Sunday, December 21, 2008

Rumors of Upcoming Microsoft Cut-Backs

Rumors. Microsoft layoff and cut-backs and Reduction In Force rumors. That's all I have for you. Rumors and second-hand speculation and the comments left by the fine, good-looking folks who participate in the conversation here. So pour yourself some holiday cheer and dive in.

What have those fine folks been sharing over the past couple of posts here? Bad news on the rise and with perhaps January 15th 2009 as an interesting day for Microsoft news. Bad news. 15 Jan is a week before FY09Q2 quarterly results and it's better to share as much news, good and bad, before the results are released vs. surprising Wall Street (something I think we've learned).

It all starts with...

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

They are substantial.

And then some curious meetings:

they lost 12 people in STB [...] looks like "feedback" reviews are underway to get the a-10's out of the picture as well.

What kind of meeting? Perhaps like:

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

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

shall find out 1/15

In Live Meeting:

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

Breaking-up when you have no budget is another tactic (in STB):

Our 120+ person org has just been broken up due to lack of budget. About 1/2 the team is staying, the other half is going to a number of different teams within the larger org. So far, we all appear to have jobs, but man, what a shocker, I thought ours was one of the more stable teams.

Not sure what happens to our Director, he seemed a bit shocked himself when he delivered the news today. I also don't know if this is the first step towards a lay-off, but for now, it seems we'll have jobs for a few more months.

Ugh, not good, not good at all.

STB again:

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

STB - > Server

Rumors! Like the following that I've heard wandering around chatting with folks before the holidays:

I've been hearing some stealth layoffs around the SQL and BOSG groups, around 70+ people were given 6(?) weeks to find another position within the company, otherwise they are laid off.

Anyone know others?

Is the following a list of head-count cuts or expected percent cuts?

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

Beyond product groups:

Finance is cutting 10% of work force.

I will agree that we'll be casting a hard eye at consistent 10%-ers during MYCD:

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

But who is taking the cut?

The news is in. All the money making groups cut 10% of the work force. The money losing groups hires.

Vendors get it, too:

Vendors are also having it bad. The funding for our project stopped and our vendor team of 28 people have been asked to leave immediately. All of us have been asked to move to India by our parent company. [...]

Who should be taking a cut? One commenter points to GFS:

Do you know who was killing Microsoft economically from past several years- think think think? Being one of the 65 level in this organization and spending most of my career here - I can tell you that this group was living lavish life from past many years (thank god – we have some economic crisis now and people are asking some tough questions from the managers here). I know many of you have already guessed and you are right - this group is called "GFS - Global Foundation Service" and DebraC is leading this group. (Did I use the word leading?) If you want to know how capable she is to lead this group, I encourage you to watch her latest all hands streaming that you can find on MSW. [...] There are billions of dollars hardware purchased every year across this group without any planning and I can assure you that 50% of them are not even used or required at first place. Most of the hiring in this group is not for getting things done or being innovative in datacenter world but each manager here trying to build their own empire by just hiring whether they really need it or not.

Local impact? One commenter muses:

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

Okay. So first I'd love to hear what you have heard or know as well, though I realize some of you might want to stir the pot with made-up fluff sprinkled with schaedenfruede - please don't.

Second: you have to realize that the upcoming 2009 Mid Year Career Discussion review process is one of the most important career inflection-points for you that we've had in a long, long time. Already my team is being asked to review people on the HR Watch List deeply and especially look at any two-time-plus 10%'s, no matter whether they are Situation I (eh, should be fired) or Situation II (effective but have reached their career maximum - again, a horrible, horrible concept). The upcoming Stack Rank for Mid-Year is going to be super-important for determining who has to go first if your team is given an n-percent budget to cut-back on. And yes, if we fire the current 10%'ers we drop down the lower 70%'ers into the 10% bucket. So just because you don't end up in the 10% bucket don't get all happy about yourself unless you're well into a high Achieved / high 70% bucket.

My suggestion to you: know when your team's Stack Rank (aka Calibration) meeting is and be very aggressive about enumerating your accomplishments this past year with your manager and asking your boss where they believe you rank within the team. Hey, I hate this system too, folks, and by me giving you advice I'm trying to prescribe some preventative medicine, not endorse the lifeboat drill that is Stack Ranking. And if you have Skip Level meetings with your upper management, you'd better figure a way that you walk out of that room with them loving you.

And if you get your six weeks, you're going to have to depend on your existing Microsoft networks. Folks I know with open positions have really ratcheted up their choosiness about who they want to bring into their group and are exceptionally uninterested in unknown RIF'ed people wanting informationals, assuming that they are 10%-ers.

Third: let's say we are having intensive cutbacks and/or RIFs and layoffs. It is absolutely essential that Microsoft steps back and asks, "Whoa, how did we get here and who was leading us?" How did we go on a drunken hiring binge and continue it even though a year ago most of us realized we were dropping into a recession? It's irresponsible leadership. It's especially irresponsible to the people we've hired and to the people incoming with recent offers. If you don't think too deeply, it's easy to be sipping on your Starbucks in Crossroads Mall typing away at how Microsoft needs to mass fire people so that it can refocus on essential business. But when you do it at a time when the economy is in the crapper and job openings at Microsoft is near nil is unforgivable.

An important consequence is to ensure we never do this again. The first step is to cut out the people who got us here, especially by making weak hires. Everytime someone who you said "Hire" to on an interview loop gets a 10% review your ranking on hiring goes down. If they become good attrition you get dropped from interviewing. You obviously aren't a very good judge when it comes to hiring for Microsoft. Likewise, if you said "No" to someone with a bad review or "Yes" to a star performer, your ranking goes up. And all of this is made very clear to you, versus you wondering one day, "Hey, how come I haven't been on an interview loop in a while?"

Next, if you've been in the way of quickly load balancing within your division according to needs vs. empire building: *poof* you're either gone or demoted.

Come 22 Jan 2009 Microsoft will be asked by the analysts what it is doing to contain costs. And I believe Microsoft will have an answer. I think this is one solution that you don't want to be a part of. I'm all for cutting back, but it should have been done long ago, responsibly, vs. forced upon us. Because I believe when things turn around, groups will be lighting the sparklers and cracking open the Kristal and hiring madly again.

(Edit #2: added links to all the comments I quoted so that readers - especially first time visitors - understand the source material. Edit #1: fixed a double paste.)


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

>> Richard McAniff

McAniff is long gone. Brilliant dude, BTW. One of the few that would be worth keeping, but elsewhere in the company.

Anonymous said...

Attention any media types reading this far into the comments section: this is all unsubstantiated rumor. There is zero credibility behind it. Talk to any MSFT manager off the record, and they'll confirm that while there's a hiring freeze, and no new headcount except college hires, and more scrutiny than eevr over contractor and vendor budget, there's zero effort regarding RIFs of fulltime employees. Period. Anything else you read here, unless it's actually signed by a real live manager's actual name, is simply hearsay, random fear, or rumor-mongering.

Anonymous said...

I came to MS four years ago, after many years in the industry. I was hired for my industry experience and knowledge. The very first thing I noticed was how nobody wanted to listen to any of those experiences, once I came aboard. It wasn't the "Microsoft Way". That particularity about MS does flow down from upper management layers. I have long thought that the MS Managers need to step outside of the Redmond "bubble" more often. We do not do best practices. The next thing I noticed was the OBSCENE number of vendors doing jobs that FTE's should be doing. That, apparently, is the "Microsoft Way".Vendors CAN be quite costly, as compared to FTE's...both in actual monetary costs and the cost to MS with the "brain-drain" when those vendors move on.
I honestly don't know what is going to happen in January. Some of these rumors may be true, a lot may be just rumors. Most big, long-term companies in the high tech space have a bloated level of middle management that could be eliminated. The problem is those are generally the folks tasked with deciding who goes and who stays during a layoff or reorg. If it was you, would you volunteer? So, I guess we just have to wait and see what happens...say your prayers and have hope that your family is not negatively affected by whatever happens, if anything.
So...pie in the sky....what would I do? I would start with the vendors. Transition a bunch of those duties to MS FTE's. They would need to step would be good for them in the long run. Second...I would totally shitcan the archaic and punitive committment/review process that is practiced at MS. Restructure the grades and steps...motivate your employees the right incentives...realistic goals. Stop trying to "out-commit" your coworkers. It is WAYYYY too competitive. Maybe in the "old MS days", that kind of competition was good...I don't know. But now, we need to have teamwork, fewer silos, better marketing, more direct sales, higher quality internal and product development. A lot of the committments I see, I can't even understand what they are all about.
Move some of the middle management layers down to IC's...there shouldn't be any Directors or above without direct reports.
Internal development...all internal dev projects should be created with the potential of actually selling the developed system. MS shouldn't just keep developing internal systems so they can do things "The Microsoft Way". Buy best of breed...consolidate the corporate databases into one large cluster for better, more accurate corporate reporting and BI. Merge the development teams and the COE's so development talent is focused on both internal and external development; the stuff we need to run our business is the same stuff other companies need. Let the SM's and PM's run the projects, not the COE's.
And...although it ain't gonna happen...we need new high-level leadership. I don't know of hardly any "leaders" at Microsoft. No vision...can't motivate, except with threats, hide behind unachievable individual committments and blame their teams for the failures. I am a big believer in the old concept of management by "walking around". I have NEVER seen anyone, other than my direct manager, walk around the team areas, chat with the employees, hang out, get the feel for what is going on, make the employees feel good, motivate...nothin! I know they are busy, but a little of that goes a long way. And I mean the Balmers, Turners, and CVP' never see them around.
So...that is my two cents, for what it is worth. I think MS is a good company...could be a great company again, but we need to change the path and layoffs, reorgs, and stuff like that are merely short-term reactions to a much bigger problem.
P.S. I am tempted to leave my name, but I actually do fear punitive actions...another sad fact around MS. It is not quite as open as they would like folks to believe. I would change that also, by the way.

Anonymous said...

Mini - the entire premise of your blog is that MSFT needs to reduce in size, be more efficient, be more cost-effective. While the reason is not the ideal one (forced upon MSFT by outside economy, rather than developed as part of smart strategy), the end result will be the same. If MSFT is a capable company at its core at all, it will survive, evolve and thrive.

If there truly is a round of layoffs, and MSFT ends up becoming the leaner, meaner, smarter, more innovative company you wanted... shouldn't you be ecstatic?

I'm seriously surprised that you're not doing a happy dance that layoffs might be coming. You've wanted MSFT to be smaller for some time. Layoffs would likely affect many of the people contributing to the bloat of the company. And I don't mean the high-profile VPs and partners people like to blame their problems on in this blog, but that guy down the hall who, though he's been in your team for 3 years, you still can't remember what he does or who he reports to.

I hope you're not suddenly aghast at the effect a round of layoffs would have on real live people with families and feelings. Please tell me that this isn't the first time you've considered the ramifications of what creating a "leaner, meaner MSFT" means.

I hope we can all agree that whether it's MSFT's hand forced by the market, or whether it's a deliberate stretegy, reducing the size of MSFT would mean real people would be out of work, and it's likely that even in the best of times, some of those people would be unemployed for some time, with all the challenges and hardship that entails.

Please don't take this as snark, Mini; you've had a positive effect on MSFT culture by providing an alternative insider voice. I am just honestly surprised that you're not more excited by this than you seem to be.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mini: May I suggest a topic? Similar to the excellent post you just did on how to get to 64+. I'd be very interested to see a practical post about what to do if you get RIF'd. Not how to do an internal job search; not even how to network and find other employment. I mean the 1000 little things, like how to deal with one's 401k and insurance, what to ddo with remaining options and awards, whether to explore vending/contracting at MSFT or elsewhere, how to leave a team due to RIF with dignity (in terms of contribution to group on the way out).

It might be timely advice, if all this gloom and doom is real instead of a big game of 'telephone'.

Anonymous said...

Hey, be nice to Julie. She gave Office the ribbon, and will be able to coast on that in Windows for a couple releases, based on the Win7 beta. (ooh, mspaint has a ribbon now... must rush out to get Win7 netbook)

Anonymous said...

I wonder why they did calibration discussions (stack ranking ) this year in late November or early December instead of usual mid Dec to Jan first week.
Is there a reason for this? Dont want to cause panic but wonder if this is true in all groups or just in STB.

Anonymous said...

"Let us start with Julie Larson-Green, the VP of PMs. What has she done..."

AFAIK, she was the driving force behind the radical UI change in Office. What have you done?

Anonymous said...

I love all the varied replies and opinions here - it's interesting to see how informed/uninformed people are, or else just how inconsistent Microsoft is at internal communication. I'm also disappointed that managers would let any details out, under the anonymous guise of this blog. Rumors serve no constructive purpose. No, I'm not Steve :)

If I knew what was going to happen, on what date, and to whom - I certainly wouldn't post it here :) Hell, if I knew any details I wouldn't even tell my friends and family after it was officially announced that I knew ahead of time. They'd only wonder why I didn't share, or why I didn't give them a heads-up (if they're affected).

Nothing good can come from rumor- or fear-mongering.

I can't even accuse Mini of going for advertising dollars, so I just have to accuse her of poor journalism & ethics. All you managers who are sharing details need to learn what discretion is all about.

Anonymous said...

For the last time folks -- THERE ARE NO LAYOFFS HAPPENINGS IN, I would have expected some maturity from you before you posted these rumors...

Unless you post non-anonymously and are someone with credibility (that is, someone high up in MSFT who would know), why should anyone believe you? Mini is posting about the rumors because the rumors are *burying* the masses at MSFT.

I agree with whoever posted that if layoffs (or major RIFs/re-orgs) weren't happening in January, all MSFT would have to do is issue a short press release. That's all.

It's like Sarah Palin and the "Were you pregnant with Trig?" question. All she had to do was provide evidence that she was Trig's biological mother to dispell the rumors that swirl to this day. Because she hasn't, the rumors just increase.

It's human nature to worry about your own safety when things around you look grim. If MSFT wanted us to quit worrying so much and be able to focus more on actual work (believe me, we are doing our best to focus despite all the uncertainty - we still have products to ship), then they would issue the statement. All the time that they sit on their hands and keep mum is time that we will wonder and stew about what is coming.

I have heard from too many different sources that announcements of *some* kind will be made on Jan. 15th to ignore that date. And I am personally part of a team that is simply waiting to find out what we're going to do next. If anything. So don't tell me nothing is coming, because if it's not, then you're going to keep paying all of us to do NOTHING. Not good for MSFT, and certainly not good for us.

Anonymous said...

I believe that all this rumor and speculation continues to fuel some fires here and there, and therefore, we may actually end up working ourselves into these layoffs, even though none are planned at the moment. Kind of like a self-fulfilling prophecy.

So, my suggestion is, unless you have absolutely credible evidence, your posts should not even make it past Mini. I'm disappointed that Mini does not do a good enough job of filtering some of the crap like:

"It's a done deal!"

"It's official, all money making teams cutting 10%"

"I'm from HR, and it'll be shock and awe on January"

This garbage is not constructive and does not help anyone or this discussion. In fact, part of me wonders if it was even necessary to start this particular topic, just days before Christmas, based purely on innuendo and hear-say. Much more helpful have been past topics that focus on the need to reduce HC, getting rid of deadwood, and properly aligning the resources going forward.

Lastly, let me a share a little story regarding the self-fulfilling prophecy comment I made earlier.

A young Indian chief has just taken over, and during one of his early days on the job, several elders on the reservation approach him and ask:

"How is the winter going to be this year?"

The chief hasn't yet learned all the tricks to properly forecast this, so he tells them:

"It's going to be cold, so, make sure we start stocking up on some wood."

But he wants to get a more solid response, so he calls the National Weather Service, and asks the guy on the phone. The guys responds:

"It's going to be a cold winter."

The chief now feels it's better to play if safer, so he returns to his people and tells them:

"Actually, the winter is going to be colder than I originally thought. So, let's make sure we have lots of wood."

He then calls the NWS again, and asks the guy once more, to make sure. The guy responds:

"Actually, it will be colder than we originally forecasted."

The chief is now worried, and this time he tells his people:

"This is going to be one of the coldest winters ever. Make sure you cut and store any piece of wood that is in sight."

He then calls the NWS again, and asks:

"Are you absolutely sure this is going to be a very cold winter?"

The guy responds:

"Yes, it will. The Indians are cutting wood like crazy."

Anonymous said...

MSFT officially addressing would be a bad move just like Palin addressing the baby rumors would have been bad. You dont feed the tabloids, you just ignore them and go about your business.

This wont play out as a layoff that the press can chew on anyway. It will be in the form of RIF's and 10% attrition that will be hard to track holistically but in a couple years we'll notice that the total emp count is either flat (as opposed to the ridiculous YOY growth rate currently) or lower by 10k or so which if you looked at that holistically at that point, would be substantial.

Anonymous said...

mspaint has a ribbon now
Calculator will have ribbon next...She will become SVP of PMs based on the radical improvement to calculator and mspaint.

Anonymous said...

>>For the last time folks -- THERE ARE NO LAYOFFS HAPPENINGS IN, I would have expected some maturity from you before you posted these rumors...

Strictly, not "layoffs" - "musical chairs". It's already happening. Works like this: your group is cut/re-orged, and you're given 6 weeks to find another job. Except there are virtually none to be had; and many of the few that are on http://career can't actually *hire*. And there's no hint that any consideration being made for good vs. poor performers - hasn't happened in my group that just got cut.

Good time for those that can to find something outside the company before their group gets cut.

Anonymous said...

I wonder why they did calibration discussions (stack ranking ) this year in late November or early December instead of usual mid Dec to Jan first week.
Is there a reason for this? Dont want to cause panic but wonder if this is true in all groups or just in STB.

Alot of this was due to the butt's in seat assessments and also oveage in NTE (who needs to be cut)

Happened in a few places

Anonymous said...

I'm in no position of power, hold a post at an MS branch that frankly has been derided and outcast by every other division of MS, got a very positive performance review in summer, and feel that MS is trying to be deliberate and compassionate about whatever's about to come down the pike.

It's been said that this post has caused undue panic. I don't believe so. I'm worried and frightened about Jan. 15, but come on. Did we really think MS was impermeable to the economy? That just reflects the arrogance other companies accuse us of having.

Engineers in my own division have reflected this arrogance recently. They were willing to put a half-baked product out on the market -- in my nuanced option, a pretty crappy product -- and rebuffed our input on the lameness of their product because, even though they knew it was crap, they didn't think anybody in the blogosphere would notice.

So we put out s**t and think we're okay because no bloggers have written about it yet?

The fact that MS has chosen to promote their innovations before they have been completely realized speaks volumes to me. It speaks to their extremely erratic advertisement campaign of 2008, the complaints about Vista (which I still don't think is a bad OS at all), and the insularity MS has contented itself with in the last five years. I fear this complacency is footsteps away from becoming a cancer.

We are a fair and benevolent company to our workers. I love how this place treats me and my family. MS has my loyalty in spirit. But we really have to produce. We are becoming archaic, complacent and passive. We're taking the easiest way out. We're getting lazier as our deadlines approach. This has been going on since I got here.

We have become a reactionary company, a scared one, across all levels. We need to have faith in our vision and we just don't have it.

I don't know what I want my comment to effect. I guess I equate complacency with fat. And I fear we're all about to get some fat trimmed off, and I don't know what to feel about it.

I guess I got three weeks or so to sweat it out with my family and friends.

Anonymous said...

>>> I can tell you that we 'contractors' do the BULK of the work.

I do not know what orgs you worked in, but my experience in Windows org shows that it's virtually impossible have production coding offloaded to vendors/contractors. At least all of those that I worked with did not care a bit about the consequences of what they were doing, loved to take shortcuts, make bad design decisions, etc. They simply did not care about such things, because they would not be the guys who would have to maintain all that stuff.

>>> Get rid of the H1B's, keep the workforce in America, and actually help the economy.

How would that help the economy? H1B's spend money here and sometimes bring more money with them to buy homes. At the same time, H1Bs are more motivated to work, because 1) they are bound to MSFT and cannot switch the employer easily , 2) for many of H1Bs it's a rare opportunity to improve their standard of living. I know of MSFT old-timers who are not worth a fraction of an average H1B: the only thing they know is how to ski or WFH in the summer.

Anonymous said...

The 1989 Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act requires employers to give 60 days notice to employees when more than 500 workers will be laid off.

Now some optimistic and cheerful fellow will possibly point out that Microsoft has a couple of lawyers on staff and may choose to avoid this law in its layoffs.

I would disagree with this assertion since since lawyers are not custimarily in the practice of exposing their clients to a lawsuit, especially one that could result in class action. Also I do not believe that the executive leadership would want to take such a risk of alienating the Justice department.

Now they may announce layoffs in January and I could certainly see that happening but I believe that they will follow the letter of the law and give 60 days warning.

Anonymous said...

"Contractors do the work FTE do not want to do or are incapable of doing(most likely the latter)."

That is the most absurd statement so far. 100% of the contractors could be cut and Microsoft would continue along just fine.

Anonymous said...

"Let us start with Julie Larson-Green, the VP of PMs. What has she done other than sucking up to Sinofsky?"

Julie is a great employee. I worked with her a few times. I don't know if she has the qualifications to be a VP, but she is not a brown noser.

Anonymous said...

"I suggest folks wake up and realize that MS has become a place where smart people atrophy. Go start your own company. Go work for a smaller company that actually has to hunt for a living. Yes, there is more risk but the skills you develop are more valuable in the market. Also, you wake up every day feeling like you can make a big impact.

My only regret is not leaving MS sooner. Now I get resumes from PUMs looking to work for me, even a few MS VPs have expressed interest, but I find they lack the skills to make a difference. They have become mindless corporate drones skilled in nothing more than internal politics. Don't let it happen to you.

You were talking about interviewing these poeple and couldn't hire them, etc. If you were interviewing yourself, maybe you would not get your own job either, right? to be honest, the microsoft style of interviewing is a p of s. All the well prepared indian guy/gals can easily get a MS job while a future bill gates would be shown the door. There is a black market for microsoft interview. The first thing microsoft should do is to completely change its way of hiring poeple. Microsoft hires too many loud people who would claim total victory on a single for loop. The managers spend too much time sucking upper managers, they don't spend enough time working closely with his/her own people.

BTW, this is not just Microsoft. I've heard the same thing in Google and Yahoo. Apparently Apple is better.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure that simply cutting middle management makes sense. The reason you have so many of those people is to limit the size of teams and the number of direct reports managers have. In my team, we have 3 Senior PMs reporting to a GPM and then each Senior PM has 1 or 2 direct reports. In my opinion, this is an okay way to do it. The alternative, if we wanted to be "flatter" would be to simply have everyone report directly to the GPM, but then that guy would have too many direct reports.

Instead, where I think Microsoft has some real opportunities to become better is in the core organizational structure. Someone earlier mentioned getting rid of PUMs and having GPMs report directly to the GM. This isn't a bad idea and it could be a good first step to Microsoft sort of rethinking how work gets done.

A good follow-up step would be to implement a PMO type process for managing projects. I'm not sure at what level the PMO would need to reside in the organization, but what you would want to get out of that team, in addition to clarity and rationality around things like project schedules, is some ability to prioritize multiple projects against one another and shift resources as needed from one project to another. In other words, the ability to adjust in real time and make tradeoffs. I don't see much ability to do that now in the current structure.

Anonymous said...

Does Microsoft have company guidelines/policies in place to address citizenship in employment decisions?

Do federal/state laws exist to protect MS FTE US employees who are U.S. citizens in mass layoffs?

Who can US citizens contact for guidance – legislators, regulatory bodies, advocacy groups, or media?

Anonymous said...

"Contractors do the work FTE do not want to do or are incapable of doing(most likely the latter)."

Um, I'm not sure where *you* work, but I hire contractors to do all of the shit rolls downhill daily crap that I don't want to waste the time of my FTEs on.

In a company the size of MSFT, there are mountains of janitorial-level hoops to jump through to get stuff done. I hire contractors to jump through those hoops so I can focus my employees on software development.

Anonymous said...

"Ballmer's primary concern has been stock price and not quality software."

Then he's 0:2, because the record there is miserable too.

Anonymous said...

The amount of bloat in the company is really crazy. Just look at how much principal people get paid. You can find all of this info.

L65=$130k+20%bonus+$50k SA= $200k
L66=$150k+20%bonus+$90k SA= $270k
L67=$175k+30%bonus+$175kSA= $400k
L68+ At least $500k on average

Look around at all of the principal PMs doing almost nothing. They write no code, almost all of them could not pass a dev IV loop, and they mostly email and do PPT all day. Wow $200k+ for that type of work.

Anonymous said...

NO LAYOFFS @microsoft

Yes, Executives are looking for measures to cut cost. And that can be done without any layoffs.

Current hiring rate is slow at MS and considering the natural attrition, we will have lesser workforce at the end of FY09.

NO LAYOFFS @microsoft

We are not immune to recession and our bottom line will see a hit for few quarters. We expect a full recovery by FY10 Q3.

We are very optimistic that this recession is an opportunity for us and we will play our cards well.

Urge all Microsoft employees to stay focus and keep doing the great work.

You will hear more from SteveB soon on his plans.

Thank you !!

Anonymous said...


I am not a MS FTE. my question is if a person gets a good FTE offer outside MS with good compensation, is that a bad thing to take up?

I ask this because I have seen few people talking negative on outisde offer and tend to say that MS is the only best company to work for. Is this based on Pure jealousy or is there any rationale behind this?

When some of the very talented people have left MS, what is wrong if normal guys leave MS for a gig outside? why should one should work only at MS and not outside? it does not make sense to me at all.

Anonymous said...

So what exactly are these mythical skills that are needed to get hired other companies that MS employees don't have? I smell BS from mid level managers and other nonproductive types who only real skill was bloviating and gaming the system.

Anonymous said...

That is the most absurd statement so far. 100% of the contractors could be cut and Microsoft would continue along just fine.

There are several categories of contractors at Microsoft. First, there are the contractors hired to "turn the crank" in positions where technical acumen isn't really required, but general competence is needed. Think HR, Marketing, and those business functions that require "soft" skills. These people can be easily cut in hard times.

Then, there are contractors with technical skill who contribute to product development, such as testers, contract SDETs, and SDEs for development of non-critical product functionality. Many of these people can be cut as well.

Finally, there are contractors in both soft and technical disciplines who do things that MS FTEs cannot do. These could be SDEs in critical and new technical areas, lawyers with special experience, adept finance people, graphic designers and other highly creative people with special skills or experience. Many of these folks do not want to become Microsoft FTEs, perhaps because the jobs just don't pay well enough and there is no entrepreneurial payoff for working at MS. These people are very hard to cut until their particular role becomes obsolete.

Anonymous said...

>>>NO LAYOFFS @microsoft

Yes, Executives are looking for measures to cut cost. And that can be done without any layoffs.


Are you an executive? how do you know?

Anonymous said...

I am not a MS FTE. my question is if a person gets a good FTE offer outside MS with good compensation, is that a bad thing to take up?

I ask this because I have seen few people talking negative on outisde offer and tend to say that MS is the only best company to work for. Is this based on Pure jealousy or is there any rationale behind this?

Are you for real?

DO NOT EVER WORK ANYWHERE OTHER THAN MICROSOFT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES! Even if you get a spectacular offer to do something you've always wanted to do that pays more than you could ever imagine, YOU MUST TURN IT DOWN OR FACE A LIFETIME OF MISERY!

Good friggin' grief, develop some critical thinking skills... or are you just trying to bait the trolls for fun?

Anonymous said...

Some interesting statistics on H1B and L1 visas

1. Microsoft ranks #1 of the top 1000 H1B Visa and Green Card Sponsors (2000 – 2007)
Rank 1
Company Microsoft
Total H1B Visa (01-07): 23,895
Green Card (00-07): 18,037
H1B Visa (2007): 5,858
H1B Visa Salary (2007): 3,943
Green Card (2007): 1,401
Green Card Salary (2007): $84,872.60

2. Microsoft Corporation ranks #3 as top 200 H-1B employers in 2006 visa
Source: Where H-1B Visas are Going;jsessionid=W2XSTTUYSIWXAQSNDLPSKHSCJUNN2JVN?articleID=199601737&pgno=2

The Top 200 H-1B Employers Of 2006
(1 - 100)
Rank Company No. of visas

3. Microsoft in top 20 L-1 Visa employers in 2006
Source: Senators Release List Of Top L-1 Visa Employers

Anonymous said...

Calculator will have ribbon next...She will become SVP of PMs based on the radical improvement to calculator and mspaint.
Windows, Office market can decline but execs will continue to get fat pay checks.

Anonymous said...

>Yes, Executives are looking for measures to cut cost. And that can be done without any layoffs.

I expect our HR and finance departments will come up with creative ways to increase their bloated headcount. These guys can put government departments to shame with their bureaucracy.

Mark my words. This is the beginning of the end of Microsoft.

Anonymous said...

I sometimes wonder if some of you work for the same company that I do. There seems to be some real difference in culture and expectations between the field and Redmond.

Anonymous said...

Some interesting statistics on H1B and L1 visas ....[lots of numbers].....

...And your point is ? What's your conclusion ? What are you trying to convey, compare, point out ?
Your stats are useless. There's nothing interesting or shocking, about these numbers. Send them to CNN's Lou Dobbs, that hatemonger may use them to instigate even more hate.

Anonymous said...

I do not work for MS now though I did from '89 to '99. I saw a lot of changes during the years I worked there--I don't even recognize the company I read about in these comments. I'm not sure what MS needs to be successful moving forward but I think something quite drastic needs to happen. Layoffs, even 10% of the workforce, aren't the kind of change that will move the company in the direction in needs to move. It might help the numbers in the short run but that's all. Ballmer definitely needs to move on, his contribution peaked about 15 years ago. Unfortunately I don't see that happening unless he has a heart attack or something (I do not wish this to happen). Good luck folks, may the force be with you...

Anonymous said...

...I wonder why they did calibration discussions (stack ranking ) this year in late November or early December instead of usual mid Dec to Jan first week.
Is there a reason for this?...

Calibration should occur once a quarter. Annual review, Mid year, one around October and one in April or somewhere there about. My manager updated me on my status around mid October in our 1:1. This should be standard across the company. If you are not getting this information then you need to press your management chain to be more transparent about the calibration process.

"Ballmer's primary concern has been stock price and not quality software."

Really? When did this change of heart occur? I didn't see/get that memo... Every time the dear leader addresses a question about the stock price (at least when asked by employees) he inevitably indicates that he doesn't care, he has no idea what makes the stock go up and down, etc.

Waiting to see what occurs on the Ides of January. Good luck to all.

Anonymous said...

Sorry that this is going to be long-winded, but here's something we could do to save costs in the long run, and deal with some of the bloat we have.

Go through the company and find all of these senior people or middle managers that everyone on here is complaining about.

Flatten orgs and make like you're going to RIF these people.

Then, instead, create a task force of ICs who are given the mission to eliminate as much non-FTE work from the company as possible.

Associate them for 1 year with a specific GM. 1, maybe 2, per GM. They keep their level, existing stock, vacation time, etc. but will receive no bonuses or merit the upcoming year. It's basically a PIP done right.

Their sole career goal for the entire year is to go through every use of a vendor or contractor in that GM's org, and then eliminate, document and/or automate the work.

It must be accomplished by that person alone, beyond the obvious information gathering and coordinating with FTEs to use what's produced as a replacement. They're reasonably senior people, they should have the technical and organizational skills to do this.

There'd need to be documented monthly 1:1s, and the GM would need to have this project on their perf review too.

If after a year, vendor or contractor $ is still needed for that specific work, the RIF'd guy is let go. Same if the end result is too much work for the existing FTEs.

If they succeeded, move them to another GM and repeat. Let them get back to normal internal interviews, and reward eligibility, after the 2nd year.

Do this for 2 or 3 years, adding new RIF candidates as you go, and pretty soon you will have slimmed down both the org and management bloat, and the vendor or contractor $ spent.

It would take maturity and team effort to make something like this work. And there'd need to be some independent auditing to ensure this system wasn't being gamed to let old friends hide out for months at a time. So maybe this is just a silly idea.

But wouldn't it be great to put supposedly experienced and talented people to better use? And wouldn't it be great to get more for your $ out of those existing FTE positions?

Think of all the kinds of things done in testing, in localization, in weird little sharepoint sites and spreadsheets, or in the field, in internal tools, that should really just be something that's like an hour or two a week of an FTE's time, and not a year long contract.

Anonymous said...

Getting rid of the H1Bs would have more than just financial benefits. An improvement in product design and code quality, a reduction in cronyism and increased transfer and promotion opportunities for the rest.

Anonymous said...

Shouldnt Steveb be fired first? Time has shown that
1. he failed in his commitments to buy yahoo
2. if he had succeeded it would have wasted billions of dollars of Microsoft.

Anonymous said...

"Getting rid of the H1Bs would have more than just financial benefits. An improvement in product design and code quality, a reduction in cronyism and increased transfer and promotion opportunities for the rest."

Is there any way to read this that doesn't imply bigotry?

Anonymous said...

explain to me why MSIT Engineering has so many PUMs with just 8-15people in their org? is this a new trend?

Anonymous said...

About Julie: There must be a good reason she became a Partner GPM in Office and a VP in Windows. GPMs and VPs don't do ribbons or Windows User Experience, you know, they help others do that. Sometimes a great helper/manager is the one who doesn't get in the way, and I heard that Julie just let other people be creative and shine, which is important.

Contractors: I can't agree more with the poster who said that contractors take shortcuts, never take risks, etc. - all this probably because most of them only care about the billed hours. I managed 4 dev contractors in another group, and this statement was generally true - only one contractor really cared about my product (and I'd would hire him immediately as a Senior IC if I could). Thanks God we don't have dev contractors in Office (to the best of my knowledge), although I heard UX designers do outsource the "tedious" icon work and pay thousands of $$ per icon.

Layoffs: Office and Windows are unlikely to reorg/lay people off in the near future and are realitively safe - we need to ship a high quality product soon (and we will this time, no doubt), so losing even the bottom 10% or whatever could have a negative effect on these two cash cows (and it is too late to replace the fat with new blood this late in the cycle). Having spent a few years in Office I can say that this org is huge but I haven't seen real slackers or dumb useless people (maybe I'm just lucky). By looking at my team that has a lot of junior developers/college hires, I'd hate to lose even the bottom 10% - all these folks do try hard and the team is really respectable in Office.

Senior Leadership Accountability: it does exist in Office - the org got flattened a bit after Office 2007 shipped - some positions of managers of managers got eliminated. I've also seen senior leaders in Office "persue other opportunities" during the current cycle. Hopefully WEX does something similar under the leadership of SteveSi. On the contrary, in some other org (I don't remember if it was Search or something like that) I have recently seen (via the Address Book) a GM reporting to a GM who reports to a GM who reports to a VP. Boy, THIS is fat!

Comments left by ex-softies: most of them sound quite bitter. People rarely leave a company because they are happy. So one should take their comments/advice with a pinch of salt - what made THEM happy outside of MS might not make YOU happy (unleass you are already on fire or feel miserable in your group).

Perpetual Bliss: I'm an L64 Dev (started at L61), and I have been around this company for more than a decade (in 2 completely different orgs). Maybe I'm just lucky but I've never worked with morons and bad managers (I've had 4 managers) at MS. I'm NOT a star performer, but I'm a sucker/slacker either (I do work hard but not to the extent to kill myself at work). I'm not resting and vesting - someday I will probably make it to L65 (if I earn it). Never kissed ass, played games, did politics or had influential friends. I'm happy with my life/work balance and carrier/compensation. Am I really in the minority?

Anonymous said...

The guy in the office next to you who spends all day playing Solitaire is not causing the big problems at Microsoft. He's not making the poor strategic decisions that keep the stock price flat. He's not designing the products that lose market share. He's not throwing billions of dollars at a new project to be an also-ran in a saturated market.

If Microsoft wants to get back on track with some layoffs, the rank-and-file "10%'ers" should be the least of their worries.

Anonymous said...

Microsoft asked to lay off over 9,000 employees

Anonymous said...

Here are what MSFT should really cut so it can function better and make more profits:

1. Arrogance
2. Over-confidence
3. Attachments to power and political games

To all those MSFT employees who post here, if your groups or you possess these attributes and you can cut them, MSFT may NOT need to lay off anyone!

Anonymous said...

Who is accountable at Microsoft?

Board of director gets paid $250,000/year for attending four meetings.The presidents get cash award as the stock has been in the crapper.

Money losing divisions outnumber money making divisions. Visual Studio, Windows Live Services, Windows Azure, XBoX/Zune, MSR, Search/AdCenter, Windows Mobile and so on...

Anonymous said...

We (E&D management) had a meeting with Ballmer around eight-weeks ago.

Ballmer discussed the GE approach to laying off the bottom 10% every year.

When asked how Wall Street would respond to our layoffs, he said they would be happy.

We will be handing out a list of names to teams within E&D. This list will contain the 20% / Exceeded from the last review period. Teams will cherry pick who they want.

The original plan was to announce the layoff prior to Christmas. When we notified the governer, we were asked to hold off until after the holidays.

It appears that Search may be safe and will continue to hire. We keep dumping money into that mess. The more resources we throw at Search, the lower our market share gets.

Anonymous said...

That shows how pathetic this world is hanging on. The entire planet is bleeding. If a company as successful as MSFT is going to lay off people, think about lesser fortunate companies. Well this is a poor move to pacify the investors. MSFT will be hit because of this with its own hammer in the days to come.

Anonymous said...

I like the GE approach, but I think the problem with using it in our company is that we have too many people who will "play the game" to get a good review score instead of "doing good work" to get a good review score.

Anonymous said...

"We will be handing out a list of names to teams within E&D."

How is it possible that such drastic actions are being taken and E&D isn't being outright shutdown.

What has it been? 8 years and 8 billion in losses on the Xbox fiasco. Zune would be a laughing stock if the public actually remembered we made them still.

8 billion dollars down the drain on what has become known as the Worst Console Ever created with the Xbox 360's RRoD hardware disaster and the countless other problems with the turd of a product. Did absolutely nothing to stop or derail BluRay. It's worldwide installed base is going to end up roughly the same as the first Xbox marketplace flop.

Meanwhile the PC gaming market continues to die off with more and more major PC devs turning to consoles. It was all those teenage/20 something IT guys who grew up on cheap and powerful machines running a Microsoft OS for their favorite games that was a major factor in the domination of our OS in the business world.

For what? Some more idiotic hand waving about 'owning the living room' or whatever bullshit the E&D clowns are currently using to justify their continued existence in the company.

Want to really send a positive message to Wall Street? Forget the damn layoffs and finally, FINALLY, do what Wall Street has been waiting for for years. Axe the whole damn worthless E&D division and the entire group of incompetents in it.

Dan C. said...

I am a total microsoft outsider, but interested in employment. I have yet to interview...but can anyone tell me the base salary of a Level 60?

THANKS in advance! I want to be prepared.

Anonymous said...

Looks like we have a number as well

Microsoft asked to lay off over 9,000 employees

Anonymous said...

Yeah, we may get laid off but, while we wait, maybe we can juggle some ideas around that could make some money?

- Add OneNote to the Office Live suite and include a calendar that can be managed from the WorkSpace and send calendar updates to my cell phone. Also, let me view this calendar on my personalized page.
- Make these options an upgrade. Charge for it (or show me ads). DON'T make it part of the Office Live Small Business only and expect a personal user to upgrade to something that they are not (a Small Business).

Advertising sales
- Let customers choose the type of advertising they see. They will be more likely to buy stuff that they are interested in.
- If customers chose the ads that they are interested in Microsoft has data. If Microsoft has data, we can show our ad partners exactly what customer’s want based on region/age/type…. They can localize their ads and target based on this data.
- Let customers control the ads that they see (on all sites that require a Live login) from a single "personal ad manager" point.
- Allow customers to prioritize the ads that they see. They may be thinking of buying a car in the next two or three months. It would be neat if they could move "car ads" to the top of the line so they get more of car ads than other types of ads that they are interested in.

- Make it FULLY customizable (let users remove stuff that they are not interested in).
- Let customers manage the sites that they are actually interested in from the Live site (stuff like -,,
- Don't make customers search for their online Favorites. Portable favorites rock, IF customers can find them.

Discussing ideas and getting the wheels going may help us focus on stuff we can control instead of stressing the stuff we can't.

Anonymous said...

I worked at Microsoft for 9 years and left my engineering position (L65) recently.
When I was at Microsoft, I was often bitter about how the MS was doing badly in every aspects. Now that I have worked outside of it for some time, I was able to reflect and compare both side of the fence a little better, I think. I’ve always loved Microsoft and will likely continue to do so and any positive comment I have for MS may be biased. Having done all the disclosures, here are some of my thoughts:

1. MS really do have a lot of great technologies. While I was working at Microsoft, I was always complaining about how bad everything are (really painful check-in process in Office and Windows with the super long BVT test runs, bad development tools (nmake) , IIS/ASP.NET, search on MSWeb is unusable, etc.). However, after working outside of Microsoft, I came to realize that even though there are a lot of room for improvement in MS technologies, overall MS technology is better than the alternatives. For example, even though Apache is better than IIS in many regards, ASP.NET/C#/VisualStudio is infinitely superior to anything in the open source world. I think MS employees should be proud of their technologies.
2. MS is clearly too slow in competing in the web 2.0 space, even though it is still very good at winning in enterprise space. For example, one of the area is IE where it is losing out to Firefox and even new comer like Safari. The pace of new IE features is just too slow. If I can make the decision, I would make a stable version of IE at today’s pace for enterprise but create a consumer version of IE that get updated frequently with new features and improvements. This is not the same as the old MSN browser approach, though.
3. MS employees don’t work hard anymore and employee’s incentives and company’s incentives are horribly misaligned. This is because it is easier for GM/PUM to fight to create a bigger org with more reports than to create an inspiring products that makes money. Many good testers quickly find a path to a test lead and immediately stopping writing tests and just attend meetings and writing reports. In general, developers in Office/Windows can’t see clearly how their work might contribute to product success as an ant in 2000 strong developers team. Any rewards are mostly distributed to the upper layers. I don’t see why a talented, young engineer should work at Microsoft instead of going to some hot startups, frankly. This issue is probably unavoidable for any large companies. Maybe it would have been good for MS if Justice department succeeded in breaking up MS into several pieces back then. Today the head of a division may find it easier to get ahead by convincing Ballmer that he was doing a great job, instead of proving his product through market competition.
4. I do place a lot of blame for the state of MS on the executives.
5. Laying off people would be certainly be hard to those who are affected, but it is probably good for the company to trim the size of the employee by 5-15%. However, the fix would only be short term fix if issue #2, #3, #4 are not are addressed.

Anonymous said...

We will be handing out a list of names to teams within E&D. This list will contain the 20% / Exceeded from the last review period. Teams will cherry pick who they want.

The original plan was to announce the layoff prior to Christmas. When we notified the governer, we were asked to hold off until after the holidays.


Are other groups faced with this delimna? Seems MSD and MSIT got hit with a similar pattern.

Anonymous said...

We will be handing out a list of names to teams within E&D. This list will contain the 20% / Exceeded from the last review period. Teams will cherry pick who they want.

20% AND Exceeded? Or 20% OR Exceeded.

VERY big difference between the two.

Regardless, it's a heck of a lot better approach than simply whacking whoever happened to be associated with the products that are being lopped off.

Robert said...

What i have seen and heard on this rumor page has led me to believe that if the MS don't make a statement about the outcome of their review then these rumors will spiral out of control. I watch the Interview with Debra C and to be honest i got bored after 4 minutes, but the fact there was nothing of substance to keep me watching.

If MS has any new ideas on where it want to go in the next couple of year its need to make a statement now. Not to the Shareholder but the people make MS what it is the work force.

If there is a witch hunt by both junior and senior management then it pressure from the top that causing this problem. And some need to stick their necks above the parapet to make know what the board has in mind for the workers.

oh a by the way 'Im a PC...'sucks
cos it it doesn't sell your product.

Anonymous said...

And so, my fellow Softie's, ask not what your company can do for you; ask what you can do for your company.

(hopefully by working harder and less whining)

Anonymous said...

>"Although I being 20% of contributor to the whole product team (in terms of final code), I am just make 50-60% more than SDE/T who is making ~80k that do nothing much other than being email that they are blocked, complaint, stupid PKI emails and writing stupid automation that cover just 10% of the product."

For me you should be depromoted to level 60 from what you said. The reason is that you do not have the big picture for level 64 and you have no idea of what is a product. Most SDET have very strong coding skills, but for the SDET roles they spent over 80% of their time to find product code bugs and help DEV and PM on investigation issues. The measure of a SDET is not the same as DEV. I don't know how many years that you worked, but you really not look like an experienced DEV and should not stay at level 64. I know that MSFT promotion is not alway fair and correct. I believe you are in that lucky fraction.

Anonymous said...

"We will be handing out a list of names to teams within E&D. This list will contain the 20% / Exceeded from the last review period. Teams will cherry pick who they want."

20% AND Exceeded? Or 20% OR Exceeded.

VERY big difference between the two.

I think you're mistaking the top 20% number for the bottom 10% number -- generally it's the top 20% who are in the "exceeded" category, although you'll find some of the folks at the top of the middle 70% who also will get exceeded.

The buckets are:

Top 20% (usually "exceed")
Middle 70% (usually "achieve")
Bottom 10% (either "achieve" or "underperform")

Anonymous said...

Microsoft annual performance review sucks:
1. lots of 10% are much better than most 70%, even better than some 20%;
2. The winner in performance review are most lound and do-nothing guys daily;
3. Large percentage of "good performers" are upper management ass-suckers;
4. The performance evaluation is based on subjective perceptions of the uper management.

MSFT really needs to create a objective measurement on the employee performance. One way, might be the anonymous votes from all employees in the org, not just only based the uper menagement's perception.

Anonymous said...

I hear a lot of you say, dump the contractors. I have heard there are upwards of 40,000 here. That makes sense, if you want to save a lot of money and time actually thinking about what you do.

I am an agency temp here. In two weeks I'll be gone because of the 100 day break requirement (another sign of the brilliance of Microsoft at work)and I am looking for work elsewhere, even as we speak. While here I was reviewed a 4.65 the other a 4.5 and yes that is out of 5, with 5 being a perfect review. I also revolutionized my role, drove higher performance and mentored a whole team into an unexpected level of performance.

I almost had an FTE position but it was pulled back because of the economy.In other words, the process has already begun.If I could stay I would account for better than half of my teams output.So what is my reward for my hard work?

If this layoff does indeed occur I will have to compete with a load of deadwood (or are they just the politically unlucky?)ex Microsofties for whatever is left.My feelings about this?

All the pat, smug answers that grace this blog amount to are not seeing is that regardless of the group you want to throw under the bus (never yourself though) there are some real, hard working, bright,worthy human beings who will be hurt if this happens.

If you can find any joy in that I suppose you should take a harder look at yourself.

Anonymous said...

Every once in a while there is an article that brings out the passion of posters here. This post is one of those. Invariably these passionate posts result in the same arguments over and over again:

1) Partners and Principals don't earn their keep.
2) The people who do best in performance review are the biggest butt-kissers in the org.
3) All of the important work is done by the level 59-62 individuals.

I always find these arguments interesting and sad. Perhaps there are highly political, non-merit based reward groups but I've yet to see them.

Full disclosure, I'm a level 66 dev mgr in a very flat org. I've been through years of stack-ranking/calibrations and have only a couple of occasions come away from them not being bought-in to the results.

For the level 59-62 individuals, ask yourself if you can take a milestone/release worth of work, divide it up into a set of tasks for 10-20 people, taking into consideration all the variables that come with building a schedule. Take that body of work and manage the parts that aren't getting done quickly enough and make sure that they don't put the rest of the release at risk. Make hire, no hire decisions for the huge volume of people that walk through the door looking to work for the company. Manage the careers of people such that the best performers are afforded the opportunities to shine and the worst performers have clear guidance about what it will take for them to succeed while not putting their teams releases and morale at risk. At the end of a release, if the product doesn't ship because of the failure of some level 59/60 dev to deliver on time, it isn't that dev that feels the punishment the most, it's the person or people that manage them. No principal or partner level person is ever going to get away scapegoating any low-level employee. It's their job to make sure that it doesn't happen. I expect my 59/60 level devs to be able to accurately estimate, design and deliver work in a timely manner with frequent, often weekly guidance from their lead. That's a much different world then principal and partner level people live in. It might make people believe that they are doing the brunt of the work. They are doing the brunt of the coding work. It's not all that it takes to deliver a product though.

As for distribution of 20/70/10 designations. This is usually a pretty easy process. The 10% devs are the ones that deliver either low quality work or don't deliver their work anywhere near on time. Every once in a while, you'll run into someone who combines the two traits at once. Those are the obvious 10%'ers. New devs don't get the 10% designation. At least not in well-run groups.

if any of the above doesn't sound like your group, find one that does. Maybe not at this very minute, but the first chance that you get. Or even better, make an effort to make your group a better place to work. Be proactive in design/spec reviews. Not just in your discipline but the others as well. Don't just design the feature or how it will be implemented or tested, be involved in all three. Get involved, and think deeply about the features that aren't assigned to you. Every smart individual that I've worked with over the years who has offered valuable, public feedback about features not assigned to them have always been fast-tracked to become senior faster than the ones who are just excellent at what is assigned to them. Those are the leaders of the future. They tend to float to the top of every stack-rank.

FWIW: I've not heard a single thing internally about any layoff though I have my list of groups that I really scratch my head at (TV, Zune, MSN)

Anonymous said...

I am an agency temp here. In two weeks I'll be gone because of the 100 day break requirement (another sign of the brilliance of Microsoft at work)and I am looking for work elsewhere, even as we speak. While here I was reviewed a 4.65 the other a 4.5 and yes that is out of 5, with 5 being a perfect review. I also revolutionized my role, drove higher performance and mentored a whole team into an unexpected level of performance.

I'm sure you're brilliant enough to know that the 100 day break is not Microsoft brilliance at work, but the result of a famous legal case. You can blame temp agencies for that.

I don't know how you managed a 4.65review unless temps are reviewed on a different scale, in which case you should remember that you got a 4.65 temp-rating.

Blue badges aren't granted because of your code volume, and the output of any team is not measured in code volume. So maybe they haven't given you the badge because you have a crap attitude.

Temps are valuable because there are people that can write good code (or a lot of code in your case), but are not expected to reach upper ladder levels due to lacking all the other measurements of a good employee. Surely you can understand why that is not worth the FTE investment.

I would advise you remove the chip from your shoulder before your next interview.

Anonymous said...

I'm pretty shocked people at the number of folks still whingeing over "brown nosers advance, meritocracy is dead." I've worked in a number of divisions and seen the full range of bs politics to pure meritocracy. And you bet toxic, political teams suck.

But remember, different teams are different. Maybe you can't pass interviews on other teams because your being hired was a mistake, or you're over-leveled. Maybe you work on Xbox or Live and have your identity too much invested in your product to leave for a less-glamorous but better-managed team. A symphony of the world's smallest violins play in your honour.

Anonymous said...

I lol at the zealots for whom Steve Ballmer makes all decisions to appease wall street, while simultaneously not doing anything to help the stock price. You can't really have it both ways.

If he truly wanted to appease the markets, we would have half the product line, bottom 5-10% of employees axed every year, and constant killing of teams that don't produce enough revenue.

What Steve seems to be focused on is the old world idea of a corporation existing to serve the public: making and selling products, employing people, and returning a portion of profit to investors via dividend. As an employee you should be grateful because many teams and positions would not exist if Ballmer were kissing wall street's ass. Look to the financial industry for a clue as to what happens when a nearsighted drive for profits trumps all business decisions.

Or perhaps you feel you are in the elite upper slice of the company that could survive such a Machiavelian, in which case I would remind you that everyone at Microsoft feels they are better than everyone else (a major contributor to our dysfunctional state).

Anonymous said...

Microsoft should get innovative here. Instead of laying off employees, Microsoft should offer an option to take a 50% pay cut and give as much time needed to find another job. This downturn is going to be very long. Even when it end's, the recovery wont be anything great.

Anonymous said...

I have been with the company for 11 years, and I second the comments that employee does not work hard anymore. During the earlier years, I was upset once my manager scheduled a meeting with me on a Saturday. Now a day, I have to think twice if I want to schedule a meeting at 5pm. Believe it or not, SteveB actually share the same feeling during one of the meeting abount 5 months ago. Maybe the company has aged as well as employees and we are all family man/woman now.

I also have the same feeling that PUMs/GMs are just trying to build a bigger army and start or keep doing meaningless projects. Maybe life was the same, but I had less visibility earlier on.

Anonymous said...


I'm a Dev lead who manages 6 developers. I've worked for 2 different teams.

Before Microsoft, I worked in 5 different companies in the valley.

1. Microsoft review process is not fair.

Three factors (in order of importance)
A. Whether you have a good relationship with your manager

B. Whether you have a good relationship with your manager's peers.

C. Whether you manager can do a good fight for you.

Usually the very top performers (top 10%) have high visible works. Often they're not better than others.

2. Microsoft testers are the worst I've ever seen. They get no coding skill (although they claim that they code a lot, mostly garbage), no testing skill or product knowledge. Testers with a little real skill are promoted way faster than developers. I've seen that a new college grad tester was promoted from L59 to L63 in 2 years. His classmate, who is obviously better than him but is a dev, was promoted from L59 to L61 in 3 years. This hurts everybody's morale.

3. Talk is more important than work. You (or the team you manage) hits the deadline, so what? He (or the team he manages) misses the deadline by 1 million miles, so what?

4. My VP is OK. GM sucks. DM is good.

5. Microsoft test lead is the world best job ever. They don't need any tech skills. They don't need to meet any deadlines. They don't need to work any overtime. They just need to say "NO" to any new features.

6. The L66 dev manager above is obviously a good ladder climber, who always say politically correct things in public, which becomes a part of his life.

To his credit, managing schedule takes a lot of time. As a DM, he needs to work (or fight) with TM and GPM, which is time consuming. BUT, schedule is nothing more than a good talk subject. When did Office ever ship on time with features that're supposed to release?

7. 10% layoff is good. However, it should be across the board, i.e. 10% in each level.

8. MS Poll is useless when some top executives, who get horrible feedbacks, get promoted. For example, Satya Nadella, who is the star ass-kissing person in Microsoft. I hope the new hired Qi will show Satya the door out. Can Balmer give up his ass-kisser Satya?

9. Windows Mobile is re-orging. I also hear that cloud DB (SQL) is dead again.

10. MBS is cutting U10.

11. My manager and GM think that we will likely have a 10% cut (during my 1:1 and skip 1:1).

12. Most people who go to MSN or search are for a quick promotion. Nobody is doing real work there. MSN is the worst place where most of hires are bad.

13. I like Balmer although he is not popular.

14. Regarding hiring, Office has a few arrogant people who only give No Hire during interview. They think they keep the hiring bar high but they really just say No to keep their job. Maybe Mini is one of them?

I had three combined interview loops with an office dev lead. This guy gave "No Hire" to all 3 candidates including 2 super sharp devs. The latest loop, according to his feedback, the candidate answered all his questions clean and fast. He had all good comments but in the end he gave a "NO hire" recommendation without any reasons. I called him up to ask him why before I sent the candidate to AA. This Office dev lead basically told me that he enjoyed to be an ass-hole.

I guess being mean was good for an old timer like Mini?

Anonymous said...

I only can say I took a deep breath after reading this blog, and realizing our next unit meeting was on Jan 15!

Anonymous said...

I'm sure you're brilliant enough to know that the 100 day break is not Microsoft brilliance at work, but the result of a famous legal case. You can blame temp agencies for that

Actually (I'm not the OP, BTW), you can blame Microsoft's exploitation of the temps and keeping so many of them in temp positions for long stretches when they were obviously fulfilling FTE roles.

It was these "permatemps" who ended up suing, not the agencies. Why would Volt (or whoever) want to lose out on the money they were making?

The break in service was intended to help the temps and prevent this abuse, but instead it's been used punitively in many cases. Generally by people with the same attitude as yours.

Anonymous said...

Wow, the comments threads here are the most interesting I've seen in a while. The defensiveness and finger pointing and blame from contractors, dev leads, new guys, senior guys, 10%ers, even a partner or two, seems to only grow the more this goes on.

Can't imagine what things will be like in a couple weeks, if we don't hear anything official in the meantime.

Reminds me of that line the Joker had, from the Batman movie: "When the chips are down, these, uh… 'civilized people'? They'll eat each other."

Anonymous said...

Most of the people I've seen in 10% rightfully belonged there. When the definition is applied correctly, they're a drag on the rest of the team and they dont complete their tasks on time and well. I'm asking you, is Microsoft a charity? At the other end, how happy are they not meeting expectations? Why not go somewhere else where they are a better fit?

But that's not why I am writing. i want to propose that we embrace more widely the philosophy that developers create quality, and not testers. If we become serious about it, we 1. reduce costs by finding defects and fixing them earlier in the development process; 2. we increase development productivity by 40% by changing the dev:test ratio from 1:1 to 2:1 and by moving (30-40% of SDETs into the dev org. How about 3:1? I like to believe that the SDET in SDET stands for *something*. So how about that?

Anonymous said...

Mini - HORRAY! As a Microsoft employee in the field, I look at Redmond and annot help but be perplexed. The field is lean - one of the lowest cost of sale in the industry (half of IBM and HP) - in fact, many would argue too low.

But Redmond is nothing but BIG and FAT. Look at the Windows Mobile team - 2400 developers who have delivered what other than a humiliating defeat at the hands of Apple. What the heck do they do? You could RIF 50% of them and not a single delivery would be impacted (GO LEES!)

What about search? Billions down that sinkhole and we still suck.

Zune? Not even released beyond North America while competition is in every other market. Pathetic.

We are big and fat in Redmond. Let the knife fall. You could lose 30% of the Redmond staff and have zero impact. RIF away and then I agree, hire some real talent!

And as for your blog, you complain about it and now that it is happening, get all soft. Let it rip! Redmond needs a house cleaning.

Anonymous said...

"If we become serious about it, we 1. reduce costs by finding defects and fixing them earlier in the development process; 2. we increase development productivity by 40% by changing the dev:test ratio from 1:1 to 2:1 and by moving (30-40% of SDETs into the dev org. How about 3:1? I like to believe that the SDET in SDET stands for *something*. So how about that?"

Oh, man, this deserves an entirely seperate post.

Back a decade ago, there used to be SDETs and STEs. And the good STEs added value by testing as a customer would actually use it. (The bad STEs were just former contractors who barely made it in to MSFT, peaked at level 10 and really shouldn't have been hired...)

Good STEs didn't spend their time maintaining obscure parts of ancient test frameworks or investigating false positives from a BVT. They also didn't spend their time doing everything they could to try to build the resume to become a 'real' developer, thus giving the testing part of their job the bare minimum lip service.

There's still a place for real testers, who want to be testers, who are good at true testing, not just quality assurance. (Quality assurance here = writing the BVTs and test suites that the developer should have either written unit tests for or written better code for in the first place).

That said, I agree with your 2:1 or 3:1 dev/sdet ratios, IF:

- Developers are taught how to do good unit testing of their own work. We should pass on what we've learned about software testing over the last 15 years, and automate / simplify that, rather than ask college hire SDETs to rediscover it all from scratch.

- Developers are expected as part of every review to be writing low-defect code, and to be writing and running unit tests for other people's work.

- SDETs are expected to be writing NEW, novel test frameworks, not just relearning the same lessons or being one-trick ponies about the hot testing technique du jour.

- SDETs are expected to be using test frameworks to crank out quantity of tests, and their technical knowledge to crank out quality tests on places the dev doesn't have time for and the STE doesn't have expertise for.

- SDETs should be taking the standard company-wide tools like Policheck and building them into regular automation, so that running them isn't an event or an afterthought.

- STEs are reinstated, and used wisely, to test the portions of the product that automation is expensive to write for, and to test the product holistically.

- A good STE should be the cynical, clever mirror image of the PM. They should be finding ways to significantly break the product (not just typos and one-pixel-off errors), and proud of it when they do. They should live by the motto "good software doesn't ship, it escapes". They should be expected to deliver great constructive criticism and partner with PM and Dev from the start. There should be a true career ladder for IC STEs, and testing should be rewarded as a career path because you have good customer advocates, not because you know the right people and spout the right jargon.

In this setup, most everyday tests (BVTs, unit tests, even many of the full test suites) are written by other developers. The SDETs write and maintain the test frameworks that the developers contribute to, they provide decent code review, and they're measured on the dev career ladders. The STEs investigate failures from the daily test runs and do the kind of end to end, customer-centric testing that we used to do, but somehow lost when we got all excited about the latest test technique or coding fad.

That's how you end up with 2:1 or 3:1 dev/test ratios being viable... one of those 2 or 3 devs is an SDET, and the tester is a true tester. :)

Anonymous said...

>"Let me suggest a few utterly fat and bloated orgs that could just disappear or downsize with little impact to daily business... EPG, DPE, Services, Office (big part of it), Windows (yeah I know even pending new product), Search...others?"
I'd like to add WGA to the list. The reason, the spending on WGA is much much more than we benefit from it.

I am 2nd on cut WGA.

Anonymous said...

Some people talked about GFS and DebraC. Here is her interview.
Shows vision and leadership. She is a star performer at Microsoft when compared to some other VPs.

First of all – I also killed my 8 min and I want this time back. Please someone help me what magic qualities are you seeing in this interview. Is this her best show?
OMG - Is she really a star performer? The reason I am so surprised because first we did not see any such quality in her and second if she really a star performer, I am thinking about the qualities of other VPs in MS - .
I spent quite some time in GFS and I intrigued with the first commenter on this post that apart from building lots of DCs and pushing unplanned hardware in it (I am not saying that bringing more DCs is not a tough job but it is not that tough also when you have unlimited cash flow.), we have really not done anything in terms of improving our resource skills (People element), our products (operation tools) or optimizing our day 2 day processes (process element). Let me say that we are way behind in some of important elements that build the foundation of strong and successful organization. This is also not a unique problem with GFS but this is the problem with each organization (small or big) where lack of focus leaves the organization ineffective. Look at the history and you would find at each successful organization and each good leaders had a strong focus on these three elements. Now let’s be honest and ask our self which Manager/Director/GM or even DebraC is focusing on any of these elements. If someone is focusing on it – what is the plan and to whom someone can go and talk to about their career. I could not be more agree with the first commenter who said that we have a large pool of ineffective managers here who are spreading the cancer in this organization. Will it not be good to ask all managers to leave who are in this organization for more than 8 years I can bet you that they are not part of the problem but they are the problem. Not only me but everyone to whom I talk to are very much interested to give their 200% to this organization if they have a good leadership and strong leadership but alas we have been waiting for that change since long time and only thing which is changing in GFS is only group names (I almost witnessed 8 name and logo change of this org). I almost print my visiting cards every six months not because my title change but I will have to reflect correct name of my organization.
I will have to agree that we spend a lot of money which is not required (I would say we can easily survive on 35% less budget that we currently have – Yes less than 35%. Just kill Problem Management team first as that is not working in any group in this organization. Did they provide any cost effective solution for your group? They did not for me or other groups that I know of). We have more talkers (especially managers) in this org then "doer" who actually do the work and really care about this group (But I also know some of the very passionate people in organization who are keeping this org alive and their ineffective managers takes all the credit).
Anyway coming back to original point – we have huge potential as a group and its charter is awesome too. We can play a very crucible role in this online proxy war with Google but DebraC’s leadership so far has been very disappointing and yes – All of her all hands shows her in-capability clearly. I was sitting in her all hands and was thinking – why do I do the same mistake to come in her “all hands” to waste my life’s 2 hours. She should get an idea that when team is not asking the question in Q&A session that means they have no interest in the organization because of her poor leadership qualities.
She should definitely be asked to leave.

Anonymous said...

>> Most of the people I've seen in 10%
>> rightfully belonged there.

The key word here is "most". I got a 3.0 once, because my manager was just unbelievably bad. The next review score was 4.0, the one after it 4.0, two of the last ones - Exceeded/70.

But moving to another team after that 3.0 was a very, very difficult thing to pull off. And had I stayed under the same manager, I have no doubt my next score would have been a 3.0 as well.

The corollary is, a 3.0 doesn't necessarily mean the employee is "bad" with 100% certainty. I would actually say that aside from clinical cases of folks who don't know anything and/or don't give a shit, those 10% could still excel given the right opportunity.

Anonymous said...

There is life after MSFT. In fact most people I know who left like me are happier in their new jobs. I went from 3.5 to 2.5 over 1-year period few years ago. From you did a good job so here's a challenging program to "if they don't come after you than they'll come after me" (words of my ex-boss). Got stuck with 2 programs to manage at once, key technology partner who lied and misrepresented, etc. Was it fair? No but I accepted the reality of scapegoating so common at MSFT. If you do let go than don't get too hard on your self. So take heart you 10%ers. There is life and many local employers understand Microsoft is vicious place to work.

Anonymous said...

If this is a rumor, why not someone authentic from the company is coming forward to clarify the same.

It may be a rumor but MICROSOFT is the most insecure place to work for, i.e. bcoz of the kind of environment they have and the amount of unnecessary pressure they create for employees.

Managers are pathetic, they don't know how to get the best results. Managers are useless and hardly know anything about business as well as people management. If Organization really want to clean the shit they should throw few managers out and allow best talent to give results.

Anonymous said...

In Microsoft the process of removal of dead-wood is long overdue. I was consultant from Accenture in Microsoft and had seen the Hyderabad GDC. People use to play carrom, watch TV, Play X-Box for 4-5 hours a day.
I use to tell co-workers that someday MS will have to get rid of them and standard reply was...MS never fires

Anonymous said...

There are several posts that mentioned to cut WGA. The idea of WGA is probably not bad, but the results is really disappointing. Microsoft spent much more than benefit from it, I totally agree.

We might need to find a way to low Win license costs (especially WinXP), why don't we occupy the pirated markets with former Win SKUs with minimum cost from customers and at the same time promote Microsoft software on Windows platform?

The ideal way to eliminate no genuine Windows is working through goverment agents to enforce legal copies through law.

Anonymous said...

"Hyderabad GDC. People use to play carrom, watch TV, Play X-Box for 4-5 hours a day. "

I know what you mean. I went there few months ago and saw the same thing. However I will be surprised if there are any layoffs in India or China.

Anonymous said...

Hey, be nice to Julie. She gave Office the ribbon, and will be able to coast on that in Windows for a couple releases, based on the Win7 beta

A VP of PM's???? WTF???? What's that job description? I must say that if your org is so big that someone thinks it needs a VP of PM's yours should be the first one put under the layoff microscope.

Hell, with all the VP's at MS now you'd think we were a bank.

Anonymous said...

Re: IDC - Don't know what team(s) you saw in Hyderabad, but I've worked with IDC developers and testers extensively for a couple years and they were harder workers than some of my teammates. I saw them on email and IM at all hours, and saw checkins, meetings and responses from them at amazing times of the day for them (i.e. 2pm Pacific time). And they did quality work. So not all of the India subsidiary should be painted with the same brush.

Anonymous said...

Re: IDC - Don't know what team(s) you saw in Hyderabad, but I've worked with IDC developers

Tend to disagree with you on this. I worked with IDC as well but they dont even respond properly to emails. I had a bad experience with IDC unfortunately.

Anonymous said...

MSFT has become too big, too fat, too slow in the last couple of years, it lost its ability to innovate, missed so many opportunities on the web .. search engine .. online marketing and so on, if was not for Windows+Office it would be gone. It need to focus! and innovate, layoff all the lousy managers that hide behind their bs talking, managers exist to help people do their work, not to be in the way. Cheers to XBox division.

Anonymous said...

Whether layoff happen or not, the review process and how you interact with your peers has now been solidified. Now that many know for sure that 10% is sure to get you on the "layoff" fast track, your peers will do everything they can to sabotage, backstab, and cheat to ensure it's not him getting in that 10% bucket. I know that even today the environment is pure hell, but hell will be a day at the beach when it comes to review time from here on out.

"Do what' best for the customer and the shareholders" ? To hell with that! As long as whatever I do gets me in the upper 70%. or lower 10% exceed, customers and pride be damned. EVERYTHING employees do from here on out will be about self-preservation, and nothing else. They myopia will be unbelievable from partner on down. So much for a "new, improved, more fair review model". Surviving an American Idol audition and vote will be easier than surviving reviews from here on out.

Anonymous said...

If economic pruning is required, salary cuts may prove better than layoff. Costs of homes and autos have come down and folks can have the same lifestyle on a 10-15% lower income. Microsoft is a big company and ultimately its image has more value than saving a few dollars from layoffs.

Anonymous said...

To improve profit margins, this may be a good time for planners to realize that

(i) a shift from mainframe computing to PC's occurred in late 1990s.
(ii) Shift from PC desktop to laptop occurred in the next decade
(iii)shift from laptop to mobile technologies has been relatively slow.

Mobile vision should include mutimedia teleconferencing and communication in real time across the globe. The aim should be to simply replace ordinary phones in a realistic time frame, mobile controlled robotics and mobile remote control of household appliances. A very strong point of mobiles may be their application in security; maybe design of a chip that will monitor all air passengers while in transit and relay in real time to control rooms so that any unusual activity is monitored.

Most importantly corporate teamwork as opposed to rivalry may usher in a welcome change combining the best of Microsoft, Google, Apple and Yahoo.

Maybe the challenges ahead may usher in really novel technologies.

Anonymous said...

My dear collegues,
Ive been reading lots of unpleasant comments about work in microsoft, but yet it is thought to be one of the most attractive places to work in many countries.

There were several posts here that essentially convey the thought that people at microsoft "lack some real world knowledge", "people get sucked into the corparate asslicking instead of being innovative" etc.

can you share some concrete examples of what skills or experience do I lack as an microsft employee compared to anyone out there working for another IT corporation or having his own IT business??

Please, I am just curious and interested in what I should improve.


Anonymous said...

Just confirmed from 2 CVPs and a CTO in finance - mass layoffs happen Jan 22nd. Final number is still TBD but is it in the low thousands. Jan 22nd is right around the Q2 earnings (likely during or after the earnings call). Economy is bad, not sure why some still think we are immune to this.

Anonymous said...

Please, I am just curious and interested in what I should improve

Having worked in Microsoft for 4 years in the past and now working for a competitor in Kirkland, the biggest difference I see is that developers are no longer empowered in Microsoft. Developers are treated as labourers and the decison making is done by PMs and test leads who dont know jack shit about the product. Also I have seen situations were critical fixes/features were not taken becuse the test team comes up with a month long schedule. PUMs are just interested in the shiping dates and not what actually gets shipped. Things are a lot better in other places where developers have a greater say in shaping the company. I am so glad I left Microsoft when I did

Anonymous said...

WRT: "Just confirmed from 2 CVPs and a CTO in finance - mass layoffs happen Jan 22nd."

Surely you must be aware that people at the CVP level wouldn't confirm a story like this to anyone. There would be too much legal liability attached.

If you're going to lie, at least try to be convincing.

Anonymous said...

Just confirmed from 2 CVPs and a CTO in finance - mass layoffs happen Jan 22nd. Final number is still TBD but is it in the low thousands. Jan 22nd is right around the Q2 earnings (likely during or after the earnings call). Economy is bad, not sure why some still think we are immune to this.

Credible .. boeng also laid off 4500 people ... much less the # they were going to do ..

both MS and Boeing were asked by the state to do so after the holidays

Anonymous said...

Developers are treated as labourers and the decison making is done by PMs and test leads who dont know jack shit about the product

If PMs and test leads know jack shit about the product they own, then they should definitely go.

A good product team (which I happen to be in) is one where all parties (dev/test/pm/ua/ux/css) understand the product and make decisions together.

Anonymous said...

"Just confirmed from 2 CVPs and a CTO in finance"

Name one CTO at MS. Oh wait, we don't have any.

I *do* work at MS and I haven't heard anything about layoffs. Just more people trying to spread FUD...

Anonymous said...

I like the GE approach, but I think the problem with using it in our company is that we have too many people who will "play the game" to get a good review score instead of "doing good work" to get a good review score.

SteveB also likes GE. He comes from marketing/sales where there is a nice concrete number of how much income you brought in.

In Dev, there are more ways for a manager to play games.

They can assign bugs to you that existed in the product when you got there or from someone else on your team to load level the work. They are not to careful at the end of the year sorting out who was responsible for each bug.

Get too much work fixing bugs and you are not writing new code.

At the end of the year, "He has more bugs than other developers and doesn't write a enough code.".

Anonymous said...

If PMs and test leads know jack shit about the product they own, then they should definitely go.

A lot of the PMs I worked with had several projects they were working on.

When yours is not important enough for them to spend time on it, they spend their time on the projects that will get them the highest review score.

To you, if you're not aware of everything else they do, they are a useless idiot that thinks he's too cool for the room.

They either just don't work on your project or use a little social engineering on you and play dumb.

You end up writing the specs and they get to put their name on them.

You were doing that because these days those documents have to exist so Test can write tests against them.

You were writing specs instead of code and the PM got all of his specs done.

To the PM, you're the dumb schmuck that does his work.

Were you helping someone with a problem they needed solved to get their work done? That is something "soft" that can't be measured at the end of the year.

If most of your time is taken up by things other than writing code, you need to stop what you are doing and write more code.

Anonymous said...

Not the original poster, but...

Microsoft does have CTOs:

Anonymous said...

It's the so-called 10% that probably do most 90% of the work at Microsoft. Every team has to throw someone under the table and it's not usually the poorest performer -- it's the person that everyone else throws stuff to over the wall while they take all the credit for what the good work the 10% accomplished. 10% means "achieved"!...since when did "achieved" mean "under achieved"...Microsoft employees are the best of the best -- the lowest ranked at MSFT would be the highest at any other company. It's easy to put other people down and say "just cut him or her" -- just think, that person could your best friend, your sister, your son, YOU! There's a lot of senseless spending that could be cut before people!!

Anonymous said...

Doesn't look too bad...

"In light of the further deterioration of global economic conditions, Microsoft announced additional steps to manage costs, including the reduction of headcount-related expenses, vendors and contingent staff, facilities, capital expenditures and marketing. As part of this plan, Microsoft will eliminate up to 5,000 jobs in R&D, marketing, sales, finance, legal, HR, and IT over the next 18 months, including 1,400 jobs today."

Anonymous said...

I was thinking there are two possible reason for the cut in staff. the first is Vista and the way it bomb, leaving a lot of egg on a lot of people faces and some where on boards the writing was on the wall for certain people and the credit crunch was the perfect excuse for heads to roll.

Now i am being Productive and insightful as the rule stated. Now i'm not saying there wasn't people who didn't meet that extra mile, but it comes down to the process, like XP (X-stream Programing) and if you don't adapt the process to meet the changing requirement of the white heat of technology then you will soon find that the software your producing will fall over like Vista. If Microsoft have learn their lesson then hopefully window 7 might save their bacon.

Anonymous said...

Anyone know the remaining 3600 cuts procedure? It is each month 200, or any date like 01/22 for as many as thousands?

Anonymous said...

Isn't it time to make the CEO redundant?
What has happened to the stock price since he became CEO in 2000?

Evgör Mobilya said...

Thanks You...
cam balkon

Unknown said...

Why do you people believe all these lies!

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