Thursday, April 20, 2006

MS Poll 06 and Happy Booming Brains

So, have you filled out your MS Poll for the year? It doesn't take long, especially if you don't have any extra comments to throw into the mix. I guess if you're a Partner you get the special leadership questions. So put a reminder on your Outlook calendar to spend five to ten minutes going through the poll and let loose what what you truly feel.

And expect that I'm the only that's going to be harassing you to do so. Strangely, in LisaB's kick-off email about the poll to the managers, she asked for management not to harangue people into filling out the poll. Maybe pressured people are negative? Is it a stealth poll? It will be interesting to see what the participation statistics are.

The poll seemed the same-old-same-old to me. Any interesting comments you're putting in there? I'd be exceptionally excited if VPs had their group's MS Poll numbers made public to help other people move around. Those with high numbers should at least brag about it as a way of attracting the best and brightest looking for new challenges (or to get out of their sinking ship).

You know, a bigger point about MS Poll is that it's a reflection on you and where you are in your career. Do you feel valued? Are unnecessary rules getting in your way? Are we going in the right direction as a company? Is it a great place to work? Do you have a good deal? Does your group act upon MS Poll feedback? Are you paid well?

Listen, Good Looking: if you're saying strongly disagree to a lot of those questions, you've got to hit the reality check button and decide either to find new work digs in Microsoft or a new company altogether. Think about it after you submit it. You have to take advantage of the times in our economy when you're most valued and now is one of them. Computer Software Engineer is the #1 hot job. The boom is back. Ride the wave, either at Microsoft or someplace where you are happy.

Speaking of happiness, there's been a lot of talking about deciding to be happy:

And then it sort of bounced around the net even more.

I'm sure Gretchen and Zoe are quite happy to be doing what they are doing at JobSyntax:

Thanks for the mention, Mini! I have started a new blog with my new company. I plan to be even more direct and honest than before. :)

So Gretchen would never, ever say: if, as you ponder the poll and your happiness, you decide now's the time to test the waters outside of Microsoft, get in contact with us over at JobSyntax to see how we can help you find your way through the talent landscape and build your confidence to find the company that best suits you.

She's just too cool for that.

I'm not! Strike while the hiring iron is hot, baby! Fundamental truth: the best way to advance your career is to change companies. Not jobs. Companies. And, as you ponder those experiences required to advance at Microsoft in the CSP and wonder when you'll ever be able to meet the challenges let alone ever be given those opportunities, just realize the best way is to leave and grow, and then see how far up the ladder you can climb should you return.

I know, a slick Mephistopheles I'm not.

Other random notes...

* Mark the calendar: April 27th, 2:30 PM PST Microsoft 3rd Quarter results. Sure would be nice if that coincides with the day that anyone who wants to can buy an Xbox 360. You know, four months after the Christmas rush. Does Bryan Lee with his amazing abilities to mis-predict still work for Microsoft? Yes, of course.

* AdamBa's latest post, A Former Microsoftie Kapenda Thomas, reminds me of that dev vs. test vs. PM post I promised. Yes, yes, y'all, it will come but I'm still getting over that whole mess of negativity I kicked off with that little "fire da bums" post. I've got to see how I can fold that future post into a happy, pro-active piece before getting it up. This post from Mr. Barr is at least an example of a happy ending with pro-active people.

* This past week, Slashdot discovered an essay from last year: Working at Microsoft. I'll once again highlight my favorite snippet:

In contrast, most of the middle management should be tossed. [...] Of the six-seven managers I've had, I'd relish working for (or with) only two of them again. Two were so awful that if they were hired into my current organization (even on another team), I'd quit on the spot. The other two-three were "nngh" -- no significant impact on my life one way or another. I'd love to think this is some kind of fluke, that I've just been unlucky, but many other Microsoft employees have shared similar experiences with me.

* Finally: is it Sinofsky + Ray Ozzie to save Microsoft from itself? An Ozzie focused feature appears in Fortune magazine: Microsoft's new brain. It's a good read and has some length to it. Near the end:

Now comes the hard slog of reinvigorating a 70,000-employee business. Many of the new services the company is coming up with cut across multiple parts of the organization and will require much closer cooperation than has been common in the past. That makes for tension.

You could really simplify the reinvigoration by having less employees. Just throwing that out there.


82 comments:

Anonymous said...

If you're saying strongly disagree to a lot of those questions, you've got to hit the reality check button and decide either to find new work digs in Microsoft or a new company altogether.

Excellent point, Mini, and already done. I filled out my poll, honestly answered "strongly disagree" to almost everything, and quit the next day.

You're one closer to mini-Microsoft now ...

Anonymous said...

Mini, you seem like a HR person. You know too much about HR.

Who da'Punk said...

Mini, you seem like a HR person. You know too much about HR.

Aa-roo? I know too much? Does that mean someone's going to have to kill me now?

I actually know very, very little about Microsoft HR and the people agenda at Microsoft. But it certainly is a gear I have to mesh with quite often.

Anonymous said...

I've also filled out the poll, put in "Strongly Disagree" to most of it, and am moving on... not sure if it's to a new job internally or a new company yet, but it's time to do something different.

That being said, I'm curious to see how poll results are used in our org. It's clear that morale is very low --- and we're in a group where it shouldn' t be. I think everyone senses that something is coming, but nobody knows what or when. So, good time to be going, I think.

Of course, the critic in me says that when a team feels like that, management is the org that needs to go. Employees should always feel focused and motivated, and the org shouldn't be a threat to them. When it is, they spend more time worrying about their job / review than actually doing their job.

Anonymous said...

So I filled in the MSPoll and I did the same, strongly disagree for most of the things. Direction of the company, my deal, feeling valued in the company...etc. But there were a few where not, like my manager (finally one I like and that has integrity) and the small group I work in (believe what we're doing is good and will have impact). The fact is that "just leaving" is not a viable option for many people, like those on visas or that need benefits like what we have for whatever reason (health, divorce, kids). So until we can change jobs, we use the MSPoll to see if we can't try to change things and then also the other tools like the salary info from WashTech to have those tough conversations with our managers. If ALL else fails we find a partner we can work with and do some moonlighting...Microsoft certainly has compensation that encourages that.

I do agree with Mini...the MSPoll reminders were muted at best. I think that they are trying to keep people from doing it. That will backfire, please PLEASE everyone do their poll and take that extra little time and leave specific actionable comments.

Anonymous said...

I think everyone senses that something is coming, but nobody knows what or when. So, good time to be going, I think.

They already took all the staplers away (literally).

They even stop paying you slowly if they want you to go away (no cost of living increases).

Fill out those TPS reports.

Welcome to IBM.

Anonymous said...

I’ve heard of leads with 6 reports doing the most ridiculous things with MS Poll results.
They’d talk over the results with ~4 of their reports and if they spot a response rate where 16.67% strongly disagree, they would go ahead and assume that it must have been Employee X - even though the other 4 employees are keeping their mouth shut. This is just silly.

Anonymous said...

left ms few months ago. i was in the windows div. got a nice raise, less stress, better company. :) all i have to do is work here. reviews are every quarter here, where you are measured on what you did, and if you achieved your goals. novel huh? :) i keep reading mini because i like to laugh. :)

one less for you mini. :)

Anonymous said...

"...Listen, Good Looking: if you're saying strongly disagree to a lot of those questions, you've got to hit the reality check button and decide either to find new work digs in Microsoft or a new company altogether..."

Right. So, when are you leaving?

Anonymous said...

I answered strongly disagree to a lot of questions as well, but I'm a bit afraid to leave. I'm so burnt-out on a job that I really used to love, that I'm afraid another company will not hire me, or not keep me after the probation period.

Anonymous said...

Where are people working that are filling in MSPoll with Strongly Disagree?

I'm in the field, and was Agree or higher on all questions. I thought maybe the field would be lower than at HQ becuase of the geographical disconnect. Maybe I'm wrong? Maybe it is an advantage?

Anonymous said...

Quick question from a new MS SDE.. What is a "Partner?" Is this someone with a certain level of seniority? In management? Some certain amount of stock? Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Hey mini:

It's funny you'd mention Bryan Lee and his inability to predict the future. Why so surprised? This is a guy who can't even accurately read the past:

I was working in the Xbox group when Mr. Lee made his first belly-flop into the arena of high-profile interviews. There, he made the baffling claim that "The days of a winner (in the console gaming space) being dictated by who has the best hardware are over. It's a question of software now."

Only problem: Those days never existed. If you go all the way back to the Atari 2600 beating the more powerful Intellivision or just go back one generation to the original Playstation beating the N64, you're not going to find a case of hardware being the deciding factor in a round of the console wars.

In Mr. Lee's "defense," he may have actually known this and was simply trying to spin the Xbox's lackluster showing (we were about three years in at the time and still being outsold by Sony's five-year-old hardware). Unfortunately, if that is what he was doing, all it ended up accomplishing was admitting that our software wasn't that great (which, aside from a couple bright spots, it really wasn't. MGS pissed away a lot of money on games simply to fill niches with next to no regard for whether they were actually decent games. Apparently they were laboring under the assumption that just throwing money towards marketing would make up for subpar games).

Of course, the kicker is that about four months later, after Mr. Lee's laugher had been the talk of the Millennium complex for some time, Shane Kim reiterated the same untruth. For many people I worked with, it was the verification we'd feared that upper management either were intentionally lying to cover their own asses or simply didn't care (in Kim's case, I went with the second. I have yet to fathom what that guy is doing in any kind of creative capacity in an organization that he clearly feels is beneath him).

MSDecade said...

For a time I believed as you do, Mini, that Microsoft should be smaller or broken up. I no longer feel that way.

Why? Simple. Because breaking up Microsoft doesn't improve the customer's experience.

I certainly understand why you (as I used to) think it would. A smaller company would be automatically more connected to customers needs. But there's a downside -- integration. Customers really do want our products to behave well together, to have common user experiences, to be built on similar technologies. There's a real benefit to customers in doing so.

Thus our challenge: connect better with customers, understand their needs, and deliver products that meet those needs. Understand that integration may be one of those needs. In certain instances, it may not -- one size doesn't fit all. Product groups should have the flexibilty to decide when
and when not to integrate.

Poll

So I did the poll yesterday. I did see some new, hard-hitting questions. Incidentally, I found that my responses had improved since the last poll, not coincidentally because I switched groups since then.

On 'liking Microsoft'

Someone said it perfectly when they said "you don't like Microsoft, you like the work you do and the people you work with". That idea is so important. Hopefully we all have the opportunity to have long careers at Microsoft. Therefore, there will be times when you may not like the work you do (or may not see how your work impacts the company) and/or you may not like the people you work with. You can change that. I did.

Anonymous said...

Great, everything's going to be a web service that requires even more soul-crushing "cooperation."

The web totally rocks for a lot of things, but operating systems, office software, and development environments are not those things. Microsoft needs to calm the f*** down and concentrate on fundamentals. We're not a "Web 2.0" company (for the most part) and that doesn't necessarily constitute a crisis. Look at Apple. They're not going nuts over the web and people love them anyway.

This reminds me of American car companies, who would rather add heads-up displays and OnStar than improve panel gaps and chassis rigidity. Wake up! Your fundamentals are not "good enough"! People are going to buy Accords and Camrys even if they can't open their garage doors with a dashboard button!

On a topic from an earlier post...

Microsoft has done a phenomenally awful job of protecting users from security threats and increasing browser restrictions is just going to make it worse. How many menacing, incomprehensible, and uselessly vague dialog boxes are users going to have to dismiss before they can view some sports scores?

Anonymous said...

Mini, I would leave in a heartbeat, but I can't! No green card. Truthfully, I don't need it 100% to work elsewhere (not from India or China), but after so many years of waiting I can't let it go. Although my idiot manager is driving me closer and closer to going postal!

Now off to MSPOLL; boy there will be some strong disagreements there.

Anonymous said...

That "Working at Microsoft" post had an interesting message in it - that the problem was the mid-level managers rather than Bill and Steve. OK, I'm too distant to have any valid input, but I know that there's been a lot of sentiment on this blog that Bill and Steve were the problem (not necessarily Mini's sentiment, but certainly that of a large number of posters).

So I thought I'd point that out and see what people had to say (the "Working at Microsoft" piece sounded persuasive to me, but then, I don't work there).

But I guess that, in the end, I don't agree. At a minimum, Bill and Steve created the environment where middle management could become the problem that it has. So the buck still stops with them.

MSS

Anonymous said...

Going back to the real world

I am not sure why there is so much complaining. I've worked for IBM and I've seen the transformation that avoided it to tank. Lou Gestner was its mastermind. Basically, the reinvention of IBM made employees expendable. It had been one of the best firms to work with, but to survive, it crushed its employees. Of course, it is easy to cut costs. Payroll is right there and easy to control: fire people and dwarf their benefits.

MS is taking a completely different approach. A lot of things have been cut, but that is for sure in name of rationality and controls. It is completely normal for a firm of 63k employees.

BUT people complain too much. There are so many things here that I've never had access that helps me improve as a professional and individual. To mention a few:
* Mentors - senior managers set aside TIME to talk to anyone and assist them in their careers
* Library - we have an incredible number of titles available. I am not talking JUST about books. Research pertaining to the IT industry in all shapes and forms.
* People - it is incredible how people are open and would talk to you about anything.
* Sharepoint sites - each group publishes information about their group and the people behind.

Basically, if you think that a job is composed of salary+bonus+benefits, you are correct, but make sure that you have a different view on what benefits are and what you do with them.

If you work for Microsoft and does not take advantage of Microsoft itself, you are missing a great opportunity to grow inside and help Microsoft move to the next level.

P.S. not to mention that every big move or change is announced by senior VPs, Ballmer and Gates themselves.

Anonymous said...

mspoll is a HR circus that is meaningless. If you have senses dont waste your time on mspoll. Nothing is going to comeout of it anyway.

Anonymous said...

The Ever Changing MS Poll: It's not the same old poll, it never is and that's why it's a silly, expensive exercise. Poll questions are removed, added or tweaked every year in a never ending effort to "improve" accuracy. (Uh, maybe it's to hide the bad results? To cherry pick the best ones so overall MS looks like a happy camp in which to work?) If MS cared about promoting good managers or removing bad ones, HR would keep questions the same to track accountability by comparing results year to year. For those of us who try to use the poll to improve our management skills, we can't tell whether our efforts are having any impact. MS Poll is a bad idea taken too far too long.

dead wood said...

To the person who is afraid to leave because they feel burnt-out, I was in the same situation.

I found a small company to work for, took a few weeks off, and over a year later I only look back to laugh at the stupidity of my last year at Microsoft.

I now relize that I was feeling burned-out because my lead was demanding unreasonable amounts of work and trying to push me out. I have the last laugh though. My lead and manager were both searching for new jobs after the next review cycle. For some reason, their manager feedback scores were very low.

If you aren't feeling productive,
if you are feeling burned-out,
if you hate your manager,
then jump ship now.

The waters will re-energize you.

Life is too short to endure a bad work environment.

Anonymous said...

I bet that as long as the percentages for the stack rank match up with the MS Poll numbers, management is doing their job. <=3.0=Strongly Disagree, 3.5=Agree, >=4.0=Strongly Agree.

If all the 3.0s Strongly Agree with the poll nubmers, management is not doing their job. Mediocre performers are should not feel satisfied with their level of work.

So if 15% of employees Strongly Agree with the goals, then 15% of employees will get a 4.0. And so on. Of course out of tens of thousands of employees there will be boundary cases of high performers rating their managers/orgs badly. But if they really were a 4.0 they'd be smart enough to go where they're wanted.

If more people answer the poll negatively, it means that there's more negative people making for a crappy work environment. That means more room for 3.0's to be given out to encourage those people to shape up or ship out.

I recall that in the past something like 83% of employees said they were satisfied in the poll results. And about 15-20% of employees get 3.0's...sounds like you're doing exactly what management wanted.

Anonymous said...

I recall that in the past something like 83% of employees said they were satisfied in the poll results. And about 15-20% of employees get 3.0's...sounds like you're doing exactly what management wanted.

Do you really believe Microsoft wants to turn over 12000 employees per year?

If Microsoft management is aggravating 20% of its workforce (considered sub-standard on a relative and not absolute scale where the meaning of the rating changes from group to group), most of whom can't afford to leave, it sounds like they would be contributing significantly to the problems Microsoft has of shipping software.

Sounds like management is retarded to me.

Anonymous said...

Therefore, there will be times when you may not like the work you do (or may not see how your work impacts the company) and/or you may not like the people you work with. You can change that. I did.

I liked most of the people that I worked with at Microsoft.

I absolutely hated being relegated to fixing other people's bugs. I was not in Sustained Engineering where that would have been my job.

I changed that by leaving.

employees--;

Anonymous said...

I hate to say it, but I don't think poll scores aren't going to change the fundamentally backward way that Microsoft does business. Search is an extension of how the human mind works. Bill takes (misplaced) joy in having people think he's a brainy wunderkind. It didn't occur to the senior architect that search is an extension of the way the mind works. Now, soundly beaten by Google, Microsoft vows to out-google Google. How will they accomplish this? Microsoft will thug-like lean on their enterprise partners and make them adopt MS search on their sites. Big companies control everything - and if you can make big companies use your products the rest of the work will follow suit, right? Question for Microsoft: Wouldn't it just be easier to 'think into the curve'? I know Microsoft is dying to come up with more products like Xbox. I know Microsoft wants the whizzy sexy coolness of products like ipod and Google. But there is that minor problem of creativity. You can't have cool innovation and corporate-wide esprit d'corp if your essential nature is that of a thug. I hope THAT is reflected in the comments of the mspoll this year. It would be great if Microsoft could go back to being a cool fun place to work again and a place where some off-of-wall thinking and craziness can take root. Right now, the place pretty much sucks.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous of 1:17 PM (btw, mini, how 'bout some freaking DATES on the posts?) said:

Microsoft has done a phenomenally awful job of protecting users from security threats and increasing browser restrictions is just going to make it worse. How many menacing, incomprehensible, and uselessly vague dialog boxes are users going to have to dismiss before they can view some sports scores?

Bravo, nailed it. The analogy to crappy American cars tarted up with trivial add-on features is a good one. So what's left in Vista besides the eye candy rewrite?

Here's an idea: build and ship an OS without a UI. That would let you remove most of the legacy backwards-compatibility security tarpits. Then you (or other vendors) can build UIs on top of the OS. Yes, losing the UI/OS integration (and tight coupling, if you know what that means) will be a minor performance hit. But... I've seen slick X-based UIs running on single CPUs in the 3-digit MHz range. Remind me what the Aero minimum system reqs are?

Someone's going to argue that this is already happening with Vista running on the win2k3 codebase. No, it is not, because unless the OS is sold without the UI, there will always be tight coupling, abstractions will leak, etc. etc.

Anonymous said...

A question for the leads out there: in which parts of the poll will low scores from your direct reports hurt your review score? I don't like the direction the company is taking, but I have nothing against my manager, who is really quite a decent fellow.

Anonymous said...

mini: "You could really simplify the reinvigoration by having less employees. Just throwing that out there."

No, as I have explained before, Microsoft's long-term goal is to eventually have 25 times its present revenues, its strategy for achieving this goal is to produce an ever-increasing number of interlocking monopolies, and in order to do this it has to keep increasing the number of people it employees. That's just the way it is.

That relates to the comments about Microsoft and Web 2.0: "Microsoft needs to calm the f*** down and concentrate on fundamentals. We're not a "Web 2.0" company (for the most part) and that doesn't necessarily constitute a crisis. Look at Apple. They're not going nuts over the web and people love them anyway."

The difference is that Apple just wants to sell cool hardware and software, whereas Microsoft, as part of its overall strategy, is still trying to embrace, extend and extinguish the net.

One more point. One reason Microsoft can't stop trying to take over the world is the stock. Its price is based on the assumption that Microsoft is going to continue its world domination strategy and succeed. If Microsoft ever announced that it is going to settle down and become a more normal company, then the stock price would tank and Gates and the other leaders would see their personal wealth plummet.

StS said...

I thought this quote, from today's New York Times, was rather apt:

"The history I will take away from this is that the current crop of generals failed to stand up and say, 'We cannot do this mission.' They confused the cultural can-do attitude with their responsibilities as leaders.... I think the backlash against the general officers will be seen in the resignation of officers" who might otherwise have stayed in uniform.

Replace "generals" with "managers," and replace "officers who might otherwise have stayed in uniform" with "ICs who actually do the work," and you've pretty much summed up the situation in Redmond. At least that's been my experience over the last few years.

Anonymous said...

The results of MS Poll is a mirror in which MS Leadership can look into. In particular, well reasoned and persuasive constructive criticism will open up even the hardened ears. Leave the emotions out, and your words can move other Executives to take action. I still have faith that our voice will be heard.

StS said...

I'm in the field, and was Agree or higher on all questions. I thought maybe the field would be lower than at HQ becuase of the geographical disconnect. Maybe I'm wrong? Maybe it is an advantage?

Agreed. Having worked on campus, things are much nicer in the field. Perhaps one problem is that no one wants to cooperate or be a team player on campus -- it's not measured at review time, so why bother?

Great, everything's going to be a web service that requires even more soul-crushing "cooperation."

See, here's some evidence. If cooperation is so soul crushing, how are we going to provide compelling, integrated computing experiences for our customers? Why would we be surprised when our customers assume our products are broken and don't work together, much less with other products and services?

I know our customers want solutions, not technologies, from us. I know they want our products to just work.

Have you ever wondered why the poll results for cross-group communication are always so low? Because apparently working together is "soul-crushing"?

Anonymous said...

Sounds like management is retarded to me.

Lol, just now figuring that out, huh? ;-)

Anonymous said...

Making the 'optional' MSPoll truly optional is a good thing IMO. I've had over-zealous under-talented managers who demanded 100% participation, and threatened to make trouble for the whole group (and certainly made trouble for leads) if participation wasn't 100%. Should people be encouraged to participate? of course, with a reminder and perhaps a show of how the previous year's results inspired change. Should participation be manditory? Only if we get a grade at the end and a summer vacation.

On the positiveside, many of my managers have taken acting on MSPoll feedback very seriously. I certainly do.

Don't expect me to leave anytime soon. On the down side, my responses for company-wide issues were mostly negative. The company's so huge it's almost laughable to try and have a vision and direction that encompasses all of it. On the up side, they were almost all 'strongly agree' for my immediate position and workgroup.

Anonymous said...

You can translate it into English with tools. I prefer to speak in French. It is easier for me. Can we start a French section?

Est-il possible de commencer une section en français? J'écris sur ce blog de façon anonyme car j'ai peur pour mon job. Mais je voudrais que Microsoft reste une bonne entreprise.

Est-il possible de commencer une section en français? J'écris sur ce blog de façon anonyme car j'ai peur pour mon job. Mais je voudrais que Microsoft reste une bonne entreprise.

1) Les quartiers généraux de Microsoft deviennent toujours plus gros. Microsoft EMEA, par exemple, est plus cher que des grands pays européens comme la Hollande. Ces quartiers généraux ne délivrent que peu de valeur.

2) Les différents groupes à Redmond pensent qu'il est plus intelligent de prendre les décisions de façon centralisée à partir de Redmond. Nous recevons en permanence des outils que nous ne pouvons pas utiliser en France. Nous passons notre temps à faire des rapports pour Redmond. Nous n’avons plus le temps de travailler.

2) Microsoft Corporation à Redmond grossit de plus en plus. De nouvelles initiatives et de nouveaux programmes apparaissent chaque jour. Il devient impossible de vendre les produits que nos développeurs créent. Microsoft en France n’a que moins de 1000 employés, si on ne compte pas les consultant (MCS). Nous vendons plus de 250 produits à plus de 50 millions de clients. Je suis inquiet pour l'avenir. Redmond ne comprends plus les clients dans les pays.

3) Les gens de Microsoft en France ne peuvent pas être promu manager. Microsoft France préfère embaucher des gens d'IBM, Compaq par exemple. IBM et Compaq n'ont pas prouvé qu'ils étaient meilleurs que Microsoft. Ces décisions créent une très mauvaise ambiance chez Microsoft France.

4) Les enquêtes faites par Microsoft ou par des agences externes indépendantes pour prouver que Microsoft est un endroit où il fait bon travailler sont truquées. Pour les agences externes indépendantes, les personnes répondant aux questions sont choisies. Les questions sont sur la qualité des bureaux, sur la qualité de l’infrastructure informatique, avec une forte pondération sur ces questions. Les employés de Microsoft France ne sont pas heureux et vont partir.

5) Nos clients et partenaires ne sont pas contents. Pour nos plus gros clients et partenaires, nous ne passons pas plus de temps avec eux. Non. La solution est de créer à Redmond un nouveau programme sur la satisfaction client.

I stop now. A lot of colleagues from France will also enter information.

gretchen said...

So Gretchen would never, ever say: if, as you ponder the poll and your happiness, you decide now's the time to test the waters outside of Microsoft, get in contact with us over at JobSyntax to see how we can help you find your way through the talent landscape and build your confidence to find the company that best suits you.

Thanks, Mini. You said it just fine. :)

Anonymous said...

My biggest beef with the MS Poll is that most of the questions are so freakin open-ended and subjective. IMO, the "metrics" derived from this (after several weeks worth of "meetings") would probably be close to meaningless and have little resemblance to the real problems afflicting the company.

Why don't they include a mandatory question along the lines of - Do you think that the MS Poll is a valuable tool? No wait, thats too clear and concise so scratch that...

Anonymous said...

I'd like to know when the inter-team competition starting taking over. The review process in my world has teammates stabbing each other in the back to get the 3.5-4.0s. Ideas are getting stolen, as people abused thier level of "visibility". When I started, "teamwork" was the norm. These days, I can't even mention something resembling "innovation", as I know my lead or whoever hears the idea, will simply take that idea on that very day and run it straight to our PUM, and take credit. "Can't we all just get along?"

Since there seems to be an air of change mentioned in your post, Mini; I think I'll go ahead and start stabbing and stealing like everyone else.

Anonymous said...

Now what I can't wait for is some new wonderful cost cuts that will get announced AFTER the MS Poll is complete so you have a year before you can give your feedback on it... So far this has been the trend (i.e. ESPP cuts or the famous towels)

Anonymous said...

If more people answer the poll negatively, it means that there's more negative people making for a crappy work environment. That means more room for 3.0's to be given out to encourage those people to shape up or ship out.

How did all the 'negative people' get that way?

How did they get hired in the first place? Are HR and hiring managers incompetent?

Or, are they 'negative' for a reason?

Engineers look for problems as part of their job. MBAs and marketing people tend to 'happy' over them and call whoever doesn't agree with them 'negative' or 'not a team player'.

If someone is stabbing you in the back, is it normal to be 'positive'?

If your 'group think' leads to the event that will cause Microsoft to reevaluate how they do business, then skip down Enron's path as fast as you can.

Whistle while you work.

MSDecade said...

It's darkest before the dawn

To my colleagues in the Windows divisions:

I remember the tail end of the Windows 2000 cycle. It was a long cycle; we were exhausted, down, depressed. But something cool happened. I had the opportunity to visit customers and talk with folks in the field. They were excited! After a long cycle, they were finally getting the chance to go out and sell this new OS. They were grateful for all the work we had done to get this OS ready to ship.

Customers were excited too. They were planning their deployments, very interested in Active Directory, Kerberos, etc. It was invigorating to see how customers were using our technology to solve their business problems.

Vista is like that. You're going to get excited when you see Vista in the stores. But the work you've done -- improving the process of building Windows, will go far beyond Vista through Vista+1, Vista+2, Vista+3. Future releases will be much more agile and sane.

Never forget the impact that your work has.

Am I a corporate shill? No. Have I drunk the Kool-Aid? Maybe. But I sincerely believe that our management has learned the lessons that needed to be learned. We have hard work to do, but we're on the right track.

Anonymous said...

Did anyone notice the significant bounce that Sun took after McNealy's announcement today? I think that we'd get that and more if Ballmer were to announce the same. IT IS TIME!!!!

Anonymous said...

Some french guy wrote:
You can translate it into English with tools. I prefer to speak in French. It is easier for me. Can we start a French section?
Hopefully not. English is the universal business language. If every person whose native language is not english (me included) would start their own "language" section this would be a mess. My suggestion is for you to start your own French Blog.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone really think that the results of MS Poll will have any effect whatsoever?

Come on. This is merely a way to give pissed-off employees a way to "vent" and think they're going to influence the company. HAH!

I decided today that it's time to start looking for work at another company. Feh.

Anonymous said...

The results of MS Poll is a mirror in which MS Leadership can look into. In particular, well reasoned and persuasive constructive criticism will open up even the hardened ears. Leave the emotions out, and your words can move other Executives to take action. I still have faith that our voice will be heard

Yes, it is a mirror that they built with tainted glass, so that they can see what they want to see and you can show them.

If they wanted to hear our voice there are better ways. In fact they dont need to hear it, they should know it already if they are doing their job. The whole MSPoll is a sign that the empreror has no clothes.

Anonymous said...

improving the process of building Windows, will go far beyond Vista through Vista+1, Vista+2, Vista+3. Future releases will be much more agile and sane.

Sounds like Amitabh or one of his cult followers again. Many words come to mind when describing the process of building Windows, but "agile" and "sane" are not among them. Although "process" does come to mind, because that is what it is all about these days.

Anonymous said...

Don't worry. I understand that Steve has a secret team working on an enormous siege gun, with wright hich we will soon be able to fire chairs into the heart of brussels ;)

Who da'Punk said...

Administrivia: Mini here - I just did a re-routing of a comment to a more appropriate post.

Anonymous said...

To MSDecade:

First of all, if it really is a "MS Decade", then it ends at the end of 2009. That means that, unless there are some major process changes, Vista will be the last Windows release before the sun sets on the MS Decade.

More seriously: The deathmarch to deliver is always a drag. All you can do is endure through it (or bail, your choice). And there's some value in encouraging people that, yes, it's tough right now, but we will get through it, and we will deliver, and life will get better.

But there also comes a time to say, "This didn't work very well. Let's not do it again. Let's fix the things that made this process so painful." Maybe that comes right after the release, in a post-mortem process. But eventually management has to either seriously try to fix the problems, or else ignore them and try to have all the burned-out developers drink another round of Kool-aid.

MSS

Anonymous said...

i have heard rumours that Gartner are coming out with a new report on Windows Vista...

and they are going to slate it in the report...

heard anything?

MSDecade said...

Sounds like Amitabh or one of his cult followers again. Many words come to mind when describing the process of building Windows, but "agile" and "sane" are not among them.

Please note the difference between the present tense ("is") and the future tense ("will be").

As far as "cult follower" -- fine, call me what you will. But Amitabh gets it. And a sign of how much he gets it is that he knows how far we still have to go to get to the future state.

Anonymous said...

Wow, I am so glad I work in the field and not in HQ. It sounds like I am in a completely different company from you poor guys in Redmond. Seriously, try to come out here in the district and sub offices a couple of weeks a year and work with us on customer sites and see how they feel about what we do. I guarantee you'll feel better about our company and its future.

Shawn Oster said...

I love it! Reading everyone's reactions to the poll has given me new respect for anyone that makes it through a day without getting an ear bitten off or shooting themselves.

It would seem that a lot of people their are at least one of the following: med-needing-crazy, paranoid, egocentric, a know-it-all, a cowboy, cult follower, a team-hater or just too burnt or blissed out to care.

Do fist fights breakout in Building 5? Is there a Fight Club in the old server room in Building 16? Forget the free soda, give everyone a shiv if you want to see staff reductions. The tensions are thick and obviously everyone thinks their kingdom in a nutshell is the shiznat (or is that shiznut?)

I almost feel sorry for the PM's because if I had to manage such a stubborn group of egocentric, strong personalities I'd probably literally dose the kool-aid. This isn't to say that there probably aren't just a ton of bad managers but people keep bringing up this whole military Commander & Chief thing like if *only* the managers were these great generals everything would snap into place. First, not everyone is going to get a great leader, only probably "pretty good ones" and PGO leaders aren't going to change you from a rock into a malleable putty every morning. You people do realize that the soldiers are trained to follow orders right? It seems like *a lot* of ego needs to be dropped.

Perhaps a better question on the poll would be, "describe the traits of a leader/manager you would follow, even if their vision seemed a little wonky, because you trusted them." A lot of what I read makes it seem like the answer would be, "someone that agrees 100% with all my ideas and provides strict control over deadlines while allowing me (of course) the freedom to work by myself in a locked office while people slide flat foods under the door to me."

Anonymous said...

The group I work in takes MS Poll feedback seriously. There is a lot of focus on the results and YOY results and then lots of work around moving the needle. Does that translate to 100% success? Not always, but we work hard to get close.

Anonymous said...

MSPOLL is a joke. If you need to do MSPOLL give the HR chumps a big thumbs down.

Anonymous said...

Hi

I know this is a bit off-topic but would you be 'blacklisted' if you reject a Microsoft offer after you have already accepted it?

Anonymous said...

Hi

I know this is a bit off-topic but would you be 'blacklisted' if you reject a Microsoft offer after you have already accepted it?


---

probably ... people at Microsoft can be like that bitter EX who you rejected

Anonymous said...

Actually, I was wondering the very same thing. Can you get blacklisted for future opportunities, even if you do well in the interviews for that job?

Anonymous said...

But Amitabh gets it. And a sign of how much he gets it is that he knows how far we still have to go to get to the future state.

No doubt Amitabh realizes there is more work to be done to achieve the future state, because his imagination is limitless when it comes to adding process and bureaucracy. I have no doubt whatsoever that as we move forward (backward really), Amitabh and his cult will be leading the way with an as yet unimagined set of quality gates.

And he will continue to have his worshippers, like you, since he's the reason so many of you remain employed. It's not like anyone in MSR, CSE or in the quality gate teams can innovate and help customers, so this expansion of bureaucracy is the only means to ensure your collective employment.

But what will you do when the productive developers are all finally gone? Once you chase them all away, what are you going to do?

Anonymous said...

Do fist fights breakout in Building 5? Is there a Fight Club in the old server room in Building 16? Forget the free soda, give everyone a shiv if you want to see staff reductions. The tensions are thick and obviously everyone thinks their kingdom in a nutshell is the shiznat (or is that shiznut?)

Were you here when HR developed the "don't bring your guns to work" policy? :)

I had a Microsoft manager who always came to work with a semi-automatic side arm on his belt until that policy was in place. He didn't stop bringing it to work though. He just left it locked in his car (just in case).

Who needs a shiv when you can steal a 4.0 by stabbing someone else in the back with a rumor?

Anonymous said...

But what will you do when the productive developers are all finally gone? Once you chase them all away, what are you going to do?

Microsoft will do what Oracle does. They will acquire companies with technology they want.

If you are a productive developer, you would do a lot better starting a company and selling your technology to Microsoft than you would kissing ass for a 4.x review score.

Anonymous said...

i have heard rumours that Gartner are coming out with a new report on Windows Vista...

They'll probably just dust off their wait for service pack 1 report.

Anonymous said...

"Actually, I was wondering the very same thing. Can you get blacklisted for future opportunities, even if you do well in the interviews for that job?"

Rumors say yes.

There is a story of an employee who left, and then a year later interviewed many times with many groups. The interviews all went very well, but an offer was never extended.

Then, this person begged a friend in HR to take a look at his file. Against all rules, this HR person had pity and took a look and found a "don't ever hire this person" flag.

This is just a story. I would love to hear from a HR person on the inaccuracy of it. Perhaps the "flag" was just a comment made by a former bitter manager.

I have also heard that some managers go to extrodinary lengths to hire exceptionally talented people who don't interview well in the typical MS interview (even though they are being hired for a non-typical job) and HR gives them a lot of grief because the record shows previous bad interviews.

This is also just rumor, I don't know any of this firsthand.

That said, I was naieve and allowed myself to be managed out, so if it is possible to have a "flagged" record, I am sure that mine is flagged.

Anonymous said...

>But what will you do when the productive developers are all finally gone? Once you chase them all away, what are you going to do?

I doubt you are developer. If you had half a brain you would have figured out the problem in windows.

You are probably a PM or test manager. If you leave there is no problem.

Anonymous said...

If you had half a brain you would have figured out the problem in windows.

Name one problem your hero Amitabh has fixed. Just one. And not some vague "he got development back on track" nonsense. As well, be sure to get out of caste mode before replying.

Anonymous said...

First, not everyone is going to get a great leader, only probably "pretty good ones" and PGO leaders aren't going to change you from a rock into a malleable putty every morning. You people do realize that the soldiers are trained to follow orders right?

Software design should not be so counterintuitive that devs are required to trust their managers instead of understand why features are good. It's not like a battlefield, where foot soldiers might not have the information or experience to make good decisions.

If you're a PM and it's a struggle to convince your devs that your ideas are good, what makes you think the ideas will be compelling to a customer?

There are so many obvious ways to improve Microsoft products that time should not be wasted on things that cause contention.

Anonymous said...

"Who needs a shiv when you can steal a 4.0 by stabbing someone else in the back with a rumor?" - Anonymous

That's just a different type of shiv...

MSS

MSDecade said...

To MSDecade:

Yeah, "MSDecade" was a hastily chosen nickname. I thought of it while responding to a poll question with the answer that I intend to stay at MS for 10 years or more.

But there also comes a time to say, "This didn't work very well. Let's not do it again. Let's fix the things that made this process so painful." Maybe that comes right after the release, in a post-mortem process. But eventually management has to either seriously try to fix the problems,

I believe that's what's happening. Actually, I know that's what's happening. Ask for skip-level 1:1s up the chain and don't stop until you know it too.

But what will you do when the productive developers are all finally gone? Once you chase them all away, what are you going to do?

Front-loading quality (via a set of tools and tests that are easy and quick for developers to run) won't negate productivity. In theory, it will enhance productivity over the full cycle.

The challenge -- the hard work -- is to get to that state where tools and tests are easy and quick for developers to run.

MSDecade said...

You are probably a PM or test manager. If you leave there is no problem.

Umm, you're a bit off the mark. We've compartmentalized these roles in such a way that the disciplines are sometimes pitted against each other.

In a healthy group, there's a healthy tension among PM, Dev and Test. They all want to develop cool, high-quality software that delivers value to customers.

In an unhealthy group, there's a misalignment of the vision, goals, or priorities of the team and one discipline is often perceived to be "blocking" another or a "problem".

Having said all that, though, I'm inclined to agree that we should blur the lines a bit more and have more of a generic dev discipline that owns more of the end-to-end scenario. An idea that I'm drawn to is the concept that we have only one entry-level discipline ("developer") and that people can then specialize, as needed, into program management and test roles.

Anonymous said...

I filled out my last poll today. I was frequently in the "Disagree" or "Mostly Disagree" column. My resignation is already submitted and I'm counting down the days until I go.

The most telling thing for me about the poll was the question on my success being tied to what I do vs. who I know. I of course said "Disagree". But, I'm very glad this question is being asked.

I've been at Microsoft for > 10 years. The amount of cronyism I've seen in the past few years is very discouraging. They also seem to travel in packs, bouncing from one org to another.

I really miss the days when small, focused teams could make a big difference. Now it seems every org is a monolithic beast, that's slow to adapt and react.

I'm hopeful that some of the recent management changes and the hints of upcoming review/compensation changes will have a positive impact on the company.

But it is also clear that the pain is going to have get much worse before real change is made. Microsoft will unfortunately need to die a little before it will be ready to embrace the needed transformation.

I think therefore I test said...

"
Front-loading quality (via a set of tools and tests that are easy and quick for developers to run) won't negate productivity. In theory, it will enhance productivity over the full cycle.

The challenge -- the hard work -- is to get to that state where tools and tests are easy and quick for developers to run."

There is a dangerous assumption in there that "good" tests *can* be made to run quickly and easily.

You are assuming that you can hire a tester capable of programming who can fully keep up with the current testing while developing everything required to put him/herself out of a job.

It sounds really nice, but ask yourself what percentage of bugs are regressions (and even weight it by the extra time needed to investigate and fix those regressions) versus the percentage of bugs that are found though techniques like exploratory testing.

Hint: In 6 years of testing I (and my automation) have found less than a dozen regressions in documented test cases. In that same time, I have found well over a thousand bugs with exploratory testing.

Anonymous said...

>> They all want to develop cool, high-quality software

Yeah, and I "want to" date Catherine Zeta Jones. By definition, only developers develop software in this company. Testers help developers do so. PMs just get in the way of common sense most of the time.

And you're a PM for sure.

MSDecade said...

You are assuming that you can hire a tester capable of programming who can fully keep up with the current testing while developing everything required to put him/herself out of a job.

No, actually I'm assuming that developers take on a larger role in writing tests: exploratory (before functionality is confirmed to work) and regression (after functionality is confirmed to work). And that testers can focus more of their energy on integration, system, scale and performance testing.

And you're a PM for sure.

No, but perhaps I mispoke. s/develop/participate in the creation of/. They all want to participate in the creation of high-quality software that provides value for customers.

I think therefore I test said...

To: MSDecade

Historically, developers have cost more than testers, so it is more expensive to use developers for testing. Additionally, many developers tend to have a blindness to bugs in their own code.

A large part of the current automation push is being sold with the idea that the automation will reduce cost of testing by replacing testers with automation. If MS was really interested in speeding up testing, they would have hired automation coders in addition to the existing testers. Instead, testers were laid off and automation coders were hired to replace them.

Besides the cost problems, I have seen too many times when managers impose unrealistic schedule pressures on developers and "code complete" isn't. Testers should also be keeping everyone honest.

Sometimes this results in test managers screaming at dev managers who are screaming at PM managers behind closed doors about who is F-ing who, but if it passes the functional tests of a test team, it should be at least be minimally functional and developers know that they have a good chance of getting caught if they bluff their way past the "code complete" date.

Anonymous said...

>> Yeah, and I "want to" date Catherine Zeta Jones

Completely off topic, but a friend of mine did date CZJ (it was many years ago, but true!).

On topic: Windows, and the company is in a mess. The posts here - both the whining, and the people who *think* they get it tells me so. Within five years, MS will either change drastically, or become a skeleton of its former self.

Anonymous said...

How it works: FAQ on reviews, promotions, job changes, and surviving re-orgs

What do I write in my review?

You must accept the Matrix-like realization that your score was decided long before you even started your review. You have already gotten what your manager decided to give you. Your manager is not going to base anything in their feedback on what you wrote unless they want to argue with something you wrote. What they write is only to justify the score they gave you. Advice: Write your review so it looks like you did what you want your next job to be so new hiring managers think you’re great and qualified for their job, but are currently just in the wrong group.

Who gets bad review scores?

Nobody ever wants to give out bad scores, but somebody’s got to be the bottom and it makes it a lot easier on a manager if you meet any of the following criteria:

1. You really, really, suck at your job. You’re making more work for your manager. They just want you to do your job and leave them alone. Many people suck but are either good at hiding it or their manager is afraid of them.
2. You leave your job late in the review cycle. You get included in your old group instead of your new one and it’s much easier to ding someone you’re not going to face everyday.
3. You get a new job in a different group. You could not possibly be ready for the demands of doing exactly the same thing you did before.
4. You get promoted during the year. You will not be able to perform above a 3.0 at your new level. No matter what.
5. You complain to HR about them. I don’t think I need to go into detail here.

Okay, I filled out the manager feedback form and nothing appears to have changed. Why isn’t it taken more seriously?

Because it doesn’t actually count. That’s why it’s called a feedback form. If it counted, in the review process the score would be mathematically calculated in your manager’s overall rating. It’s not.

Manager feedback forms should only contain encouraging, nurturing, positive comments about how happy you are to have this wonderful human in your life. If you want it to look legitimate, say your manager should delegate more work to the rest of the team. The biggest risk is giving actual criticism or mentioning specific instances and they are able to recognize your writing style. Then you’re doomed. Advice: Never fill them out – remember there’s no penalty and only downside. Don’t take stupid chances like that again. You’ll never get promoted.

So how can I get promoted?

There are only so many promotions available; that’s why your manager won’t tell you specifically “If you do X and Y, you will get promoted.” They will go to great pains to tell you that good performance only gets you a ticket in the pool of people that become “eligible” for a promotion. “Eligible” means one thing - your manager decided they want to promote you. Period. They have to fill out a form and then win the “who gets promoted” argument with the other managers at stack rank meetings, which is where they write everyone’s name up on a board, decide who is 4.0 or promotion material, pick out the bottom feeders they want to weed out, and then fill in the rest of the 3.0-3.5s. What anyone actually accomplished during the year is irrelevant. Advice: Focus all your energy on making your manager want to promote you. Do this by making them love you. You don’t have to do more or higher quality work. You can also do this at the expense of satisfying customers, decreasing costs, or generating profit for the company. It is up to you to find out what you need to do; all managers are different. Some want you to do more of their work; others simply look at how long you’ve been at your level, but remember that managers are employees too, so all will want one of those precious promotions first.

What happens if I do get promoted?

Words from my manager during my review this year (4.0, promotion): “Now I’m supposed to be sure to tell you that it’s going to be really, really hard for you to get a 3.5 next August.” This means I’m getting a 3.0 no matter what I actually do. Advice: If you get a promotion, leave your group immediately. If you wait too long to move you’ll be included in your old group at review time which we’ve learned is not good. If you get a high score but no promotion, pour on more love and start mentioning an out-of-cycle promotion. And if your manager recently was promoted, it just might happen. If not, go find another job.

How do I go find a different job at Microsoft?

Very, very, carefully. Remember your job is to make your manager love you by making their life easier and you just added two types of action items to their list:

1. Bad action item – they have to find a new person because you’re bailing on them.
2. Not so bad action item – they can give you one of the crappy review scores.

Bottom line is to not tip your hand unless you are sure you’ve got the job. Sometimes the reaction of a manager is to take it personally and think you don’t like them or their team anymore, but it’s also a sigh of relief because you just signed up for the bottom of the curve. Either way if you don’t get that new job, things are going to be unpleasant in your old job. Why? If they really liked you they’d promote you to get you to stay. Technically permission to interview is good for like a month or something so once you ask for formal permission the clock is ticking (and that bomb is real). Advice: First, only look at jobs for which you are actually qualified. Make informational interviews become the real interviews. Tell the hiring manager that your group is not going to be happy once you tell them you’re looking. They will nod in agreement. Set up informational interviews with everyone else that would be on the formal loop. Tell the hiring manager that you won’t formally interview unless you know you’re the leading candidate going into it. And don’t ask for formal permission until HR tells you they can’t continue the process without it.

I just got re-orged. Should I worry?

Re-orgs generally seem to make sense (“Networking and wireless are now together. That will help our wireless networking initiative.”), but in reality it’s just how VPs trade power with each other. Most of the time you will experience absolutely zero change – the obligatory all-hands meeting with your new VP (go because it will be the only time you see them in person), announcements of who is in charge of doing what now, a change in co-worker taglines, and most of the time, the same manager. The danger is a new manager. One that decides on changes in your role. These changes will always line up exactly with what the manager was doing before. If it doesn’t line up, they will simply turn your Customer Escalation team into the Customer Escalation Marketing and Branding team and tell you to write new commitments that they’re going to judge you with even if there’s only two weeks left in the review cycle. Dev, Test, Admins, and those in a true PM role are generally safe from role changes; that leaves the other gazillion of us that are not. Hired for a specific role that actually brings value? Re-org! Oops, now you’re not. Meet your new manager. Advice: Recognize a role change when you see it. Managers show value through improving processes, which means change, which means changing things that generally weren’t broken before they got there. If you can’t convince your new manager that they need you in that role, leave immediately. Your review should be prepped for that next role anyway.

Anonymous said...

What is this about not to harangue employees? I the last two days, I got several emails from several management layers harassing me to fill out the poll.

Anonymous said...

As an employee of 12+ years who departed in early 2005, I can tell you that I took the red pill...but that was before I left the company, long before.

And the reality to which you awake is that Microsoft - like many such big companies but particularly Microsoft - is driven by the illusion of internal harmony, compounded by fraudulent, meaningless company polls, sinister 'hit lists' for those underperforming as assessed by a completely arbitrary performance review system. Such latter system is designed as a feel good measure to show stockholders that we somehow evaluate bottom-up human effectiveness in a machine that is driven by ineffective top-down human decisions.

I left the company for many, many reasons but chief among them was that I simply couldn't stomach this illusion any longer, and seeing so many brown-nosed, ladder-climbing exec-to-be types clamoring for a piece of the illusory stock award pie. As far as HR's role in all this, HR exists to reinforce the interests of management, not employees. I think many employees misunderstand that it's the opposite. In my many dealings with HR, despite knowing many personally and enjoying their friendship, I found them to be rather stoical and unsympathetic to various issues. They are quick with pat answers and "Be an HR Expert in 30 Minutes" handbook type responses but ultimately they're motivation is to eliminate dissention and unrest and in so doing get another good mark on their own review for settling an "incident" (and look into the statistics of how many promotions and Directors exist in HR, they can for their own).

Yes, the red pill is a good thing, I wish Microsoft cafeterias would dispense them freely. Unfortunately, executive management and wannabes have a consistent diet of blue pills and will enjoy the illusion to the bitter end.

A Former M'Softie

Anonymous said...

Wow. I'm reading all of these posts about how you basically get screwed over if you leave teams or get promoted during the year. I was promoted 6 months into the year and still got a 4.0 for my final review score. I also had open discussions with my manager about taking on another job and he still submitted me for promotion. Everyone kept telling me I was going to be screwed but that hasn't been the case. I started less than two years ago and will be getting my second promotion in a month.

If you sense your mgr isn't looking out for you jump ship. I would agree however that if you're less than a 3.5 > 4.0 performer in your team, then you're pretty much branded at that level. No one's going to step up and bump you to a 4.0+ so that's also the time to leave.

Anonymous said...

Read the excellent comment above regarding promotions, reorgs, etc.

The answer to your situation is that your manager loves you: for doing superhuman achievements or they already got a recent promotion or they just simply like you a lot more than the others.

Anonymous said...

I really like this blog. I've learned more about this company here, than in the past 8 years working there( and I really liked it working there for most of this years).
I think this the kind of "open communication" which is supposed to take place within the company.
Sad that this is not possible ( anymore?)

The comments have scared me a little bit in the first place as i thought, the problems mentioned here ( knowing them well...) where a local problem in the org i work.
But unfortunatly this seems to be false...

I'm still dreaming of the day, where I'm not forced to spend time on things like
- how do get a good review score
- how do i make myself looking great in managements point of view
- who's a** do i need to dig into next to get a promotion

All I wanna do is doing my job( which i love) with same the passion as in the past years.
I hope for the day, where all of these brown-nosing nobrainers who are harming the present and future of this company everyday purely with their presence alone get kicked out.

may be I'm going to see this day before the day have to quit as the person in the mirror is not longer myself
sometimes i wish to be somebody who can go to work, turn off most parts of the brain, comeback home, collect the monthly paycheque and feel happy.
but I'm not yet that kind of person.

Anonymous said...

"in LisaB's kick-off email about the poll to the managers, she asked for management not to harangue people into filling out the poll. "

i had my networking PUM-less GM come to my office door atleast 4 times over 3 days to ensure that the poll was actually filled up.
there had been repeated emails to the org to go fill up the poll. after it is all done, he revels that his org has the highest percentage of anyone under jawad.

i filled the poll. now i am free to move on...

Alex Hu said...

How it works: FAQ on reviews, promotions, job changes, and surviving re-orgs?

the view is really really "wooo..." :)