Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Windows 7 and a Grab Bag of Microsoftness Before FY10Q1 Results

October 22nd 2009. Windows 7. The circle is now complete.

What is Windows 7? There's a lot that Windows 7 is (oh, it's faster, it has an improved task bar, peeking, snapping, homegroupin', stable drivers and some pretty freaky desktop pictures) but the big thing that it isn't is that Windows 7 is not Vista. It didn't suffer Vista's raging dysfunctional mismanagement and broken windows. It didn't require a reset. Sure, it wasn't perfect and there's a lot of improvements yet to be made in focus and team productivity, but the Windows team delivered. So toot that damn horn, because this here train is arriving on time.

With FY10Q1 announcements coming this week and along with Windows 7, I hope we have a lot of good things to talk about with the analysts. Google and Apple and Yahoo! certainly did. Usually we release our quarterly earnings on the appropriate Thursday afternoon, after closing. It is unfortunately disturbing that we've decided to release our FY10Q1 earning results instead on this Friday morning before trading. I say disturbing only because the last time we did this, a whole bunch of Microsofties were pulled into a layoff. Now... hopefully this earnings report is delayed so that we can have this Thursday the 22nd be all about Windows 7 and not our financials. And I can not imagine that we (and by "we" I mean the Microsoft Senior Leadership Team) would be so dumb as to release our flagship product on a Thursday and turn around and fire a bunch of people the next day.

So, anyway, what's in the mix as the financials come up this week?

Windows 7: check. Thank goodness for SteveSi. I certainly hope he gets paid a lot more than Robbie Bach this year.

Within the Windows 7 reviews, there's going to be a point-of-view that the operating system is dead, which is, ah, kinda dumb. Your web browser isn't going to bootstrap that Intel CPU on its own. What might be dead is rich applications, which is a fair argument and Microsoft is failing to provide much in the way of new rich applications. In fact, we are cutting them one by one (Money, Encarta... Streets, you best watch your back). Sure, there's a transformation to online replicated services and all, but we really need to convince our consumers that there is a strong worth in having a Windows 7 on your laptop so that it's not a fancy glowy brick when the internet is down.

Kindle? Wouldn't it be sweet if we had a nice ebook reader application? We could call it... mmm, Reader?

Windows Live is supposed to help with building value via rich applications. Live has been broken out of Windows to free it from the consent decree and all ('cept for sneaking a Win7 component out early, wink-wink). Messenger, Mail, Photos, Movies, and an awkward online service. And Live Writer (though rumored a dead-man walking per comments).

It's a fair start, and if I had my druthers OneNote would move out of Office and into Windows Live to be the essential authoring companion to the Windows experience. Windows Live Essentials is a good start, but to add some joy into owning a Windows machine, what we need just as urgently is Windows Live Non-Essentials.

Joy. There's a concept just asking for a planning pillar. How strangely would your coworkers look at you during spec reviews if you asked how joyful the feature happened to be?

Windows 8: speaking of planning! The Sinofskyfication of Windows continues, along with alignment around his good lieutenants.

Office: hey, hey, hey, there's a Beta on the way. The Office train lost its conductor but it mostly seems to be still on track. Though trust me: Office wants its Steven back. Bad.

Mobile: Holy. Crap. I don't think we have any unbruised skin left on our body to take any more lumps regarding our mobile strategy. The Microsoft Mismanagement theory is in full force as we throw any willing body into the Mobile effort. Something good has to come out of those typing monkeys, rights? Windows Mobile Phone 6.5 or whatever the hell it's called didn't win any "Wows" and I discovered 1:1 the worst question to ask is, "So, can I upgrade it to Windows Phone 7?"

Look. Let's talk about device loyalty. I first started with owning PocketPCs. An HP Jornada. I loved it. When upgrade time came, HP had bought Compaq and abandoned the Jornada for the iPAQ (what, they had the iThing first?). So, unable to upgrade to the next CE, I cursed a little and bought one of those iPAQs. But HP decided not to allow it to be upgraded. So I switched to Dell to get their latest Axim PocketPC. Dell would be a safe bet, right? And Dell gave up on the line. My latest act of company loyalty: getting a powerful HTC WinMo 6 device. It was cut-off the 6.5 train, and soon, I'm going to be buying a new phone.

And I'm going to buy an iPhone.

I hate it. I hate to think that I'll be installing Apple software on one of my computers because their PC software is so inelegant and buggy (check Watson). I hate that I've been so loyal to the PocketPC platform and Windows Mobile but I've finally had my chain yanked for the last time. I'm not buying a 6.5 device only to have it abandoned when 7 comes out. Microsoft is doing nothing to convince me that it's going to get any better. We suffer through rumors that Pink is imploding and issues with Sidekick data doing disappearing acts while our CEO has conniption fits over Microsofties sporting iPhones. Dude, this is why.

In this case, Microsoft is going to have to earn me back and convince that not only do they have a better experience and better quality phone but that they also won't kick me off to the side of the road when a new release comes along, spinning a sad tale that the carriers make all the decisions.

Dev Div: If I had to sit down tomorrow and write a casual application for the PC, my mind would fork itself in about five different directions. Native with ATL? WPF? Silverlight? An HTA? And what's up with XNA? If I want to write an app for the Zune (which Zune?) what do I do? And can it run on some future mobile device? And the PC? And Xbox?

And how do I share it? How do I sell it? And, ah, crap, you mean you just released a whole new version of C# / Silverlight / XNA that I have to go and relearn? Maybe those free Starbucks coffee dispensers wasn't a good idea...

If anything, I'd probably be pretty damn tempted to invest time learning Adobe AIR. And I'm thinking that while smack dab in the middle of the Microsoft bubble. There are a lot of Partners in Dev Div, and I'm not seeing any benefit from their concentration. The Windows client should be the premiere development platform. It's not. What am I missing?

Are We There Yet? Are the layoffs over? Has Microsoft stabilized? Of course, I'd be satisfied with another 10,000 or more positions being eliminated. But I want it done in one fell swoop, like all the conventional wisdom out there dictates, so that the remaining work force can align itself and get to work and not constantly worry if their group is next. If we're going to continue this quarterly rhythm of maybe-layoffs, maybe-not then morale is going to get seriously poisoned. Let's finish this round and call it done.

Ballmer: well, Mr. Ballmer, if you ever wanted to leave on a high-note, this is it. I'm frustrated because when you hear Steve 1:1 you know that he gets it. He knows some key strategies and things that need to get done. But then Yahoo! happens. Vista happens. Over-exuberant hiring happens. Layoffs happen to shed off the over-hiring. And a flat stock price happens. So something is seriously not connecting between (a) when you hear Steve talking and (b) when he makes major decisions. Hmm. Maybe it's something about guys named Steve having localized reality distortion fields.

This week, as we celebrate Windows 7, you do see an undercurrent of knife-sharpening while examining Mr. Ballmer.

The biggest question still out there: just who would you replace Ballmer with? If a shareholder revolt was to actually happen (shyeah, right) who would be the right choice to lead Microsoft? There is no heir apparent. And no obvious motivation to find one. But wait. Maybe, just maybe... you know, we'll have to wait and see and discover if Steven Sinofsky's upcoming book One Strategy! has a chapter on 'How To Become the CEO of a 100,000 Employee Company' (hopefully followed by the chapter 'More With Less - How To Transform a 100,000 Employee Company Into a 70,000 Employee Company').

Any fireworks you're expecting this week of Windows 7 and Quarterly results?


-- Comments

476 comments:

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Anonymous said...

are your managers allowed to provide reference letters when an employee leaves the company?

Anonymous said...

This round is more humane. I am a partner pm. I have been told about my upcoming layoff.

Anonymous said...

Manager learns one day you want to leave his team. If it is close to mid-year or annual review, he ensures you get bottom of the stack and complains about:
you pick one
* Your communication issues (During a 30mn presentation, you paused for 3 seconds instead of 4 and almost caused the entire org to lose confident in the product)
* Lack of attention of details (you forgot to update product studio correctly for one bug in product studio in the last 6 months and almost caused the release to slip)
* Team has been complaining about you (your buddy mentioned to your boss you were 5mn late for lunch one day)

Then your manager goes cry to HR and skip level and whoever wants to hear him that you are not performing well and that he cannot guarrantee that you will be succesfull in another team.

You are stuck in his team.

===========

wow, that was right on what happened to me last fall through their personal vendeta to roll me out the door. Totally 12 months of trying fo get "actionable and timely" feedback to dispell his false lies.

thanks MSD

On a side note, i understand he may himself be on a PIP so we will see if he is around.

Anonymous said...

You leave the company with a huge hatred toward Microsoft or get laid off and join the competition motivated to destroy Microsoft.

It's frightening to consider the army of disenchanted former Microsoft employees out there who have a lot of experience in the industry and are on a personal mission to bring down SteveB and Co. Combine that with IHV/ISV's who are sour and customers who are sour and, well, what a fine mess Microsoft could find itself in. Many would say the company is only reaping what it has sown.

Anonymous said...

"Manager learns one day you want to leave his team. If it is close to mid-year or annual review, he ensures you get bottom of the stack and complains about:
you pick one
* Your communication issues (During a 30mn presentation, you paused for 3 seconds instead of 4 and almost caused the entire org to lose confident in the product)"

Well said. How did you know this scenario. I was in same boat as well. Left Microsoft and I hate company and organization. It was clear stupid politics. Now I joined their competition kicking Microsoft ass from a small place called Cupertino. They are respecting my work and enjoying my life here. Now I am laughing at all those bastards, who caused me pain during that stay.

Anonymous said...

Add on to previous post below: personal attacks , spreading dirty gossip (by mgr), destroy team morale....

[Manager learns one day you want to leave his team. If it is close to mid-year or annual review, he ensures you get bottom of the stack and complains about:
you pick one
* Your communication issues (During a 30mn presentation, you paused for 3 seconds instead of 4 and almost caused the entire org to lose confident in the product)
* Lack of attention of details (you forgot to update product studio correctly for one bug in product studio in the last 6 months and almost caused the release to slip)
* Team has been complaining about you (your buddy mentioned to your boss you were 5mn late for lunch one day)]

Anonymous said...

also Jawad is gone

http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/exec/jawadk/

please update presspass :)

also update bill v's

Anonymous said...

"In my view devdiv is the only division in MS that has continuously and consistently produced awesome releases packed with staggering amount of new features over a decade."

The problem with using Microsoft's dev tools and libraries for client development is that you are locked into Windows. This was not a big deal ten years ago when Microsoft was still feared and dominant. But today with the likes of Apple and Google rising it makes much more business sense to keep one's code as portable as possible. I would love to use C# and .NET as my main development platform, but not only that would mean I would have to kiss Linux and Mac OS X goodbye (please don't tell me about Mono), but also I would pay for Microsoft's lack of direction in the client API area. Mini's comment is very valid: what API should a Windows client developer use today? MFC? WPF? I could sit and ponder those options all day, or I could just decide to use C++ and Qt (which is probably much more pleasant to work with than WPF et al.).

Microsoft should make a honest effort at embracing and pushing open standards forward, and should look more into open source. Look at what Apple has done with WebKit, LLVM, Clang, OpenCL and Grand Central Dispatch. These are the kind of innovations Microsoft used to be revered (and feared) for.

Anonymous said...

Well, at least 5 conf rooms in b35 (1347,1561,2347,2349,3301) are booked all day by "STB HR Generalist" on Nov 4th. I believe layoff rumors now (scary).

What a sad company has Microsoft become under Ballmer.

Anonymous said...

To the person who asked what I meant by "detentions", the people who said it involves not being allowed to transfer off your current team because of some alleged misdeed are correct. It's like detention in school.

"Tuesday, October 27, 2009 2:47:00 AM" describes it well.

Depending on the the manager, it may be "pick as many as you think you can make stick because we need a lot of ammo to take down someone that accomplished," not just one.

* Your communication issues (During a 30mn presentation, you paused for 3 seconds instead of 4 and almost caused the entire org to lose confident in the product)

Ouch, do you know me? For me, the gist (all quotes approximate) of the complaint was similar to, "Someone complained about one of your presentations. I won't tell you what they said, but will say that they felt very, very offended and don't want their name used to you and don't want an apology from you because they know it couldn't possibly be sincere." I'd presented to over 1000 people both internal and external and got one complaint. I asked, more than once, what the person objected to and was not given details. I still have no idea, nor do others I've asked who were in the same room at the time.

Perhaps the purpose of mentioning that had NOTHING to do with improving my performance?

* Lack of attention of details (you forgot to update product studio correctly for one bug in product studio in the last 6 months and almost caused the release to slip)

"You didn't mark down yesterday's OOF time within an hour of getting to the office today, and since you know I want you to do that, you disobeyed a direct order from management."

As usual, I got in, searched for urgent product deadline related emails and started handling them immediately in order to avoid bogging down workflows. Anyone else on the team subject to your newly-established rule? Thought not.

"Out of the 28 Product Studio bugs you marked fixed this week, you neglected to assign this one to Project Leader X for closure. As a result, the world has come to an end and there will be film of your part in causing it at 11."

I was tired and missed filling in a field. After numerous consecutive 85 hour weeks due to an excessive task list, things like that happen. Could you help me out by cutting my workload by 30%? No, I didn't think so. Maybe you could pitch in on some of my work since you're only doing 40 hour weeks and I'm doing twice that? I didn't think so.

And there was more, too.

You are stuck in his team.

But not to worry, he will work with you to improve your performance.

In reality he ignores you, or set you up to fail or continues to being an a*hole.


Or all three.

In reality, Microsoft has protected a shitty manager who has been running all the good IC off his team to the competition. He surrounds himself with yes-man ICs with low skills.

That happened on a team this manager ran previously.

And I was one of the last really sharp, ambitious people on the current team. Others had jumped the sinking ship before me, to get away from the life-destroying hours and endless work queues. Most of them were stuck with a 6-month "business reasons" delay in allowing transfers after they indicated desire to leave. I was headed for another A++ review like I'd had the year before, and expected my chances of getting it were lower if I said I'd leave before it, so I held off on announcing intentions. I also hoped that after a big deadline passed our leadership would stop using the "business reasons" delay.

My teammates' postponements occurred in the months before LisaB's change in the "business reasons" refusal of transfer requests. My request happened just after LisaB's change, because I naively believed it had become safe to announce intention to transfer.

Just my luck, we got reorged a few days before the review cutoff, and the new manager (not the one who knew the details of my contributions that year) who took over had it in for me for reasons best not discussed here.

Anonymous said...

Assuming we have another layoff, and it is part of the original layoff from last January, how many more positions are left to cut from the original 5,000?

This is what I show from press reports and WARN site:

January - 1,400 (872 Redmond)
April - 2 (2 Seattle)
May - 3,000 (1,200 Redmond)
September - 27 (27 Redmond)
-----------------------------
Total 4429

If all of this is correct then we would have ~571 to go.

I was curious from the earnings report that Microsoft wanted to save 400 Million in operating expenses this year. If this was all through layoffs how many employees would have to go.

Assume average of $200,000 (on the high end) for benefits, severance, legal, etc. divided into the 400 million would be 2,000 layoffs.

Does 571 sound correct? I wonder if they plan to stick firm to the original 5K or try to cut further to meet the savings in operating expenses. There are other ways to save on expenses but this would sure do it.

Anonymous said...

Manager learns one day you want to leave his team. If it is close to mid-year or annual review, he ensures you get bottom of the stack and complains about...

It is absolutely perfectly correct. I have experienced it and it is like going through hell.

Anonymous said...

You leave the company with a huge hatred toward Microsoft or get laid off and join the competition motivated to destroy Microsoft.

"Or"? The outcomes above are not necessarily mutually exclusive.

Anonymous said...

Microsoft India R & D is a worst place to work for...

It must definitely be a far better place than the other two organizations in Hyderabad India. My Organization is filled up with a bunch of Dumb folks referred by the GM and his wife. This is probably the only place in MS, where GM and HR puts direct pressure on hiring managers, even when his candidates dont match the role or skills. All of them, with no contribution keep getting role changes and increased responsibilities. All these people hired by the GM and filling all key roles, help him a lot in window-dressing revenues and utilisation numbers. Our Company is not a Microsoft unit but a Mughal Darbar. Favorites of the GM and his wife get key posts. Whenever we come onsite or interact with our MCS colleagues in US and Europe, we realize how competent and professional they are, compared to our LT and Managers.

Anonymous said...

I've seen a few cases where I thought the "detained" employee was getting the short end of the stick, but by far the majority of these cases have been people who really weren't a good fit for the company. Of course, if you're on the receiving end of being "detained" the chances are rather good that you're going to feel like it isn't justified... even when it clearly is.

hum... keep swimming in the kool-aid and serving it.

When it is your turn to be shafted, a belly full of kool-aid or a great track record won't save you.

Number one red flag of a shitty manager is somebody who uses disciplinary actions when a simple conversation would have done the job.

I also agree with the "cancer" statement above. Prior to MS, I worked for companies that had let "shitty managers" run all their good ICs out and drive the business to the ground. The companies are gone now.

Anonymous said...

There are *plenty* of managers who, instead of doing the right thing and managing bad employees out of the company, will try to shove their problems off to different teams -- it's far, far easier to let your bad employee interview and go somewhere else than it is to "detain" them and manage them out of the company. Seriously -- it takes a lot of focused effort over months to fire someone, but it's just a smile and nod to throw your dead weight over to another team.

Viewing the above from a different perspective, it takes a lot of focused effort over months to defend yourself after an employee you've made a point of trashing to others (e.g. through a performance related detention to serve your own needs) goes to another team and kicks the same kind of ass on that team that they did for multiple managers on their prior team before you took it over. It makes people ask, "What was THAT manager's problem that they couldn't get the same kind of results out of that high-performing employee that everyone else does?" And even then you may not be successful in redeeming your credibility, especially if it's not the first time an employee questioned your tactics.

On the other hand, it's sometimes just a smile and a nod to get the employee out the door somehow before that happens, especially if managers above you have reasons (in their own self-interest) for not wanting you to be seen as a failure.

From my observations, people who are the really bad fits for Microsoft tend to want to stay where they are, NOT leave. People who know they can't hack it are afraid to move. Some of them were managing to make it through on my former team, despite annoying colleagues with their refusal to do their share of the work, slow learning or task completion ability. These people were at least smart enough to get in the door, and they possibly recognize that they're hanging on to the best opportunity they're ever likely to see, by their fingertips. They are aware they might not have the same luck on the next team.

The FTEs with the solid review histories, who express a desire to leave and go to teams that approach them about open positions aren't the people you need to get out of the company. It's the people with mediocre histories who are afraid to change roles for fear of failure (and who'd never be approached anyway) that you should worry about.

The 2009 layoffs took out some of the latter, but left at least an equal number in place, in teams I'm familiar with.

Anonymous said...

I really hope that this confirms 11/4, not only for peace of mind to be back to business as usual, but also because the closer the layoffs are to the holidays, the crueler it is...


This level of naivete is disturbing.
2009 will be remembered as the year Microsoft started feeding on itself. Experienced and productive people were fired instead of useless middle management. The predictable results are lower output, more missed deadlines, lower quality, ... all of which will lead to lower revenues and profits next year. SLT's solution for those? More layoffs. Lather, rinse, repeat. This is a vicious circle and it's only the beginning.

Anonymous said...

On a side note, i understand he may himself be on a PIP so we will see if he is around.

That is the sad joke at the end of the day. Microsoft will eventually part away with a shitty manager but it will take a lot of time and many many victims and lot of money wasted.

As employees and shareholders, we should expect a higher level of quality into training, developing and keeping great managers.

With Google attacking us from every angle, we cannot afford to keep screwing up.

I went through the same sad "detained" experience as others mentioned above. I was in disbelief when I heard my skip level tell me in my face that when he hears employees wanting to leave his team, it is the same for him as if they are telling him they want to join Google. No wonder I was treated so badly. I was able to 'undetain' myself and be successful in another team.

Letting managers screw their directs for wanting to find how they can best contribute to Microsoft is just plain wrong.

By failing to hold managers accountable for poor people management and leadership skills, we are collectively failing and cheating ourselves of better products, better teams and a better future.

Anonymous said...

Microsoft India R & D is a worst place to work for. People are now ready to accept the layoffs happily. This company has all the JUNK fellows inside and their apps are pathetic.

Most political Org I ever seen in my entire experience and Most junk profiles are extremely successful here.


For your consolation many junk profiles are extremely successful in many other orgs. Mostly the inefficient group such as Search, WinMo, MSR etc.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous @1:05am wrote:
I can understand lot of developers out there constantly feeling pressure to learn new stuff and they are getting frustrated but if they don't want to learn and keep upgrading their skills then they have no business to be a developer! In that case they can go to Java world or code in COBOL where there is nothing new going on.

That's a limited view of what devs do. Business app devs code in Java and COBOL. I never have. I do just fine as a developer on Windows and Linux.

What if "upgrading my skills" involves keeping up with new graphics algorithms and features of new graphics cards, and that fills up my time enough that I don't want to also keep track of ever-changing APIs? And no, DirectAnything doesn't simplify my job.

With ever-changing APIs, you spend your career learning how to do the same things, over and over again, in different ways. I'd rather learn how to do new things using the toolkit I already know unless the new tool being offered to me is a power saw to replace my old hand saw. Otherwise, every 2nd or 3rd year I take that "unfamiliar toolkit" productivity hit that plays havoc with project schedules and deadlines (see: LH reset) and wipes out any productivity gains I might experience from it in the next year or two (unlikely but possible).

The view of this "go back to Java" poster shows the myopia that is still all too common at Microsoft: the customer cannot possibly be right because we are technical experts and already know how to do their job better than they do; why won't they wise up and listen?

Once a good dev has used a platform for 5 years, they know it intuitively and can wield it with the finesse with which a fine pianist wields a Bosendorfer. The way they use their dev platform is fundamentally different from the way a newbie does. They know the APIs and even known the bugs and perf issues in those APIs, and how to work around them. They know, given a few alternate ways of doing things, which way is the best in a particular scenario. (Not even addressing the "local toolkit" built on those APIs over the years that the company uses for certain functions common to their software.) Such a dev doesn't even THINK about the APIs, consciously, much of the time, just about the code that uses them. The translation from pseudocode to proper API just happens because they know it so well. It's like how a pianist on an old Kimball can generally get better results than a newbie at a Bosendorfer, even if the newbie has a few more tools (notes) to play with than the old hand does.

Adding features to an existing language and providing incremental learning opportunities is one thing. Telling devs to switch away from language A and paradigm B to language X and paradigm Y for a major, multi-year development project because, "It's the future and it's better for productivity in the test cases we measured," rings hollow after it's happened multiple times in a decade.

On blogs etc I often see smugs who looks down on C# or VS but these people themselves have little skills as developers to give opinion on such matters.

Pot, meet kettle.

Generics, functional features etc are just awesome and way ahead of any competition.

Not disputing the academic elegance of certain features designed by language purists. Just talking practicality here, from the POV of someone in the trenches.

I actually hate WPF and WCF. I believe they are over architected to fit every seemingly extension and scenario and not really elegant.

That has described many MS API's for years, so c'mon, don't just single out WPF and WCF.

There is lot of craze in devdiv to make everything declarative and I think it's fundamentally wrong direction. Declarative programs are hard to debug, step in to and so on.

I couldn't have put that better myself, but there are likely declarative programming enthusiasts out there who could argue in its favor just as you argue in favor of C#.

Anonymous said...

I wonder what impact a large layoff will have on the stock price. Does the previously announced opex guidance already account for the RIF? Perhaps some other news bundled with the announcement? Progress on Yahoo?

Anonymous said...

I've seen a few cases where I thought the "detained" employee was getting the short end of the stick, but by far the majority of these cases have been people who really weren't a good fit for the company.
Self-righteous managers like you are the problem at Microsoft. All of a sudden you feel you have the "power of God" to decide the fate of others. Give us a break would ya'? Hope you go through the 'detention' hell so you regret what you just wrote.

Anonymous said...

[And even then you may not be successful in redeeming your credibility, especially if it's not the first time an employee questioned your tactics.]
It is always risky to fight back and even involve HR when a bad manager is playing dirty tactics on you but often you will not be the first employee who has been screwed by that person. In my case, I was able to find three others who had been shafted by the same manager and had talked to HR about it. HR is NEVER on your side but will neither be on the side of a bad manager that is leaving a pile of dead bodies.

[From my observations, people who are the really bad fits for Microsoft tend to want to stay where they are, NOT leave. People who know they can't hack it are afraid to move.]

+1 The risk of their incompetency being exposed terrorize them. Other problem is that since they are always in "I am faking it mode", they are deaf blind to learning anything.

[The FTEs with the solid review histories, who express a desire to leave and go to teams that approach them about open positions aren't the people you need to get out of the company.]

True but it sad to see how much energy is sometime spent in discrediting employees in switching. The good teams with solid managers I was in knew good FTEs need regular changes and looked at transfers as way to have a solid contact in another part of the company.
The performance troubled team with mediocre managers never looked past the fact that I was the 'traitor' when it was time to change.

Anonymous said...


By failing to hold managers accountable for poor people management and leadership skills, we are collectively failing and cheating ourselves of better products, better teams and a better future.


+1. I think Microsoft should seriously consider to improve the efficiency of the people managers. Allowing some shitty managers to fire competent employees is not good for the Microsoft in the long run. Somebody has already pointed out that because of these inefficient managers lots of people are leaving microsoft with great hatred towards the company. I know SLT still cares about reducing the headcounts onlye. But they are not aware whether they are trimming the right heads. I hope these kind of unfair firing and layoff will backfire them in the near future.

Anonymous said...


For your consolation many junk profiles are extremely successful in many other orgs. Mostly the inefficient group such as Search, WinMo, MSR etc.


Speaking of MSR does anybody know whether there has been any layoff or firing in MSR? I see lots of researchers are just writing papers in some conferences. I do not know how those papers contribute towards the business goals of Microsoft.

Anonymous said...

Intel's Atom Momentum - will it prick the Windows 7 dreams ?

Seems Microsoft and Intel have different roadmaps for affordable computing and rural consumers in emerging markets.... Intel is making great progress with all OEMs in launching Netbooks, NetTops based on Atom. Based on Linux or a very scaled down version of Windows. Definitely a dampener for MS.?

Anonymous said...

>>Microsoft India R & D is a worst place to work for.

India R&D is usually owned and managed by Redmond teams. Unfortunately, reorgs happen in the Redmond teams and the criteria that justified the India team often gets lost. Execs run around finding work for abandoned teams in India, often not aligned with the skills of managers or ICs. After this happens twice (usually takes about 1 year), ICs get disillusioned. Poor ICs escape being weeded out and good ICs give up, doing only enough to get by knowing that the next reorg will cut the work anyway. Sometimes something ships, bonuses all around, and the next reorg will hide accountability for the half-hearted effort and poor quality.

The general managers in India who "do well" understand this and are always seeking out ways to grow their empire, because they know one of their other projects will be cut. This makes them very political and frankly, incompetent in everything but self-promotion and kissing upward.

Srini & Soma have been in the same role managing India for so many years, they've gotten old, lazy, and blind to the chronic problems there. They need to rotate a principle level engineer into Srini's role who will take a fresh look at basic issues. Srini is too caught up with being a big fish and spends his time getting fat, dining with all the other Indian execs & government officials. Token quarterly meetings and 4 or 5 "initiatives" handed to his political General Managers don't justify his role.

Anonymous said...

Yesterday at the end of the town hall meeting Ballmer confirmed that there will be new layoffs before the end of the year.

Could somebody informed tell us if all 10% people are chosen to go?

There are many A10 people, who are very good professionals and laying them off will be a real, significant loss for Microsoft.

Are the people who plan the layoffs really caring about the company?

What best can an A10 person do in the few remaining days before the layoffs?

Anonymous said...

During the town hall meeting Ballmer was frequently shown by the camera: gloomy and extremely nervous. He probably realizes that his management has led Microsoft to its current state and that he is responsible for the fate of the thousands laid off.

Let's shareholders go and vote on Nov 19 and tell Ballmer how we feel about him.

Anonymous said...

>Mostly the inefficient group such as Search, WinMo, MSR etc.

And servicing groups called Office and Windows Client.

Anonymous said...

@are your managers allowed to provide reference letters when an employee leaves the company?,

Of course not, this is corporate America, not friendly business. The company could be held liable if another company hired the employee and did not agree with the reference.

Same reason we cannot provide reference letters for interns or on sites like LinkedIn, though people do break policy and do it.

Anonymous said...

During the town hall meeting Ballmer was frequently shown by the camera: gloomy and extremely nervous. He probably realizes that his management has led Microsoft to its current state and that he is responsible for the fate of the thousands laid off.


I doubt very much that he cares one bit about the pile of bodies. He's probably just bummed from finally being exposed as the incompetent fool he is. The kind of rethoric that used to be the signature of this blog can now be read in major publications worldwide. When the MSM doesn't even take gloves anymore to say that Ballmer must go, you know that the end is near. And he knows it too.

Anonymous said...

This round is more humane. I am a partner pm. I have been told about my upcoming layoff.
----------------------------------

Sorry to hear about the layoff. It is good though it is more humane this time if someone has to suffer though it.

Did they offer you time to interview on other teams? Steve mentioned that the positions that would go are ones that do not make sense anymore with org and business changes. It would be surprising if your current role is so unique that your skills would not transfer to another group.

Anonymous said...

What best can an A10 person do in the few remaining days before the layoffs?

===

Find another job outside.

Anonymous said...

What best can an A10 person do in the few remaining days before the layoffs?

Here are the two biggies I wish I had done in advance:
* Make sure you're prepared to walk out of your office with minimal notice. Save a copy of personal documents you may have on your computer; print off reviews, pay stubs and other information you may not be able to access once you're locked out; ensure you have all of the e-mail addresses and other contact information you may need.
* If you haven't refinanced your house, look into that possibility NOW. You won't be able to do this after you've been let go.

I was in the January bunch -- cut loose despite having been promoted (E/20) in the prior review cycle. It took much longer than I had expected to find a new job, and I wasn't prepared for the emotional toll of a protracted job search, not only for me but also for my spouse and children. In the end, my family grew stronger, but I know of two others that fell apart. Start thinking now about how to avoid potential pitfalls.

Best of luck to you.

Anonymous said...

During the town hall meeting Ballmer was frequently shown by the camera: gloomy and extremely nervous.

=================================

When he was talking about layoffs he sure did not seem to be heavy hearted knowing the impact to his employees.

He talked like any other business decision as if he was having to cut back on office supplies.

I came away frustrated that if the lady had not asked the question at the end we would not know anything. Maybe she was a plant to ask the question to give some explantion since so many are asking about it?

Anyway, it is helpful to have some information about it but it remains a distraction until announced.

Mini - have the details gotten to the Manager ranks yet?

Anonymous said...

"MSFT's P/E ratio is pathetic. It reflects the fact that millions of investors (guided by the professional firms) have small confidence in much future potential of the company. If they had the same confidence in our earning potential as Apple or Google, our share price would be double what it is now."

It's just under the S&P average, or maybe at it after this recent surge. Not impressive relative to AAPL, but not bad for a company that is shrinking not growing. Investors are actually showing a great deal of confidence in the future by looking past that and paying a near average P/E. Probably too much confidence.

Higher growth companies invariably have higher P/Es. But high growth rates have proved unsustainable over the long term, which is why high P/Es are too. I can't tell you what AMZN or AAPL will be trading at ten years from now, but both will probably be trading at much lower P/Es than today. And that will happen long before their growth ends, like it did with MS.

MS is never going back to P/Es of 30, 40, 50 and more, unless the entire market goes stupid again like it did in the 90's. MS is just too big now. But it could secure a slight premium to the S&P if it could articulate a plausible plan for growing faster (none so far), drive more earnings (recent progress through cost cuts, but that's not nearly enough), and increase confidence in its competitiveness (W7 is helping, but showing success against Apple and Google in particular is critical and has been nonexistent).

Anonymous said...

Microsoft India R & D is a worst place to work for. People are now ready to accept the layoffs happily. This company has all the JUNK fellows inside and their apps are pathetic.

Most political Org I ever seen in my entire experience and Most junk profiles are extremely successful here.

Enough is enough guys...speak up this is the time...

I know that I am performing well in comparision with other guys in my team and ready to go for any kind of enquiry if some one fair from management is ready to check my performance sheet and my deliverables.

Is there any one have guts to review it. My manager and principal dev manager is screwing me from last 3 years. They have their regional lobby and those guys are only growing within the company.

Anonymous said...

Microsoft India R & D is a worst place to work for.

Most political Org I ever seen in my entire experience and Most junk profiles are extremely successful here.

Microsoft India R & D become a third class Org now specially EXD-LPO is now HCL.

keeperplanet said...

In the world outside the low whine of an accelerating Microsoft and a seemingly endlessly disgruntled Whoda clientele, a couple of notes:

You would have to be an idiot to not notice that in the world of advertising presence, Apple Mac vs PC adds are now at a point of gentle nausea, as in everybody I know long ago realized that Microsoft operating systems work pretty well regardless, while the 'I'm a PC' Microsoft adds have a real sense of appreciation of people and their own accomplishments. Definitely a win for Microsoft.

Only self-deprived Apple Zealots still think Microsoft operating systems are problematic. Congratulations on finally finding the right note with 7.

Anonymous said...

I've seen a few cases where I thought the "detained" employee was getting the short end of the stick, but by far the majority of these cases have been people who really weren't a good fit for the company.

"Self-righteous managers like you are the problem at Microsoft. All of a sudden you feel you have the "power of God" to decide the fate of others. Give us a break would ya'? Hope you go through the 'detention' hell so you regret what you just wrote."


Uhh... identifying a bad hire makes me a "self-righteous manager with god-like delusions"?

Dude, seriously. I'm talking about people who are not able to succeed because they were bad hires -- believe it or not, there are plenty of underperforming employees who aren't victims of evil incompetent managers, they're just... not capable of doing the work. We've made plenty of bad hires over the years, and we either do the *wrong* thing and keep them on the payroll year after year after year, or we do the *right* thing and move them out of the company.

There is a difference between an employee who is stuck in the wrong role vs. an employee who should be terminated, but if you read the comments here you'd believe that Microsoft has never hired the wrong people and it's always just a case of great workers getting shafted. NOT TRUE.

Anonymous said...

LisaB hiring 4000 ?!

Several German Newspapers have reported this during this week, is this true ?

http://it-chuiko.com/others/1015-microsoft-promises-4000-new-jobs.html

Anonymous said...

I am not sure, whats up with windows mobile, In one of the group (Engineering productivity) they had another reorg in just 6 months, and this reorg is more or less done to bring people form Windows and Exchange, test org in windows mobile is full of test leads who dont know a thing about testing, they just manage up and do politics.

Anonymous said...

"Manager learns you want to leave the team and you land of bottom of the stack etc - previous comment"

This has been standard (unwritten) rule for as long as I can remember, it has only become lethal now with the bottom 10% rules. A great performer who casually mentioned his future career intent got hosed and managed out. Never ever communicate your intent after mid year review. It could be the ungracious undeserved end of your career. It's just too convenient to dump the 10% on the one who wants to leave anyways. Actual performance is irrelevant in this case, that's where these fuzzy judgments based on "team feedback" (after spoonfeeding by mgr) come in super handy.

Anonymous said...

To the lunatic that says Apple *hardware* kicks ass, you have to be fully certifiable. [...] "Hardware excellence" is the WORST argument you can try to make in favor of Apple.

Ahem - a review of the 27" iMac:

http://www.marco.org/222434049

"And, for the time being, it's a desktop with absolutely no equivalent in the PC world."

Anonymous said...

[Business week article] By 2012, Android should become the world’s second-largest mobile operating system, according to consultant Gartner. By 2010 50 mobile devices will run Android. The writer wouldn't be surprised if Android apps catches up with Apple app store offering more than 85,000 apps.

Uuuuhh: how did they do this so fast? Where is MS? Still trying to untangle their own mgt mess? Shareholders, raise your voice please! Stop 10%-ing the IC's please! Look up,up,up.

Anonymous said...

we saw this two times with the same manager over a 36 month period.

He had a big exodus of senior people last fall and the new guys who came and kind of set an exit plan in place got slammed.

From what i gather, this manager is now removed from most key areas of the largest service in the company for just some smaller component parts which get superceded by next gen service technology. His directs are now becoming his peers.

The new guy was lost as a last ditch effort to pass blame for his own inability.

As a principle lead (twice demoted from GPM) he is probably on his way out).

Anonymous said...

msr people have been most productive. how do you think we enter a new business on a whim in a matter of months? check out bing. check out natal. check out history and you will be hard pressed to find a single major product msr did not contribute.

Anonymous said...

Any word about what impact a possible Nov. 4 (or other early to mid-November) event would have on Fargo?

Anonymous said...

re: "Any word about what impact a possible Nov. 4 (or other early to mid-November) event would have on Fargo?"

Check the conference rooms--there's a big college hiring event going on.

Anonymous said...

"Ahem - a review of the 27" iMac:"

Ahem, from a Apple fanbois who writes about the decline of MS.

Anonymous said...

re the comment: "Ditto on the stupid posters on the wall.."

Better yet were the stick-on addenda to posters, correcting crap that had changed since the posters were printed, usually, changes to internal URLs to go find other random crap. I used to see these in Prison, oops, make that Bldg 36, all the time 2-3 years ago. Amazingly stupid, followthe process kind of thinking.

Anonymous said...

check out natal. check out history and you will be hard pressed to find a single major product msr did not contribute

--

due to being forced to take MSR solutions which have not really done well in the market now have they.

Give me an example where the "solutions" were aligned to product or moreover, successful.

Please do not say IPv6 .. you can jump on the exit train with Jawad.

Anonymous said...

re: "Any word about what impact a possible Nov. 4 (or other early to mid-November) event would have on Fargo?"

re: "Check the conference rooms--there's a big college hiring event going on."

Not only that, but the dev/test org was hit harder than most orgs to ensure we only had to make the cuts once. Unfortunately, a good chunk of the company tried to minimize the impact of the January layoffs. Don't get me wrong, there's a few folks still lingering around that I wouldn't mind getting canned.

I personally think many of the U10 and A10 are going to be going in this next round, which is fine by me, because we need to constantly compete against an ever growing field of competitors and just achieving the regular work isn't going to cut it anymore.

Anonymous said...

This has been standard (unwritten) rule for as long as I can remember, it has only become lethal now with the bottom 10% rules. A great performer who casually mentioned his future career intent got hosed and managed out. Never ever communicate your intent after mid year review. It could be the ungracious undeserved end of your career.

How is this good for our business and our customers?

It is like one day you go meet with your financial adviser and you are told he got fired because he mentioned he was interested in joining the branch across the street.

What would you think of the school who fires a teacher because she said she wanted to teach 5th grade instead of 6th grade?

That is just non sense that is costing us our productivity and our competitive edge.

Anonymous said...

"msr people have been most productive. how do you think we enter a new business on a whim in a matter of months? check out bing. check out natal. check out history and you will be hard pressed to find a single major product msr did not contribute."

Uhhh... we've been trying to get a handle on search for *years*.


As for Natal -- that's been over a year now and it is on *very* shaky ground to make it to market when we need it to (which, I might add, is still quite a way out). And let's be clear: Natal's future success is anybody's guess at the moment as it's still nothing but a tech demo.

What time warp are you living in? "Months"? Please give me some of what you're smoking.

Anonymous said...

@Microsoft India R & D is a worst place to work for...

Have you seen the "work" from SD? Truly spectacular! Forms and forms and templates that slowed everyone down. Solutions Delivery? More like slowing deliverables.

Those IT COEs? No wonder they're retiring the Center of Excellence naming, because Excellence is something they have no idea of!

Anonymous said...

I am not sure, whats up with windows mobile, In one of the group (Engineering productivity) they had another reorg in just 6 months, and this reorg is more or less done to bring people form Windows and Exchange, test org in windows mobile is full of test leads who dont know a thing about testing, they just manage up and do politics.

I know several people that just moved from Windows test to WM test that fit this description perfectly.

Anonymous said...

but if you read the comments here you'd believe that Microsoft has never hired the wrong people and it's always just a case of great workers getting shafted. NOT TRUE.

The bad hires typically move on and I doubt they still care about Microsoft and even bother writing on mini msft.

Hiring bar for IC in core engineering discipline is high. Coming to MS after several years in other companies, I can tell you that the IC population is amazingly talented in core engineering groups (= build products that really ships). Management however always struck me as below average.

If you are a manager in a team far from core engineering (= build products that really ships), you may be right about bad hires. I have no clue. But you have to realize that you have no clue about what it is like to be being shafted when you are the one who has done all the work.
I just hope you org is making money or not costing too much.

If your not and are still not acknowledging any of the reality of the "detention" dirty tricks, stupid rules that causes great performers to end up with the competition, then you are part of this huge problem.

Anonymous said...

Let’s be a bit more realistic with the comments like “most A/10’s or U/10’s will be let go”—it just doesn’t seem to be realistic, not all of the A/10’s and U/10’s are getting canned Nov 4th, I won’t take 10% of 90,000 employees as my number, we all know there are less “Limited’s” at higher levels and with number games some of our genius upper management plays, but even saying the bottom 5% is ~3600-4000 people, since the rough number of cuts to hit 5000 folks is around 1300 layoffs left that is still much less than the bottom 5%. Sure we could “impress” Wall Street by going > 5000 cuts and make the analysts swoon with delight, but I don’t see the company hitting around 7500-8000 total this year including the souls on the next round. I doubt there are a ton of E/10’s around to make up this difference.

Anonymous said...

believe it or not, there are plenty of underperforming employees who aren't victims of evil incompetent managers, they're just... not capable of doing the work.

Oh, I believe it alright.

But my similarly-anecdotal evidence, no less valid than your own, suggests:

1. Some employees who are managed out don't belong at the company, but these represent no more than half of those forced out.

2. At least half of those managed out do indeed belong at the company. In many cases, though, their managers do not.

3. Most employees who are not capable of doing the work do not get managed out on a timely basis, if at all.

For a specific example, there was a team that had four underperformers. One was a new enough hire, and a personal recruit of the hiring manager, so he's getting more time to learn the ropes while the college hires complain about that Senior SDE's lack of basic CS knowledge behind his back. One was forced out two years ago, roughly a year and a half after teammates started to demand it. One was laid off last January, more than two years after teammates started to demand it. Another should have been laid off, but wasn't, because that spot was reserved for a top performer someone wanted gone after a year of unwarranted "manage out" tactics failed to coerce them to go quietly. That last underperformer, whose departure teammates had been calling for as long as the others, is probably still bringing down the productivity level of the team.

So for 4 underperformers:
* 1 managed out.
* 1 laid off.
* 2 still on team.

For 2 top-most performers:
* 1 still on team.
* 1 laid off after surviving severe "manage out" tactics that would have caused most people to run for the hills ... and after indicating their intent to transfer to any one of several groups that sought them out.

Odds of making it through to the end of 2009 on this team were the same, 50%, for both the lowest and highest performers.

Anonymous said...

Forza Motorsports for XBox360 is out. I have a lot of respect for the original Forza, which at the time was more realistic than anything else out there. But reading about the engineers who are "super exchited" about scanning winshield washer nozzles for added realism makes me wonder:

who on earth sets priorities for that team? Really, nozzles?

http://editorial.autos.msn.com/article.aspx?cp-documentid=1101724

Anonymous said...

[By 2010 50 mobile devices will run Android. The writer wouldn't be surprised if Android apps catches up with Apple app store offering more than 85,000 apps.

Uuuuhh: how did they do this so fast? Where is MS? Still trying to untangle their own mgt mess? Shareholders, raise your voice please! Stop 10%-ing the IC's please! Look up,up,up.]

How did Google do it this fast? Because they haven't done it yet. Just like the chrome OS that has changed the world. Projections don't reality maketh.

Anonymous said...

>Srini & Soma have been in the same role managing India for so many years, they've gotten old, lazy, and blind to the chronic problems there.

This also applies to the general managers in India R&D. The skill requirement is coming up with a good reason the project was cut, why the next one is different, and playing a round of golf or dining with their peers and managers. Oh, and also put on a good show when Redmond management comes in.

There is so little IQ and so little creativity among this bunch. They will spend forever on a mundane and trivial decision to create a sense of importance and activity for themselves. Weeks of conference calls, data gathering, reports, proposals, reviews, new head count requests, and grand proclamations of achievement signal that a plan for a plan to hire a person to create a spec has been accomplished. What a joke.

Good luck to those teams depending on their India leadership to deliver. The longer the tenure at Microsoft, the more skilled in wasting your time. They will wear you out with talk, make 10x more head count requests than needed, fill your inbox with mundane achievements, and leave you holding a bag of product you'll need to fix yourself.

Anonymous said...

msr people have been most productive. how do you think we enter a new business on a whim in a matter of months? check out bing. check out natal. check out history and you will be hard pressed to find a single major product msr did not contribute


If bing is the product of MSR then I wonder what is the role of more than 2000 developers in Search org?

Anonymous said...


I personally think many of the U10 and A10 are going to be going in this next round, which is fine by me, because we need to constantly compete against an ever growing field of competitors and just achieving the regular work isn't going to cut it anymore.


Do you think Microsoft can determine those A10 and U10 fairly and perfectly? Google does not have U10 ranking system. Are they doing bad in the industry? Also what do you expect beyond the regular work? I guess these includes kissing the butts of management chain, actively participating in the internal team politics etc. I am an ex-Search developer (managed out). I had seen lots of people (specially PMs) were flourishing through little or no responsibilities. If those people would just do their regular works then search would not suffer from such inefficiency.

Anonymous said...

Microsoft India R & D is a worst place to work for...

Have you seen the "work" from SD? Truly spectacular!

Those IT COEs? ...


You guys in Hyderabad need to come down to reality. SD? IT COEs? EXD-LPO? You work in IT You do not work for MS India R&D. Your job is purely a cost play from the boys in Sammamish, and China is nipping at your heels. Get over it!

Anonymous said...

@Microsoft India R & D become a third class Org now specially EXD-LPO is now HCL.

very True bro...

Microsoft is not realising the fact that few idiots making the Org as Third class. The Principal Dev Manager in EXD-LPO from HCL will make this place complete HCL.

A BIG Q mark on LPO Hiring...??? How these many people came from One org only and also to the same group.

Anonymous said...

@Manager learns one day you want to leave his team. If it is close to mid-year or annual review, he ensures you get bottom of the stack and complains about:

Why there is a stack ranking before performance review. Then filling the performance sheet is completely useless. If the performance sheet is not complete, on what basis they evaluate people while doing the stack ranking...

More or less there are lots of loop holes in the system...overall this is a worst place to work for...

I will be leaving this stupid company very soon.....

Look at the company's financial graph for past 10 years and look at the competitor's financial graph for 10 years...that will be more than enough to predict the kind of talents we have inside...

How many Managers or Dev Managers are fired in the layoffs????????? Is there anyone to do justice?????

Anonymous said...

Just checked my HR Manager's calendar and starting on October 14h there have been several "Succession Planning" meetings over the last couple of weeks with each LoB lead. Also noticed that there was a "People Review and Succession Actions" meeting this week. Looks like a gear-up to some type of org movement or RIF in the near future...Don't see anything on the calendar for Nov 4th specifically.

Anonymous said...

msr provides initial critical expertise in starting a business. msr could provide technologies but can't guarantee success. the business divisions are ultimately accountable in implementing the right solutions and succeeding in the market place.

in search without msr we would be far behind. there may be like 50 researchers working on search. but there are 5000 engineers in osd itself who are working on search. why shoud those msr researchers be called less-productive for the failure of search before first closing the osd and handling pink slips to those 5000 folks.

similarly in natal case, one of the main task of researchers is to demonstrate that such things are possible and we have all the engineering talent to bring it to the market. ultimatey engineers have to be accountable for the right professional quality implementation. if researchers could do all aspects of business then why would they work in microsoft?

FARfetched said...

@Tuesday, October 27, 2009 10:42:00 AM

Speaking as a manager who has just "detained" a low-performing IC who would does not have the skills to succeed elsewhere in the company, I'd like to offer another perspective for balance. […]

*plenty* of managers … will try to shove their problems off to different teams … it's just a smile and nod to throw your dead weight over to another team.

I'm glad I don't work for you, nor would I willingly or knowingly work for anyone like you. An employee not performing well on your team? Obviously dead weight. Your post suggests that's your hammer, and your hapless employee is the nail.

I can think of two other reasons an employee might not perform well on one team but might do fine on another:

1) The problem is the manager. Obviously you won't consider that possibility, so there's no sense in continuing that line of thought.

2) The employee isn't compatible, either with the manager or the other team members. One of the best managers I ever worked for was at a company I otherwise hated — she would make hiring decisions on both skill set and whether a person would be able to work with the rest of the team. She made mistakes on the latter (everyone does), but with a couple exceptions we all worked pretty well together.

Stop being a control freak. If you have reservations about someone wanting to transfer out, communicate those reservations, but they'll either make it or they won't. If they succeed elsewhere, it doesn't necessarily mean you're a lousy manager, it just means that employee was more compatible with a different group. (Of course, if you get a lot of peeps leaving and succeeding, you might want to take a closer look at yourself.)

I presume that since you automatically assume that anyone trying to transfer out is incompetent, you never take transfers in?

Anonymous said...

why?

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/10/28/microsoft_expands_eclipse_support/

Anonymous said...

To jump off topic for a bit, has anyone internal ever used the performance site to read Steve's commitments? I sure wish my own commitments were as vague unmeasurable and generally "non-S.M.A.R.T." as his...

Anonymous said...

>> due to being forced to take MSR solutions which have not really done well in the market now have they.

>> Give me an example where the "solutions" were aligned to product or moreover, successful.

There are several including SQL Server Index tuning/Materlized View Tuning wizards, Entity Framework mapping, SCOPE in Live Search ...

If you think these are not positive contributions, I feel sorry for you.
Also, one poster said, MSR has no contributions other than PR. Do you have ANY idea how valuable that contribution is with academics (where your future hires come from). Go to a conference and see how students dislike MS (rational or irrational) but have a deep respect for MSR.

But, as a competitor to MSFT, I would say - yes, please do fire all of those "useless researchers" - I would be happy to hire several of them.

Having seen the two sides of research and product groups (and researchers are not flawless in terms of "tech transfer"), I must say that most of the developers don't even understand the value that MSR can bring in (some of the smart developers who are *also* not insecure do get this and try to leverage MSR as much as they can).

Anonymous said...

>> due to being forced to take MSR solutions which have not really done well in the market now have they.

>> Give me an example where the "solutions" were aligned to product or moreover, successful.

There are several including SQL Server Index tuning/Materlized View Tuning wizards, Entity Framework mapping, SCOPE in Live Search ...

If you think these are not positive contributions, I feel sorry for you.
Also, one poster said, MSR has no contributions other than PR. Do you have ANY idea how valuable that contribution is with academics (where your future hires come from). Go to a conference and see how students dislike MS (rational or irrational) but have a deep respect for MSR.

But, as a competitor to MSFT, I would say - yes, please do fire all of those "useless researchers" - I would be happy to hire several of them.

Having seen the two sides of research and product groups (and researchers are not flawless in terms of "tech transfer"), I must say that most of the developers don't even understand the value that MSR can bring in (some of the smart ones who are *also* not insecure do get the value of MST and try to leverage those resources as much as they can).

Anonymous said...

Back to P/E ratios

"It's just under the S&P average". Sorry, but you should not be comparing to the S&P average, but to the industry segment that MSFT is in. Why lump us in with bread and butter companies that are stable and simply churning stuff out? The tech industry is growing.

MSFT is going down, on an up escalator!

Why shouldn't MSFT have a higher P/E ratio again? Why can't we experience growth? If Apple can do it, why can't we? Why do you say that MSFT is never going to go back to the 30x, 40x, 50x that does not make sense (As a thought experiment to convince you that your statement in nonesense, imagine you woke up tomorrow and MSFT had acquired 100% of a company that had a high P/E ratio, would that not increase ours? Instead of acquiring, what if we'd developed the application instead).

Are you seriously telling me that, just because we are big, we can't get a higher P/E ratio? Agreed we have higher inertia because of our size, but nothing is impossible.

If we developed a good mobile product, or actually made a non-negligbale dent in search ... etc we could move the needle quite a long way.

NBGPH

Anonymous said...

Looks like the W7 stock buzz is already waning. That didn't last long.

Back to reality:

"HTC may be updating its brand, but it's sticking by its longtime partner, Microsoft ( MSFT - news - people ). Though other handset makers such as Motorola have dropped Microsoft's Windows Mobile operating system in favor of Android, Chou says HTC has no plans to follow. That doesn't mean he's not frustrated with the software. "Windows Mobile innovation has been a little slow and interest in Windows Mobile phones has been declining," he admits.

http://www.forbes.com/2009/10/28/google-verizon-android-technology-wireless-htc.html

Who was the highest paid MS executive last year again?

Anonymous said...

@10/28 10:47

Oh my my my how naive you are you poor sad soul.

So you think A/10 and U/10 are made up of folks who "just achieve which ISNT CUTTING IT" because the competition is getting "so good"?

In case you arent aware, getting an Exceed/20 these days means you are telling managers what they want to hear and are VERY good at manipulating political situations. Sure there are outlying cases, but this is what it is about probably 80% of the time.

Well here is a newsflash... Management at the senior and mid-level can NEVER succeed against ANY competitor. They lack the vision, breadth and depth knowledge, and CHARACTER to do so. They don't understand what the customer needs and really NEVER HAVE. Like the old AT&T, this isnt a company at all - its just a monopoly. Monopolies dont produce a functional corporate culture. They produce tyrants whose ego is insurmountable and sychophants who bottom feed.

So if you believe that an U/10 or an A/10 is a sign of ANYTHING beyond being the product of a horrifically imbalanced and broken review process in an organization that is TERMINALLY out of touch, then you are truly among the clueless.

Ive seen MANY blind koolaiders like yourself eventually LAND in that U/10 bucket. Finally a victim of the brutal system they had always had faith in and cheered for. I can tell you it doesnt feel good.

Are there poor performers that deserve to be managed out? Sure... Always. But 10% of the company arbitrarily (a QUOTA FOR IT) EVERY year? Please. The basic rules of the system tell you how inequitable it is even if the management WERENT a gaggle of clueless jackoffs.

Even a GOOD manager will be forced to make BAD decisions if someone says "10% of your people MUST be in the fucked bucket, so who are the WORST 10%?!"

So yes... Between Steven Hawking, Einstein and Kip Thorn, SOMEONE is the "dumbest" theoretical physicist. But the REAL moron is the idiot even asking the question when there is no pressing need at all to "eliminate" ANY of them and there is a big, fat, glaring, glutinous, useless, idiot earning 7 figures a year while vomitting platitudes and helping to destroy the company (whose big success was at the one company maybe MORE despised than MSFT), continuing to collect ever huger partner comp.

Anonymous said...

keeperplanet said:

Only self-deprived Apple Zealots still think Microsoft operating systems are problematic. Congratulations on finally finding the right note with 7.

I seriously hope MS is loaded with people just like you.

Anonymous said...

Post: This has been standard (unwritten) rule for as long as I can remember, it has only become lethal now with the bottom 10% rules. Never ever communicate your intent after mid year review. It could be the ungracious undeserved end of your career. ]

Q: How is this good for our business and our customers?

A: It's not good and it's not the same for every group either. Some (larger) groups seem to be setup well for transfers. With other groups it's Russian roulette. I would recommend doing it the stealth way (informal interviews) until you got your review score unless you know for sure your group is ok.

Anonymous said...

So, what's your take on this layoff talk, Mini? Heard anything?

Anonymous said...

Here is my Question .. What % of the so called DEs, Partners, Principals are truly productive at Microsoft... Do they even know enough of the current technologies to justify their roles.

Just for the Kicks .. these individuals should take up and clear Microsoft certification examinations :) to see where they stand..

just my humble opinion.

Anonymous said...

I played Russian roulette before mid year reviews and lost. Had the worst mid and year-end reviews ever. I'm leaving MSFT by end of year for a company that offers at least a glimmer of hope.

Anonymous said...

@October 29, 2009 8:57:00 AM:
Just checked my HR Manager's calendar and starting on October 14h there have been several "Succession Planning" meetings over the last couple of weeks with each LoB lead. Also noticed that there was a "People Review and Succession Actions" meeting this week. Looks like a gear-up to some type of org movement or RIF in the near future...

Check your the commitments of your management chain higher-ups. I've seen several with commitments around planning for succession, I think because of all the people leaving, either voluntarily or involuntarily. They're probably leaving a lot of loose ends and HR is trying to make future exec departures less painful.

In OSD business there has been a bunch of execs & high level managers leaving. I know of one group that had 3 layers of management quit in the last two months. Flattening out the org is great, but important decisions sit unmade as everyone tries to figure out who's really in charge now.

Anonymous said...

just had hr all hands this morning, geared up for operation, code name, JOL (Jack O'Lantern)

Anonymous said...

There are several including SQL Server Index tuning/Materlized View Tuning wizards, Entity Framework mapping, SCOPE in Live Search ...


They are products from MSR because because these opportunities were given to only MSR people. Dont suffer from prejudices that only you msr people have the expertise to develop them. There are lots of talented lower level IC who have the capability of designing and developing such products. Same scenario goes to the difference between E and U in certain cases. In some team initially E people were given some critical projects/roles and U people were given some unnecessary projects/roles. So even the E and U peoples performed in same level that do not play any role during performance review. Because the differentiation was done long before during the project distribution. If a manager do not like one of his ICs he can just screw him by assigning some bad tasks.



Also, one poster said, MSR has no contributions other than PR. Do you have ANY idea how valuable that contribution is with academics (where your future hires come from). Go to a conference and see how students dislike MS (rational or irrational) but have a deep respect for MSR.


So if you think impressing future hires by attending some conferences then I can come up with lots of other ways. Why dont we send some athlets to participate in an IVY League university sports tournament? Students dislike MS because of its deteriorating political environments, but one of the reason some still like to join MSR because of the eliteness of the role, ease of the role ( apparently for some academicians paper writing is more easier than regular development. I have heard about one MSR person who can not write code but she is in MSR because of her academic background) and the benefits ( a RSDE is paid much higher than a regular SDE, a researcher is paid more or less like a principal level IC).


But, as a competitor to MSFT, I would say - yes, please do fire all of those "useless researchers" - I would be happy to hire several of them.


Same goes to the regular developers as well. If the layoff were executed during booming years lots of people would be happy to be laid off. Because competitors were craving for taking aways employees from Microsft. But with the recession most other competitors are under the hiring freeze. Believe me if any of you MSR people would be included in the 1400 then you would need same or even more amount of time to land into the next job.

Anonymous said...

What happened to ben fathi? It is so unusual for a top talent who oversees the windows dev team to leave within one week of a extremely successful win7 launch.

Anonymous said...

There are so many layers of greedy, lazy and incompetent middle management at Microsoft promoted to their positions because of who they knew and not because of their contribution or potential. These people care only about themselves, not customers. The company is rotting from the inside out, anything above immediate leads to directors. There are three layers of management that does NOTHING, seriously. And these are the people making stack ranking decisions. Bad people hire and protect other bad people they get along with. The company has a dim future when HR does nothing about it (for years). It has become a company of personal favors and powerpoint presentations…yuck! Yes, it is THIS BAD.

Anonymous said...

Ben Fathi is going to work at Cisco.. He announced that he was leaving a while ago.

Anonymous said...

I third the below. This is exactly what happens with a director of marketing in the US BMO (Kelly S), her power plays have already run a dozen strong ICs out of the team/company. Her management accepts her perspective without question. Well, until she received got the lowest WHI scores in the BMO, whoops. Microsoft lost the strong ICs, and is now stuck with the cancerous incompetent director, good job Microsoft.




To Anonymous @Tuesday, October 27, 2009 2:47:00 AM that wrote:
Manager learns one day you want to leave his team. If it is close to mid-year or annual review, he ensures you get bottom of the stack and complains about....
No one else could've said it better. It is indeed the cancer that's propagating at MS for years and years, has reached epidemic proportions. I've witnessed it , experienced it and assisted others that have gone through this hell of an experience.

Anonymous said...

Mini, I think it'd be great time to do another post for after Q1 earning and layoff rumors. I'm this is what's on most of people's minds.

Anonymous said...

Many conference rooms in building 28 are being booked solid, and in 4 other buildings, from Friday Oct 30th through November 9 "move related activity across the majority of Windows".
This was suddenly requested on Oct 22nd, and booked by the receptionists, so it would be easy to hide layoff meeting in amongst these.

jcr said...

MSFT -14% -18%

FWIW, the decline of Microsoft is something I point out when I make the argument against government regulation of industry. In a free market, there are definite disadvantages to organizations that accumulate too many people.

Anonymous said...

Just finished my first and only review process in a company recently acquired my MSFT . Never seen anything like it, seriously flawed. I resigned the day after, life is too short to be treated like this.

Anonymous said...

This also applies to the general managers in India R&D. The skill requirement is coming up with a good reason the project was cut, why the next one is different, and playing a round of golf or dining with their peers and managers. Oh, and also put on a good show when Redmond management comes in.

I know exactly who you are talking about.. Are you from Redmond or from this guy's team?

Anonymous said...

MSIT, India is a worst place to work for...

When company will fire these stupid managers and dev managers?????????????????

They don't know anything apart from asking status every 2 hrs. The same applies on leads...The leads and managers both do the same task almost. why do need two profiles for one job??????

Anonymous said...

my friend moved from one team to another recently, but his headtrax data is not updated yet. he was told, headtrax changes are currently on hold till November 10, guess why!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I heard that there may be layoffs the first week of November. In perusing the blog threads while there looks to be some concern, no one has specifically provide valid comment as to if this will happen or not. Sure by now, there should be some hard indication that the layoffs will be taking place?

Anonymous said...

"...Why shouldn't MSFT have a higher P/E ratio again? Why can't we experience growth? If Apple can do it, why can't we? Why do you say that MSFT is never going to go back to the 30x, 40x, 50x that does not make sense (As a thought experiment to convince you that your statement in nonesense, imagine you woke up tomorrow and MSFT had acquired 100% of a company that had a high P/E ratio, would that not increase ours? Instead of acquiring, what if we'd developed the application instead).

Are you seriously telling me that, just because we are big, we can't get a higher P/E ratio? Agreed we have higher inertia because of our size, but nothing is impossible.

If we developed a good mobile product, or actually made a non-negligbale dent in search ... etc we could move the needle quite a long way.

NBGPH"

The S&P is what everyone benchmarks against, including MS management. I provided it to give context. The current P/E is near average, not "pathetic". If you want to compare technology alone, it looks good right now against other mature companies like IBM, HP, Oracle, and SAP (which is why it's probably ahead of itself). Apple and Google have higher P/Es but also higher growth and growth potential. So their premium is probably deserved, at least for now.

On your "thought experiment", who in technology could MS buy who is large enough and growing fast enough to make the new combined entity grow at Apple or Google rates? Besides those two, of course, neither of which would be approved and which MS can no longer afford. No one.

Yes, search has the *future* potential to be large enough if MS could succeed there. But we know how that's going so far, and it will take years even if that turns around. Meanwhile MS's traditional businesses aren't exactly stable or absent competitive threats. Mobile has potential too, but much less given the current MS model of s/w only sales and the presence of Android (which is a formidable threat and also puts a cap on pricing MS can charge). Again, we know how well MS is doing in mobile despite entering the market years ahead of Google and Apple.

Nothing is impossible, we agree on that. But that doesn't negate using reason. Adding 10% growth to MS requires $5 billion in additional sales. There are less than two dozen technology companies who even have that in annual revenue. Getting back to 8-10% growth would be a major accomplishment in this economy and for a company of MS's size. 15% would be outstanding relative to the entire S&P peer group. Ballmer has done a poor job overall, but even a gifted CEO would face the same constraints. Incremental improvement in growth and P/E is already an optimistic scenario and likely requires a new CEO. Radical change in either just isn't realistic.

Anonymous said...

There are *plenty* of managers who, instead of doing the right thing and managing bad employees out of the company, will try to shove their problems off to different teams -- it's far, far easier to let your bad employee interview and go somewhere else than it is to "detain" them and manage them out of the company.

Whether its "doing the right thing" depends upon the techniques used to "manage them out of the company".

Care to share what is done to manage someone out of the company?

Anonymous said...

How did Google do it this fast? Because they haven't done it yet. Just like the chrome OS that has changed the world. Projections don't reality maketh.

It's hardly a "projection" at this point. Read some gadget blogs--almost all the major phone manufacturers are putting the finishing touches on their Android phones if they aren't done already.

I'm not a fan of Android, but it is sheer ignorance or obstinance to imply that Android isn't, or won't, be a success in the market.

Anonymous said...

* Your communication issues (During a 30mn presentation, you paused for 3 seconds instead of 4 and almost caused the entire org to lose confident in the product)

"Communication issues" is a favorite technique.

Most rational people ask what you meant if they don't understand what you said.

If they had a problem with you not communicating status often enough, they would ask you for a status update. It doesn't take very long to figure out how often someone wants to be notified if they sincerely want to know. It is even easier if they tell you how often they want to be notified.

They also would not wait a year until a performance review to tell you.

It is ironic that they have to have a "communication problem" to peg you with one.

Anonymous said...

Mini - This is worthy news of a new blog. I don't want to start a panic, but if I understand the MS Benefits flyer that came in today's mail with IT's TIME FOR OPEN ENROLLMENT on the front, it appears the ol' Premera gold-plated health plan is going the way of Flight Simulator. That bonus you got this year, stow it away for your health costs in 2010, unless you're one of the lucky, healthy with only one doc visit a year and aspirin as your primary Rx; or you use Group Health. Little change for those two categories - except the GH members will now have a whole lot of new members to wait behind in line. But if you get really sick or have an accident – even if you’re healthy – welcome to the world of upfront payments, insurance reimbursement forms and deductibles.
I tried to use the pamphlets directions to find the link, to "compare health plans", in order to see if I missed a plan, but the link was not evident as the pamphlet suggested – on either the employee or dependants pages. But... if I read the pamphlet correctly, I see an employee has two choices this year for health plans: The HSA "high deductable" plan, OR Group Health. Previously one also had the “no deductable plan” option. That appears to have gone away, or maybe the nice folks at Premera will offer it as a surcharge option, but it’s unclear.
HSA was introduced a few years ago, which encouraged folks with little medical care needs to take the 'free HSA money' high deductable plan if they didn't think they'd need much in medical benefits that year. That free money contribution from Microsoft was over $1,000 then, now it is $700.
In the HSA plan, MS contributes the first $700 to it, then you're on your own to cover your costs until you hit a certain out-of-pocket limit not mentioned (the do-nut hole). After out-of-pocket is reached, medical insurance kicks in, which the pamphlet fails to detail. I think it was about $2,500-$3,000 in the past, but I'm not sure if that was per individual or per family? So, if anyone has family out there intends to use more than $700 in medical care or Rx this year (outside of annual/routine physicals which are paid fully), welcome to your pay cut. Maybe you won’t mind the extra few thousand dollars you’ll need to contribute (if used), but it will also cause a paperwork nightmare for most, because those doc's will want to be paid up front, by you, letting you sort out the paperwork on the back end. Previously, insurance would pay automatically, so no upfront payments. Same with Rx coverage. Until you reach your limit, no free trips through the Walgreens pick up window. Alternately, you can join Group Health with its own out of pocket limits.
I fully expected MS to institute some cost cutting, like creating a co-pay or a contribution, but this is a whopper of a change all at once, with no notice around it. Frankly I'm surprised no one from Benefits has reached out with some sort of messaging around this. It appears Benefits will have some "seminars" to help people understand their options... Healthcare Townhall anyone?
-micky

Anonymous said...

What happened to ben fathi? It is so unusual for a top talent who oversees the windows dev team to leave within one week of a extremely successful win7 launch.

Yes, it would be unusual for top talent to leave after a launch like that.

There's nothing unusual about Ben's departure.

Anonymous said...

Just finished my first and only review process in a company recently acquired my MSFT . Never seen anything like it, seriously flawed. I resigned the day after, life is too short to be treated like this.

So when faced with a challenging process that you admit was new to you, you decide to quit instead of working with people to try to improve it.

You won't go far in this world.

Anonymous said...

As one of the people likely to be laid off next Weds, anyone have any suggestions and advice for things I should be doing *now* before my access is cut off?

Anonymous said...

@You guys in Hyderabad need to come down to reality. SD? IT COEs? EXD-LPO? You work in IT You do not work for MS India R&D.

Hey dude, go and check for any MSIT profile in gal you will see the company name as - MS INDIA (R&D)...

I must say that if people are not clear of their Org name...one can understand where the company is heading towards.....

Anonymous said...

There are *plenty* of managers who, instead of doing the right thing and managing bad employees out of the company, will try to shove their problems off to different teams -- it's far, far easier to let your bad employee interview and go somewhere else than it is to "detain" them and manage them out of the company.

-1

Wow, we have a "bad hire" garbage collector among us :-)

It is easy to suck at your manager job and still play tricks to look like the hero: give an IC no guidance, assign him crappy projects and ignore him during 1 on 1.

I had an incompetent manager that was specialized in trashing his ICs under a bus when they were leaving. He did it to two people I knew.
This way he looked like the good guy that was pushing bad guys out of the team and doing is job as a "representative of Microsoft Corporation". Many of them moved to other team and did well.

The only problem is that he did it too many times and it started to look bogus. Not that HR did anything to prevent it, but when it was my turn to leave and I got the "treatment", HR actually gave me air cover and intervened.

Poor guy was a bad hire hanging by his fingertips. He was the kind of manager you would not invite to a meeting with partners because he would embarrass himself with his incompetence. He fouled many people with his BS that he was a returning MS manager who had worked for MS for 10y in the 80s.
We later found out that he was a product support manager that had never written a line of code or even page spec.
Not sure what he did wrong but he was also broke.

Maybe he was the Michael Scott of Microsoft (less funny but as painful to watch)

Going through that experience was hell but it helped me grow a lot as well.

Anonymous said...

@Friday, October 30, 2009 6:40:00 PM

If this is true, it's just one more reason to leave. I sacrified a lot financially and personally to move from one side of the country to the other because I thought that Microsoft would be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I'm now finding that's not all it's cracked up to be.

Just got promoted, but...

- Sorry, no raise. Here's an extra char next to your title to make you feel special.

- Oh, and we can't give you a big bonus either. No money for it.

- And before you go back to your desk, we're removing your prized medical plan. You should now expect to pay an extra 1k per year in healthcare costs.

Bwah! I haven't worked for long in the industry, but I know enough to recognize this pattern in business. As soon as over-the-hill companies with bloated top-to-bottom orgs start cutting benefits to please Wall Street, you know the company has lost its way... There's no riches in the race to the bottom, and most of us at Microsoft are too good at what we do to tolerate this stupidity.

You just wait, senior "leadership" team... As the economy turns around, you WILL lose your top talent and you WILL irreversibly tarnish moreso than ever your reputation among experienced hires and n00bs such as me alike.

I wish so badly that we could gut middle-level managers from the orgs and replace top-level management with people who have heart, drive, and technical acumen...

...depressed to see this happening.

Anonymous said...

I am sorry but this blog has gotten so stupid it is painful to read.People getting worked up over booked conf. rooms?! It is really pathetic. How about we just buy a Magic 8-Ball and ask it if there will be layoffs. How about a Ouija board to predict quarterly results?

Anonymous said...

It's hardly a "projection" at this point. Read some gadget blogs--almost all the major phone manufacturers are putting the finishing touches on their Android phones if they aren't done already.

I'm not a fan of Android, but it is sheer ignorance or obstinance to imply that Android isn't, or won't, be a success in the market.


http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/projection

9 : an estimate of future possibilities based on a current trend

I think someone was saying 40-50 different handsets coming out this year with Android? Not a chance, unless they are counting the release of one handset in multiple markets as an individual release. Even if they are, they probably won't even have half that number.

Tech bloggers love Apple first, then Google next. But the shine is starting to wear off of Google a little. They're starting to work on way too many things beyond their core business, and spread themselves too thin.

Their latest mobile OS isn't perfect. It's got really good buzz right now. After the geeks have tried it out for a few days/weeks, you'll see more about the down sides.

The most exciting feature seems to be ad-supported turn by turn nav. Sucks that we didn't do it first. I hope it was just because we didn't want to screw over partners like AT&T, Garmin & Tom-Tom, and not because we weren't smart enough to recognize how important it is.

Google can move faster than us with a fraction of the people. But that's because people aren't expecting a lot from them, so it's easy to live up to the hype. But for WM7, if it doesn't cure cancer and use your GPS to help you get laid, it will be seen as a "failure".

WM7 will do things that other phones aren't doing today. But builds will leak early, and our competitors will have a chance to reverse engineer or copy it and have the same feature in-market within a few months of our release.

But there's very good news here - the cycle will not repeat with WM8. I can't say any more than that on a public site. No, it has nothing to do with "Project Pink" or ZunePhone.

Anonymous said...

"Communication issues" is a favorite technique.

Most rational people ask what you meant if they don't understand what you said.

It doesn't take very long to figure out how often someone wants to be notified if they sincerely want to know. It is even easier if they tell you how often they want to be notified.


Right on. If you want the employee to do a certain thing, setting expectations before hand can't hurt and usually helps. Otherwise, there is potential for misunderstanding. It's reasonable to want the employee to take the initiative on this. But if they don't ask a critical question or make an incorrect assumption, why let the employee fail in order to have something to complain about later, rather than give them the info they need to succeed and get the work done? The former wastes too much time. In a smaller company, a manager most likely wouldn't get away with it.

It is ironic that they have to have a "communication problem" to peg you with one.

Carefully pointing out this very fact to management, complete with examples cited, does not win an IC any friends.

Naturally the above does not apply to every mention of the "communication skills" issue. There are some common cases in which communication skills are problematic, that apply with relative frequency in the software industry.

To bring up an unpopular topic, one case is with engineers whose English is less than fluent. If an IC is a fantastic engineer, but he takes twice as long to explain things to his peers as others on the team do, and doesn't clearly communicate key points, guess what, that person may be an E/20 fantastic engineer but his "communication skills" need improvement.

Another common scenario in the software industry occurs when an individual is so introverted that they don't ask enough questions, even after they're told several times that they need to start asking more questions before plunging into projects. Related to that is the "inadequately raising or failing to raise the red flag" issue. Did you run into a large obstacle in getting a task done? Did you put off telling your manager in hopes that you could work around it? Depending on the manager's outlook, he could appreciate that you tried to solve the problem on your own before involving him or he could ding your communication skills.

I won't let myself be baited into a discussion of how many organizational problems, many of which could be resolved if the org admitted they had them, are hidden (and thereby denied) by framing status reporting and tracking issues as a problem with an employee whose "communication skills" are deemed to be falling short. Those in certain divisions at MS can guess what a few of these problems are: insanely poor internal tools and lack of access permission for devs to build tools that work directly against the databases, awkward process that sometimes requires the same people to "touch" tasks in a workflow multiple times (each of which requires a status update that takes longer than whatever real work the person just completed on that task), managers in "status overkill" mode to ensure that IF their manager ever asks them for status on one of the 1800 work items assigned to their team that they can look it up on a spreadsheet within 30 seconds, over-optimistic schedules that don't include sufficient overhead to account for tool issues, onerous process and "status overkill", etc.

It seems to me to be merely another symptom of the organizational emphasis on process rather than results. Might this emphasis might be the "trickle down" effect of exec/partner compensation structures? Think about it. It's easy to design a process and then have one's success criteria dependent on the org following this process (whether it was a good or bad process is immaterial) that is under your control. It's much harder to have one's success criteria dependent on external factors one doesn't control, like the business climate, customer perceptions, etc.

Anonymous said...

Microsoft India R & D is a worst place to work for...

Guys if you have enemies...simply refer them to Microsoft IT, India

I am really going thru a pathetic experience in MS, Hyd.

Anonymous said...

Look, here is what’s been going on for years… we have brought in middle and upper managers from retail stores and banks and they expect salesman type personalities from engineers. Think about it. This is a rare trait. And this goes totally against our Diversity policies. Go check out our Diversity site. Talk about lawsuits waiting to happen…

Anonymous said...

Continue the layoff drumbeat for November 4th. My spouse is a level 67 Sr Director in E&D (Xbox org)and just got confirmation of his "performance management" list (latest euphomism for who is getting cut). Surprisingly (or not?), it includes two people who were culled in January then rehired by other groups inside E&D are being laid off again for redundancy due to re-org.

Anonymous said...

Hello all.

I left Microsoft about two years ago and now work for another tech company. I did leave for the competitor, so knew I'd be walked out immediately. Given that, here's how I prepared and I'm so glad I did. Take it for what it's worth!

1. Transfer all files onto an external hard drive that you own, of course. Install it, make sure it works.

2. Slowly start moving things out of your cube except the essentials - that way you'll have more time to say goodbye to those you want to.

3. Have a written email ready to go and Bcc those you want to say goodbye to with all of your information. Send it from your gmail account or whatever non-Microsoft address you have.

4. Take a moment to sit down and acknowledge those around you who were helpful, instrumental, or just plain supportive of your career. They will thank you and you'll leave knowing you did something great.

5. Take your floating holidays. You earned them. You won't take them with you. Take them.

6. Get copies of your original employee agreement, your fidelity statement, your vacation due to you, etc. Screen capture all of it.

7. Don't be an asshole on the way out. If you're leaving for a better job, don't gloat. If you've been cut, don't complain. You will LOVE knowing your credibility was intact and so was your dignity.

8. If you're good, they are going to suffer. Believe me. My team has contacted me a number of times and told me what a disaster things are. Don't gloat. Just enjoy that.

9. Buy a Mac! :) Well, do something that unhinges you from the loyalty you might feel.

10. Take some time. Microsoft (at least in my area) has become shocking, abrasive, bullying and unethical environment where fear and wounded ego rule the day. It took me about 9 months to recover from it. I can't imagine ever going back.

11. Take the time to reflect how you grew, how you personally contributed to your unhappiness and what occurs there. It's the only thing you can change.

Anonymous said...

WRT the sudden booking of all the conference rooms in Bldg 28: This is probably just a side effect of the office reshuffle that's happening in Windows. There's going to be a two-week period (yes, two weeks) during which various combinations of PM, Dev, and Test will not have any access to their offices; so everyone is being told they can use the temporary hookups in the conference rooms.

All this in the name of finding the "perfect" arrangement of offices. More of the "management by numerology" that's going on in the new, improved Windows org...

Anonymous said...

>>What happened to ben fathi?

There was certainly 1 or 2 levels of redundancy between Jon DeVaan, Ben Fathi, and Ben's directs. Looks like SteveSi cleaned this up. It's great to see Steven isn't making up roles simply due to some past promotion.

Ben may be a smart guy, but he didn't add value to Windows over others in the hierarchy.

Anonymous said...

>Care to share what is done to manage someone out of the company?

1) Usually managers get told they need to manage to an NTE (not to exceed) headcount number. Sometimes the employee really was a bad MSFT hire but this normally isn't the case.

2) They look at their lowest 70% achieved performers and start finding the faults that justify them as underperformed or 10%.

3) Start communicating to those people their faults. You will see reviews or 1:1s become more critical versus supportive and helpful. If you didn't have 1:1s before, now you really will - because the manager has a goal to see you out the door. There will be a "positive" message that you are smart and can do better, but really, it is too late at this point. They need to hit their NTE and you have been targeted.

4) Give the person the Underperformed or 10% review message. Either the person has left the group at #3 or now it is too late. With this on your review, you are likely not getting hired else where.

5) Now, HR really gets involved and "good" managers take credit for their "hard work". The employee will be micromanaged on every task - basically put on a performance improvement plan. Where you could choose your own tasks before, ones will be selected for you instead. Weekly email status from you is required but really, you're writing your obituary because your manager follows it up with clear "areas for improvement". And the manager sends a private email to HR and his manager saying "this is really going down hill. I'm trying my best, but ..." All this builds the case for the termination.

6) You will be formally told you have 4, 6 or 8 weeks to improve or you need to get out. Either you resign or you get fired. Most people resign.

7) Your now ex-manager milks your termination for all its worth with his manager/HR. Sometimes getting other teams merged in, building a bigger empire, because they can "clean house".

Anonymous said...

"Care to share what is done to manage someone out of the company?"

I'm the OP who wrote about managers shoving their poor performers off on others instead of taking the responsibility to fire the person.

I'll share my own answer: it involves actually being committed to working with your employee to see if you can help them fix the issue... which means spending time to help them understand why they're not being effective in their role, and spending even more time to structure appropriate objectives that will allow them to demonstrate sustained improvement.

And what do you do if someone can't demonstrate sustained improvement (which is hard for some of you to believe apparently, but actually does happen)? Answer: you can make a call that the person is in the wrong role at MS or you can make a call that they're at the wrong company. If you're dealing with someone who has basic issues with process and communication, for example (e.g. you're getting continuous feedback from people they work with that the person blows-up everything they touch and is causing problems for the project), and if the person is unable to improve even with your help, then it's a good sign that they won't be able to be successful elsewhere in the company.

When you make the determination that the right thing to do is terminate the person, then you should be clear with the employee about what's happening and what they'd need to do to remain with the company... and you should be clear at every step thereafter about impending termination.

And you should also be prepared for the employee -- no matter how much termination was warranted -- to post on Mini about how you totally fucked them over and how they can't believe what happened because I've always been a rockstart employee with a perfect performance history, and about how evil you are and how Microsoft is filled with the the most sociopathic, vile managers in the known universe.

Anonymous said...

Why Windows Mobile suck so much?


Lots of reorg is going on, 2nd reorg is done to more or less undo the first one and just to satisy what the Dev mgr of one group Maher Saba wants.
Seriosuly all this to satisfy one person, he is bringing his people from windows and moving test leads here. I am not sure how good these new people will be, but i am sure that earlier windows mobile test leads sucked big time.

Anonymous said...

Mini, micky's 6:40pm comment caught my attention and I anxiously went to the mailbox to see my benefits brochure.

While the poster appears to be right that the brochure only talks about the two health plans, in the 2nd paragraph in the intro it says that there are no major changes coming to benefits in 2010, but they will be watching, analyzing and evaluating benefits in 2011. I would certainly hope that if they were dropping the Premera gold plan that would qualify as a major change.

They are certainly promoting the Group Health and HSA accounts, but no where do I see anything explicit about Premera not being an option.

I read this as much more of be prepared for changes coming not next year, but the year after.

Anyone with more insight on that??

Anonymous said...

@ mickey - you're being a tad shrill methinks. The mailer is little more than a reminder to employees that it's time to renew our benefits elections online. I read nothing in there to support the assertion that an employee will only have two plans to choose from (GHC or HSA). Yes, there are two scenarios where the GHC and HSA plans are highlighted, however given that these likely represent the low cost options for Microsoft, it's hardly surprising that they'd highlight them in the printed material distributed to employees. As for not being able to compare the available plans online, that's fairly easy to explain - if you pay VERY close attention, I believe that you will find that open enrollment begins on 1 November. My very rough calculations put that at T-minus 36 hours from the time of your post. I suppose we could insist on better messaging from Benefits to protect us from our own propensity to panic, and it's always fun to use an incomplete set of facts to spin up in the comments section of this blog. However, I guess I'm going to choose NOT to get myself worked into a frenzy, and instead wait until tomorrow, when I can log on to the mybenefits to find out the facts, as opposed to trafficking in hyperbole.

Anonymous said...

>>Microsoft India R & D is a worst place to work for.

MS IDC regularly gets feedback on Mini about poor leadership and poor quality. There was a pretty caustic set of complaints last year but nothing changed. The same IDC leadership has been in place for 10+ years. This feels like the recent info on the Bernie Madoff scandal - many people were complaining about his trading practices. Despite several investigations by the SEC, no one was persistent in asking the hard questions so we remained blind to the real scandal for years.

Srini's become so accustomed to the problems & feedback, he no longer sees it as anything more than ordinary noise. He's bored by the same old feedback. He also lacks the spirit and creativity to try anything new for the organization.

Srini & Soma have a BFF relationship that guarantees this won't change. IDC is destined for stagnation despite everyone's awareness there are way too many internal problems.

China or other development centers simply don't generate this level of internal outcry. They have benefited from more frequent leadership change as the country and Microsoft needs have changed.

Anonymous said...

http://blog.seattlepi.com/microsoft / archives / 183739.asp

HAHA

Anonymous said...

Just a random thing that may not mean much--at the Bellevue Goodwill there are over half a dozen books from Steven Sinofsky's personal library (they have a stamp with his name inside the front cover). They are nice, 20 year old hardcover books about algorithms from before his Microsoft career. Ironically, they are still quite relevant and not dated, unlike the quickly dated literature about the MFC framework he oversaw at the beginning of his Microsoft career.

Whether or not the timing of their donation to Goodwill presage any impending career move is a matter of conjecture.

Anonymous said...

Why don't the top talent in HR and Office leave?

Because HR and Office are top talent.

Anonymous said...

Luckily not you, apparently. Nice armchair quarterbacking by you, way to root for success. Looks like the team was pretty successful. 92 rating with 61 critic reviews in..Very impressive work by that team.

I'm not on the Forza team, but I am aware of what sony does to develop GranTurismo. You have no idea what the Forza guys are up against.


http://www.metacritic.com/games/platforms/xbox360/forzamotorsport3?q=forza


original post -->
Forza Motorsports for XBox360 is out. I have a lot of respect for the original Forza, which at the time was more realistic than anything else out there. But reading about the engineers who are "super exchited" about scanning winshield washer nozzles for added realism makes me wonder:

who on earth sets priorities for that team? Really, nozzles?

http://editorial.autos.msn.com/article.aspx?cp-documentid=1101724

Anonymous said...

http://blog.seattlepi.com/microsoft / archives / 183739.asp

HAHA


But did you see, the repay only applies in the case where the exec leaves of his own free will. Unlike regular employees who lose all pending stock awards when laid off (involuntary "leaving"), apparently execs get to keep certain benefits when THEY are laid off.

Anonymous said...

Seriosuly all this to satisfy one person, he is bringing his people from windows and moving test leads here. I am not sure how good these new people will be, but i am sure that earlier windows mobile test leads sucked big time.

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

The problems with Windows Mobile are a lot bigger than the test leads.

On its own, it is mostly a stable product. But drop a bad app on there, and it can cause it to hang.

The problem starts with the design and vision. That is a management problem. I think MS has tried replacing management multiple times, with obviously zero luck.

Anonymous said...

All this in the name of finding the "perfect" arrangement of offices. More of the "management by numerology" that's going on in the new, improved Windows org...

Very weird things happening with office moves. The closer you are to the building where management will be, the more important your team is to them. People in 26/27/28 should be worried.

I've heard from an admin friend involved in the planning that there were actually discussions to have dev and test for a feature share an office.

Look for Steven to try to push for this sometime during Windows 8. It will be one example of how Windows is leading the company in the belt tightening efforts.

Anonymous said...

Mini - This is worthy news of a new blog. I don't want to start a panic, but if I understand the MS Benefits flyer that came in today's mail with IT's TIME FOR OPEN ENROLLMENT on the front, it appears the ol' Premera gold-plated health plan is going the way of Flight Simulator.

Comments like this one are a continous reminder why the 10% bucket is necessary. How hard is it to log on to mymicrosoftbenefits.com and test one's assumptions before making a fool of oneself? One may not be stupid, but laziness often serves as a good substitute.

Anonymous said...

Re: Premera

I looked at the benefits newsletter closely. It doesn't look like they're getting rid of Premera but they're strongly nudging people off it. There's a mention of a $30/month incentive to switch to Group Health.

Anonymous said...

[I'll share my own answer: it involves actually being committed to working with your employee to see if you can help them fix the issue... which means spending time to help them understand why they're not being effective in their role, and spending even more time to structure appropriate objectives that will allow them to demonstrate sustained improvement.]

Your approach in your post makes sense, that's what everybody said what should have been done with some people I know had to leave. It didn't happen this way off course: they got ambushed at their review feedback. It was a tactic not to include them in the review process, just let them write their own feedback and surprise them later... And some these people were excellent performers and yes sometimes projects explode for which you then only have to fire a few (10%), maybe the whole group should have been fired, heck maybe the whole division.

Anonymous said...

"I think someone was saying 40-50 different handsets coming out this year with Android?"

That "someone" was businessweek magazine and it will be in 2010. From what I have heard handsets will also include smaller than Kindle Ereaders. Just wait for the Vegas CES in January, plenty of announcements coming...

Anonymous said...

Why don't the top talent in HR and Office leave?

Because HR and Office are top talent.


My sides are splitting from the laughter!

Anonymous said...

I left Microsoft about two years ago and now work for another tech company. I did leave for the

+10^3

This guy is giving excellent advice, people! Yery well stated. Read it, and practice it. I managed most of this, when I got walked ...

Anonymous said...

But there's very good news here - the cycle will not repeat with WM8. I can't say any more than that on a public site. No, it has nothing to do with "Project Pink" or ZunePhone.

I'm sure the WM7 and Pink teams set out to be successful too and here we are, apparently waiting for WM8 now to have a competitive product. I'll believe it when I see it.

Anonymous said...

Michael this sounds so "perfect" and "academic" but in practical exercise it does not always apply.

I'll share my own answer: it involves actually being committed to working with your employee to see if you can help them fix the issue... which means spending time to help them understand why they're not being effective in their role, and spending even more time to structure appropriate objectives that will allow them to demonstrate sustained improvement.


it's a matter of how and what you do to accomplish this. Do you have the maturity to do it right and collaborative?

Do you ignore things your being asked for from the employee for help?

do you take it personal and contructive when you are not giving your employee alll they need from you? do you know what they need from you?




And what do you do if someone can't demonstrate sustained improvement (which is hard for some of you to believe apparently, but actually does happen)? Answer: you can make a call that the person is in the wrong role at MS or you can make a call that they're at the wrong company. If you're dealing with someone who has basic issues with process and communication, for example (e.g. you're getting continuous feedback from people they work with that the person blows-up everything they touch and is causing problems for the project), and if the person is unable to improve even with your help, then it's a good sign that they won't be able to be successful elsewhere in the company.



yes getting the person into a snowball effect with other teams and giving them non-achievable matrixed out of your deliverable tasks really help that person be succeed. What did you do when that employee identified some things they needed help with when you ignored the potential risks being matrixed so far into trouble? I suspect nothing, most of your reply here is pretty limited as is your lack of maturity / EQ to handle a direct who is stronger than you.


When you make the determination that the right thing to do is terminate the person, then you should be clear with the employee about what's happening and what they'd need to do to remain with the company... and you should be clear at every step thereafter about impending termination.


again, too shallow and very Oprah'ish in the reply. When you think you have helped, you probably did not, you probably did not communicate effectively, you ignored clear asks for help and collaboration. You probably did not look self critically at yourself as part of the problem and look for a win-win and simply casted it off.

you were probably the manager who is scared to lose the strong IC who wanted to go elsewhere to be successful.

Anonymous said...

You just wait, senior "leadership" team... As the economy turns around, you WILL lose your top talent and you WILL irreversibly tarnish moreso than ever your reputation among experienced hires and n00bs such as me alike.

Whatever. It doesn't matter if Microsoft is full of smart people or stupid people, or if it has a hundred employees or a million.

The leadership hierarchy is organized such that every decision is made by a committee of talentless middle-management types. That's the problem that must be addressed first. Everything else is incidental.

Anonymous said...

What is up with the comments about health care?

First I see this "Premera gold-plated health plan is going the way of Flight Simulator" and then this "And before you go back to your desk, we're removing your prized medical plan. You should now expect to pay an extra 1k per year in healthcare costs."

I read the Open Enrollment flyer and it says there are no major changes to your benefits this year. I also took the time to look at HRWeb and the changes are listed there ... NO cuts except the Peak Health program which apparently only 1% of MS uses.

Anyway, let's put that rumor to rest.

Anonymous said...

"It's hardly a "projection" at this point. Read some gadget blogs--almost all the major phone manufacturers are putting the finishing touches on their Android phones if they aren't done already."

While you may be right about Android for the Phone, I think the original poster was talking about the Android OS (for netbooks/PC). All the articles and blogs I have read act like it is coming in the next few months. I have seen no evidence that such a project even exists other than Google's press release and even that says late 2010. I think Google is blowing smoke on that one ... and the tech analysts are even worse.

Anonymous said...

Mini,
Likely that you will discard this as Microsoft bashing but...
Have to speak my peace as a small business owner, Microsoft Partner, Alpha, Beta, etc... tester over several years.
Yesterday your company (IMO) basically committed suicide.
Someone(s) somewhere there along with Mr. Ballmer chose to cast millions and millions of small businesses in the US and across the world aside.
Someone(s) somewhere there decided to persue only medium to large businesses for your company's future.
Overe the last several days posts here have eluded to this very fact.
Andriod vs WinMo
Visual Studio 10 being a great app but somewhat unusable for small/medium businesses
iPhone/Apple cornering the personal/small business market before they go after corporate
on and on...
Then the posts turn into fear...
Layoffs!!!

Yes, yesterday your company cast millions of small businesses like ours aside.
Money and Office Accounting were your apps that got discarded like trash run thru a shredder by someone(s) somewhere there.

We were on the verge of out growing Accounting and were planning to go with the inro Dymanics app for POS for our store locations and our other business.

You lost a sale yesterday, also any future hardware software upgrades that we were planning for this year end and next year.
Doubt it will mean anything to anyone there.
But some good employee there will eventually loose his/her job when the several million of us small businesses have no choice but to do business elsewhere.

Layoffs? A bunch of you will be let go outright without the benefits (previosly mentioned)those lucky to be laid off will get.

Good luck with your complicated suicide.

We are moving on.
Innovating and growing like any nimble business should.

Its not bashing its just business...

Anonymous said...


So when faced with a challenging process that you admit was new to you, you decide to quit instead of working with people to try to improve it.

You won't go far in this world.


Actually, I have gone pretty far in my 20+ year career, and it took me less than a week to find a better paid, more interesting gig. I can take constructive critisism, but not unsubstantiated claims about weak performance. I am happy to be leaving with my integrity intact, and warn you to watch out the next time your manager needs a scape-goat.

Anonymous said...

As far as bashing MSFT IDC is concerned, the points being mentioned may be true. But understand the bigger picture. Most subsidiaries (any company) are not near the levers of power. They control the key communication channels and not part of key decisions. They start stagnating.

Why bash IDC? What is being done in Vancouver. AFAIK most members there are part of teams centered in Redmond and redmond guys do no care about them.

Why Vancouver? Talk about silicon valley. I know something gets done there. Is it in proportion to what is being invested there. Silicon valley consumes 100 times more money than IDC.

OuchThatHurtAgain said...

"Unity is what XNA should have been, and it is powered by Mono, the open source and cross platform .NET runtime so you can still use C# and .NET languages."

That is a very confused statement, it makes we wonder what you know about programming.

Unity is a game engine. I downloaded to check it out, it is also not cheap for things like iPhone development. XNA is a framework that allows managed code to run on the XBox 360. If you go to codeplex you can download game engines for use with XNA if that is what you want. XNA is talyored for the XBox but it can be used with Zune and Windows. For XBox use, it is developing quite a following.

Anonymous said...

-original post-
WM7 will do things that other phones aren't doing today. But builds will leak early, and our competitors will have a chance to reverse engineer or copy it and have the same feature in-market within a few months of our release.

But there's very good news here - the cycle will not repeat with WM8. I can't say any more than that on a public site. No, it has nothing to do with "Project Pink" or ZunePhone.
-end original post-

Surely you jest?

Apple and Google's Android are winning because they have a faster pace of iteration than Windows Mobile. Despite coming out later, Palm, RIMM, and WM6.5 have failed to imitate existing features in Apple and Google phones. If there are only one or two useful WM7 features, I'm sure Apple and Google will have them soon. And WM7 will be irrelevant.

The comment about "wait for WM8" destroys all credibility on the viability of Microsoft's mobile strategy. I really hope you didn't mean to start that thread. The market expects WM7 will be the cat's meow. Failure to deliver will be catastrophic.

Anonymous said...

>>consider
able debate and discussion about the potential for the employee to be successful on another team vs. not being a fit for Microsoft.



I see the effort, appreciate it, applaud the intent in doing all that is possible to help the employee flourish in the right role/team.

My concern: If this were true, let at least 1 employee come forth and say the management worked with him to help succeed in another team - it just sounds too good to be true - I'd be extremely happy even if it's 1/2 as good.

In another internet giant company: The hiring is centrally managed where they hire for company-fit, hiring manager does not pick the folks he/she wants to get in. So here we have hiring for company-fit and assign to group.

At MS: The hiring is a pure group/team play - and if for some reason the employee does not seem to succeed, they are evaluated for a company-fit.

Anonymous said...

"1) Usually managers get told they need to manage to an NTE (not to exceed) headcount number. Sometimes the employee really was a bad MSFT hire but this normally isn't the case."

Not a single thing that you've said is standard procedure at Microsoft.

Anonymous said...

">Care to share what is done to manage someone out of the company?

1) Usually managers get told they need to manage to an NTE (not to exceed) headcount number. Sometimes the employee really was a bad MSFT hire but this normally isn't the case.

2) They look at their lowest 70% achieved performers and start finding the faults that justify them as underperformed or 10%.

3) Start communicating to those people their faults. You will see reviews or 1:1s become more critical versus supportive and helpful. If you didn't have 1:1s before, now you really will - because the manager has a goal to see you out the door. There will be a "positive" message that you are smart and can do better, but really, it is too late at this point. They need to hit their NTE and you have been targeted.

4) Give the person the Underperformed or 10% review message. Either the person has left the group at #3 or now it is too late"

I can vouch till here....ditto. It's tough when that happens because no matter what you do, it only works against you most of the time. But on the same hand, when I left group, I got promoted. So definitely there is light at the end of the tunnel but sometimes we end up in the wrong tunnel too.

Anonymous said...

Someone(s) somewhere there along with Mr. Ballmer chose to cast millions and millions of small businesses in the US and across the world aside.
Someone(s) somewhere there decided to persue only medium to large businesses for your company's future.

-----
As what happened with system center online ... what was an MSP/partner for SMB/Mid-market fell flat and now turning into the large enterprise solution.

MSP/partners are totally thrown bones to go play with Level and Kasea ...

forget you.

Anonymous said...

If you're dealing with someone who has basic issues with process and communication, for example (e.g. you're getting continuous feedback from people they work with that the person blows-up everything they touch and is causing problems for the project),

-----

I concur with the follow up on this, if the communication feedback is artificial and you do not constructively work to address it as real vs. non-real you have not helped. You simply passed it on without much assistance.

You seem like you do not have the aptitude to be a very effective manager.

What process are you talking about? In my experience, people put artificial road blocks or lack of clarity in roles help lead a person to fail. Please clarify your statement on process.

Anonymous said...

Wow I counted the number of partner dev managers and busines admins in Ad center and they are more than the number of developers in our entire product. Sucks, man!

Anonymous said...

In our team there are 60% ICs and 40% leads. The dev and test hierarchy is three level till the dev manager. IC->Lead->Dev Manager->Principal Dev Manager. the job of all the leads is to get status reports and conduct daily triages. The triage involves representatives of dev/test/PM. I dont understand the concept of the Lead reporting to a Manager who has a manager. The middle manager does not take any decisions himself. Why can't some of these leads be fired instead of the poor ICs

Anonymous said...

PREMERA IS GONE ? THE "BENEFITS FLYER" only talks about GROUP HEALTH and how great the doctors are there .....YAYIIIKKKSSSS - WHAT IS THAT ???? PLEASE INVESTIGATE MINI

Anonymous said...

At MS: The hiring is a pure group/team play - and if for some reason the employee does not seem to succeed, they are evaluated for a company-fit.

====

Totally agree here.

We have had different discussions in the past on how to fix this up through leadership and HR but to no avail. Seems the system wants to remain nebulus so it can be used at the discretion of the individual team.

This is flawed lisa ... :)

Anonymous said...

Apple and Google's Android are winning because they have a faster pace of iteration than Windows Mobile.

Can't argue with that. We move incredibly slowly. Multiple large scale reorgs don't help.

Despite coming out later, Palm, RIMM, and WM6.5 have failed to imitate existing features in Apple and Google phones.

And likewise, the Apple and Google phones don't do some things that other phones have been doing for quite a while.

If there are only one or two useful WM7 features, I'm sure Apple and Google will have them soon. And WM7 will be irrelevant.

The comment about "wait for WM8" destroys all credibility on the viability of Microsoft's mobile strategy. I really hope you didn't mean to start that thread. The market expects WM7 will be the cat's meow. Failure to deliver will be catastrophic.


I did not say wait for WM8. Read the message again.

WM7 will do multiple things that other phones are not doing today. Assuming that they can keep most of that stuff secret, it'll show that they're just as innovative as the other players.

But we have too many partners, so we cannot keep secrets. No more "one more thing" for us.

So any buzz we get about the features will be lost by the time we actually launch many months later.

Anonymous said...

There are *plenty* of managers who, instead of doing the right thing and managing bad employees out of the company, will try to shove their problems off to different teams -- it's far, far easier to let your bad employee interview and go somewhere else than it is to "detain" them and manage them out of the company. Seriously -- it takes a lot of focused effort over months to fire someone, but it's just a smile and nod to throw your dead weight over to another team.

==

What about doing the right thing here:

- detain and actually help succeed.

Your story sounds like you will railroad out during your version of detention.

You should no arguments where you actually helped this recent detainy.

as far as "there are alot of people involved" ..

yes to support your case to dismiss you spend more of your time selling on the dismissal than what you did to help the person to succeed. I know people like you and you have did this to friends of mine whom are no longer at the company.

Your probably a passive / aggressive 10-15 year person who has no experience beyond MS so you know no real success on your own.



good job.

Anonymous said...

I fully agree with the discussion on Ballmer's performance. Looking at our stock price development, he has never done ANY good to Microsoft stock.
And talking about morale and layoffs, he hired Kevin Turner who is continuously working on destroying the Microsoft work force morale with his KT rules.
Windows 7 is something really good. But Steven Sinofsky only got his way because Vista was so, so, so bad. Internal Microsoft field did not want to use this product. So really bad management again from Steve.
The last couple of years, we run the company by Excel and with the KT rules each individual is only focused towards his/her own commitments. And when (s)he achieves the commitments, Kevin T urner changes the rules in June such that (s)he has underperformed.
Heard of the FY09 June 10% underperforer rule from Turner? Every manager had to come up with 10% underperformers...
This is Microsoft today.

Anonymous said...

"Communication issues" is a favorite technique.

Most rational people ask what you meant if they don't understand what you said.


The problem here is the vast diversity of people that come into Microsoft.

Communicating Technical information in a team setting is getting very difficult within Microsoft. There are groups within where employees have only graduated from high school and are have somehow moved up the ladder, there are others who have no technical background and are holding key positions; and finding a common language to communicate with the knuckle draggers, can be insanely difficult.

MS - Please raise the bar while hiring.

Anonymous said...

While you may be right about Android for the Phone, I think the original poster was talking about the Android OS (for netbooks/PC). All the articles and blogs I have read act like it is coming in the next few months. I have seen no evidence that such a project even exists other than Google's press release and even that says late 2010. I think Google is blowing smoke on that one ... and the tech analysts are even worse.

You are confusing Android with the "Chrome OS." Android is the open source operating system intended for phones, but many companies (and individuals) are shoehorning it into devices such as netbooks, tablets, MP3/media players, etc. To my knowledge nobody is selling these devices running Android out-of-the-box but it seems like almost every day somebody has managed to demo a new device running Android.

Chrome OS, IIRC, is a distribution of Linux that everybody was excited about 6 (?) months ago but I haven't heard of it since.

So, one may be a "product" that's smoke and hot air, but the other is a very real product that is gaining momentum every day.

Anonymous said...

It is interesting that MSFT that bleats incessantly about Company Values (Think Openness and Respect) is so completely disingenuous in its business practices:

- dodging sales tax in Washington thru having licensing out of Reno, NV
- holding earnings offshore to exploit US tax loopholes for "R&D" meanwhile borrowing money in the US to pay dividends (tax on bond interest in the US is claimed as deduction)
- running international licensing out of Ireland to dodge yet more tax
- shifting support engineering overseas and eliminating jobs in the US, while spinning it furiously as something "positive for the employees". Hey guys in Charlotte and Las Colinas, how much empty space in those buildings? And how much more will there be?
- claiming billions in R&D investments when in truth most is just product development. Unlike IBM I doubt that the atomic tunneling microsocope will be invented by MS Research. Or Robbie Bach :)

The list is endless and depressing.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone else noticed how MSFT today looks an awful lot like George Orwell's 1984 political framework:

Big Brother - BillG

The Inner Party - partners, who actually run everything as a kind of secret society who can do no wrong

The Outer Party - employees. Occasionally one is publicly humiliated and punished for real or imaginary transgressions (performance review)

Proles - our customers

The Thought Police - HR.

And when you get that meeting request on 11/4 think of this chilling quote from the same novel ... "everyone knows what's in Room 101 ... it's the worst thing in the world ..."

THANK YOU FOR ALL THAT YOU DO!!!!

Anonymous said...

PREMERA IS GONE ? THE "BENEFITS FLYER" only talks about GROUP HEALTH and how great the doctors are there .....YAYIIIKKKSSSS - WHAT IS THAT ???? PLEASE INVESTIGATE MINI

People not smart enough to understand the benefits brochures should be given an immediate U10 rating. It pains me to think Microsoft has let go some really capable employees only to hang on to inept morons.

Anonymous said...

@Microsoft India R & D become a third class Org now specially EXD-LPO is now HCL.

Managers are puppet in front of Mr. Rajesh Sampath. They do not apply their brain... oops they don't have it even... and follow whatever Rajesh says.

Only Rajesh is taking decision who will grow and who will not within LPO. More or less everything is people based and not performance based.

Anonymous said...

"Communication issues" is a favorite technique."

Most rational people ask what you meant if they don't understand what you said.


LOL

If you don't understand that the ability to effectively communicate in a business setting is a skill that, like any other, some people simply cannot master, then chances are high that you are part of the problem.

Anonymous said...

I see from this site: http://www.eweek.com/c/a/Windows/Microsoft-Eliminating-27-More-Employees-By-November-1-653604/ MSFT was to layoff 27 employees on Nov 1. Does anyone know if they went through with those layoffs, or will they be a part of a broader layoff on November 4th?

Anonymous said...

There are groups within where employees have only graduated from high school and are have somehow moved up the ladder

"...are have..." ? yes, you are definitely one of those who just graduated from high school. What an irony.

Anonymous said...

I just completed my open enrollment for 2010 and chose the Premera option at $0 cost to me. Stop worrying about this.

FARfetched said...

To the guy from Mobile who was posting about leaks and new features: don't confuse a bag of chicken parts with a living breathing chicken (O'Reilly article). OK, I spend far too much of what might be laughably called my "free" time at my in-laws' chicken farm, but I really think this is something you guys in Mobile (and the rest of the corp for that matter) need to consider.

In short: take what you already have and make it all work like an integrated unit. That's why so many people want an iPhone. Not because it has touch screens, not because there's pretty colors, and definitely not because there's four legs in the package instead of two — but because it all works together. Sure, I've added apps, but what I've chosen makes it the one thing I must carry with me when I leave the manor.

Then again, Apple somehow missed the obvious trick of integrating iCal's todo lists with something similar in the iPhone — one of the first things I looked for when I got mine — so they're not perfect either.

Anonymous said...

>WM7 will do multiple things that other phones are not doing today. Assuming that they can keep most of that stuff secret, it'll show that they're just as innovative as the other players.

>But we have too many partners, so we cannot keep secrets. No more "one more thing" for us.

Success isn't helped by secrecy. Look to Android & Mot's Droid for proof. People are very optimistic about Droid's future despite being open. Features like cloud integration and free turn by turn directions are announced and shown before product release. If I like what's on the menu, I'll wait for the meal.

Microsoft has a habit of designing consumer features that only appeal to the internal product team. And 3 or 4 years later, ship it, and wonder why it fell flat. Especially in a new area, where you haven't been successful, it would be worthwhile to be more open and validate what you have really is compelling.

No doubt all the Microsoft VPs and internal partner teams have blessed the WM7 features and believe they are game changers. You've probably done dozens of reviews, usability studies, numerous iterations and enhancements along the way. Unfortunately, this internal assessment is biased and anything but representative of what the mainstream wants.

Anonymous said...

A couple of things:
I went through the benefits enrollment process today, and thoroughly read all of the sections dealing with what is changing. In short, not much if you are based in the Puget Sound area. We still have the best medical, dental, legal, and child care coverage in the universe. No deductable or co-pay if you choose the Premera plan that we have all come to know and love.

Passed by a couple of conference rooms on main campus today that had their windows covered up with paper. I looked at the scheduling screen thingy outside each one to see who had the rooms reserved, and they were blocked by HR for "planning meetings". Hmmm...

Anonymous said...

So upon leaving the small business comminity in the USA and worldwide behind what is your companies strategy going forward in a worldwide recession?
Can you give your current and former shareholders a dollar cost value opinion on continued investment/renewed investment in your company?
From reading your blog over the last few years I cannot see a clear concise reason.
Your opinions have not reflected in your companies stock value or quality of products.
Over the last several months you have become a traitor to your own cause.
Your cutomers and business partners have seen this and can more easily divest their interests than you and your fellow employees.
In my opinion you have committed treason to you own purpose.

Divesting Customer

Anonymous said...

Wow I counted the number of partner dev managers and busines admins in Ad center and they are more than the number of developers in our entire product. Sucks, man!

==

Yep, rebeccaN (xpsp2) and her buds.

Mostly folks who ran up quickly in the level path but then ran out of "projects to impact" ... i know of a few of these cronies who hurt key projects with the placeware, RTC and EHS work.

They appeared in adware

Anonymous said...

The last couple of years, we run the company by Excel and with the KT rules each individual is only focused towards his/her own commitments. And when (s)he achieves the commitments, Kevin T urner changes the rules in June such that (s)he has underperformed.

Oh no you have it all wrong... the IC thought they Achieved on their commitments however unknown to them the bar has been raised ;)

Anonymous said...

It is interesting that MSFT that bleats incessantly about Company Values (Think Openness and Respect) is so completely disingenuous in its business practices:

Don't forget shoving a bunch of manufacturing chain work (e.g. sending disk images back and forth) off to Puerto Rico for tax reasons.

Anonymous said...

Passed by a couple of conference rooms on main campus today that had their windows covered up with paper. I looked at the scheduling screen thingy outside each one to see who had the rooms reserved, and they were blocked by HR for "planning meetings". Hmmm...

Which ones? They're doing the office moves for the Windows 8 reorg starting this week... be very suspicious if you get pulled into a meeting in building 26...

Anonymous said...

Informal protest, November 4th

If you think your group is a target for the layoffs, or you want to show your distaste for the way the layoffs have been handled, use one of your floating holidays on November 4th. Take the day. Don't RAS in. Don't answer your phone.

I suggest a floating holiday specifically, because you don't get compensated for those if you get laid off. But some sick time works just as well.

Don't stand on a corner with a picket sign. And for pity's sake, don't seek out any of the places where people might be getting thier notice. Just stay away for a day.

Remind yourself that there's more to life than Microsoft. And let our "leadership team" see what an empty campus looks like, since they seem to want one so badly...

Anonymous said...

I like Win 7. And, I love my iPhone.

From this, I extrapolate two things: 1, Microsoft ain't dead yet, and won't be soon; 2, we're still playing catch-up with Apple for Joy/Thrills/Experience/Things To Be Super-Excited About.

Anonymous said...

"Success isn't helped by secrecy. Look to Android & Mot's Droid for proof. People are very optimistic about Droid's future despite being open."

Why don't you look to the iPhone, which was developed in a shroud of mystery and whose updates are still very secretive (how many times to people hear the rumour that the next firmware would finally have copy-paste until it actually happened?). And unlike Android, the iPhone actually has been successful, instead of merely having optimistic people. We'll see to what extent that optimism is fulfilled.

The second half of your complaint doesn't seem to be strongly related to this. You can listen to your customers in secrecy and you can openly ignore your customers. In fact, Microsoft has done both.

Anonymous said...

Success isn't helped by secrecy. Look to Android & Mot's Droid for proof. People are very optimistic about Droid's future despite being open. Features like cloud integration and free turn by turn directions are announced and shown before product release.

Your example proves my point.

Turn by turn nav was kept secret. They announced it at a launch event about a week before the phone is going to be available. It has everyone other than Garmin/TomTom stockholders drooling. That's not an example of something being "open".

The cool factor is an important one to consider for new products. Our plans leak early, we're maybe cool to the geeks for a short period of time (usually not). By the time we actually launch, competitors have had months to decide if they want to develop the same new features (or something similar). The difference is that because it's a launch and not a rumor, more mainstream press people pick up on it. Then we're compared to what the competitors have delivered or *announced*. And it doesn't look so cool when they are doing the same thing in their next update.

Anonymous said...

If you don't understand that the ability to effectively communicate in a business setting is a skill that, like any other, some people simply cannot master, then chances are high that you are part of the problem.

These communications do not involve the direct communicating with himself. At least two people were involved. If the manager's been successful in the industry at Microsoft for 3 years and the direct has been successful in the industry for 16 years including 5 at Microsoft, a difficulty communicating on the part of the *direct* is only one of the possibilities available. It's not even necessarily the most likely unless that direct is brand new and unproven in the industry and at the company.

When legitimate communication challenges occur, the direct is usually the scapegoat because blame is only allowed to roll downhill. But poor communication skills on the part of the manager represent at least 50% of the problem much of the time. Both parties in a communication share the responsibility of communication getting through correctly.

Also not unheard of at One Microsoft Way and stated on Mini before, there may be no real communication challenge with anyone. There may just be a manager who needed an excuse to mark down an employee, and picks that soft skill because they know it's easy to for a manager's subjective opinion to be given weigt as gospel when evaluating it. Maybe you haven't seen it. From the postings here, many others have.

Likewise, there could be a manager who deliberately or naively used specific language in phrasing a request that was likely to result in the employee not getting the right message. An employee who assumed no knowledge on the part of their manager and asked 15 minutes of clarifying questions after every management request, to ensure no misunderstanding, would find themselves on a PIP faster than you can say "detainee".

If everyone at the company that the person works with is bashing that person's communication skills, that's a strong but not 100% reliable hint. There are ways for a manager to game that outcome as well. One is to overload the employee so that either most communication is done sufficiently or most work is done on time, but not both, and at least some of both is undone at the end of a 65-90 hour week. The employees were clear that the workload was not appropriate, but the manager who had no experience doing IC work in the past 5 years insisted otherwise and claimed that that was not a valid excuse.

The latter is contrived? No, it's something that has occurred multiple times. This is big business. This is the real world. Many people at Microsoft are very politically skilled, especially if they're not the brightest technical people around. A savvy manager will find ways of recruiting others to complain so that it's not just him, particularly if he has history of bad attrition or been scorched in MS Poll.

Anonymous said...

"Success isn't helped by secrecy. Look to Android & Mot's Droid for proof."

LOL! Tell that to Steve Jobs, one of the most paranoid people on the planet. Secrecy has been HUGE for Apple. Huge.

Microsoft has suffered for over a decade by *not* keeping secrets -- by over-promising and under-delivering, by hyping our crap up so hard before it ships that anything we get to market will be a letdown. Couple the hype with sub-standard products and it's a cumulative ball of shit.

We need to learn how to keep things secret. Very much.

Anonymous said...

"Big Brother - BillG

The Inner Party - partners, who actually run everything as a kind of secret society who can do no wrong

The Outer Party - employees. Occasionally one is publicly humiliated and punished for real or imaginary transgressions (performance review)

Proles - our customers

The Thought Police - HR."


This is by far the stupidest comment I've read here in weeks. Bravo.

First of all, BillG is a non-entity at Microsoft. He left the building years ago, even before he actually left the building.

HR the "thought police"? LOL! Our HR people are attack dogs who do what you tell them to do, assuming you're a manager who's currently in favor. They're the gun, not the police.

The problem with your analogy is that it paints everything as caste-driven based on rank, when that's not the case at all. Due to the nutty politics at the Borg, it's possible to be an IC who has more favor and influence than a Partner who's fallen out of favor... at any given time a nontrivial number of our partners have been kneecapped by poorly-played maneuvers that have rendered them geldings at least for a year or two.


My guess is that you either don't work at Microsoft, or you're such a low level that everything appears to be voodoo and magic from your vantage point.

Anonymous said...

LOL

If you don't understand that the ability to effectively communicate in a business setting is a skill that, like any other, some people simply cannot master, then chances are high that you are part of the problem.


If they managed to get a degree in Computer Science, they can probably learn how to effectively communicate in a business setting.

Although, it may take a long time if you're only letting them know how they are doing once a year.

Anonymous said...

I too ditched WinMo for an iPhone but the honeymoon is over...like most things Apple makes, the iPhone is great until you get over the giggly "Cool!" phase and you realize that it has serious shortcomings, like all their design-over-function procuts...someone needs to innovate past it since right now Apple is smugly standing still...if my phone were stolen now I would take a long hard look at the Pre or an HTC...iPhone? Been there, done that, it's time to move on. Pity MS can't get its shit together with WinMo...what is up with that division?

Anonymous said...

"There are groups within where employees have only graduated from high school and are have somehow moved up the ladder"

You mean like BillG? -

I have a large group and see little/no connection between educational achievement and real world performance.

Anonymous said...

Comments like this one are a continous reminder why the 10% bucket is necessary. How hard is it to log on to mymicrosoftbenefits.com and test one's assumptions before making a fool of oneself? One may not be stupid, but laziness often serves as a good substitute.

Saturday, October 31, 2009 10:54:00 PM

You're assuming facts not in evidence that this person is an employee and has access - maybe they are a distant dependent (Don't have access to the comparison tool and many options - my wife is a dependant, so I know, she cannot see the tool and the choices either), and the poster did mention they could not find the side by side comparison tool that the pamphlet extolled, which the poster went to reasearch to see. The poster could only use the information available to them.
I too haven't seen the side by side tool yet and what the costs will be even with Premera. Just because it's called "Premera" doesn't mean the plan hasn't changed in attributes or costs. The poster also mentioned a lot of good info on HSA, and how that might affect us in the future, beyond the MS marketing.

Also, I looked over my last benefits newsletter from last year (Yes, I happened to have it in a stack of paperwork I've been meaing to cull :-) and last year it did mention the Premera 'normal' plan as an option, so when the newsletter came out and mentioned the two HSA and GH plans, and *only two personal health 'scenarios' listed with those plans* (If so and so has high costs, she'd want the GH Plan...) it does look like those are the only two plans, available. I also agree with a follow along post that MS does appear to be 'selling' those two lesser expensive options, making them sound much higher in features.

Creating discredit for someone who you don't know and calling them a 10% is unfair. Remember you're perpetuating the problem at MS when you do not have the full story, and think everyone is 'bad' because they are a 10%. Remember ther eare supposed to be A & B types of 10s too. People who do a good job in the level they are set.

Let's not start infighting.

Anonymous said...

>>Why don't you look to the iPhone, which was developed in a shroud of mystery and whose updates are still very secretive

>>LOL! Tell that to Steve Jobs, one of the most paranoid people on the planet. Secrecy has been HUGE for Apple. Huge.

This is Microsoft's problem. Teams cherry pick one or two random features from the competition and think it is the path to success. Chicken parts or the whole chicken - what are you trying to sell?

The poster was right on point that Microsoft doesn't have good intuition for what the mainstream will fall in love with. Hence secrecy is not a good strategy *for Microsoft* (or Google). It doesn't help Microsoft create good products. Steve Jobs seems to have a good feel for what sells and can use secrecy to his advantage.

Anonymous said...

"If you don't understand that the ability to effectively communicate in a business setting is a skill that, like any other, some people simply cannot master, then chances are high that you are part of the problem."

If they managed to get a degree in Computer Science, they can probably learn how to effectively communicate in a business setting.


Sorry, what?

It sounds to me like you don't actually believe that some people might not be able to be successful due to their own limitations. Do you really believe that everyone can succeed as long as they have a competent manager?

Really?

Anonymous said...

Microsoft Leave the attitude, you are the best...Microsoft becoming worst day by day...

Microsoft: Rank 2 (engineers list), rank 3 (business list)

Irrespective of ranks, the top 50 global employers for business and engineering students are very similar, showing strong employer brands transcend many skill and industry groups.

While engineering graduates preferred Microsoft as their second choice, for business students, Microsoft is the third choice.

Anonymous said...

>>Turn by turn nav was kept secret. They announced it at a launch event about a week before the phone is going to be available. It has everyone other than Garmin/TomTom stockholders drooling. That's not an example of something being "open".

Google has been very open about democratizing maps - for years. They have created their own map content, they have self-funded the street view content, and they have crowd sourced local businesses. We saw Google maps used in news papers, tv news, and for all sorts of other efforts.

Licensing restrictions from map suppliers (Navteq etc) have prevented other companies from offering turn by turn directions for free.

Google, with its self-sourced maps, has been free to use them as they pleased. Giving free turn-by-turn directions shouldn't have been a surprise.

The real question is if Google's map updating efforts are full time or 20%. Accuracy counts and we don't really know the map quality level of Google vs NavTeq (for example).

Anonymous said...

For Employees of Microsoft, India.

Some of the HR generalists are leaking information about the layoffs that is happening in MS to other organizations.
If layoff does happen in the first week of November’09, a note of caution in case you are impacted. Be very careful while dealing with HR generalists. If they try to gather information on where you are trying to apply or attend interviews, do not disclose. In fact my suggestion is not to disclose any information to anyone in MS. The situation is very bad and hostile in MS-Hyd.

Anonymous said...

@Monday, November 02, 2009 10:54:00 PM

Sending disk images to PR for tax reasons, and slowing my builds every single day.

Some teams or some people must have gotten credited with the savings while i get to explain why my builds are slower

Anonymous said...

The cool factor is an important one to consider for new products. Our plans leak early, ... By the time we actually launch, competitors have had months to decide if they want to develop the same new features ... And it doesn't look so cool when they are doing the same thing in their next update.

Features are important but they don't make or break a product and leaking them won't make or break a release.

It's important to realize that Windows Mobile has ALWAYS had more features than the iPhone: copy & paste, MMS, apps, multitasking, etc. Apple is STILL playing catch-up in the features department.

But (most) people love the iPhone and hate Windows Mobile. The difference is like a finely crafted high quality designer wristwatch vs. a $5 quartz watch. The quartz watch will keep perfect time and probably has a lot more features, but most people would prefer the designer watch because of the sense of satisfaction they get from owning and using it.

If there's any question about the "craftsmanship" of the iPhone, try this. Find the best Windows Mobile phone with the latest processor and the best dedicated graphics chip. Go to a list of stuff in the UI and flick the list. The animation is slow and jerky and only loosely related to your finger motion. Now do the same thing with any iPhone. The animation responds perfectly to your finger, is fast and smooth, and has perfect "inertia." Doing it on the iPhone is satisfying and fun. Doing it on Windows Mobile leaves you with the feeling that it's cheap and shoddy.

I'm sure there are many people who will tell me this doesn't matter, the same way there are people who wear quartz watches and think designer watches are ridiculous. Sorry, but you'll never "get it." The market does, though.

Anonymous said...

"This is by far the stupidest comment I've read here in weeks. Bravo."

Thanks!! #1 at last.

"HR the "thought police"? LOL! Our HR people are attack dogs who do what you tell them to do, assuming you're a manager who's currently in favor. They're the gun, not the police."

Well ... I guess you don't read a whole lot. Or maybe you do but have trouble comprehending. Try not moving your lips I find that helps. Or maybe you can pick up a copy of "Orwell for Dummies".

"My guess is that you either don't work at Microsoft, or you're such a low level that everything appears to be voodoo and magic from your vantage point."

Yes you are correct. I do not work at Microsoft any more, though I did do so for 10+ years. Not sure what you consider lowly, I was L66. Did not make the Inner Party though ... not sure I would make that Faustian bargain anyway. Do let me know if you need any help with Faust.

Anonymous said...

"I too ditched WinMo for an iPhone but the honeymoon is over...like most things Apple makes, the iPhone is great until you get over the giggly "Cool!" phase and you realize that it has serious shortcomings"

Brian Kevin Turner here again. Listen to this man! He has seen the light, Hallelujah.

If only the 10 million fools who bought such a crappy device with its "serious shortcomings" had seen thru Apple's devious plan. Apple built a phone that does not need to be rebooted once a day, or have an inconsistent interface that does not need a stylus, or create an app-driven business model, or have a terrible buggy browser. You know why Apple did that? Because they thought that is what people wanted! Can y'all believe that? But wait till they run into those serious shortcomings then they'll be all teary-eyed and sorry ...

Anonymous said...

"If they managed to get a degree in Computer Science, they can probably learn how to effectively communicate in a business setting."

In my experience there is an inverse relationship between those 2 skills. Not always but often. Engineering disciplines emphasize linear relationships and deterministic outcomes. People skills are harder to learn and many technically gifted people are introverted. Which explains why so many people on this blog complain about MS managers, as there is no effective manager education, communication training or even selection process. Note that I use the word 'effective' advisedly. There is plenty of manager training it is just basically useless.

Anonymous said...

When will the E&D reorg be over? Why they are not hiring? OR why is there only internal hiring policy?

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