Saturday, August 14, 2004

Comments - process, bias, and rehiring

(You know, we truly do make wonderful software.  To be able to sit down at a random computer in lovely BFE and be able to check email and post to the Internet is the stuff of magic.  1990's magic, I know.  Even in 2004 I'm not jaded in the least.)

Yet another iteration of comment commenting because when good stuff happens, you should at least point at it and say, "Oog! Good stuff!"

So three of the recent comments in the last post are interesting for their own reasons.

The second notes:

Then, Gates stepped down, Ballmer stepped up, and the bean counters took the reigns... Instead of everything in PSS being all about customer satisfaction, it became how many customers could you fly through in a day without pissing them off... Numbers became everything, with customer satisfaction taking a back seat.

At that point, it was far more adventageous to be an ass-kisser than somebody that actually knew the technology. They started losing some of their best talent at PSS-East becuase the best & brightest were just waiting for enough stock options to vest, and they were out of that B.S.

And then, the witch hunts began... M$ stock started tanking, and they decided to thin out the head count to help lower their costs... If they laid people off, their stock would sink even further, so they started coming up with any and every bullshit reason to get rid of you. Once again, they lost some of their best and brightest becuase they weren't playing the stupid political games like the ass-kissers...

I don't think Microsoft product development and other departments were all that broke, just probably not engaged in high-risk taking visionary bleeding edge development and such.  It's true, when Ballmer took over, broad things really started changing on an increased process level.  Everyone has experienced this thanks to the ever-changing review form and associated training (which I think represents the embodiment of meandering leadership vs. streamlined focusing on what's important to make money - Lord help me if I have to go through something like that commitments training again [did you hear anyone saying how super and great that was?]).  Even now you hear him calling us to achieve "Process Excellence."  Must your quantify that you don't inherently understand?  I get paid to ship money-making software, not excel at a process.  I'm open to things that make my product better which includes more stability, security, market-penetration, and customer pleasing / money making features.  But if you give me another freaking process form to fill out or compliance tool to run, I'm going to start "comp-lie-ing" and focus on what it takes to get the old-fashioned job done.

(Bad Drone!)

The third comment duly takes me to task for being overly negative in characterization and his/her original comments.  My bad, mea culpa - sorta.  Eh, I'm biased.  Anyway, it's a well-written and thought-out rebuttal.  Good for Microsoft for having such a person working for it and for taking the time to share their thoughts.  I just believe that strategic grass-roots transparency is more important at this time.

Finally, the first comment has an interesting bit:

I've seen specific departments conducted layoffs, and 95% of the laid off folks get rehired within 2 months into other departments. Talk about maintain a good place for the staff.

I've seen this disconnect, too, between Microsoft HR's "move them out" talk and then what happens later.  It's odd to be walking through another building and pass by someone who had "moved on" and is now in another group (odd moment of "what-the?" surprise on my face, downward gaze on their's).  Move them out, keep them out.

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