Monday, October 09, 2006

Random October Bits

I think things are going to enter a quiet period here for the rest of the year and into next year. For now, here's a random October collection of interesting comments and newsbits that clears a whole bunch of blog-this flags in my Outlook.

Re-Titled: it was amusing to me that the Wired "Rebuilding Microsoft" article got re-titled to "Ozzie to Face New Challenges at Microsoft" when it showed up in this past Wednesday's daily news summary. Well, I'd rather have the link vs. having it denied because of the article title.

Limited: As we all try to figure out what our reviews mean and how to manage the reviews and compensation, one commenter brought up a rule in their group that anyone over 30 months at level were slapped with Limited on their review:

I'm the "limited fiasco" AC.

Apparently some groups either didn't get the message or chose to ignore it. I have an email from HR indicating that EVERYONE with more than 30 months at level (regardless of level) MUST get a Limited eval. This is why they added "limited scenario 1" and "limited scenario 2".

Your group may have chosen to ignore the memo, but I know that many divisions didn't.

And I know that many senior 64s who got 0 stock award are sitting looking at Google and Amazon's help wanted ads.

Most folks didn't experience this and slapped FUD on that. If a group did decide to do this, I suggest forwarding that HR email to LisaB and tell her this is wrong and some heads need to be knocked around for creating a passive-aggressive punishment system. If you want people gone, RIF them already. I've always told people that Microsoft is pretty happy with you if you reach L63. If you look at the CSPs as well, they give you an idea about what kind of promotion velocity you should be pushing for and it pretty much goes away as you hit the mid-60-levels. The bad thing about this months-at-level idea, hopefully a FUD-dy-duddy idea, is that if people realize they are going to get punished for not getting promoted they are going to do what it takes to get promoted vs. what's the right thing to do for their business.

More Than Human: Brier Dudley has an interesting HR-infused blog post that covers both Google and Microsoft: Human Resources Issues at Microsoft, Google. It points to the double LisaB article in Monday's Seattle Times by Benjamin Romano:

And while nothing but praises should be shouted out for getting rid of the performance curve and the trended review scores, we still have a dysfunctional stack-rank review system that competes employees against their peers. Small steps.

http://minimsft/: on the upcoming internal employee discussion blog: I want Microsofties to participate on it and not crosspost from the internal blog onto here. When I recognize that happening, or when people see one that got through and point it out, I just will drop the comment into the bit-bucket. On the other hand, you're welcome to crosspost from here and onto the internal blog to continue a discussion on a topic that you know will only include internal Microsofties.

Basic content rule: what starts internal must stay internal. If you have a comment about the discussion area from a non-content point of view then yes, please, write about it.

As for concerns about an HR sponsored discussion area being completely career-safe to engage in: well, you remember that blue Corporate Confidential book, right? HR does not exist to make your life easier. And if that Orange Scarfed Dementor Brigade starts jumping on people, especially anonymous contributors, then we'll all know it's time to throw in the company-provided towell.

Transfers: The new internal transfer program... well, the first response to the internal transfer post was "Hey, what new internal transfer program?" given that it was given a pretty soft-announcement by showing up in Micronews. In general, commenters believe it's a step in the right direction, but it would be much better to just interview for the position and not ever get your manager in involved. While many left stories of revenge when they did look to interview, one story of success came in:

I asked, more appropriately informed, my manager that I am planning to interview and both the times I got promotion. I am now a level above than my peers. I got promotion in two consecutive years whereas normally I would have got one in two years.

I strongly believe that's normally the case. Because that's the only way to keep your super-stars within the group. But minimsft is not a forum for such people. It is forum for people who felt unjustice.

(Oooch.) A deft hand at handling your career with your current boss is always a good idea. I like BizDog's summary of the change best:

In my opinion this is goodness all around and here's why. Obvious is the benefit to people (ICs and managers alike) who want to change roles - now they can do an informational and have a shot at actually getting to move roles in a reasonable timeframe so they can continue to advance their career while doing great things for the company. Net is lower recruiting costs and higher employee retention - these are good things. But this is also good for managers. It allows you to actually hire strategically for your team AND for people's career advancement which let's face it was difficult to impossible to do before. This also allows a manager to build a truly great team when combined with the new review model. But best of all - ta-dah, yes it shines a glaring spotlight on really bad managers. Why? because they can't hide turnover any more - yep no boat anchoring people until the manager moves on so no one sees what a nightmare they were to work for. Beautiful and bravo. It ups the game on manager accountability and that is something we very much need.

I think we have the potential before us for some really great managers - and leaders - to start thriving and growing within Microsoft.

It's the stock price, dummy: MSFTextrememakeover discusses Microsoft's stock recovery.

Turf-06: As for local blog drama, the spirit of some of the commenters has a new twisty-mix post Company Meeting. I don't mind someone coming along with an opposing or dissenting view. Not at all. That's dialogue. What's bad is that the New Dissention seems focused on boxing previous commenters into a "loser!" box vs. respecting what they've said. I'd like to hear what you have to say without you whipping out the straw man argument or engaging in the tyranny of the "or."

On the change in the mix, Anon Partner adds:

You have to wonder why after 1-1.5 years of MiniMSFT, why there is public chastisizing of Mini going on (incl at the eco meeting by LisaB very dramatically).

The turning point came when people started venting/sharing their review f/b, numbers in relation to partner compensation. That hit low and I think there is a sense of embarrassment in the upper ranks about this. It highlighted the culture at MS in a way that they didn't expect or want. This is why there is a renewed focus on flushing out the readers/posters etc.

This is communism at its worst.

I understand LisaB wants to rebuild the trust between leadership and the rank-and-file. I think an upfront discussion of the SPSA program and rank-and-file compensation, if brought up by Microsofties, should be on the top of the list. Chastise me, please, should I stumble into falsehoods. But not for shinning a light and remarking, "whoa, that stinks!"

On Photosynth:

The Photosynth tech demo you saw: WAS created by a small team, TOOK less than 4 months. IS going to be shipping in less than a month. HAS something we lack in a lot of other products: COOLNESS and WE have a lot of other cool stuff brewing...

Wake up mini-blah the mini microsoft that you talk about is growing from within the company.

and YES I do work for the team that is doing Photosynth.

The Photosynth demo rocked my world. I wish you guys all the success in the world because if you rock everyone's world you can be instrumental in showing how to get it done and shipped.

Jürgen Gallmann: this Microsoft resignation has been pretty quiet - what does it mean? Microsoft's top German Juergen Gallmann resigns.

The Field, revisited: a comment on MCS:

Having lived in the field for 6 years (first MCS, now sales), I can say that, from my experience, the more negative comments on this thread are the more accurate.

MCS is the biggest travesty. The comment above from the person who said that "MCS is about selling software and not generating revenue" is just completely out of touch with MCS management. Eespecially the new regime. MCS has strict marching orders under the current regime to be profitable, focus on growing the business (again - UGH!), and stick to big ($500k+) deals. They've gone so far that <2 week deals now require high level sign-off.

I feel like there's a whole lot more there to discuss, but I'm not sure how best to go forward.

You Are the Universe: and to close, always this gentle reminder for those of you not super happy with how Microsoft is going for you and able to consider other employers:

Leaving MS was a difficult decision and if you are risk averse, you will not leave. But if your résumé looks good and you are a solid performer, you should have no problem finding a job, so the risk is really not all that high. Of course, if you have an MS-sponsored work visa, then you don't have much flexibility. For those that do have flexibility, give it a shot: send out your résumé. See what offers you get. Nothing interesting? Stay where you are. But at least know what you're options are. What have you got to lose?

Indeed! At a lull in your current cycle? Freshen up that resume and shop it around. And if you don't leave, maybe you'll at least find yourself refreshed and recommitted to Microsoft and your career.


126 comments:

Anonymous said...

This has nothing to do with anything but I was one of those people that got bitten by the Live search at the company meeting. Since that Thursday night, I have been using Live search exclusively and haven't had to grumble about not so good results. Live search actually rocks. I don't know when this huge improvement happened but I am sure glad about it.

Once or twice I have plugged in the same search string in google to see if a better result will be obtained. All the time the Live results have been better or equal. I don't know anyone who works on that team since they are not on main campus but here's a big Kudos from me to you.

One last funny thing. My 4th grade son had a home work from school that his teacher wanted them to 'google' certain topics and find the answers to the questions. I made the bold proclamation, "In this house nobody uses google, we only use Live search". You should have seen the puzzled look on his face. Live what? he asked.

I took him and his sister to the family PC running Vista 5728 and showed them how to use Live.com for search and other stuff. And trust my son, he went back to school and told the teacher proudly, "I didn't use google for the homework, I used Live.com"

Anonymous said...

Haiatus for months? WTF....don't goooooo!!!

Anonymous said...

One last funny thing. My 4th grade son had a home work from school that his teacher wanted them to 'google' certain topics

Right. It would be so much elegant for the teacher to request that they 'search.live.com' certain topics.

Anonymous said...

I love Live Search too!

Anonymous said...

I have also switched from die-hard Googler to a Live search true believer. I love it. I can't believe I'm saying that, but it is really, really good. Ever since they got rid of that annoying scroll bar it's been gravy.

Anonymous said...

Mini, I think the time has come to seriously consider patting yourself on the back and folding up the tent once the internal mini goes live. Great job. Let's move into the future.

As we get Vista and Office 12 out the door, Live takes off, and we all start working on the next generation of connected software, I can't wait to see the look on the faces of all those who bailed out of Microsoft when the going got rough, but who will now want a piece of the action once things take off. It will be poetic justice for those of us who toughed it out through the dark hours.

I see good things ahead for Microsoft. The wind is starting to fill the sails.

Anonymous said...

Dusting off your resume? Tired of crossing the bridge every day? Want to work on the future of computing? Amazon anyone?

href="https://amazon.taleo.net/servlets/CareerSection?art_ip_action=FlowDispatcher&flowTypeNo=13&pageSeq=2&reqNo=19274&art_servlet_language=en&selected_language=en&csNo=2#topOfCsPage

Anonymous said...

I'll second the comment about Live search. I've used Google exclusively since '99 and tried out MSN search (via the internal searchoff site) a year or so back and was pretty disappointed.
I installed Vista RC2 on Friday and have been too busy to change the default search engine in IE. The funny thing is that for every search I entered, I got better results (usually better relevence, sometimes just better search result highlighting) in Live than in Google.
Go Live!

Anonymous said...

Do you think it is a good idea to join Microsoft Consulting?

I request you to reply because I am confused :(

Anonymous said...

Well it's a fairly meaningless comment, but as a tiny bit of good news, I'll relay it. My teenage son, after "extensive research," has decided that the Zune is "really cool." Now, for Christmas, he wants a Zune to replace his aging iPod, rather than, you know, another iPod.

Would that twenty million more teens feel the same way. In any case, now I'm just annoyed that the best the Powers that Be will do is a crummy 10% Zune discount for employees. Thanks for nothing. It'll probably be cheaper on Amazon.

Who da'Punk said...

Haiatus for months? WTF....don't goooooo!!!

Things are going to be slow here, not full-stop.

Mini, I think the time has come to seriously consider patting yourself on the back and folding up the tent once the internal mini goes live.

Uh-huh.

The internal blog will have to do that tent-folding on its own merits. If it is a success then that means people won't gravitate to here.

You've got to think - honestly - why this blog (in some people's minds) has been a success. And what does success look like for the internal blog?

Anonymous said...

Right. It would be so much elegant for the teacher to request that they 'search.live.com' certain topics.

It would be even better if "homework" didn't consist of plugging words into a text field and then jamming a button. Computers in the classroom has become such a huge scam.

For me, Live is permanently crippled by the fact that you can't search a Usenet archive with it--tons of technical questions are stored there, it's like a huge knowledgebase and Live doesn't know it exists. And what's with the fact that when I hit the personalized Live homepage I can't specify the type of search I want to run (image, local, etc.)?

I don't have much love for Google but Live makes me tired. All that work to make an inferior copy. And if that abstract turquoise design at the top is a sign of the Vista GUI to come, I think I'm going to puke. Sorry.

Anonymous said...

>>Jürgen Gallmann: this Microsoft resignation has been pretty quiet - what does it mean?

I had the displeasure of suffering this man while working in corp. He steam rollered a number of high profile agreements through despite the contrary advice of the entire management chain of the division involved ( a rareity for such unity) and many of his own people. The agreements made no sense, except to satisfy his ego and to get him some ballmertime.

The irony is that he announced his resignation at the beginning of Oktoberfest in Munich where MS Germany is headquartered. I suspect most of the staff didn't read his e-mail as they were all down the beer tents celebrating his demise. I doubt he will be missed.

Anonymous said...

"In this house nobody uses google, we only use Live search"

Welcome, SteveB to MiniMSFT!

When I feel that a product or website is good, I'll recommend it to family and friends. Disallowing all choice reminds me of elections in Iraq with 100% voting for Saddam. What kind of idiot dictates search engine choice? Oops, sorry Steve...

Anonymous said...

Wow, first 11 posts came from lala land! Everything is beautiful...in its own way! I see skies of blue
And clouds of white
The bright blessed day
The dark sacred night.

Man, this sounds like practice for myMicrosoft! Pardon me while I puke.

"I can't wait to see the look on the faces of all those who bailed out of Microsoft when the going got rough, but who will now want a piece of the action once things take off. It will be poetic justice for those of us who toughed it out through the dark hours."

I see good things ahead for Microsoft. The wind is starting to fill the sails."


Ahhem! (clearing throat sound) Vista with no buying proposition years in the making, Office wrapped in a ribbon nobody wants or likes, marginal offerings from Ozzie's group, rank and file disillusioned and restless, HR blowing smoke out its barracks bag, Google buys You Tube, shall I go on? Look at the stock price; it says it all!

Spin reality any way you want; it still comes back to what it truly is: a company in crisis. No amount of blue sky and scenes of filling sails will change that. Only gut wrenching truth and the courage to change. Who's gonna step up. LisaB's too busy patting herself on the back.

Anonymous said...

Relative to the commentary above about the relationship between limited contribution ratings and promotion velocity, I suspect, based on conversations in my group, that this policy may well have been "around" in my division's senior management review calibration meetings. This is really disturbing to me for several reasons:

1. if my assertion above is true, this "importance of promotion velocity" policy was inserted late in the FY 06 year for the FY 06 annual review period and was "retroactive" for the year so employees were never able to clearly account for it in their FY 06 review commitments and goals.........and hence some people with solid "Achieved" annual commitment ratings got burnt by this "late breaking news". The shell game rocks on.
2. as you say, Mini, the survival mode will probably be increasingly to get promoted at all costs and to "accelerate one's promotion velocity" which could obviously mean too much focus on internal in-fighting and politics over winning market performance.
Mini - finally, one other point: while acknowledging the occasional and tricky security issues on your blog,isn't it ironic that a company that is heavily touting user-generated content as a key means to increase consumer engagement in the future feels the need to punish this mini-blog through scare tactics? AAAAARGH, the hyprocrisy.......? The lesson to be learned here is the oldest sales adage ever - don't worry so much about the customers who complain ( because they're still engaged and have some energy) but worry more about the customers who are very silent because they may not be buying and may also be looking for alternatives and on their way out.
Please keep the flame burning, Mini.

MSFTextrememakeover said...

Photosynth is very very cool. I hope it ships soon, is fast and provides open APIs for community involvement/mashups. If so, it could open the door to some very interesting applications and do a lot to alter perceptions around MSFT's lack of innovation and inability to "get" Web 2.0 (hate that term, but it communicates the point) - at least on the consumer side.

Anonymous said...

Do you think it is a good idea to join Microsoft Consulting?

--

if that is the lifestyle you want to live? its alot of travel, consulting stuff you may or may not have interest in and well you heard about the politics from this blog.

can be good if you want that travel and overloaded schedule

Anonymous said...

Re: Limited

Nice to hear somethings don't change.
Back when I was a blue, I was the recipient of an enforced 2.5 because my previous 3 review scores had been 3.0 with no promotions.

Of course, they didn't stop to consider that those 3 reviews came from a position I had left 7 months ago that was a completely different job set than I was doing now and that I might actually be excelling at my job (which, frankly, I was.) Couple that with a very handsoff non-confrontational manager and I was, in a word, screwed.

Anonymous said...

Hi folks,

Apropos to nothing, I'd like to suggest a future blog post regarding the importance of teamwork, and rewarding managers and individuals who excel in this area. And vice versa ;-)

One of our stated company values used to be "making others great". It makes sense - particularly in a company where the potential for idea/skill/experience exchange is almost limitless. ( For a manager, this is a prerequisite: does yours make YOU great?)

However, some recent posts reflect more of an attitude of "making myself great":

- How do I get to be a partner?
- How do I get to the next level?
- How do I get "Exceeded"?
- Where's MY (whatever)?

With the above focus having such prominence you wind up with disfunctional teams, only capable of sporadic and unpredictable "greatness", if any.

Well fine, but after 17 years (6+ here), I've discovered that no matter what I'm doing, having a close team with diverse backgrounds and experience to bounce things off always works out for the better, because on my own l ALWAYS overlook something.

I'm just being realistic.

I've done almost nothing of any complexity, that has not benefitted from the input of my colleagues (even if I haven't appreciated it at the time). Hopefully, they could say the same of me. It really sucks to NOT have folks to bounce ideas off, or whom you can ask "stupid" questions. Perhaps that could be a question to ask on informationals:

"What have you learned from and imparted to other members of this team in the last year?"

How does a company like MS promote and reward teamwork? I don't know - but you can recognize it in teams that have it, by their attitudes and results.

I guess you get the behavior you reward.

Anonymous said...

Regarding Gallmann's departure, I'm not a Microsoftie but know a wee bit about American companies in the Fatherland. I suspect that head office wanted Munich to toe the line a bit better amd the reply from Munich was "we're Microsoft Germany, we're different!"

Generally, German daughter companies of U.S. concerns want full or near-full autonomy because no one except a German can possibly understand their culture. Anyway, I suspect that is what happened with Gallmann and why you haven't heard much.

Anonymous said...

"I think the time has come to seriously consider patting yourself on the back and folding up the tent once the internal mini goes live. Great job. Let's move into the future."

Do people really still speak like this? No looking backwards going forward, right? A patronize-mini quotient of - what? - 5.

Anonymous said...

Right. It would be so much elegant for the teacher to request that they 'search.live.com' certain topics.


Live seach is much better, I use it over Google consistently. (Except for image search, that scroll / ajax load thing is annoying)

But you're right on the name. I got my wife to use it (after a 'Googe aint paying our bills' discussion), and she liked it alot.

She hates, however, having to type search.live.com or live.com. It's just not connected mentally with search.

You may say that neither is Yahoo or Google, but both of those are fairly non-sensical to the average person, so it's easy to make the association.

Why not find out who owns find.com or search.com and back up a dumptruck full of money? That's what it's going to take to get people to switch.

Anonymous said...

Regarding the live search comments.

All I know is that when I click the search engine drop down in Firefox, it ain't there among five or six choices.

I wonder if that has anything to do with years of Microsoft ignoring pleas by the rest of us out here to join the real world by being inclusive of other choices.

Anonymous said...

"It really sucks to NOT have folks to bounce ideas off, or whom you can ask "stupid" questions. Perhaps that could be a question to ask on informationals:

"What have you learned from and imparted to other members of this team in the last year?"

How does a company like MS promote and reward teamwork? I don't know - but you can recognize it in teams that have it, by their attitudes and results."


And, I don't think Microsoft knows, either. Otherwise, they would duplicate the success of your departments collaboration schema throughout the company. And, I think it IS duplicable. Here's some ideas:

1.) Mandatory, on time, Monday morning meeting no longer than 1/2 hour and no hidden agendas. Late comers will be locked out. Agenda content must be emailed to leader by Friday afternoon. Subject: progress, this weeks goals, gripes. Everybody MUST talk. Leader keeps time and tempo.

2.) Written corporate collaboration policies and procedures.

3.) Corporate Policy for departmental attaboys for innovative ideas and good performance.

4.) Praise in public; criticize in private.

5.) Ask succesful teams what's their secret.

There's many more but...you think of some!

Cooperative Collaboration can be legislated!

Anonymous said...

I love yahoo and I won't change to Google or Live. I have used Google now and then and tried Live. I really don't care for it, no better than Google IMO.

Anonymous said...

>> 1. if my assertion above is true, this "importance of promotion velocity" policy was inserted late in the FY 06 year for the FY 06 annual review period and was "retroactive" for the year so employees were never able to clearly account for it in their FY 06 review commitments and goals.........and hence some people with solid "Achieved" annual commitment ratings got burnt by this "late breaking news". The shell game rocks on.

Yeah - we seem to have had a new criterion and attendant "buzz phrase" for this year's review; I heard it mentioned in my feedback (fortunately in a positive sense), and thought: hello, that's new, what does it portend?

So now instead of measuring a single point (months in CURRENT level), the series of points is being measured, one data point for months in level AT EACH level. So if you did good, and got promoted "ahead of time", you'd better keep at it!

I suppose after a few years, we can get dinged for only getting promoted consistently every 2 years, instead of 2 years then 18 months then a year...".

Promotion acceleration I guess that'd be.

Anonymous said...

The natural names, like find.com and search.com, you could think of are already taken by somebody. We could acquire these names with a boatload of money. But the problem is that these names are running search engines. People already associate these names with a search quality factor.

BTW, both live.com and start.com were bought from others. But it was okay because these names were used for something else.

Anonymous said...

Right. It would be so much elegant for the teacher to request that they 'search.live.com' certain topics.

This reminds me of the Letterman bit from a year or two back. Here's the transcript for it I can't find the video of it anywhere. Maybe it's on YouTube? Oh the irony if it were..... The trascript doesn't do the bit justice, though:

"Microsoft is proud to announce a new, comprehensive Internet search engine that is far superior to Google. And using the Microsoft search engine couldn't be easier: simply go to www.msn.com, click the sign-in button, register to create a .net password, complete the registration check, read the terms of use and statement of privacy and confirm your agreement, return to the www.msn.com homepage, click search.msn.com, stipulate how your search words are to be interpreted, then adjust how the results are to be displayed, indicate the file types your search should cover, then specify the content to be found on those sites, type search.msn.com/default.aspx, enter the desire topic, and click the search button. It's just that easy. The new Microsoft search engine --- Try it today!"

Anonymous said...

Live Search has abysmal foreign language coverage. Do a search on the name in Chinese of the president of Taiwan and you'll get 2k hits on Live vs 3.6M on Google. Do a search for samovar in Cyrillic, 730k on Google vs 4 on Live. Most Americans probably won't care, but a world class product this ain't.

Image coverage is equally lopsided.

Anonymous said...

The best name for the MS search site would be www.microsoft.com---plain and simple.

Anonymous said...

What with all the cheering about Live.com here, I just went and gave it a try. Text search seems okay (didn't notice anything greatly improved over Google, though), but image search seems to have major problems in Safari (I use Windows as well as Macs, see good things on both platforms, and don't get all religious-nutty about operating systems, so Let's Not Go There.) About half the thumbnails on the first page didn't resolve, and subsequent pages came back blank. My net connection is great and Google works fine, so either Live.com is having troubles this morning or Microsoft still hasn't learned how to play nice with other browsers.

So I'll stick with Google for the time being, I guess, simply because it works on both of the platforms I currently use.

Anonymous said...

"I can't wait to see the look on the faces of all those who bailed out of Microsoft when the going got rough, but who will now want a piece of the action once things take off. It will be poetic justice for those of us who toughed it out through the dark hours."

Now that's funny. I wish it really worked that way, but I've seen a number of people leave the company while the rest of us "slogged it out" and come back either HIGHER level than those who stayed, or in the worst example, came back and got exactly the same comp package as if they had never left, including their stock.

So while your sentiment is nice, the reality is that you really don't lose by leaving Microsoft on good terms and coming back later. Consider it a nice vacation from the bullshit.

Anonymous said...

(Thoughts from a flunky in the field...)
OK, not being based in Redmond, this is the first I've heard of http://minimsft It sounds like a good idea, but if it isn't going to be available to me when not on Corpnet/VPN (I don't mind using my Smart Card, just don't make me VPN in) AND be anonymous, it won't do any good for those of us who aren't on corpnet taps.

Anonymous said...

MCS (and the rest of the techincal field for that matter) is a whole different beast and probably could fill its own blog. In the 6 years was there, the pendulm would swing from "we are cost recovery, don't step on partners toes!" to "GROW! GROW! GROW! Its all about the money, baby!!"

As of late, it seems to be toward the later. Game plan seems to be make a profit on service, but maybe at half the margins of a normal services org.

To the poster considering going to MCS, if you are willing to travel - the experience can't be beat. One benefit is if you're on the road all the time, is your actual cost of living can go way down - you're expensing all your meals (and can often get away with expensing laundry). If you scale your home life WAY back (like become someone's roomate just to have a mailing address).

The benefit over going somewhere like IBM, Accenture or Avanade is you are still a blue badge and have access to all the stuff that comes with that.

Downside is that corporate expenses are constantly being cut WAY back. Most of the US based field doesn't have Vista ready hardware (heck I know people who limp along on 4yr old laptops - people who are billing out to customers at rate over $250/hr).

Plus you'd better like brown nosing. Cronyism is horrible in the field. Can't wait to cut your teeth writing a next generation .NET 3.0 app for some huge customer? Great - just go complete this suck ass gig maintaining this rickty old VB6 app which the RM's best buddy goes on to the super sexy engagement.

If you're willing to travel your butt off, your chances for better projects will be higher.

Anonymous said...

I can't wait to see the look on the faces of all those who bailed out of Microsoft when the going got rough, but who will now want a piece of the action once things take off. It will be poetic justice for those of us who toughed it out through the dark hours."

...

"So while your sentiment is nice, the reality is that you really don't lose by leaving Microsoft on good terms and coming back later. Consider it a nice vacation from the bullshit. "

This is exactly how it happend during the dotcom boom - all the people who bailed to join startups came back to just as good, if not better positions.

Anonymous said...

Mini - one of your fears seem to be unfounded. From http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/oct2006/tc20061011_940241.htm :

How much money will you lose per Zune?
None. Apple (AAPL) put the hammer down there, dropped the price down to $249. If they had been $299, it would have been nicer. They have the advantage of scale. So we're at $249, too. We don't make a lot of money, not to start out

Anonymous said...

"How much money will you lose per Zune?
None. Apple (AAPL) put the hammer down there, dropped the price down to $249. If they had been $299, it would have been nicer. They have the advantage of scale. So we're at $249, too. We don't make a lot of money, not to start out."


Yo, Anon! Wouldn't it be nice if we all could base our losses on the other company's selling price. That's what you're doing here!

If we make it for $250 and sell it for $249, we have a loss. Has nada to do with Apple.

Like so many other MSFT boondoggles, Zune gives the buyer no proposition to switch and so, sales will come from unmeasurable metrics not tied to any specific feature or emotion. Tsk, tsk.

Anonymous said...

one commenter brought up a rule in their group that anyone over 30 months at level were slapped with Limited on their review:

Re: Limited

Nice to hear somethings don't change.
Back when I was a blue, I was the recipient of an enforced 2.5 because my previous 3 review scores had been 3.0 with no promotions.


So what happened to the new scale would allow for those consistent strong 3.0 performers that the business needs to get the basic or fundamental work done day in and day out to remain doing the work? I have worked with people over the years that were work horses but always seemed to get 3.0's, yet their contributions were needed and they freed up others on the team to do the more strategic or innovative work.

Anonymous said...

Giving campaign

How can I opt out of the friggin' Giving Campaign anschluss? I get fake voicemails from Raikes, pieces of quilts in my office with sob story appeals, and lots of cheerleading admins. Channel that energy into employee perks and work/life balance (happy employees are more charitable). If you need to give more to charity, then donate all of the out-of-work Windows PUMs. Sheesh.

Mini-D

Anonymous said...

>all the people who bailed to join startups came back to just as good, if not better positions

You better realize that a capable and motivated person can achieve much more in a startup environment where politcs and bullshit are very minimal comparing with within Microsoft. There are simply too many weak managers/leads in Microsoft that mainly play perception, impression and favoritism games, contribute almost nothing but noises to the team and product, screw up badly the morale and career of those hard-working ICs. People quit Microsoft and gain experience somewhere else become more mature and experienced than staying at Microsoft for the same amount of time. Such people are usually more risk-taking and motivated. Most of them deserve an as good as or better positions in MSFT.

Anonymous said...

[i]
If you're willing to travel your butt off, your chances for better projects will be higher.[/i]

For the consulting folks, what is the ratio of domestic to international travel in a consulting position?

Anonymous said...

Definitely a situation here where everyone focuses on Redmond and the product teams.

I've gotten many hours of enjoyment from the things posted on this blog, dents in the armor of Microsoft arrogance. (Meaning-- The company does a great job of telling us how great it is, while not realizing that it is great because of the quality of the people.)

I'd also agree that MyMicrosoft and other changes are supposed to drive a huge perception of change, supposed to convince me that the company knows its ongoing future is tied to its people. It's all more or less been a crock of crap.

Yes the curve more or less went away but now you have a situation where 21% or so of the employees can be effectively retained, because they can be labeled Outstanding and hit 200%+ of their stock award targets.

All the other really great people we need to continue to succeed that didn't fit into 21% get 100% of target if they are lucky.

Amazon paying someone here to do this stuff? If LisaB bails and goes to Amazon or Oracle or something, we'll know.

As for the MCS comment, yep it swings back and forth but for the last three years it's been about the money baby! Make no mistake. Yes Services does great things for our customers. If you look at most of the commitments for Services Management they look good and appear to drive the right behavior. However the reality is you can get Exceeded missing a host of listed commitments but lick the right boots and go chase revenue over anything else and Voila!

It's about getting Services to be a billion dollar business end of story.

The huge gap between Redmond and field based employees continues. I'd not heard about the internal version of minimsft either.

As for the field Sales Districts they are all about politics. People aren't rewarded on quality of work, they are rewarded on quality of suck-up. There was a highly succesful Sales rep I heard about last week for one of the largest OEM accounts that was being forced to voluntarily take a new position for some failure on his part (imagined anyway), then his replacement shows up at an offsite gets drunk and tells people, yeah I called my buddy told him I was tired of California so he's going to fire some guy and give me his job. Oracle now has a great Account Exec. A major Microsoft customer now has a new Account Exec and some yutz from California got to move. Yep. All upside.

But to the topic at hand, Live works well as a search engine. That's a lot of work to finally be as good as the other guy. I don't believe patting ourselves on the back for catching up to Google is going to drive a positive change in the stock price.

Anonymous said...

The internal version of minimsft will never work.

As long as the serfs publish where only other serfs can read it, there is no reason for msft to respond or try and fix it.

This blog works because anyone can see it.

Anonymous said...

How can I opt out of the friggin' Giving Campaign anschluss?

It's not an anschluss, it's the Winter Relief. If one is going to violate Godwin's Law, one should at least be correct in one's nomenclature. :)

Anonymous said...

It was said: People quit Microsoft and gain experience somewhere else become more mature and experienced than staying at Microsoft for the same amount of time. Such people are usually more risk-taking and motivated. Most of them deserve an as good as or better positions in MSFT.

Just to make sure I get this straight: so I leave MS where I work on a technology/platform, go to some dreamy dot com where I work on a nice looking notepad.exe (which then promptly busts) and then I rejoin MS as more experienced, a mature leader? And I wouldn't have gained this experience had I stayed at Microsoft?

Of course, it's possible that some people did grow faster at start-ups than they would have at MS, but this feeling of entitlement upon rejoining is bull and irks the hell out of me. Especially when hiring managers still give preference to external failed dot-com applicants than they do to internal ones.

Anonymous said...

[i]
If you're willing to travel your butt off, your chances for better projects will be higher.[/i]

For the consulting folks, what is the ratio of domestic to international travel in a consulting position?


The amount of travel varies from country to country - in the US, it is a lot; but this is no different from any other US consulting outfit.

In Europe, the travel is much less - generally the projects are based in the larger cities in each country. Some MCS practices have practically zero travel (apart from training/conferences) because the majority of their work is in a couple of locations, each with a local MS office.

If you WANT to travel (domestic or internationally) a lot you can do so as well. It's pretty much up to you.

Anonymous said...

Something's gone very wrong with Microsoft, in my view. Bill Gates still around for two more years? Baloney. All bluebadges know he's been checked out for the previous year. Do you know how many shares BillG has sold since the beginning of the year? 84 meeellion shares. This is not a guy who thinks that Microsoft is going in the right direction.

While we're on the topic of shares and compensation, why is Ann McLaughlin Korogolos leaving the Board of Directors? She was chair of the compensation committee. She's on the audit committee. This really bugs me and it's waaay below the radar. Who in their right mind leaves the Microsoft board unless there's a problem? If anyone has some background on why she's leaving, please enlighten us!

Anonymous said...

>> Ahhem! (clearing throat sound) Vista with no buying proposition years in the making, Office wrapped in a ribbon nobody wants or likes, marginal offerings from Ozzie's group, rank and file disillusioned and restless, HR blowing smoke out its barracks bag, Google buys You Tube, shall I go on? Look at the stock price; it says it all!
>>

We get it. You are short on MSFT and probably trying to justify your position.

How sure are you that there is no buying proposition for Vista or that the OfficeSystem will not make a difference? From my vantage point, 2007 will be a big year for Microsoft and its OEM, System-Builder, VAR, and software partners. Moreso, there is a lot of 3rd-party excitement for these products based on *actual* conversations our group has had with partners worldwide and at the WWPC in July. The channel is primed and ready for the Vista-driven selling season to commence!

Google buying YouTube reminds me of Ebay buying Skype. Both Ebay and Google paid a hefty premium for purchasing private companies with a large audience but without a profitable business model. And we all know that Skype has not bailed EBay out of its slowing growth prospects and declining stock price.

Stock-price wise, MSFT is at a 52-week high after sustaining a 25%+ ongoing rally. So, sir, what is the stock saying to support the FUD that you are spreading?

Anonymous said...

For the consulting folks, what is the ratio of domestic to international travel in a consulting position?

Sir, to avoid the over-simplification typical here, it depends on a few things:

1. Your MCS Subsidiary-GEO
In Europe, Asia, and Latin America, there is generally a little bit more international travel opportunities because technical talent tends to be distributed over several countries.

In North-America, where there is critical mass, MCS is organized by region. So, most engagements would tend to happen within the regional boundary and international engagements are usually the exception. One example of how you can get an international engagement would be if you are assigned to a multinational company HQ'd in your region that needs you in London or HK.


2. Your Technology Specialty
Some very specialized technologies may only have a handful of qualified consultants. It follows then that these specialized consultants tend to be more globally leveraged.

For instance, there is one consultant I know who has the next 6 months booked for international engagements because he is the de-facto expert in his field. He loves international travel and its perks, so its a win-win arrangement.

3. Your Initiative
Microsoft is a large multinational organization with multiple business units, if someone has the talent and initiative to sign-up for international travel, he/she can find a way to make it happen.

Anonymous said...

The stock price went up bc of the company repurchase program back in Aug. In effect MS is shoring up its own stock price. We'll see if Zune, Live, Vista, Office, etc. give any lift to the stock. But so far, the rise isn't bc of any great products coming out of Redmond or increased shareholder confidence in the future/mgmt of the company. So you can save the pats on the back and start shipping.

Anonymous said...

>>So what happened to the new scale would allow for those consistent strong 3.0 performers that the business needs to get the basic or fundamental work done day in and day out to remain doing the work? I have worked with people over the years that were work horses but always seemed to get 3.0's, yet their contributions were needed and they freed up others on the team to do the more strategic or innovative work.

We have an entrenched culture that prevents it. There has never been a way evaluate and retain these much needed people.

Anonymous said...

How can I opt out of the friggin' Giving Campaign anschluss? I get fake voicemails from Raikes

--
You sir, dont understand human psychology. People that make less than 40K vote for billionaire tax cuts. Same applies for giving - low level grunts contribute more than the multi millionaire partners and billionaires.

I sir work in HR. We play with pschychology all the time.

Anonymous said...

I just heard from a friend in the Windows Division that the entire division is being given the entire week of Thanksgiving off as well as the entire week of Christmas. Can anyone confirm this and tell me if this is something that is being extended companywide, shipping divisions or just Windows?

Anonymous said...

Mini,

I posted the original comment suggesting looking outside MSFT product groups and into other problem areas like Consulting and Services.

Earlier this week, Rick Devenuti, SVP of Services and IT, announced his retirement in December. He had a productive 19 year career at MSFT, and is now retiring two years after taking on the massive headache that is Services.

The disconnect between the PG and MCS is wide. The perception (and sometimes truth) is that MCS has several ego and money fueled agendas that conflict with those of the PG. For instance, MCS 'architects' and engagement managers continue to pitch custom software development projects, rather than promote and integrate products since the consulting revenenue would be greater since the project would take longer.

Meanwhile, customers and analysts kill us for appealing to developers only and not having more mature products - which we have, but MCS architects and consultants continue to try to reinvent the wheel.

I have friends in the Support group, who tell me numerous instances of where Support either had to fix MCS screw-ups or significant MIRF funds were spent fixing MCS mistakes.

There are some rotten people in MCS, but the blame can ultimately be attributed to a lack of a cohesive strategy for MCS, and poor executive leadership with little consulting experience. All of this results in problem behaviors and poor accountability. Many senior consultants suffer from arrogance, belligerent customer skills, and lack of depth knowledge of our product line.

Mini, I encourage you to continue to do a full-court press until competent new leadership is in place and tangible positive results are seen. Otherwise the disconnect and dysfunction between Consulting and the PGs will continue to widen and ultimately hurts our ability to engage with customers.

Anonymous said...

Do you know how many shares BillG has sold since the beginning of the year? 84 meeellion shares. This is not a guy who thinks that Microsoft is going in the right direction.

Nice FUD, dude, but check how many shares Bill sold last year. Or the year before. Or five years ago. Selling millions of shares a year for him is like me unloading 500 shares in a year. *sigh*

Anonymous said...

I have to laugh about the self-back-patting about Live search here. I am an independent dev, and Google remains far superior to any of the MS search engines when searching for dev help. Just the other day, a client called with trouble in a .NET 2.0 ClickOnce app; MSDN search etc. proved useless but Google found the answer in *one search*, *first result*. Ironically, the result was a posting in the MSDN forums (which happened to say that MS is aware of the problem but does not yet know how to repro/fix...) I don't know whether Live, MSN, MSDN use the same engine, but again and again I go back to Google and it wins. Sorry - but that's my experience with no axe to grind.

One could say a ton more about the outside view of MS' strategy, roadmap, and priorities, but I'm sure you have your own high-priced people to do that. Still, Zune???!?! Give the iPod-envy a rest and fix Visual Studio 2005, and for cryin' out loud, guys, you are driving people to Linux etc. with the idiocy about requiring betas like IE7 to be tested out on activated systems... I as an independent dev now not only have to pay for production MS software, but have to waste my activations to test your betas, never mind paying for some of the betas? And Vista is going to include stuff that will make any decent corporate security officer nervous, like deactivating features/functionality if it "thinks" there's piracy happening? You guys don't exactly have a stellar reputation with this... Don't you think there's a better way than all this complexity? One has to wonder how many person-years MS has invested in restricting technology, and I'm getting tired of advocating MS technology in the face of well-founded objections from check-signers. Ahhh, maybe all this will engender is more self-congratulation about how Apple has never dared to make a brown iPod or an IDE that crashes when you drag one FlowLayoutPanel over another...

Anonymous said...

"How sure are you that there is no buying proposition for Vista or that the OfficeSystem will not make a difference?"

Hi, Sir! You're back! My, my, where's the accent?

First, let me say that you should direct this rebuttal to the paid media, starting with the Seattle Times, of course. The Softies here aren't gonna buy this script.

Am I sure Vista and Office will be a non-starter? Yes. If you believe the "street"; the upaid "street". Read "What if Microsoft Held a Vista Party and Nobody Came?" at eweek.com. Says it all.

"From my vantage point, 2007 will be a big year for Microsoft and its OEM, System-Builder, VAR, and software partners. Moreso, there is a lot of 3rd-party excitement for these products based on *actual* conversations our group has had with partners worldwide and at the WWPC in July. The channel is primed and ready for the Vista-driven selling season to commence!"

Gimme a "V", gimme an "I"...! Key words here, "from my vantage point". "We like Kool-Aid, taste's great, We like Kool-Aid, can't wait!"

"Google buying YouTube reminds me of Ebay buying Skype. Both Ebay and Google paid a hefty premium for purchasing private companies with a large audience but without a profitable business model. And we all know that Skype has not bailed EBay out of its slowing growth prospects and declining stock price."

Boy, are they dumb! All that money for no business models! Gee, that means we'll have all the money now. Then, we can go out and buy...umm. We can go out an purchase...ahh. We got lots of money, you know that? In fact, we always did. Then, how come we got outbid for MySpace and didn't see YouTube coming? MSFT FUD (see below).

"Stock-price wise, MSFT is at a 52-week high after sustaining a 25%+ ongoing rally. So, sir, what is the stock saying to support the FUD that you are spreading?"

Would be a hell of a lot higher if you had something to sell! My FUD just mirrors what most Softies have: Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt. Your FUD mirrors MSFT's F@#Ked Up Decisions!

Anonymous said...

>> The stock price went up bc of the company repurchase program back in Aug. In effect MS is shoring up its own stock price.
>>

Sir, your argument will carry a lot more weight with some tangible evidence we can sink our teeths into. The philosophy has so-far been to buy the stock when it is at its lowest prices and to prevent dilution in shareholder value. Also, Microsoft has been buying back its own stock for years. Further, the last major offer to buy-back shares was at $24.75 which was severely undersubscribed. This is proof that institutional and individual investors see real long-term value in the stock.

>> We'll see if Zune, Live, Vista, Office, etc. give any lift to the stock.
>>

I am glad to see that you are now at least considering our strong product line-up as a possible catalyst for further positive stock movement.

Vista, Office2007, Longhorn Server, and Exchange 2007 are a given, but I am excited about Zune, XBOX, and LIVE for the following reasons:

1. We are clawing our way up into exciting new markets where we are the underdog. And, I love being the underdog!!!

2. They are great investments of our huge cash position. Cash-on-hand does not provide more than marginal share-holder return (ie. Fed-Funds rate of ~5%). On the other hand, investments in exciting products/services with huge upside can accelerate future growth beyond the 10-12% we've been hovering at lately. In other words, if GOOG can buy YouTube for $1.65B, what is wrong with Microsoft investing $1+B in 2006 to launch the XBOX360? See, sir, companies invest with the potential of future growth in mind.

3. These products show that Microsoft is once again on the offensive. And, aside from SQLServer, we have been defensive for a long time. It is just so refreshing to get back into the real action.

---

We are not quite patting ourselves on the back yet, but we are definitely bullish about our long-term prospects and the difference we make each day.

BizDog said...

So many things going on. That can be good or bad - depends on execution and communication which again comes down to people.

These are our problems - execution, communication, people.

Frankly the upcoming launches are freaking me out. Having done very large global launches at other companies the ones we're embarking on have moderatly ok to really awful execution with people confusing throwing all kinds of information at customers and partners with actual communications. And lots of people worried that this will all go awry and are actively hunting for scapegoats (hello - Brian Valentine anyone?).

I'm nost worried because the "launch wave" has now gone primarily internally focused with active witch hunts in progress. The field will blow up at mid-year as the ensuing budget cuts are looming, a few higher level heads will roll but probably not the right ones and a huge number of our developers will flock elsewhere as they know we're notorious for "launch and let em go". And then we'll have ?????
If only the political survive that doesn't bode well for the future.

Anonymous said...

As for the field Sales Districts they are all about politics. People aren't rewarded on quality of work, they are rewarded on quality of suck-up.

Sorry to burst your bubble, but last I heard, purely sucking-up won't get the field Sales Districts anywhere closer to their aggressive quotas. Without hitting quotas, good bye to 50+% bonuses.

Anonymous said...

>> My FUD just mirrors what most Softies have: Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt. Your FUD mirrors MSFT's F@#Ked Up Decisions!
>>

Tsk, tsk... Such animosity, sir... I think most people here realize by now that you don't constructively have the best interest of the company in mind... Since you are not an employee and you don't seem to be a concerned customer, what motivates you to kick us when we're down and to demonize us when we do something right?

Constructively, you'll probably get more real credibility here if you stopped calling us Softies.

Anonymous said...

"Frankly the upcoming launches are freaking me out. Having done very large global launches at other companies the ones we're embarking on have moderatly ok to really awful execution with people confusing throwing all kinds of information at customers and partners with actual communications. And lots of people worried that this will all go awry and are actively hunting for scapegoats (hello - Brian Valentine anyone?). "

Is there anyone at the helm of this company? If all the above is true, can't someone put these bastards in a room, calm them down and give them their marching orders with non-performance meaning...your fired! (spoken ala Donald Trump)

Man, I remember Mgt. 101 at good old Syracuse University; these Jamokes break every rule imagineable! Where is the leadership!?

Anonymous said...

Independent Dev, if MS is driving people to Linux, pray what are you still doing here?

Live search doesn't do newsgroups (usenet). We know that. Thank you. Bye Bye.

Anonymous said...

There seem to be a lot of microsoft full time employees converted from CSGs. Especially so and so these days.

My personal experience is that the majority of these CSG-converted FTEs should have never been a microsoft hire:

1. loser attitude: rarely would a confident/talented person want to be a contractor at MS
2. a lot of small dirty tricks, rotten the working environment
3. not talented, but good at ass-kissing (so they finally got to convert to FTEs)
4. MS still hires some of the most elite from industry and schools, but the wholesale conversion of CSGs to FTEs has significantly lowered the company's hiring bar: "A"s hire "A"s, "B"s hire "C"s

There are certainly some good hires out of these CSGs. But rarely. 95% of these CSG-derived FTEs are crap.

----- long term ms veteran, first time poster

Anonymous said...

Re: contractors -> FTEs
I think just as damaging are testers->PM and testers->Dev.

Everyone know that testers at MS a maybe half a step above a contractor, and yet these people infest the PM a Dev ranks as well. Yikes.

Anonymous said...

There are certainly some good hires out of these CSGs. But rarely. 95% of these CSG-derived FTEs are crap.

I've personally had the pleasure of working with many very smart and passionate FTEs who started out as CSGs. Also, there are CSGs in our group right now that hands-down beat some of our best FTEs in terms of individual contribution. Sometimes, it seems that they are just more driven because they want to get hired into the company full-time.

Is it possible that the phenomena you observe (e.g. 95% of CSGs being crappy) is something local to your group? In this case, I think you should frankly inform the managers who made the CSG hiring decisions about the quality issue.

Anonymous said...

Guys,

I have got to say that what I'm reading here are people fixated on the wrong goals.

Forget about fixing Microsoft. You can't do it. Only the shareholders can do it, and that will require a major bloodbath in your top six layers of management. (Like, say, chopping it down to three layers of management, tops, and handing that screaming, chair-tossing cretin his walking papers, even if he is your biggest shareholder's only friend. Ballmer was never capable of running a taco stand, let alone a multi-billion dollar organization. He is the ultimate proof of the Peter principle.)

When you see talented people around you whose talents are going to waste, when you see customers not getting their needs met, when you see great ideas shelved because they won't help some car-collecting, golf-and-cigars management dink get his next quarterly bonus, LEAVE.

Go out into the market on your own, gather up the former colleagues that you know are underemployed by the Evil Empire, and start serving your customers. Forget about your competition, that's a Ballmer way of thinking. Concentrate on your CUSTOMERS, and you can make the world a better place.

I know it's scary to start a business (I've done it three times myself), but if you don't have the guts to take a risk, then it's your own damned fault if you end up on unemployment when someone who doesn't even have a clue of how to do your job fires you to make his headcount reduction quota and pocket another twenty grand in bonus money.

Anonymous said...

Man, I remember Mgt. 101 at good old Syracuse University; these Jamokes break every rule imagineable! Where is the leadership!?

What specific rules have been broken? Is this another trip to the colorful world of imagineables where the Jamokes and Wildabees roam freely?

Truth is, I see a lot of negative comments like yours that are devoid of any substance. I question why I am even responding...

----------------------------------

And lots of people worried that this will all go awry and are actively hunting for scapegoats (hello - Brian Valentine anyone?)

This is a mere recycling of old news. I'm sure you've heard that we're finally shipping! :-)

Btw, I definitely agree that some apprehension is healthy as it keeps us on our toes. What things have you observed that need to be acted on about the confusing messages? There are entire groups in SMS&P, DPE, and product marketing that should be made aware of any concerns you are seeing. One thing is sure, though, the WWPC this July had the most concrete call-to-action for our partners that I've seen in many years.

Anonymous said...

I just heard from a friend in the Windows Division that the entire division is being given the entire week of Thanksgiving off as well as the entire week of Christmas. Can anyone confirm this and tell me if this is something that is being extended companywide, shipping divisions or just Windows?

"Being given" makes it sound like a perk. These folks are working on the MS cash cow. Many have worked 6 day weeks for months. Some have been on 7 day weeks the last month or so.

Being given 3 extra days off for Thanksgiving is something that Jim Alchin mentioned. Not sure what it takes to get that.

No mention of an Xmas vacation.

No, I don't work in Windows, but I have a buddy who works there.

I've seen posts here about the cushy ship parties many redmond folks have had out of town (Exchange and SQL were the teams mentioned IIRC). I'd bet the actual cost to the company is much greater than giving these folks 3 extra days off when most folks aren't doing anything productive anyway.

Anonymous said...

There seem to be a lot of microsoft full time employees converted from CSGs. Especially so and so these days.

My personal experience is that the majority of these CSG-converted FTEs should have never been a microsoft hire:


I haven't seen a CSG get moved to FTE in the last 4 years. I didn't think it was happening anywhere anymore.

I disagree with your conversion comments though. Many of these folks would make excellent employees. Lots of great experience and tons of potential. Compare that to college hires who just have potential. I'll take a guy who knows WTF he's doing on a day to day basis over some college nerd anyday. Many of the college hires think that some tasks are beneath them. Folks who started as a CSG seems to be hungrier.

Anonymous said...

Heard from a good authority that the insidems blog will be online within the week. Run by the IT department, built on sharepoint, bluebadge access only etc.

Anonymous said...

There seem to be a lot of microsoft full time employees converted from CSGs. Especially so and so these days.

My personal experience is that the majority of these CSG-converted FTEs should have never been a microsoft hire:


It seems to depend on the group. My exposure has been within the PSS/CSS org where the time as CSG has frequently been considered a 1-year job interview. Though in recent years, the front-line US Based Blue PSS/CSS folks have been at a decline in numbers lately, but other groups have been picking up the good CSG folks.

When I was working in CSS (moved to another group ~3 years ago), almost my entire team in Issaquah had started as CSGs (most back before the change to CSG rules). Most are still working in various aspects of Microsoft and all are good FTEs. My current team would rather have good former PSS CSGs than external hires. But with the gutting of PSS that has been going on for the past 3+ years, it is getting more and more difficult to provide quality support to our customers.

Anonymous said...

"Truth is, I see a lot of negative comments like yours that are devoid of any substance. I question why I am even responding..."

You are responding, "sir", because you were told to. You were told to because "damage control" at MSFT sees the damage that the "negative comments of no substance" are causing. The world is seeing your dirty laundry and, it's NOT a pretty sight. Truth is...truth can be painful.

Remember this: In most conspiracies, it is the "cover up" that brings the conspirators down and not necessarily the conspiracy.

Paulsc said...

The guy slamming CSGs who become FTEs is as clueless as those who want to restrict H1-B applicants. Smart, committed and dedicated people come from everywhere. We need more of them, not less.

Anonymous said...

I have got to say that what I'm reading here are people fixated on the wrong goals.

Forget about fixing Microsoft. You can't do it. Only the shareholders can do it, and that will require a major bloodbath in your top six layers of management.


Sir, if you are commenting solely based on what you read here then your are mostly seeing only one side of the coin.

Granted that there is always room for improvement for whatever company, I doubt any shareholder will appreciate the stock-price-bloodbath brought about by destroying the top six layers of management. In fact, I don't recall any company survive the removal of 6 layers of top-management.

Anonymous said...

Did I miss something?

Internal blog?

http://minimsft ?

What?

Presuming for an instant that I haven't missed anything and that this isn't some ill-formed joke, this notion is poorly considered. Count your 'Anonymous' postings. Now, who's going to post internally? That many, huh?

Punk, what happened to the fear of exposure? Of repercussions?

I've heard others tell me before that "minimsft is sponsored by the company, don't go near it", but thought that was ridiculous and smacked of a police state (even for Microsoft).

Again, did I miss something??

Anonymous said...

Live search doesn't do newsgroups (usenet). We know that. Thank you. Bye Bye.

A lot of searches are directly, or indirectly, support queries.

Google (despite what they put forth for google.groups ) has no monopoly on Usenet. There is no reason why Live Search can't do as well or better.

Anonymous said...

Mini, heres an idea - how about a post devoted to discussing how hard it is to actually fire an FTE? Would be interesting to hear managers chime in with their experiences. AFAIK, its an absolute nightmare to fire anyone because you're supposed to follow a painful process, with a long document trail, etc and its actually quite tedious and frustrating (thats what I hear anyway). Compared to that, firing a CSG is almost too easy... ;-)

Who da'Punk said...

Please note I was being facetious in calling the internal HR sponsored blog http://minimsft/ - it was nothing to do with me. Well, "me" me.

Anonymous said...

I gotta clarify some of the points the poster "who has the beef with MCS" is raising:

Earlier this week, Rick Devenuti, SVP of Services and IT, announced his retirement in December. He had a productive 19 year career at MSFT, and is now retiring two years after taking on the massive headache that is Services.

And your point is what exactly? The guy retired for personal reasons. You don't make any observation on the fact, you're referring to a piece of public knowledge.

The disconnect between the PG and MCS is wide. The perception (and sometimes truth) is that MCS has several ego and money fueled agendas that conflict with those of the PG. For instance, MCS 'architects' and engagement managers continue to pitch custom software development projects, rather than promote and integrate products since the consulting revenenue would be greater since the project would take longer.

You obviously work in a PG. Many MCS people have a perception that the PG's are filled with egos too. I guess things cut both ways - as you say there is a disconnect which needs to be addressed. However, I've never heard of MCS promoting a custom dev solution when our products can achieve the same thing. Given that MCS costs roughly 1.5 to 2 times the cost of partners, and headcount is relatively low, it's tough to figure out how MCS could adopt this approach in reality.

I have friends in the Support group, who tell me numerous instances of where Support either had to fix MCS screw-ups or significant MIRF funds were spent fixing MCS mistakes.

I call BS on this. Firstly, it is VERY difficult to get MIRF. Secondly, if MCS were engaged on a given project, that project is immediately ineligible for MIRF.
Yes there will be instances where support have to fix screw-ups. This is unavoidable - but the number of occurrences of this should be very minimal I would hope. There is a "poor child" feeling in support with respect to MCS - many PSS people see MCS as getting all the perks. Support is a vastly different role than consulting, requiring a totally different skillset.

There are some rotten people in MCS, but the blame can ultimately be attributed to a lack of a cohesive strategy for MCS, and poor executive leadership with little consulting experience.

Again, I call BS. Services has currently got the most cohesive strategy I have seen in the past 8 years. The exec leadership (in my region anyway) all have a good consulting track record.

Anonymous said...

Mini, heres an idea - how about a post devoted to discussing how hard it is to actually fire an FTE? Would be interesting to hear managers chime in with their experiences. AFAIK, its an absolute nightmare to fire anyone because you're supposed to follow a painful process, with a long document trail, etc and its actually quite tedious and frustrating (thats what I hear anyway)."

Firing for cause - the few times I've seen it - is a long painful process. Firing for politics on the other hand, is simple, routine, expedient and HR won't say a word about the process that wasn't followed.

MSFTextrememakeover said...

"Sir, your argument will carry a lot more weight with some tangible evidence we can sink our teeths into."

Agree and it will arrive shortly via the quarterlies when we see how much buying MSFT has been doing.

"The philosophy has so-far been to buy the stock when it is at its lowest prices and to prevent dilution in shareholder value."

That may have been the philosophy. The reality is that most purchases were made at current or higher prices and last year was the first year since 00 that they were sufficient to offset dilution.

"Further, the last major offer to buy-back shares was at $24.75 which was severely undersubscribed. This is proof that institutional and individual investors see real long-term value in the stock."

No, it merely says they thought $24.75 was too low at that point in time.

Bottom line, we will know what institutional investors think about long-term value when MSFT stops using shareholder $ to prop up the stock and it either rises or falls on merit vs gimmicks. For now, what evidence exists (Insitutional Ownership") isn't encouraging.

Anonymous said...

"However, I've never heard of MCS promoting a custom dev solution when our products can achieve the same thing. Given that MCS costs roughly 1.5 to 2 times the cost of partners, and headcount is relatively low, it's tough to figure out how MCS could adopt this approach in reality."

Then you need to get out in the field more. And re costs, once the customer trusts MSFT, they often take MCS's words for things. If the engagement manager says this is the way to go, the rest normally becomes a price negotiation not a credibility confrontation. I would concede that this isn't just about billable $. In many cases, MCS just lacks the awareness of what else is out there (MS and especially 3rd pty). They're too busy just trying to meet their utilization rates billing for stuff they know, far less getting any in depth feel for what other options exist. This is not dissimilar from other consulting houses, but then MCS isn't meant to be just like the rest.

Anonymous said...

My personal experience is that the majority of these CSG-converted FTEs should have never been a microsoft hire

Bottom line, Microsoft is having trouble attracting talent. Unfortunately, a lot of CSG projects are definitely and strategically being used as "farm clubs" for cultivating FTE. Particularly in the Live/MSN/Adcenter realm. Newbies are being grouped, trained and "acculturated" directly for internal FTE hire. And as much as that sucks its a great idea. The newbies aren't infected by Microsoft's past, they bring vigor and optimism, and if they aren't geniuses then at least they are being taught to work together. I would guess that optimizing CSG at this point is as important to Microsoft as it has been at any point in the past.

Superb Momentum said...

"Forget about fixing Microsoft. You can't do it."

I am not a Microsoftie so I don't know if the views expressed on this blog have had any effect on day-to-day processes and procedures but according to wikipedia it has already inspired some changes such as the employee review process:

"One of Mini-Microsoft's favorite targets in his early posts was the Microsoft review system, which required that employee ratings be fit to a curve. For the summer 2006 review process, the system was changed so that evaluation of an employee's past performance was no longer curved. Mini-Microsoft is widely credited with inspiring this change, although this has never been confirmed."

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mini-Microsoft

If you ask me, this is a good start.

Anonymous said...

If you look at your own group's hiring experiences: does "Hire for Microsoft" principle still apply these days?

Anonymous said...

MSFTExtremeMakeover, nice insight about the stock ticking green.

I assume you are wise and going short on MSFT...

Anonymous said...

Proxy statements are out. Show your support for the current leadership and vote no for retaining Ballmer, Gates, and the rest of the board. Make sure you use your comment section to state why.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of the giving campaign anschluss, could someone in managerial position comment on whether it's possible to track down the people who did not contribute anything.

I don't really want to contribute this year, in part due to the "anschluss". On the other hand I know that participation percentages are available to management and they just won't get off our fucking backs until they reach the "goals". The thing I want to find out is the granularity of the stats so that I'd know if it's possible to single me out and punish for non-participation come review/promotion time (in which case I will contribute a symbolic sum).

Anonymous said...

It is not possible to track down an individuals who do not participate in giving campaign. Though data is maintained by HR.

Anonymous said...

I just heard from a friend in the Windows Division that the entire division is being given the entire week of Thanksgiving off as well as the entire week of Christmas. Can anyone confirm this and tell me if this is something that is being extended companywide, shipping divisions or just Windows?

News to me. I'm somewhere under Windows and haven't heard anything about this.

Maybe I should go to more WIMs instead of working Friday afternoons?

Anonymous said...

"My personal experience is that the majority of these CSG-converted FTEs should have never been a microsoft hire"

Bottom line, Microsoft is having trouble attracting talent. Unfortunately, a lot of CSG projects are definitely and strategically being used as "farm clubs" for cultivating FTE."

In the case of testers at least, there, I have seen quite a few CSG's get in. Nowadays, it means that they need to have at the minimum a Computer Sciences degree. I have observed that in many cases, if they are among the Blessed Ones (righ color or "hispanics" whatever the hell this last one is), they'll get in withoug fail during or at the end of their first contract as "diversity hires".

Just the facts, Mam.

Anonymous said...

http://upgradetravel.blogspot.com/2006/10/giving-new-economy-class-seats-their.html

True to Microsoft form, we've completely ignored and f--ked up a great relationship opportunity to put MS Office in airplanes. We suck, and will just never get it.

Anonymous said...

Is it "possible to track down the people who did not contribute anything"?

It is - social engineering.

Should you care? No.

Contribute if you feel generous, don't if you don't.

I stopped contributing when my year over year raise fell below inflation, without problems.

Anonymous said...

***********************************
* Mini, they caught you right?
***********************************

You get what you wished for. A flat and leaner organization in many places. GMs, PUMs and Directots all got reassigned (read "demoted") to take on "real world" roles. They were kicked but not fired. Most of the managers stepped down to be a lead or IC. Dev leads turn into tech leads or ICs.

I guess you are mentally stressful now since it hits you like a firestorm. You never expect that St***Si will be so determined and insensitive, right? In the next few weeks, we shall know that whether you still have your job at Microsoft. I won;t be surprise that you follow Scoble's footstep.

Let's see how those top level VPs/Directors could change the world post Vista.

Anonymous said...

"I have friends in the Support group, who tell me numerous instances of where Support either had to fix MCS screw-ups or significant MIRF funds were spent fixing MCS mistakes."

Wow. Been there, down that. When I was on the phones back in the days of Premier-IP/RAS (9+ years), you could regularly count on at least 1 call per week from MCS raising a Sev 1. Some were really hairy (some intelligence would have prevented most from getting that bad in the first place) but you'd have the consultant on the phone and just know they didn't have a clue as to any real tech knowledge. The worst though, were the simple ones that even a paper MCSE could have fixed.

MCS owes PSS big time.

Anonymous said...

To the poster who asks: "Should I join MCS?" I would anwser: it depends. The travel requirements for regional practices are indeed severe. If you want to avoid that, the key is to get a Redmond job, because many Redmond-based MCS employees barely travel at all. This is because they can easily position themselves to work almost exclusively on internal BIF projects. Real on-the-road consultants look down upon this, but that's mostly jealousy.

From a role perspective, you should choose wisely whether you want to be a TS (Technical Specialist) or a consultant. As a TS, you are basically a salesperson, and you are compensated based upon that. A successful TS can get a much larger bonus than a consultant. As a consultant, you will be compensated based upon utilization, but only up to a certain point. The bonuses are very small, depend strongly on the success of your pratice over which you have 0 control, and your best bet for advancement is to get a promotion. But you'll get to do more technical work.

Anonymous said...

Some idiot said: "True to Microsoft form, we've completely ignored and f--ked up a great relationship opportunity to put MS Office in airplanes. We suck, and will just never get it."

We got it enough to convince 90% of them to use our office. It is the airline who does not think, quite appropriately, office is essential in flight. Otherwise the airline would have licensed our office. Think about it. Such technology costs thousands of dollar per seat and saving one hundred dollar is immaterial, unless the airline thinks that not many are going to use the feature. If the airline had thought people would use office in the flight then the airline would have chosen our office instead of the last generation star office. Of course, most people are going to play games or watch movies on these interactive entertainment system. Expect Xbox and Zune once the internet becomes cheap on flights. May take number of years though.

Who da'Punk said...

I guess you are mentally stressful now since it hits you like a firestorm.

No stress, just applauding success and exceptionally curious to see where it leads to and how the Microsofties on the front-lines grow and perform.

Anonymous said...

There's been a lot of talk here about a RIF right after Vista.

Does anyone know which groups will be impacted?

Anonymous said...

***********************************
* Mini, they caught you right?
***********************************
--------

heh ... based upon what ..

Anonymous said...

"In the case of testers at least, there, I have seen quite a few CSG's get in. Nowadays, it means that they need to have at the minimum a Computer Sciences degree. I have observed that in many cases, if they are among the Blessed Ones (righ color or "hispanics" whatever the hell this last one is), they'll get in withoug fail during or at the end of their first contract as "diversity hires"
----------------

Having a CS degree is a more stringent requirement than for PM, sadly enough. I know PMs with degrees in English and History (these ppl should be fired btw).

Anonymous said...

"However, I've never heard of MCS promoting a custom dev solution when our products can achieve the same thing. Given that MCS costs roughly 1.5 to 2 times the cost of partners, and headcount is relatively low, it's tough to figure out how MCS could adopt this approach in reality."

Then you need to get out in the field more. And re costs, once the customer trusts MSFT, they often take MCS's words for things. If the engagement manager says this is the way to go, the rest normally becomes a price negotiation not a credibility confrontation. I would concede that this isn't just about billable $. In many cases, MCS just lacks the awareness of what else is out there (MS and especially 3rd pty). They're too busy just trying to meet their utilization rates billing for stuff they know, far less getting any in depth feel for what other options exist. This is not dissimilar from other consulting houses, but then MCS isn't meant to be just like the rest.


I posted the original "calling BS" comment. I work in the field. In MCS. As an engagement manager. I stand by my comment - in my region anyway. I can't speak for other parts of the globe.


From a role perspective, you should choose wisely whether you want to be a TS (Technical Specialist) or a consultant. As a TS, you are basically a salesperson, and you are compensated based upon that. A successful TS can get a much larger bonus than a consultant. As a consultant, you will be compensated based upon utilization, but only up to a certain point. The bonuses are very small, depend strongly on the success of your pratice over which you have 0 control, and your best bet for advancement is to get a promotion. But you'll get to do more technical work.

There isn't necessarily a huge difference between the bonus for a high performing consultant and a high performing TS. Both are in the 40-50% arena. For low performing consultants, the bonus pot is less than a low performing TS. But because the compensation plan differs, the MCS people get a higher base salary so it pretty much evens out for the lower performers.

Anonymous said...

"I guess you are mentally stressful now since it hits you like a firestorm. You never expect that St***Si will be so determined and insensitive, right? In the next few weeks, we shall know that whether you still have your job at Microsoft. I won;t be surprise that you follow Scoble's footstep."

IMO, Mini's dreams are about the human spirit, Scoble's about the excitement of the marketplace and innovation. Mini's a caregiver, Scoble a caretaker. Scoble left because his dreams weren't coming true; Mini stays because, his dreams...are.

Min'll go back to his desk; in fact, he doesn't want to leave it. But, he'll still be true to his mantra: "Chastise me, please, should I stumble into falsehoods. But not for shinning a light and remarking, "whoa, that stinks!""

Microsofties, trust me, you do not want Mini to leave. And, trust me, he won't.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said:
> I stopped contributing when my year over year raise fell below inflation, without problems.

For a minute, I thought "good for you", but then I realized you were talking about charitable contribution, and not your work.

Anonymous said...

Somebody asked: "There's been a lot of talk here about a RIF right after Vista.

Does anyone know which groups will be impacted?"

Ballmer just increased our R&D budget by 20 percent. I do not see 20% salary/perks increase. So obviously the extra R&D budget will be spent on paying salary to more people unless this extra 20% is just SPSA grant of one billion dollars.

Bottomline: see some more hiring because of increased budget.

Anonymous said...

There isn't necessarily a huge difference between the bonus for a high performing consultant and a high performing TS. Both are in the 40-50% arena.

BS.

Outstanding/Strong + level up.

Bonus 20% + Promo 5%

It's fact.

Anonymous said...

"Let's see how those top level VPs/Directors could change the world post Vista."

Why don't we start with some less lofty goals - like say, shipping the product and maybe generating some earnings acceleration to justify their recent $1B bonus?

Anonymous said...

"You get what you wished for. A flat and leaner organization in many places. GMs, PUMs and Directots all got reassigned (read "demoted") to take on "real world" roles. They were kicked but not fired. Most of the managers stepped down to be a lead or IC. Dev leads turn into tech leads or ICs."

That's flatter. How is it leaner? Sounds like just another attempt at pretending to enforce true accountability. Until the price for failure is that you're gone not merely reassigned or demoted, then by and large it's just ineffectual business as usual.

Who da'Punk said...

Wellll clicky there. Looks like the new internal HR-leadership sponsored blog has launched (10/20/06 Micronews).

Any initial impressions? Are you likely to participate now? Or later?

I'm going to have to think about the quarterly meetings to improve Microsofties "blogging savvy."

Microsoft is the most blog savvy company there is. Period. What exactly is broke that needs fixing?

Anonymous said...

I work in the field. In MCS. As an engagement manager.

Oh I feel a fake...

There isn't necessarily a huge difference between the bonus for a high performing consultant and a high performing TS. Both are in the 40-50% arena.

Definitely a fake. Move on, nothing to see here.

Anonymous said...

>Having a CS degree is a more stringent requirement than for PM, sadly enough. I know PMs with degrees in English and History (these ppl should be fired btw).

Christ, yes. I'm tired of dealing with PMs who have to be explicitly told what they should be doing and yet still manage to drop the ball.

Anonymous said...

I work in the field. In MCS. As an engagement manager.

Oh I feel a fake...

There isn't necessarily a huge difference between the bonus for a high performing consultant and a high performing TS. Both are in the 40-50% arena.

Definitely a fake. Move on, nothing to see here.


I guess we'll have to agree to differ. My comments definitely aren't fake. It's tough to prove otherwise on an anonymous blog. I know my own facts for my own performance and those of some DR's - maybe it's widely different across regions. I dunno. What would I have to achieve by lying, huh?

Anonymous said...

RE: My exposure has been within the PSS/CSS org where the time as CSG has frequently been considered a 1-year job interview.

I see this as a great hiring strategy if it is used more widely. A couple of the worst people on my team are people who were hired recently based solely on their interviews. It would have been great to have had a trial period with these people so we could have let them go after seeing how they work. Now, they are just part of the accumulating deadwood at Microsoft. A couple of the CSGs we have hired recently however have been awesome and we knew that they would be in advance of converting them to FTEs. Something to think about.

Anonymous said...

Today's Microsoft needs top talents more than ever before. One of the above posts said it well:

"A"s hire "A"s, "B"s hire "C"s.

If your team is counting on people converted from contractors to succeed, then ms will be better served by handing your team/project over to Volt. Probably your team's management needs some training in hiring and managing projects.

A much better choice: go to the top engineering schools and get some master/phd graduates.

Anonymous said...

If anyone hasn't visited the internal blog from LisaB you should do so. Only one topic post up there, but a huge amount of comments. And I am STUNNED at the candor in the comments. Nobody is pulling any punches. I don't see double posts from here, but I do see similar themes. It's sort of like Mini is shaking a champagne bottle and aiming at the internal blog before popping the cork. Funny stuff.

Anonymous said...

Regarding "A"s hire "A"s, "B"s hire "C"s:

Do you know the pushback I get when I opt to give a candidate a no-hire, even after I've been right twice? And yes, that implies that twice, I was the only no-hire, and we've got two deadwoods now that I'd warned against.

See, apparently outside the ivory tower there are these unfortunate things in the real world called headcount budgets. And managers are sometimes told that open headcount that is not filled will be going away as of a certain date. When that happens, they do what they have to do, and hope that the person they hire will take at least SOME work off existing staff, even if they don't take a full person's work off existing staff. The theory is that SOME help is better than none.

In one of the two cases I mention above, it backfired. The person requires a substantial amount of help from other staff, to such an extent that we probably would be better off without him around. The manager is reluctant to get rid of him, as that would look bad for the manager, so instead he's told us to find simple, repetitive things we can explain to this person and then have them do.

This particular individual was in fact a contractor for our team before being hired full time. He has a pedigree from one of those Great Schools (TM). And after 8 months FTE, he is still not cutting it.

Conversely: our team also has 5 great FTE's who started out as contractors. The team's allotment of exceeded/outstanding's this year went to two of them. Here's how we do it. Our team has a policy of having one high-potential CSG at all times, so that if need be, that person can step in at a moment's notice, in a more critical role. (People go on parental leave, have 4 weeks of leave to use up even during Vista ship times, and the like. It's useful to have spare talent on the technical bench, and a CSG is the easiest way we've found to get it.) Our team is, overall, a good one. Also we apparently have our Volt rep trained on the caliber of CSG we want. So frequently these CSGs convert to FTE around the 10th month. We've had good luck for the most part.

So I disagree that it's the CSG -> FTE path that's the problem everywhere.

In some places, like ours, it's the pressure to hire before the req expires that causes difficulty. As too many of us know, it's just not as easy to get the good candidates as it used to be. I'm a former CSG. Yes, I'm one of the two exceeded/outstandings. A SillyValley startup kind of guy, I never would have dreamed of working for a company as huge as Microsoft until I took a contract on a lark 5 years ago and found out (to my surprise, to be honest) that the team I was assigned to was full of engineers as talented as those I'd worked with at other companies. The company never could have hired me WITHOUT the CSG program, because a one-day interview would not have been enough to convince me that Microsoft can be a great place for that top 3-5% or so of technical standouts, as well as Jim Gray and Anders -level top 0.001% superstars.

Anonymous said...

>> If your team is counting on people converted
>> from contractors to succeed..blah blah blah

As opposed to people who were lucky enough to know the right answers to questions they were asked during an interview loop? Besides, contractors go through the same five hour interview loop when converting to FTE as everyone else. It's not like they just get "converted" somehow.

Personally, I've seen some GREAT contractors turn FTE, particularly in Test (I've never seen an SDE contractor). Before they're even given an opportunity to go through a loop, their MSFT managers will look long and hard on how well they know their shit.

In other words, I don't see how a contractor-turned-FTE is any worse than a brand new FTE off the street.

Anonymous said...

"I can't wait to see the look on the faces of all those who bailed out of Microsoft when the going got rough, but who will now want a piece of the action once things take off. It will be poetic justice for those of us who toughed it out through the dark hours."

As one of those who bailed out twice during those dark years, I can tell you that this is the most ridiculous thing that I have ever heard. If I was ever to come back to MSFT for a third time (and don't think the recruiters haven't been calling), I'd walk in with wages far exceeding what I would have been able to get if I'd stuck around getting 4.0s and not being able to beat the increases in the cost of living with my crappy raises.

Microsoft won't reward your loyalty. Microsoft is a company. A company with a zillion people working for it. Microsoft doesn't care that you stuck around. The minute that money can be saved by not having you around, you'll be gone. Ask an STE if you can find one of them around since most of that work got moved to China and India.

Anonymous said...

In most cases, a confident & talented programmer would never want to be a contractor. They simply are not good enough to pass a real MS loop.

We all know how these CSG->FTE interview loops are like - a show loop for HR only... The truth is, these conversions mostly happen within the team where a CSG has been with for some time - and likely the only entry point a CSG can find to get blue badge.

As a long timer, my personal observation is that the vast majority of these converted from CSGs are nowhere near the quality of an industry or a college hire.

There are some exceptions, but very rare.

Anonymous said...

Just can't stand it. I want to get in a reply to this for blogsterity (blog posterity).

anonymous said...
In most cases, a confident & talented programmer would never want to be a contractor. They simply are not good enough to pass a real MS loop.

You're entitled to your opinion of course, but my experience differs. I'm sure back in the day, the decision to interview at MS was a no-brainer because of the near-certain potential for rewards. Guess what? No longer will 5 years at MS net you enough to retire or at least take some time off to enjoy life. There are better opportunities out there. One of our best CSGs has been banging on Google's door relentlessly for a year; he was offered a low-level grunt dev job there, but he's holding out for a lead position, and contracting at Microsoft in the interim. We've almost convinced him to consider Microsoft the next time our group has an FTE position open.

We all know how these CSG->FTE interview loops are like - a show loop for HR only... The truth is, these conversions mostly happen within the team where a CSG has been with for some time - and likely the only entry point a CSG can find to get blue badge.

Now THAT is true. If your degree is not from a top-10 engineering school, and you don't have a famous former employer, you'll likely never get through the HR resume screen in my part of Microsoft. Going CSG for a while brings you to the attention of people who otherwise wouldn't know you from Adam. I got my first request to do an FTE interview loop less than two months into my contract. But regards to CSG->FTE interviews being all show, I know at least one very high quality contributor who didn't get through his loop, because he drew a set of interviewers that didn't mesh well with his more-reserved personality. I know another CSG from our group who interviewed in a different group and didn't get an offer. This worked out well for us, as we had never intended for another group to get first choice on a candidate we were interested in; we subsequently interviewed and hired him, and all were happy.

As a long timer, my personal observation is that the vast majority of these converted from CSGs are nowhere near the quality of an industry or a college hire.

There are some exceptions, but very rare.

It depends on the quality of CSG you bring in. Some groups are good at it. Most groups aren't, or perhaps they have different goals than ours does. We're pickier about our CSGs than I think many groups are. Our group has exec visibility to the Ray Ozzie level and we work on some of the "next big things." Plus, we have a recruiter who's good at turning over rocks. Consequently, we seem to engage talented CSGs most of the time, many of whom are Valley refugees like myself. This is not usual, but is proof that it can be done IF that's the best thing for your group.

I'm weary of the whining that industry hires, particularly those that come in initially as CSGs, are not as good as CMU newbies. That just isn't the case. I find that industry hires have more realistic expectations, less arrogance and more of a team-player mentality than the recent CMU and Cambridge grads our group has hired. The latter come with great aptitude and credentials, but also a disturbing sense of entitlement that's almost completely not present in CSGs.

Isn't that same type of entitlement mentality one of the most disturbing things about The 900?

Anonymous said...

Limit the influx of CSGs to FTEs, please. We can let some of the top CSGs in if they can pass a real hiring loop, but no "wholesale" conversion. Please help keep our company as sane.

I have about 50 friends across the company. They work in Windows Core, DevDiv, Office, windows mobile, xbox groups.

Most of them are rock stars. And we all got graduate degrees from top engineering schools: MIT, Standford, Berkeley, CMU, UMich, UW-Madison, GeorgeTech, Maryland, Brown, etc.

Who said CMU graduates are not team players?? The number of CMU alumni I know --- they all rock and are great team players too. And now most of them are managers, of course.

Anonymous said...

MIT, Berkeley, Stanford and CMU are in a different league from the rest of the top 10 CS schools like Maryland, Brown, GTech, UW, etc.

Anonymous said...

>>>> "Sir, your argument will carry a lot more weight with some tangible evidence we can sink our teeths into."

>> ExtremeMSFTMakeover said:
Agree and it will arrive shortly via the quarterlies when we see how much buying MSFT has been doing.



Now that the quarterly is out, it's now obvious that ExtremeMSFTMakeover was barking up the wrong tree all along... Tsk, tsk...


>> MSFTExtremeMakeover, nice insight about the stock ticking green.

>>I assume you are wise and going short on MSFT...


That would have been quite expensive for MSFTExtremeMakeover...

Anonymous said...

"As for the field Sales Districts they are all about politics. People aren't rewarded on quality of work, they are rewarded on quality of suck-up. There was a highly succesful Sales rep I heard about last week for one of the largest OEM accounts that was being forced to voluntarily take a new position for some failure on his part (imagined anyway), then his replacement shows up at an offsite gets drunk and tells people, yeah I called my buddy told him I was tired of California so he's going to fire some guy and give me his job. Oracle now has a great Account Exec. A major Microsoft customer now has a new Account Exec and some yutz from California got to move. Yep. All upside."

Dear Anon: I was part of the game of telephone that led to your self-pitying buddy telling you this story. The "imagined" failure was a class-A f'up undermining big mgmt in front of the customer, and his mgr showed a lot of class trying to find him a place in MSFT where he couldn't hurt anything. I don't know the yutz from Cali, but good luck to the "great AE's" new mgmt at Oracle.