demoted every year until he performs.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone out there received the "underperformed" commitment rating?

Yes.

Group: Windows Core Fundamentals

Underperformed, limited, 0%, 0%, 0 shares. Performance memo.

The warning signs were there, but it's still a shock.

Anonymous said...

windows core fundamentals is a shitty place

Anonymous said...

Position Name: Anon as it would give me away.
Org: WLO
Months in Position: More that 12 and less than 26 (that's enough range to make it impossible to work out who I am)
Years at MS: More than you would believe.
Last Promo Date: Again cannot specify but in the old HR world I should be promoted now.
Rating: Achieved
Merit %:3
Promotion %: Not on your life.
Bonus %:3
Stock Count:350 (75% less than last year)
Assessment: Worse than Expected.

This was such a shock to me that I am not going to sign the document on http://evil. With my past review history I am waiting for them to justify this rating after they read my 4 page response. My entire team had good reviews and this has been the best 12 months for me at Microsoft.

Let the battle commence and we will see who wins out in the end.

Anonymous said...

Level: 60
Position Name: SDET
Org: (PG, Ops, SG): PG
Months in Position: 4 years
Years at MS: 6+
Last Promo Date: 2003
Rating: Achieved
Merit %: 3.0
Promotion %: 0%
Bonus %: 7%
Stock Count:100

Disappointed and demoralized, how come they forgot me when they hand out dough and turn to me when anything urgent needs to be done, like during Christmas time, whatever time when others are not 'available', and they are very appreciative then, why not show some appreciation at review time? And why is visibility so overrated? isn't it a good thing just to bear down and do your work? why is it that people who are more visible but not really doing more work (most of the time less work) get more than those who do? I think there's something wrong somewhere...

Anonymous said...

Geez, some of you guys are so spineless and risk averse, it makes me puke. 0% increases. 2% increases. No stock. Performance memos. WHY ARE YOU STAYING HERE?!!

Anonymous said...

"WHY ARE YOU STAYING HERE?!!"

Whoa there little horsey. I think I can answer this for a lot of Microsofties. We like working here, we do a great job and believe it or not, we like the company. We could do great things together. Unfortunately we don't have the leadership and don't get much motivation when the company introduce a pathetic rewards system for its core staff. I for one will stick in out to prove a point and hopefully see a change in this company whereby we cut some staff and build an internal organisation that appreciates the hard working staff in the lower levels.
Don't get me wrong, Microsoft has its fair share of idiots, I think they are called SUPER idiots internally. The problem is that many reap the rewards when their staff get the run-around about how Microsoft thinks they are great but the budget restraints mean you only get a miserly 3% merit and 5% bonus.
Come on Microsoft, Bill, Steve, illustrious partners. Share the wealth and give your employees what they deserve.
BTW: Lisa, try and get your HR teams to build a system that compensates the teams fairly across the regions. It would be nice to receive a Merit that actually matches the rate of inflation in the countries where we do business (even if you calculate in the gamble that is the Stock Awards, Microsoft fall short of meeting generally accepted standards).

Anonymous said...

Position Name: Anon as it would give me away.
...
With my past review history I am waiting for them to justify this rating after they read my 4 page response.


Oh, I'm sure that won't give you away at all. I'm sure they get tons of 4 page response letters. ;-)

Anonymous said...

----
Has anyone out there received the "underperformed" commitment rating?

In my experience, this year most folks ended up in either the acheived or exceeded buckets, and I'm wondering if that's company-wide.
----


Yes, I can unfortunetly attest to this.

Level: 62
Postition: SDET Lead
Months in position: 24
Years at MSFT: 7+
Last promo: last year
Rating: Underachieved
Merit: 0%
Promo: 0%
Bonus 0%
Stock: Very Little
Commitment: Strong
Assesment: Mixed

The funny thing is that, except for one review which was a 3.5, I have had nothing but 4.0 reviews up to this point. Last year I got a promo and a gold star award. Now I ask myself... is this all me or could it be my managment, which of the 4 directs last year has 1 left plus a bunch of newbies (I was demoted to IC as well).

I beat myself up very hard.. and I'm still feeling crushed, disinterested, and apathetic to my work (which I hate). But trying to be objective,it really seems like I got screwed and the problem isn't in me. Needless to say, I'm looking to get out of this group. I hope I can find a good spot within MS... we shall see.

Anonymous said...

Level: 60
Position Name: SDET
Org: Windows
Months in Position: 2 years
Years at MS: 7
Last Promo Date: Mid Year Review
Commitment Rating: Exceeded
Contrib. Rating: Strong
Merit %: 5
Promotion %: 0
Bonus %: 12
Stock Count: 225 (112%)

My team lost two testers during the vista test cycle and I picked up all the extra work, which included writing all the automation for my components + the extra components I picked up. I filled nearly 400 ad hoc type bugs which covered almost every corner of the OS, I achieved an above average fix rate (I usually do)
On top of that I also own testing a non windows consumer product that gets released thru OEM channels… the way I see it, this year I carried a workload of 4 testers. I was expecting a 15 – 20% bonus… and a significant salary increase. I make between 75 - 80K a year.

This is the first year at MS where I came out of the review disappointed by the #’s
Am I getting what I deserve?

Anonymous said...

You can find excellent reviews of various companies on this site:

Company reviews and reports

or check out home page for more reviews:

Consumer Reviews and Reports

Regards,

«Oldest ‹Older   201 – 310 of 310   Newer› Newest»