Saturday, November 15, 2008

But Mini, I Want To Talk About...

Don't want to talk about reaching L63 at Microsoft and bummed that I've locked down the comment stream on that post to be my way or the cutting-room-floor?

Tell you what I'll do: I'll put this post up to have a post to riff within, but still stay within my commenting guidelines.

What's on your mind?

  • Who's still hiring at Microsoft? How teams are locking down and freaked out about the risk of losing positions if people try to leave? Ideas to move groups?
  • Wondering if the mobile team can be possibly slapped enough to compete against the iPhone and Android momentum?
  • What's up with Arik Hesseldahl calling Microsoft big and bloated? Is that passé now?
  • I still love my Media Center PC, even though lately it's started hating all of us... is this how SkyNet starts?
  • Azure. (shakes head) It makes me want to sing to the Talking Heads about how this is not my beautiful house. It's a solution. It will solve problems. Are they really the right problems, and therefore, is it really the right solution?
  • Kudos for a great PDC / Win7 debut. I'm drawing hearts around my sketch of SteveSi... and littles x's and o's... ahem.
  • On that theme: since the Company Meeting 2008, I've felt that we've turned a corner. A good corner. Do you agree, and if not, what do you believe has to happen for Microsoft to have turned the corner onto the freeway of success?
  • What topics would you like to see discussed in future posts? Ooo, I knows! Something about the new Microsoft Store on the internets!

120 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm pretty disappointed with the way things are going in our project. We were suppossed to take on a big project/mission that just got shelved due to tough economic situation. Crazy times.. :(

Anonymous said...

Not 100% sure about Azure yet, because the proof will be there when we're actually delivering fully baked solutions, but as a customer-facing DPE resource I can tell you that there is a ton of interest in Azure among enterprise customers. How much of this is due to Google and Amazon and Salesforce going out and pitching similar ideas but entirely in the cloud, though, is an open question.

Anonymous said...

I think you may have misspelled "Awsure".

Murrquan said...

How 'bout something on Windows Live Wave 3? Is it true that (as Mary Jo Foley suggested) it's going to be tied into Windows 7, and make the desktop "light up" or something when it's installed? And when are they going to discontinue offering Windows Live apps to WinXP users?

I seriously loved Windows Live Writer when I was using Windows XP as my primary OS, and I'd like to hear more about where that line is going.

Anonymous said...

Mini - you began a list a while back comprised of the little things that collectively improve the work experience. It included such things as a printed paper copy of MicroNews sponsored by product groups and bringing back the Micronews Ads site (or functional equivalent). Of course the not-so small items were also interesting such as bringing back bi-annual reviews. It would be great to see that revisited

Anonymous said...

Mini - it would be great to see an article doing a post-mortem of LisaB's "listening tour". What did it accomplish? A demeaning then abandoned Inside-MS blog? Towels?.

It would be interesting to analyze the results of this in terms of her huge compensation levels.

Anonymous said...

Take it from an SDE who worked on Vista in COSD and now works in an international technology business sweating over a hot compiler every day. Vista offers no practical benefit over XP-SP3. None. This is why it is slow to be adopted by business worldwide.

At home, I use Vista. At work, I use XP. No difference in productivity, whatsoever. In fact, other things like Search are worse in Vista.

Now, Vista does offer excellent benefits in the consumer space. Dreamscene is awesome, I love the interface, there is much consumer coolness. But practical business benefit? None whatsoever.

Anonymous said...

"Mini - it would be great to see an article doing a post-mortem of LisaB's "listening tour". What did it accomplish? A demeaning then abandoned Inside-MS blog? Towels?.

It would be interesting to analyze the results of this in terms of her huge compensation levels."


I simply can't stop reading the InsideMS trainwreck! It is such a spectacular failure and every week it hits new lows... and yet, crazy effing Lisa keeps it alive and keeps making these absolutely out-of-touch meta posts about the future of the blog and where it should go, even though the posts continue degenerating further into PR spam and the comments are all from trolls.

I think the job has driven her completely bonkers, frankly. She's so out of touch it's just... embarrassing.

Anonymous said...

Anybody knows what's going on with hiring? Are promotions also frozen?

Anonymous said...

Anybody knows what's going on with hiring? Are promotions also frozen?

Promotions are not frozen, at least on at a global level (and in fact hiring isn't, either). The whole thing is due to groups being ahead of forecast on spending, due to hiring too quickly. We were the only ones hiring, imagine that... Plus most groups are still hiring college positions that they signed up for, because the people typically do not show up until next fiscal year, and you expect some attrition to happen between now and then. Finally, some groups are behind on their hiring compared to their forecasts, and are still able to hire both internally and externally.

Anyway if your group still has promo budget left over after annual review, they can promote. Groups are only supposed to spend 60% of their promo budget in Sept, leaving the rest for mid-year promos, although it's not a hard rule.

Anonymous said...

Mobile. By the time Microsoft releases the app store that Ballmer announced last week, there won't be any apps left to sell there. The Windows Mobile ISVs are all jumping ship. They're either moving to iPhone and Android, or packing it in and going back to the mainstream workforce. Look around: a few of them are now at Microsoft. Micorosft needs to do something very drastic, very soon, to keep their third-party developers.

Anonymous said...

Back on topic... I read through your list of characteristics and think to myself, "I could be that guy. But I'd hate myself and my job."

My personality is such that I have no interest in being a leader in the sense that you mean the term. I'm comfortable dealing with a roomful of people but I don't seek it out. It's not what I'm really good at. I'm far better 'thinking deep thoughts' far from the crowds. It's why I hate cube farms, btw. I just can't _think_.

Maybe a better question to ask for some to ask themselves is whether or not striving to become an L63 is necessary for their personal wellbeing. Not everyone in an organization needs to be that kind of person.

If, as your post implies you think Microsoft should, Microsoft is actively looking for ways to eliminate those who will never acheive L63, you may be making a serious strategic mistake.

Anonymous said...

I would like to talk about true diversity. How should MS prevent cronyism in product groups, where people from the same nationalities got promoted too readily even when they are all talk, and we end up in a situation where all the key posts taken up by the same 'people'. Is it beneficial to productivity? What should be done to limit this trend. HR should have some principles/guidelines.

Anonymous said...

wtf is with this censorship crap???

You can't disagree with Mini, and if you want to dissent, you've gotta talk about something else?

I call BS.

Anonymous said...

The city council in Seattle just approved utility increases over the next 2.5 years:

Street parking up 66%,
Garbage rates will go up 42%,
Water rates up 38%.

Promotions aside, I doubt I'll see my base salary increase to such a number.

The cost of living keeps going up, but even COLA raise numbers mask the true cost of Puget Sound.

Just saying..

Who da'Punk said...

wtf is with this censorship crap??? You can't disagree with Mini, and if you want to dissent, you've gotta talk about something else? I call BS.

This has been nagging at me all day. Strange that. But look. Here I go and create a new career-focused post that I want to keep the comments highly on-topic, so what do I do to provide another place for secondary conversation: I create a sibling post. Let alone outside of all this I have created a sibling blog site, The Cutting Room Floor, so that rejected comments can at least have a chance to have their day vs. disappear into the bit bucket.

That to me is some extra-ordinary effort on my part to ensure the good people who spend their time here contributing comments have every opportunity to have their comments read.

And you want to call BS on that? Let alone whip out a brain-dead term like censorship?

WTF indeed.

In fact, it freaking makes me grumpy. If you work at Microsoft, I can only hope that you do end up in my organization so that I can provide your career all the attention it so richly deserves.

Anonymous said...

I see a few postings here and there mainly from Live/Cloud services. I don't work for MS, but would definitely like the opportunity to interview with and work for them if I get the chance. What is the best way to get my resume noticed, given the tight competition that is out there.
Thanks

Anonymous said...

I hope the inevitable layoffs start with you Mini. The move up or move out at any cost culture has got to go, and I'd be tickled if it started with the likes of you. Not everyone is a corporate climber.

I don't get what's so hard to understand in that the software industry can have career workers, ICs in MS parlance, that give solid contributions on work they enjoy but have little to no desire to be in management or be a "Rockstar"(which is a bullshit self-indulgent term by the way), and this is considered a bad thing by people like you Mini. I see myself as being in middle to upper management in the next 10 years, but I don't belittle others, or assume badly of them, who wish to be solid contributors but have no desire to play the game and climb the ladder. They just want to build stuff and deliver it to customers, and move on to the next project. But to listen to the MS career folks, if you aren't on track to be a VP in ten years you may as well quite now because you'd be wasting everyone's time.

Who da'Punk said...

...and this is considered a bad thing by people like you Mini.

Where the heck do you get this from?

Have you even read this blog over the years?

I think you're saying some interesting things about a healthy team culture (e.g., even Jack Welch, the dude we modeled so much on from GM and who said to reward your "A"s also said - perhaps more importantly - love your "B"s) but you're putting me in a context for which I'm not a proponent. And that ruins your message.

Want to go back and read that Kim post?

Anonymous said...

Yes I work at Microsoft. No I don't work in your group. I guess if you feel it's not censorship to read every post before you approve it, then you must be right. To extend the invitation to post our thoughts elsewhere, providing guidance as to what we can discuss there, is very gracious of you.

LOL typical elitist arrogance.

Frankly Mini, I'm starting to think you are part of the problem. This focus on "how do I become L63" is just crack for the upwardly mobile. Don't encourage them.

MCSGuy said...

My biggest gripe is the waste of money and time that the Windows Mobile has represented for years. WM 6 is a dinosaur and all that they can show for v7 is a pretty commercial which gets shown again and again at company mtgs. I thought when PK was dumped it would help but now I think the problem is too many PMs and too few workers.

About the troll who claimed 'censhorship', he should create his own blog and see if anyone will read it.

Anonymous said...

HealthVault team is hiring across all disciplines. Innovative new stuff, lots of direct customer involvement (good if you look that), low-hassle by MS standards.

Anonymous said...

Where the heck do you get this from?

Have you even read this blog over the years?


I guess I assumed from your current post about career advancement, and others on a similar line, that you held that view. I'm fairly new to MS and this blog so I hadn't read that post before. I still think you put too much emphasis in this blog on career advancement and level climbing. That's my $.02 anyway.

Anonymous said...

Now that the Dow has broken into the 7000s and MSFT is at $18 and change, I would like to remind my esteemed colleagues in COSD, that you had damned well better make sure that Win7 is going to delight our end users in every possible way. Especially improved performance and reduction in bloat, even if it means you have to cut every single new feature.

No pressure or anything.

Anonymous said...

So which groups are hiring? I am looking for PM 2 .

Anonymous said...

>>Now that the Dow has broken into the 7000s and MSFT is at $18 and change, I would like to remind my esteemed colleagues in COSD, that you had damned well better make sure that Win7 is going to delight our end users in every possible way. Especially improved performance and reduction in bloat, even if it means you have to cut every single new feature.

No pressure or anything.<<

LOL. And what is it that YOU do, pray tell.

I swear, the arrogance of some people.

Anonymous said...

>No pressure or anything.

Hah! Outsider here. Don't sweat it. Balmer is well aware he has a winning product in 7 that will probably at last pull in those remaining holdouts threatening to use Linux.

I've been watching Balmer's strange behavior and have become convinced he 'Manages by Mini'. Most of the great decisions he has made in the last year or two were discussed or mentioned as wise advice for Microsoft on Mini, often months before he makes the decision. Windows 7, MSN, Live, Yahoo, innovation, advertising campaign yada yada yada all mentioned on Mini as needs before it actually happened, usually exactly as outlined here. I remember this because I personally made posts outlining change needs in all those areas and those changes were generally adopted.

One cheviot is that Balmer's response to the oft stated need to clean house at Entertainment and Devices seems to have gone by the wayside. I suspect Gates is still leveraging hard for whatever is happening there--losses be damned, but the need to erase the top five or six layers of management there still exists.

Anonymous said...

Here's a way to save a shitload of money - let people take unpaid leaves during predetermined "windows" within the year. I'd love to take a nice 2 month leave in the summer to just recharge and enjoy life and then come back to my job and kick ass twice as hard. As an added bonus, some folks might use this leave to, well, leave the company altogether, thus reducing the expenses even further.

Someone should suggest this to the management.

Anonymous said...

But Mini, I want to talk about...

...a $17 stock price. $17 stock price!!!! Holy Hell!!

Anonymous said...

>I swear, the arrogance of some people.
Arrogance is what got us Vista, kiddo.

I'm doing my part to keep MS in the black but this game is Windows' game to lose. Blow Win7 and it's game over for you, me, and everyone else here.

toby said...

Well clearly Mini *is* Ballmer. How did we not see this before?

Actually, this theory is implausible, given the illiterate Ballmer emails revealed in Exhibit F - Mini can actually write. And strategise. And chew gum!

I am sure that I've been tarred as a troll here in the past, but I agree with da'Punk that it is extraordinarily generous, not to mention practical and far-sighted, to provide not just one but two flame-buckets for the perennially off-topic. Despite these measures, some ignorant fools - yes, I mean you, "Anonymous"! - insist on posting ON THE L63 TOPIC RIGHT IN THIS "CENSORED" THREAD!

Have you no decency, "Anonymous"!

Anonymous said...

I'm dogfooding Win7 Alpha and it is an absolute kick-ass. I cant believe the quality and perf is so good this early in the game. And UI is lot more cleaner. Wish Vista looked like this and we would be in much better shape now as a company.

Time to fire a bunch of executives/partner level folks who are screwing up products and not innovating. This is the opportunity to seize for SteveB to make his mark and turn the company around.

Anonymous said...

Anybody knows what's going on with hiring?

So which groups are hiring?


The PQO team appears to be hiring. I see several Dev and Test positions posted along with site manager roles. From what some of the job postings state they are going to 'rebuild the support site from the ground up'. Good grief - it's about time!

No wait - do we really need a revamped support site??? AND all the distinct product sites that have their own support sections? AND MSDN and TechNet. AND the marketing sites. Geez, no wonder customers don't know where to go to find answers...

Anonymous said...

I'm most interested in this topic: how do I detect lousy managers when interviewing with a group? Usually they're always telling you good stories.

Anonymous said...

Ready for the stock price to hit $10? Could be happening soon:

http://news.cnet.com/8301-13860_3-10106002-56.html

On a related note, Jim Allchin is a complete moron. He blamed other people for the Vista logo disaster, and was stupid enough to do it in email. We could've apologized to HP by offering to compensate them for the extra hardware they added, or do some extra Vista marketing involving them and their brand. Jim knew it would suck, but he didn't have the balls to stop it. Great leadership. Asshole.

solomonrex said...

I think you're definitely losing your fastball, minimsft. The biggest recession in decades, MS announces that there will be no layoffs, and you're happy?

Should you change the name of the blog or what? I suggest, "How I learned to stop worrying and love the YOU-JUH Microsoft"

Anonymous said...

>> was stupid enough to do it in email

That's actually a smart thing to do. That way you can't be thrown out without some sort of a severance package for a trouble that wasn't entirely caused by you. Or more precisely, you can, but then you can sue their ass for wrongful termination.

Get it all in writing. Cover your ass.

Anonymous said...

It is amusing to heat questions like --- "Listening Tour"

But why would one assume that such things are supposed to accomplish something meaningful?

While I am not so lucky(?) to be micro-employee, I don't see any different exec spirit anywhere.

Anonymous said...

Here's what bothered me about your main blog entry:

If you're going into that comfort zone of complaining about politics and butt-kissing and favorites, do me this favor: hold your right palm up, nice and flat like you're about to be sworn in to testify in a trial, and now extend your right arm out nice and wide, and then quickly swing your right arm around the front of you in a nice arc that ends with the flat of your right hand quickly connecting to the left side of your face for a hard, resounding slap. Repeat. Alternate to your left hand appropriately when tired. Continue to do so until you've slapped yourself silly to the point that you're not complaining about how other folks must just be connected or political or adept at the finer art of buttock tongue massage.

First: The language is similar to some anonymous posts placed in the comments of your past few blog entries. I hope you haven't been acting as both moderator and a participant, as that seems duplicitous to me.

Second: Do you really believe that telling people to 'slap' themselves when they don't agree with you is a sensible thing to say in a blog entry about how to educate people that they might be missing certain skills, blocking their way to the promotion they've wanted so badly?

Third: Do you actually suggest that people slap themselves silly in real life? Truly? You'd be quickly on my "what a f***ing asshole" list if you ever did that around me.

Fourth: You're fortunate. I've been lucky enough to reach a fair level. However, you're very wrong: Cronyism is a subtle constant at Microsoft. It doesn't benefit the people who're missing skills to hear that, as they'll dismiss their shortcomings to seize a quick excuse for their low promotion velocity. However, for you to claim that it doesn't happen is either ignorant (which might be fortunate for you) or disloyal to your readers. Or both.

Anonymous said...

I'm not the Original Poster, but:

In fact, it freaking makes me grumpy. If you work at Microsoft, I can only hope that you do end up in my organization so that I can provide your career all the attention it so richly deserves.

WTF, Mini? Threatening people who disagree with you?

Who da'Punk said...

(1) 1234, However, you're very wrong: Cronyism is a subtle constant at Microsoft.

I was going to CRF this but given how long my closing comment line was, I'm going to plop this in here, though any continuation will have to wait. In the follow-up post I'm noodling about in my mind right now there definitely will be a "counter-point" section based on the comments here. So hold on. You'll have your chance.

No: I don't have time enough to do a better than sucky job running the blog to begin with. Yes: wrt stop the pity party and wake-up. Sure (rolls eyes). Whatever (so cronyism exists - what does that mean for *your* career - wait for the HR fairy to come fix it?).

I don't mean to be dismissive but I also don't want to hear from people playing the part of the victim. That's neither interesting nor representative of success. Especially within the context of that particular post.

Sometimes the subtlety of being not so subtle gets missed. Put me on whatever list you like. If this blog's discussion isn't to your liking then come on: life is short and there are a bajillion other waaaaay higher quality blogs out there for you to enjoy.


(2) WTF, Mini?

Like I said, the comment bugged me all day long that day given how little due diligence went into writing it. And you're not surprised that I have metrics around firing people, are you? Like that?

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't mind seeing a companion post to the one above named "Achieving Level 61 at Microsoft for Testers". :)

(How did those instructions go, Mini? "Hold my right palm up..." Righto, I'll just be getting started then.)

Anonymous said...

I was going to CRF this

Wasn't this the area for discussion about "not the main theme"? Or was it the critique of your actions? Regardless, you make things very clear below that this is your sandbox and you'll do what you damned well please, and I understand that.

If this blog's discussion isn't to your liking then come on: life is short and there are a bajillion other waaaaay higher quality blogs out there for you to enjoy.

Fair. This is your sandbox, and if anyone doesn't like it, they can get the F out. Both the direct message to me and the insinuation are clear. I won't always agree with you, so you're right: I'll go to a different sandbox.

Sometimes the subtlety of being not so subtle gets missed.

Isn't that merely a catch-all for being an aggressive (insert your own phrase here)? Puh-lease.

Like I said, the comment bugged me all day long that day given how little due diligence went into writing it. And you're not surprised that I have metrics around firing people, are you? Like that?

Before the recent spate of hostility, I would have answered "absolutely not". Recently, your actions are distrubingly aggressive. If this is who you really are, then YES: I am surprised. The people I've met who held those personalities rarely had true metrics on firing people. So, if you're really the personality I'm seeing now, I would be shocked if you had even ethics regarding directs or anyone in your org.

Your message was received loud-and-clear: I have significant disagreements with you. I'm off, as you kindly suggested, to another nice little blog.

Anonymous said...

The article on How to get to Senior Level was interesting; I would like a similar one on How to get to the Principal Level. Thoughts from guys currently in Pricipal level will be very interesting.

Anonymous said...

Vista Capable debacle - anyone want to start placing bets on how much this mess is going to cost us? See Todd Bishop's latest post, which contains all the fun internal emails including SteveB's infamous "Righto thanks" email.

Anonymous said...

How about talking about the massive online money pit continuing?

From today's Business Week online:
"Chrapaty, who's in charge of Microsoft's data centers, is stepping up a multibillion-dollar building binge, BusinessWeek has learned. Her group is embarking on a plan to build in the coming years some 20 supersize data centers that can cost as much as $1 billion apiece, according to a person familiar with Microsoft's plans. "We're going to reinvent the infrastructure of our industry," Chrapaty says. She declines to discuss specifics of the plan"
http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/nov2008/tc20081121_382269.htm?chan=technology_technology+index+page_top+stories

Anonymous said...

Mini:

I for one had no problem with the tone or content. It's not just that it's your sandbox and you have the right to do what you want there. The tone was just right for some of us who have gotten complacent about our own careers, who have expected that our managers or HR or somebody were going to take care of that for us.

I'm not at Microsoft. But I still heard your wake-up call. Thanks.

And I'm not sure why you're getting so much personal criticism here. (Maybe taking responsibility for your own career isn't a popular topic for some people? Maybe it steps on their toes? Not sure.) But as far as I can see, you didn't say anything wrong.

MSS

Anonymous said...

What is going on with MS hiring? Is MS not looking for out of state candidates? I see a few jobs open up in the MED, Health Solutions group and Live. Any body have any clue whats going on? Is this only for internal hiring (if so, why post it?).
Also, what is the best way to get noticed? I have sent my resume to several positions that I like, still no call for interview/phone screen. Can anyone make any recommendations?
Thanks and your help is much appreciated.

Anonymous said...

"The article on How to get to Senior Level was interesting; I would like a similar one on How to get to the Principal Level. Thoughts from guys currently in Pricipal level will be very interesting."

As a fairly recent Principal, I'd suggest that not only is it far less likely that most people will ever get there, but also the route from 64 --> 65 is considerably more nonlinear than the route to 62 --> 63: that is, there's no good roadmap to Principal.

The basics I've found are necessary:

1) you need to be in the right place at the right time with the sponsorship and support of more people than your direct management chain

2) you need to be skilled in the art of managing up and you must be politically savvy (in order to make #1 happen) and

3) you must demonstrate in the eyes of your senior leadership that you are capable of running a decent chunk of your section of the business either as a manager or an IC.

Note that #3 doesn't always mean you *are* capable of running a decent chunk of your section of the business -- some folks are sufficiently skilled at #1 and #2 that they can fake it. We've all seen them. :P

Also note that the above doesn't always apply to Dev -- it's possible to become a Principal Developer even if you're fairly apolitical as long as you're technically brilliant. I'm a GPM, which is a very different beast.

In my experience, you become a Principal when you've learned to walk across the rice paper without leaving any footprints and when you can snatch the grain of rice from your Master's hand. And if this doesn't make any sense to you, my answer would be then you're not ready, grasshopper. :)

Anonymous said...

How about how to fix adcenter?

Anonymous said...

*crosses fingers* Please don't buy yahoo... Please don't buy yahoo...

Anonymous said...

*New post suggestion*

Mini, how about a new post about the hiring freeze and headcount reduction in some groups? In classic autocratic style, there is very little information being shared across the groups. This is making it hard for managers to make decisions, and it puts people who are being squeezed out in a bad situation.

Maybe we could have people fill in a little form in their comments, like the following (most of which I think is true):

Group name (VP/GM): WEX (SteveSi)
Location: Redmond
Hiring freeze? Yes
Headcount reduction: No backfills on attrition

Group name (VP/GM): MSNA (RobertY)
Location: US subsidiary
Hiring freeze? Yes
Headcount reduction: Backfill 2 "good" attritions (10%ers) with 1 hire

Group name (VP/GM): OEM Engineering (StevenGu)
Location: Redmond
Hiring freeze? No

Group name (VP/GM): GFS (DebraC)
Location: Redmond
Hiring freeze? Yes
Headcount reduction: No backfills on attrition

Group name (VP/GM): OneCare (RyanH)
Location: Redmond
Hiring freeze? Yes
Headcount reduction: Group size reduced 2X; most need to find a new job

Anonymous said...

Mini,
Are you ready for 100,000 FTEs? I'm not! Sounds like there's still massive growth happening somewhere.
http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/business/390219_msftjobs2.html

Anonymous said...

I don't have any issue with tone or content but I must admit that the style of the blog and Mini's comments do seem different lately. I was wondering if Mini has "moved on" and bequeathed the blog to some successor a la Spencer Katt or Stanley Bing (if I'm not aging myself too much with those examples). Any takers on that theory?

Anonymous said...

I'm pretty disappointed with the out of control headcount in R&D. Why do we have so many people in R&D? I'm not kidding. $7B a year to support our R&D division? If we're serious about reducing headcount at Microsoft, R&D is the first place we should start. We could cut 90% of R&D and the rest of the company would never notice.

Anonymous said...

Any teams had FTE, v- or a- layoffs?
We were given notice Friday: 12 FTEs - 30 days notice; a couple of v- because the projects got killed as budget was cut. Product Mgrs, Program Mgrs and a few SDEs. Bldgs 27, 40.

Catalin Patulea said...

I'm a 4th year Software Engineering student in Ottawa, Canada. I was recently sent to Seattle for a day of interviews with MS. In my 3rd interview, I clearly said I would be uncomfortable managing a group of people stating that I believed I didn't have enough experience. To me, this is a clear "No" to "Will I reach Level 63 during their career?
Yet, during my last interview, the interviewer (who I later found is typically your potential future boss) seemed very interested in me and was quite willing to adapt to my wishes regarding graduate school, etc.
What's going on here?

Anonymous said...

I guess I'm feeling optimistic since it's 12/09 and Mini hasn't posted any comments since 11/25...

But how about we discuss the lack of accountability in Windows Marketing? Besides that fraction of the $300M advertising campaign (that we trumpeted to the skies) which we'll actually deliver, does it seem like they are doing *anything* to help Windows lately. My dealings with them seem to be mostly clean-ups after their snafus.

Anonymous said...

Just heard on the finance grapevine. MSFT layoffs are coming on January 15th.

They are substantial.

Anonymous said...

I would like to know what others are hearing about layoffs at MS. They must be coming...all signs point to the business getting worse.

Anonymous said...

>To me, this is a clear "No" to "Will I reach Level 63 during their career?

Since levels below 65 have no direct correlation with whether you ever manage anyone or not, I have no idea why you would think this.

Anonymous said...

"If we're serious about reducing headcount at Microsoft, R&D is the first place we should start. We could cut 90% of R&D and the rest of the company would never notice."

Yes! This company would be one lean, mean, ass-kicking machine if we could get rid of all the dead weight in those darn product groups. I mean, who will notice when we stop releasing new products? I would love to see the day when we could unleash the full unfettered power of our sales, support, and G&A teams on the marketplace without the stinky cloud of all of those geeky R&D types overshadowing their efforts.

OK, tongue removed from cheek: just what exactly do you think R&D is you moron? Hint: it ain't just Microsoft Research.

Anonymous said...

livemeeting is getting chopped

Anonymous said...

they lost 12 people in STB

looks like "feedback" reviews are underway to get the a-10's out of the picture as well.

Anonymous said...

Live Meeting is one of the worst places to be right now - and it has gotten downright hostile and strange in recent times. People are pulled into meetings with management where they get interrogated about what they are working on ("We want to hear what you think you know about XYZ, this is not a knowledge-sharing session..."), people are given impossible tasks like coding things not yet designed, automating things not get coded, documenting unfinished ideas (all subject to being cut next week too). On top of that they must account for their time by the hour. Live Meeting is in its death throes.

Anonymous said...

DMS is dying as well.

Anonymous said...

Even Yahoo did not fire any researcher. Everywhere you see, you see the impact of MSR. You want MSR to make a separate product to show its imapact. MSR does that too but for demonstration purpose. MSR main purpose is to provide the science behind our product.

Anonymous said...

developer division is loosing 25 people accross discipline.

Anonymous said...

DMS is dying

----

Really? I thought they were being consolidated.

Anonymous said...

DMS is dying

----

Really? I thought they were being consolidated.

----

Only 4 or 5 of the 40 (non-ops)people working on the DMS v2 service are consolidating with SCO. Otherwise the project is dead. RIFs are expected in Jan.

Anonymous said...

Just heard on the finance grapevine. MSFT layoffs are coming on January 15th.

They are substantial.


What is the "finance grapevine"? Do you mean corp finance?

As someone whose product was recently whacked, I sure hope there are some RIFs before there are out-and-out layouts (at least in my area!) Scary... 'cause in this climate, it's going to be darn tough on the economy to dump a bunch of talented folks to the curb and have them competing for slim pickings out in the rest of the world. The ripple effect on the Puget Sound economy alone (assuming the layoffs are substantially here) would be staggering. :-(

Anonymous said...

I got invited into one of those special "manager" meetings on thursday which resolved to absolutely zero activity other than asking opaque questions for which the answer was already known.

"fact" finding in order to dismiss an argument OR dismiss me :)

shall find out 1/15

Anonymous said...

RealNetworks loses 130

http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/venture/layoff.asp?id=1031

Anonymous said...

What definitive outcome do you expect to come on 1/15? Also, I see layoff's or RIF's in a few product groups and aggressive hiring/job posting in a few other areas. Just cannot keep up with this. One thing that is for real is, MS has grown big and is preparing to shake off its low-level under performers. This is a good thing and eventually with the hordes of cash, MS should come out big. Xbox 360, Windows Live, Windows 7, Data Warehouse, Office - can't wait to see what MS does with Zune. Will there be a Zune phone? Exciting..

Anonymous said...

If you have to 10% an employee who was in this bucket last review you may well find yourself showing them the door. This means that we can meet VP goals of no lay-offs (we are pruning poor performers) yet be seen to be reducing OE.

Anonymous said...

I guess I'll hope for layoffs instead of RIF's then, since I performed just fine this last round. (I was 10%'d a few years back due to pure manager evilness, but no one before or since thought I was anywhere near that category. Yet Another Example of how lousy our evaluation system is. But I digress...) At least if that's how layoffs work (shed "poor" (or unlucky) performers). Haven't ever been through a layoff so have no idea...

Anonymous said...

not all 10%s are impacted.

Anonymous said...

I have also been hearing Jan 15th as the date when substantial layoffs will happen. Anyone else hearing anything?

Mini, would it make sense to start a topic on potential Layoffs?

Anonymous said...

For the person who mentioned that the finance grapevine says that layoffs will be substantial, what does substantial mean? 2k, 5k, 10k?

The company should use this as an opportunity to prune lower performers. If the layoffs just come blanket across the board and aren't targeted at lower performers, morale will tank and be very difficult to recover. But if there are some reductions in lower performers to save costs that could actually be a real morale boost. Lisa, if you are reading, that's where you should focus. Don't let legal stand in the way of making the right decisions for the company.

Anonymous said...

what's happening over in the OneCare group?

Anonymous said...

If groups are hiring now, is there a possibility of the same laying off people this year? I am moving to WM from windows and I am concerned that I might be trading cushy secure job for a potential rollercoaster.

Livinginsupportheck said...

Please get rid of the stupid pretend-products that field groups create as part of their leverage to get visibility and promotions.

Whether called solutions, frameworks, design blocks, whatever, they are all hat and little value.

Anonymous said...

If the possibility of layoffs that are not performance-related comes along, Microsoft will need to deal with all the folks that we have on H1-B visas. I cannot imagine how ugly that could get. This is likely going to be a huge hot potato for many high tech companies, particularly in this economy. (BTW, this is *not* a dig at those folks, I was one myself for 4 years).

Anonymous said...

>> what's happening over in the OneCare group

It no longer exists. Equipt got RIFd also.

Anonymous said...

>> Microsoft will need to deal with all the folks that we have on H1-B visas

How so? I thought those were much easier to lay off, since after you lay them off they have to leave the country, and it's much harder to sue when you're not here.

Anonymous said...

So the RIFs a good topic...first I'm hearing of it from this board. BUT...how about a list of the progress made towards a smaller company already? OneCare, etc? How about a list of products whose team's services are no longer required? I can think of several products moving to an almost zero headcount...let's get a list going.

Anonymous said...

even in healthy STB cuts are coming .. devdiv then omps

Anonymous said...

Can we start a new topic for the layoff/RIF rumors? I'd love to hear some details, right now all we have is speculation. I heard about it from some people at work, but like the comments here, nobody seems to have any actual facts.

Is anyone surprised we're having layoffs? The SeattlePI article states we've hired 4500 people since June. WTF? 4500 since June! Even without a downturn in the economy, I can't make a business case for hiring that many people.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone have any rumors on MSR layoffs? I'm in MSR and, for whatever reason, I'm being bombarded with outside job offers for the past few months. It was relatively quiet before. So far I've been turning them down, even though some of the offers are very lucrative from both scientific and financial standpoint. Needless to say, it would suck if I turned down all these offers and /then/ got "downsized". I wish they'd just come out and announce it now, while job market is still pretty good for qualified candidates.

Anonymous said...

>> SeattlePI article states we've hired 4500 people since June

Layoffs are perfectly compatible with hiring. It is possible that hiring is done in one place (India, China), and layoffs in another (Redmond).

Anonymous said...

Do you know who was killing Microsoft economically from past several years- think think think? Being one of the 65 level in this organization and spending most of my career here - I can tell you that this group was living lavish life from past many years (thank god – we have some economic crisis now and people are asking some tough questions from the managers here). I know many of you have already guessed and you are right - this group is called "GFS - Global Foundation Service" and DebraC is leading this group. (Did I use the word leading?) If you want to know how capable she is to lead this group, I encourage you to watch her latest all hands streaming that you can find on MSW. You can get an idea from her poor communication skills and the way her directs answers the questions. I really wonder what Steveb/BillG were thinking while hiring her. My best bet is they wanted the diversity in the leadership and she was fitting the bill right. I mean lets be rationale here – she does not surprise or impress anyone from her leadership qualities. In past 4 years, she has not done anything for this group – when I say anything – that means *Absolutely Nothing*. There are billions of dollars hardware purchased every year across this group without any planning and I can assure you that 50% of them are not even used or required at first place. Most of the hiring in this group is not for getting things done or being innovative in datacenter world but each manager here trying to build their own empire by just hiring whether they really need it or not.

If you really want me to tell the truth, I have never seen so many ineffective and non-productive managers in my entire life under one umbrella. Management here is huge disappointment who spend most of their time travelling around the globe to waste Microsoft’s well earned money and get nothing done. This group is big "L = LOSS" in the term P&L.

Mini – I would encourage you to make your next topic of discussion on GFS.

Anonymous said...

Well, we got notice today. Our team got chopped up in half. One half is staying, the other half is being absorbed by other teams within the larger org. I hope this is not the first step toward layoffs, but I just don't know what to think. Our Director delivered the news today, and he seemed pretty shocked himself.

I think something big is coming. Can someone enlighten us on the what kind of severance package you can expect? Was it 2 weeks of pay for each year of service?

Anonymous said...

which team/org?

> Well, we got notice today. Our team got chopped up in half. One half is staying, the other half is being absorbed by other teams within the larger org. I hope this is not the first step toward layoffs, but I just don't know what to think. Our Director delivered the news today, and he seemed pretty shocked himself.

I think something big is coming. Can someone enlighten us on the what kind of severance package you can expect? Was it 2 weeks of pay for each year of service?

Anonymous said...

For the person who's team got cut it half - what group or area are you in?

Anonymous said...

"Well, we got notice today. Our team got chopped up in half. One half is staying, the other half is being absorbed by other teams within the larger org. I hope this is not the first step toward layoffs, but I just don't know what to think."

Hey, at least you got reabsorbed by the larger team. That is HUGE. There are others of us in groups that are simply in limbo. Haven't been reabsorbed, don't have a project. Just waiting...for...Jauary 15...to find out what the heck is going on.

Talk about a great way to spend Christmas. :-(

Anonymous said...

Any word about potential RIFs in user assistance-land?

Anonymous said...

For the person who's team got cut it half - what group or area are you in?

STB.

Also, what is this Jan.15 date I keep hearing about? Why is that date significant? Is that when we announce the big layoffs, and if so, why then, and not Feb. 1, or Jan 20th, etc, etc?

Anonymous said...

So are the RIFs/layoffs the real deal or are there just people out there just starting to start rumors? It's hard for me to hear that teams are getting cut/chopped/reassigned when people don't at least say which org they are in.

I saw another post saying Live Meeting is getting chopped. Really? I used to work over in UCG. Is it just Live Meeting? Other products? Fess up instead of just saying crap.

This is not very believable yet...why doesn't somebody post something that's convincing?

Mini you're in the know...why don't you enlighten us?

Anonymous said...

Live Meeting is in its death throes.

Couldn't happen to a finer product....:-))))

Anonymous said...

3 in omps
9 in stb
12 in msd
7 in devdiv
18 in UA
5 in MSX

Anonymous said...

'A rumor can run around the world while the truth is still getting its boots on' - with thanks to TP

I wonder how much of the rumor mill is about stock price manipulation and how much simple human nature in such situations (a scale from 'oh man-up would you' to 'game over man....game over')

I have faith in every person exercising their right to bitch and moan no matter what occurs.

If we really want to save money our leadership will be brave enough to cut those areas that continue to generate massive losses (E&D comes to mind) yet I expect strategic areas of investment (Search) will remain untouched.

Of course it will come down to politics in the end - with cuts across the board to be 'fair' and even which such a strategy won't be.

Anonymous said...

It looks like our trio in the COSD WinCore [i.e. the BCD org] group is still hiring.

We got:
1. New hires in the pm and test org coming aboard in the last couple of weeks and interviews happening in the dev org as recent as this week.

2. Goldstar cash bonusses handed out last week.

Anonymous said...

I got pulled into a lunch 2:1 today and got given good news on "you have 4 weeks left"

STB - > Server

Anonymous said...

Our WFH/RAS story really needs to be improved - it was hilariously awful that I couldn't RAS in at all yesterday from any servers (even the ones outside the US). Granted, this could also be due to living in an apartment complex 95%+ full of MS employees...

Anonymous said...

seems pretty cryptic to me...got any more details than that?

> I got pulled into a lunch 2:1 today and got given good news on "you have 4 weeks left"

STB - > Server

Anonymous said...

The 1/15 date comes from the fact tha Microsft is going to be reporting earnings on 1/22. Rumor has it that Microsoft will pre announce less than expected earnings and soften the blow to share price with layoff announcement

Anonymous said...

"Also, what is this Jan.15 date I keep hearing about? Why is that date significant? Is that when we announce the big layoffs, and if so, why then, and not Feb. 1, or Jan 20th, etc, etc?"

Maybe they want to let us all go through the holidays without pink slips and then face the music in the New Year. And why the 15th? Because just about everyone will be back from vacation then. Plus gives them time to polish up the PPTs they're working on over Winter Break - vet them with Legal, add clipart and fades, etc.

Yeah, who knows. Maybe it just sounded like a nice, round number that wasn't too far out there. They can't keep everyone in limbo for too much longer. The freeze - excuse me, frost - has been in effect since Oct. 1 already. So - 3.5 months without much movement? Loooong time to keep everyone in a holding pattern.

Anonymous said...

stb-server guy/gal that doesn't sound right there were 2 week notices for RIF and 6 week for "find a job" classified people

Anonymous said...

Our WFH/RAS story really needs to be improved - it was hilariously awful that I couldn't RAS in at all yesterday from any servers (even the ones outside the US). Granted, this could also be due to living in an apartment complex 95%+ full of MS employees...

Nope, everything was down off-and-on all day... which my entire team laughed about as we were all stuck at home and were using GTALK to communicate. LOL.

Our internal technologies are so very third-rate... have you ever tried to do a VTC? It's laughable.

I want to fire everyone in our IT department, increase the budget and get some world-class people filling those roles. Our internal tech group is really one massive EPIC FAIL.

Anonymous said...

re: DMS

Welcome back derek

Anonymous said...

Let'a face it, we're f*cked. I think this recession (with a 50% chance to become a depression) will hit hard, and no one will be spared. I'm sorry to be so pessimistic, but we need to face the new reality.

Save as much money as possible, reduce debt, take care of any medical issues while we still have jobs/insurance. Then, if (and when) the layoffs do arrive, let's hope for a decent severance package to keep things going for a a while.

Anonymous said...

anyone else got news for layoffs and groups with announcements

Anonymous said...

"m sorry to be so pessimistic, but we need to face the new reality."

Face the new reality? Gimme a break. A recession (or even depression) is a part of a cycle that countries have seen before and will see again. That this one might last longer due to the rampant nature of the 'up beat' would seem to be a reasonable observation but as far as I know the cosmological constant remains...well...constant.

Anonymous said...

Wondering if the mobile team can be possibly slapped enough to compete against the iPhone and Android momentum?

I work in the Mobile Division and have seen the builds for 7. All I can say is, Apple & Google have nothing to worry about for quite a while. It seems we've got a bunch of idiots coding this release...

I often wonder what these people had to do to get where they are...

Anonymous said...

I work in the Mobile Division and have seen the builds for 7. All I can say is, Apple & Google have nothing to worry about for quite a while. It seems we've got a bunch of idiots coding this release...

Hope Terry tracks your butt down and fires you. You're clearly not adding value but just whining about how nothing will ever be good enough.

It's pessimists like you that keep MSFT back. Don't let the door hit you on your way out. We won't miss you or any or your ilk one single bit.

Anonymous said...

Terminations have increased significantly the past 20 days.
Instead of severance Microsoft is trying to trim in any ways possible
after 9 yrs it happened to me. My manager called me on Sunday before it occured telling me the next day would be terriable and it was out of her hands.

http://microsoftfires.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

Related to the l63 discussion, I'd be interested in seeing a discussion targeted on getting off on the "right foot" for a brand new (out of college) employee.

Anonymous said...

I was looking for a place where I can propose another topic. Not finding it easily, i brought it up in another, likely wrong, place.

Here it is, very dear topic to me: why 1:1 dev to test ratio? Testers dont produce quality, developers do. Steve McConnell said it: when you want to lose weight you dont change the scale, you change the diet.

So, what do you think of and on the topic?

Anonymous said...

Here it is, very dear topic to me: why 1:1 dev to test ratio? Testers dont produce quality, developers do.

Well, that puzzled me too for a long time and still is. Artificial division of our software engineers into two buckets is wrong. We (SDE, SDET, technical PMs) are Software Engineers first (incidentally, for Department of Labor, there is no difference between SDE and SDET).

We should make all engineers work together to make better product, including writing automated tests on any level (unit, integration, stress, etc).

I was always proposing merging SDEs with most SDETs and all technical PMs into Software Engineer role. Keep 20% of SDETs who are really passionate about testing as separate QA department, just to have some checks and balances. Rename leftover non-technical PMs to Product Managers or Release Managers and that would really work.

yamazon said...

# Wondering if the mobile team can be possibly slapped enough to compete against the iPhone and Android momentum?