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Tabajara
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Re: Microsoft News

Post by Tabajara » Wed Aug 28, 2013 6:49 pm

That posts talks about the many sides of a story, but says nothing about the facts.

The interview I quoted, on the other hand, is full of stories over how MS lost its way.

Quote:
At the center of the cultural problems was a management system called “stack ranking.” Every current and former Microsoft employee I interviewed—every one—cited stack ranking as the most destructive process inside of Microsoft, something that drove out untold numbers of employees. The system—also referred to as “the performance model,” “the bell curve,” or just “the employee review”—has, with certain variations over the years, worked like this: every unit was forced to declare a certain percentage of employees as top performers, then good performers, then average, then below average, then poor.

“If you were on a team of 10 people, you walked in the first day knowing that, no matter how good everyone was, two people were going to get a great review, seven were going to get mediocre reviews, and one was going to get a terrible review,” said a former software developer. “It leads to employees focusing on competing with each other rather than competing with other companies.”

Supposing Microsoft had managed to hire technology’s top players into a single unit before they made their names elsewhere—Steve Jobs of Apple, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, Larry Page of Google, Larry Ellison of Oracle, and Jeff Bezos of Amazon—regardless of performance, under one of the iterations of stack ranking, two of them would have to be rated as below average, with one deemed disastrous.

For that reason, executives said, a lot of Microsoft superstars did everything they could to avoid working alongside other top-notch developers, out of fear that they would be hurt in the rankings. And the reviews had real-world consequences: those at the top received bonuses and promotions; those at the bottom usually received no cash or were shown the door.
http://www.vanityfair.com/business/2012 ... ve-ballmer

Seems like Ballmer instituted a system that made it certain that the "lower performing" 10% of each group would be punished, even if they did a great job. The standard procedure became of one to protect its back, and not on how to do the best for MS.
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Re: Microsoft News

Post by Tabajara » Wed Aug 28, 2013 6:54 pm

Another interesting quote:
Sometimes, though, the problems from bureaucracy came down to a simple reality: The young hotshots from the 1980s, techies who had joined the company in their 20s and 30s, had become middle-aged managers in their 40s and 50s. And, some younger engineers said, a good number of the bosses just didn’t understand the burgeoning class of computer users who had been children—or hadn’t even been born—when Microsoft opened its doors. When younger employees tried to point out emerging trends among their friends, supervisors sometimes just waved them away.

“Most senior people were out of touch with the ways the home users were starting to use computers, especially the younger generation,” one software developer said.

An example—in 1997, AOL introduced its instant-messenger program, called AIM, a precursor to the texting functions on cell phones. Two years later, Microsoft followed with a similar program, called MSN Messenger.

In 2003, a young developer noticed that friends in college signed up for AIM exclusively and left it running most of the time. The reason? They wanted to use the program’s status message, which allowed them to type a short note telling their online buddies what they were doing, even when they weren’t at the computer. Messages like “gone shopping” and “studying for my exams” became commonplace.

“That was the beginning of the trend toward Facebook, people having somewhere to put their thoughts, a continuous stream of consciousness,” said the developer, who worked in the MSN Messenger unit. “The main purpose of AIM wasn’t to chat, but to give you the chance to log in at any time and check out what your friends were doing.”

The developer concluded that no young person would switch from AIM to MSN Messenger, which did not have the short-message feature. He spoke about the problem to his boss, a middle-aged man. The supervisor dismissed the developer’s concerns as silly. Why would young people care about putting up a few words? Anyone who wanted to tell friends what they were doing could write it on their profile page, he said. Meaning users would have to open the profile pages, one friend at a time, and search for a status message, if it was there at all.

“He didn’t get it,” the developer said. “And because he didn’t know or didn’t believe how young people were using messenger programs, we didn’t do anything.”
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Re: Microsoft News

Post by powerarmour » Wed Aug 28, 2013 6:57 pm

Tabajara wrote:
At the center of the cultural problems was a management system called “stack ranking.” Every current and former Microsoft employee I interviewed—every one—cited stack ranking as the most destructive process inside of Microsoft, something that drove out untold numbers of employees. The system—also referred to as “the performance model,” “the bell curve,” or just “the employee review”—has, with certain variations over the years, worked like this: every unit was forced to declare a certain percentage of employees as top performers, then good performers, then average, then below average, then poor.

“If you were on a team of 10 people, you walked in the first day knowing that, no matter how good everyone was, two people were going to get a great review, seven were going to get mediocre reviews, and one was going to get a terrible review,” said a former software developer. “It leads to employees focusing on competing with each other rather than competing with other companies.”

Supposing Microsoft had managed to hire technology’s top players into a single unit before they made their names elsewhere—Steve Jobs of Apple, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, Larry Page of Google, Larry Ellison of Oracle, and Jeff Bezos of Amazon—regardless of performance, under one of the iterations of stack ranking, two of them would have to be rated as below average, with one deemed disastrous.

For that reason, executives said, a lot of Microsoft superstars did everything they could to avoid working alongside other top-notch developers, out of fear that they would be hurt in the rankings. And the reviews had real-world consequences: those at the top received bonuses and promotions; those at the bottom usually received no cash or were shown the door.
http://www.vanityfair.com/business/2012 ... ve-ballmer
That sucks! :o
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Re: Microsoft News

Post by fenlish » Wed Aug 28, 2013 8:40 pm

Stack ranking is not new and unique to Microsoft. I worked for a UK government organisation with the same system. Four levels of performance: outstanding, good, less effective and unsatisfactory with a set percentage of staff to fall into each category each year. Agreeing performance with staff and fellow managers was a nightmare!

Len

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Re: Microsoft News

Post by powerarmour » Wed Aug 28, 2013 9:24 pm

Candidates for Microsoft's Next CEO :-

http://finance.yahoo.com/photos/candida ... slideshow/

Julie Larson-Green would be perfect... :sweet:
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Re: Microsoft News

Post by impar » Wed Aug 28, 2013 10:14 pm

Greetings!
powerarmour wrote:Julie Larson-Green would be perfect... :sweet:
The ribbon lady!? :?
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Re: Microsoft News

Post by powerarmour » Wed Aug 28, 2013 10:22 pm

impar wrote: The ribbon lady!? :?
I think more the fact that she's the only credible female candidate, it would be good for MS's PR in general.
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Re: Microsoft News

Post by powerarmour » Thu Aug 29, 2013 10:34 pm

Alternatively...

A vote for Bill Gates as interim Microsoft CEO :-

http://news.cnet.com/8301-10805_3-57600 ... osoft-ceo/

Though probably doubtful, he already has enough on his plate with the humanitarian work.
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Re: Microsoft News

Post by Tabajara » Fri Aug 30, 2013 4:37 pm

I think he would be tempted to give it a try for a predetermined period of time. I don't know how is his amount of guilt for the administrative measures Ballmer implemented (most must have been approved by the board), but he would probably be smarter in changing what harmed the company, and let some people free to pursue future technologies.
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Re: Microsoft News

Post by powerarmour » Thu Oct 03, 2013 2:04 pm

Microsoft Investors Want Bill Gates to Resign From Post Amidst Windows 8 Woes :-

http://www.dailytech.com/Microsoft+Inve ... e33482.htm
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