Thursday, July 17, 2014

18,000 Microsoft Jobs Gone... Eventually?

1. Cut Once.

2. Cut Deeply.

And might I humbly add:
3. Cut Quickly.

As of this morning, we're looking to cut 18,000 Microsoft positions including around half of the Nokia destruction-palooza orchestrated by Mr. Elop and Mr. Ballmer.

How does this affect all of Microsoft? Redmond? That's a bit unknown. Just looking at the State of Washington WARN site, I don't see a notification from Microsoft yet: http://www.esd.wa.gov/newsandinformation/warn/ .

And that concerns me because now you have a level of stress and anxiety at Microsoft. First, the selfish stress about whether my job is affected. Then personal circle stress. Then partner collaboration stress. Then way out there general concerns about the company. And guess what: when folks are stressed and gossiping, they are not effectively - er, excuse me, productively (?) - implementing the latest strategy. Physiologically, they have increased cortisol and this time will turn into a fog.

That's why I hope that Cut Quickly happens. Without it, we're back to our first layoff experience. If anything broke the back of this blog, it was the first big Microsoft layoff back in 2009. How? How could the realization of a step towards Mini-Microsoft do that? Because it was implemented so poorly, with constant worries and concerns and doubts about engaging in new ideas due to expectations those would be the easiest to trim during ongoing cut-backs. When was it over? When was the "all clear" signal given?

So if this truly drags on for a year: we need a new leader. This needs to be wrapped up by the end of July. 2014.

One last small comment: yeah, everyone loves to flatten, including me. But to truly flatten engineering at Microsoft we need to decide that people management is actually a well invested career path. Most developers I know that become Leads are invariably harmless as a manager but spend most of their time deeply technical because they know that's where the rewards are. For the others that I know that have embraced becoming a people manager and have excelled there: well, if they get flattened into an Individual Contributor then they might as well leave Microsoft. Bless their hearts, but if they had to reconstitute their Dev skills to match the career ladder level they climbed to as a leader, they are sorely out of luck. I'll be honest with them. I hope all the other leaders out there are just as honest.

So.

Thoughts? Are you affected? The one bit of advice I can pass on from the previous round of layoffs: don't leave any HR 1:1 meeting without being absolutely satisfied you know everything you need to know and have everything to move forward. Because once you're out the door, for all the assurances you're going to get, it's super-hard to make a connection for more information and follow-up.

Now, excuse me, I'm sure I'll have a busy morning. And like all of you, I'm keeping an eye out for a sudden HR Generalist meeting that pops up on my calendar... until I hear the All Clear.




1,380 comments:

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Anonymous said...

I left MS a year ago after a bad review having worked 10+ years. What was suprising was how much lower the talent is outside. I am appreciated much better for my work without having to put more than 50 hours. There definitely is a much better life outside of MS. You dont have to prove you are smarter than others everyday. As long as you can
get along with others your work will be appreciated.
After having been through the dotcom crash I saved as much as I could during my time at MS.
This is something that many people forget during the good times. Us software engineers are paid
much more than most other engineers. We should be able to live comfortably if we didnt take our incomes for granted and spend accordingly.
I never made it to principal but still saved 1M during my time at MS. If my current job does not work out I know I wont be in panic mode trying to wonder how I will pay my bills and mortgage while also trying to find a new job. That is how so many H1Bs have lived in this country. Even if they lose their job they dont have to immediately start worrying about bills.
On the other hand I have seen so many Americans at MS buying BMWs as soon as they get hired or convert to full time.

Anonymous said...

Build was shutdown to avoid "accidental" deletion of code, WTT jobs.

Anonymous said...

I think flattening is the next stage. Some dev leads, QA mgrs/test leads will be given the option to become software engineers, then many will self select out. Think of how hard it will be to compete against principal level ICs if you have not coded or designed anything in 10+ years.

Anonymous said...

Please, please, please stop picking on people with work visas. I've worked with a ton of extraordinary people in my career and, no matter from where they originated, they were all exceptional. H1B1s give Microsoft and many other tech companies a competitive advantage that is unprecedented. Besides, racism and xenophobia have no place in this country. My great grandparents were immigrants. I also have in-laws, family with adopted children, neighbors, friends, and a general practitioner who are all immigrants. People are people. And smart, capable people are smart, capable people. If you have to vilify someone, go after someone other than a citizen of our planet who is just trying to be successful and have prosperous life.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone have more information about the 18-month limit for v- workers? I heard a rumor about this several days ago, in the hallway today and now here.

Anonymous said...

As much as this hurts, let's not lose perspective. We're in fact qualified workforce, think of less fortunates.

I wish the best for all us who got (will be) laid-off.

Anonymous said...

Quality layoffs were made to keep a ratio. Unfortunately OSG (operating system group) client team's decided to keep a 1:1 dev/test ratio up until today. The dev/test ratio target was 2:1. So, thus the reason most of the IC test layoffs.

Anonymous said...

Got my package today and am quite relieved actually. I've been planning to leave anyway and now can enjoy a long paid vacation.

Anyone know what happens to our severance pay if we start a job with another company before the 9/15 termination date? I think there was some small print implying that we'd lose severance but it wasn't clear to me. Sounds like I might be better off waiting a bit and enjoying my time off.

Anonymous said...

who do you think made up the "lists" of people to go? the same that have made them the last several rounds of terminations. with heavy hearts, blah blah but really -its the same group of people being asked to create the next round of lists --and all of us x-softees know who they are.

Anonymous said...

"Besides, racism and xenophobia have no place in this country."

That's all well and good but when we have a 25% unemployment rate in this country (unofficial shadowstats) it's time for a moratorium on immigration and insourcing.

http://www.shadowstats.com/alternate_data/unemployment-charts

Anonymous said...

Left MS 8 years ago, worked in Redmond after running very successful teams in high tech companies I. At L65 I observed poisonous politics across the HQ that increased with Turner. As an MS manager it was a morale killer all around to stack rank an awesome team. I was dismayed how little MS execs valued (even recognized) real team building, mentoring skills.

I don't see how Nadella's stated goal of culture change is at all related to the layoffs described here. If there is an accountable plan that ties downsizing to improving the culture, what is it? Nadella needs to demonstrate transparency, walk his talk. I'm not impressed!

Anonymous said...

The Org flattening discussions have started in C+E. There will only be leads and ICs. No M1/M2s. Test and dev Leads will be made into ICs. Some of the DevManagers and test managers as well will be ICs. There will be no test teams. Devs will own automation testing as well.

Anonymous said...

What do you mean by 18-month limit for "v-"'s? You mean they can't be re-hired after they've worked 18 months total at MS? What purpose would that serve?

Anonymous said...

What is M1/M2?

Anonymous said...

What is M1/M2?

Anonymous said...

Anon at 9:43pm has it right from my observations and what I was told, plus HR used an algorithm and leads and managers didn't know who was going till the announcement. It does mean they couldn't keep their friends.

About a 30% cut in SDET in our part of OSG. It wouldn't have been a big loss except they got a couple completely wrong.

I was told depth of management in OSG dev isn't going to change. Sinofsky already cut two layers of directors at the start of 7 and 8.

Anonymous said...

What do you mean by 18-month limit for "v-"'s? You mean they can't be re-hired after they've worked 18 months total at MS? What purpose would that serve?

====

It was mentioned that after 18 months, v- workers will need to take a 6-month break before returning to MS.

Anonymous said...

Got laid off today at Windows Phone marketing along with 1 other. 12 years of service. Only 3 left in my team. 2 of them, Chine$e, can't even hold a conversation let alone sell $h1t. Someone please send these ping-pongers back to their communi$t roots ...

Anonymous said...

mary jo seems to think functional management structure is out in OSG?

http://www.zdnet.com/beyond-12500-former-nokia-employees-who-else-is-microsoft-laying-off-7000031726/

Anonymous said...

I believe every realistic people in OSG understand their situations.
this kind layoff will not the last one.
Windows Phone can officially declare DEAD BEEF.
Windows Tablet, also DEAD. without ecosystem, without market share.
XBOX sells number only half of the PS4.

if a company could not make profit, the only way is layoff.

That is the hard reality.

However, who should responsible for these failures?
ICs?

anyway this is a sinking boat,everyone should prepare the swimsuit.



Anonymous said...

To those who lost their jobs. I feel your pain. I was laid off from Microsoft three years ago. It was a horrible experience and you will feel horrible for a few months. You will find a job and after 6 months or so you will get over it. Strive to get to a place where you're happy that it happened. What's inside is a rat race that leads nowhere. Look at the opportunities outside - mobile, cloud, wearables, internet of things...

If I had a chance to go back in time and change anything, I wouldn't change a thing. I would let the layoff happen. Good luck. Expect pain for a few months, but know that it's only for a few months.

Anonymous said...

M1 - manager, M2 - director

Anonymous said...

Cuts done right:

Cut at the M3 and Partner level. Cut hard here. Cut the good old boy network and make sure that the people that deserve a seat in the lifeboat can't continue to save their inept, political friends.

MSIT needs to be gutted HARD. There is so much dead weight in MSIT it is long past embarrassing. Start with Jim DuBois' org and go deep in terms of management, including Jimbo, same with his peers. The waste and lack of talent in MSIT has long been a drag on the company.

Move on to all the Partner Directors of Whatever, and show them the door. Especially the ones who can't write a line of code and just take up space. Gut almost all of Midori, they have last shipped something WHEN exactly? and that org is full of nothing but Partner+ people.

Let's not leave out the Executive Branch. Terry Myerson has done nothing of value for years. Phone has never been successful, let's stop deluding ourselves. That, and he's a complete arrogant ass. Same with Guthrie and Soma. Get rid of Kevin Turner, for the love of humanity, how much longer can we take?

Cut management until there are so few managers left that they actually have to work. Cut all the useless Engineers that live to "earn" a 4. Cut PM's by 50% or more.

Fantastic, then you'll have a great Microsoft. Unfortunately, that's not what's happening, and the current "cut" methodology will do nothing other than bump the stock price a little for a while, spook the HIPO's, 1's and 2's into jumping ship, I fit at least one of these categories and I'm going to do just that.

Anonymous said...

No, what you don't get is the fact that there is a rising tide in this country of anger and resentment about having this once great nation being sold out to foreigners.

Once great nation - kiss my ass first and drink piss of a native indian. you will be cleansed of your greatness illusion.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know what Google works on in Everett?

Anonymous said...

Such refreshing views. You bring a good name to your country.

Anonymous said...

Any cuts in Support orgs?

Anonymous said...

Regarding:

That's all well and good but when we have a 25% unemployment rate in this country (unofficial shadowstats) it's time for a moratorium on immigration and insourcing.

http://www.shadowstats.com/alternate_data/unemployment-charts


Bullshit. If you want to do something for unemployed people in the US, bring manufacturing back into this county. A moratorium on immigration and insourcing would require that the skills required for tech could come only from within this country, and our 330mm people don't have the capacity to meet that demand.

By the way, your CPI conspiracy crap is nonsense. My worst fear is that you're not just being a dumb troll and that you actually believe what you write.

Anonymous said...

OSG Sigma (smegma?) PM here.


I know a lot of guys in the "Quality" org were layed off. Good and smart people. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your families.


For those that don't know the new TLAs, OSG= {Operating Systems Group} which is Windows + Phone + Xbox platforms under Terry Myerson. (Sigma= Silicon + Graphics + Media)
So in Sigma, they are gutting the traditional test orgs. A couple months ago they changed the roles around so that SDEs are responsible for writing test code including WHCK/WHLK without additional headcount to do so. WTF?


At the same time, the whole SDET role changed from writing tests to using "telemetry", instrumentation and data mining to measure how successful the SDE work is. There is a whole "data scientician/scientologist" team - certainly not a "data scientist" team cause there is no scientific method being applied at all.




Its bullshit.




Data mining is very important and MS has squandered its internal resources like Watson, OCA, SQM, and WTT/Atlas for many years. So its actually quite wonderful to see some renewed efforts on this, but the approach is misguided. MS leaves its end-users with millions of BSOD every day. And guess what, we blame 3rd-party driver developers for all the crashes.




That's bullshit too.




Its the platform, stupid! And the platform includes test kits! Don't let driver developers write and certify shitty drivers. Add tests to the kits every month on patch Tuesday. Invest in good test collateral that doesn't take 2 weeks to execute and provide the source code for it so 3rd-party guys can debug their shit properly. Integrate all the security tests right in the WHCK and make them mandatory. That's what we need SDETs to drive.


SDET don't want to do data mining crap.




SDE don't want to write tests.




VP and directors need to find some balance with the approach of (re)-defining SDE and SDET roles. Its OK to have SDE write some tests. They're called unit tests. Its OK to have another team of developers write integration tests. Call them SDE or SDET, it doesn't matter, but don't ask the same SDEs to write the integration tests too. Its OK for SDETS to do some data mining and reporting but it just doesn't make sense for that to be their only job.


For integration tests, we need guys who are truly passionate about testing and breaking code. A lot of the SDE guys are not passionate about that.


We also need guys that are passionate about measuring and reporting on data. A lot of SDETs are not passionate about that.


Put people where their passions are.




Oh btw, has anybody heard if the test lab budget is going to be slashed in the next 6 months? Keep hearing that we're losing CSGs cause Satya is against vendors. How do we get quality without SDET and CSG/STE/OPS?

Anonymous said...

// never made it to principal but still saved 1M during my time at MS


Are you one of those Indians who only eat curd rice, never go out for vacations/dinner, don't have cable, phones and convert dollars to rupees before spending on anything.

Anonymous said...

10:40 nailed it.

Anonymous said...

Ex Softie here. What has happened with Test discipline is sad. The following are some of my observations
1. We transitioned to a model where devs owned part of the testing form some time now. There has been no accountability at all. They write a few unit tests that they test on their dev boxes and call it done. I agree devs will test diligently but this is by no means universal.
2. MS will become the new IBM (except without the consultants to fix things). Ship crapware in the Jun/July timeframe and celebrate the big fat review bonuses. No more testers to call your bluff. Don’t have to consider any metrics about customer adoption. Isn’t that what SteveB did. Promoted Terry the day he shipped WP8. Didn’t have to wait for any market share gains.
3. In my current company the dev : PM ratio is more like 10:1 and it has not slowed the pace of innovation. If devs have direct contact with customers they don’t need a PM org to tell them what features to build. They will be smart enough to figure out what to build. It is sad to see exec mgmt saw more value in those who ship PPTs then those who validate the quality of what we ship.
4. Test managers and leads kept beating the automate 100% slogan without doing any cost/benefit analysis of the need for such a high level of automation. This left ICs with their hands tied working on clever automation tricks rather than adding business value focusing on the product. Luckily the leads and managers will have fewer soldiers to put up with their automation death march.

Anonymous said...

For the new PM, please switch to dev ASAP. You have to know coding in order to get thing done. project management, customer engagement is a skill, but not a role.

Anonymous said...

I saw terry walking out of cafe H at around 3:00. I guess he preferred having lunch in an empty cafeteria today.

Anonymous said...

"MS leaves its end-users with millions of BSOD every day"

This is why the test org was gutted. They spent all their time writing meaningless tests that are replicated by booting the machine or selfhosting Office and IE. The real bugs were never found despite the thousands of man years spent on payroll.

As soon as WTT transitioned to dev the game was up. When we finally had to take a look at the jobs we found they mostly didn't test much.

"Invest in good test collateral that doesn't take 2 weeks to execute"

Test got us into this mess and have had at least 10 years to get us out of it again. We should have gutted the test management chain too.

Anonymous said...

Agreed, Test leader and test management sold out tester that there is future, and they hire too many tester. Suddenly the bubble broken, soon or later they will also sink as well. It is sad day for testing community.

Anonymous said...

seeing more bad press on the letters that the execs wrote than anything else. Maybe its time for Frank X Shaw to step down? (or does he just frown at the shoddy work his minions have done?)

Anonymous said...

Looks to me that mainly poor sdets are affected by the lay off. Not heard about any PMs got laid off. This does not make sense to me. A lot of seniors, leads, principals are there eating large chunk of salaries,bonuses and not contributing anything significant to the business. These people should go first which is still not happening.

Anonymous said...

All right Nadella! Talked to all my Indian friends- none of them got fired. Just the whites & chinese. That's how we do it!!! Indian love!

Anonymous said...

@Anon at 10:22PM
"HR used an algorithm and leads and managers didn't know who was going till the announcement. It does mean they couldn't keep their friends."

They seriously let HR drones choose instead of the people actually entrusted with running the team and delivering the product!?!

Game over, MSFT.

Anonymous said...

"For the new PM, please switch to dev ASAP. You have to know coding in order to get thing done. project management, customer engagement is a skill, but not a role."

Not OP but this applies to me as a PM who started last July.

It's just frustrating because I actually enjoy writing specs and working with other teams.

Yet I see the writing on the wall and I think it'll be easier to switch to dev now than 12 months from now when the hammer comes down on all PMs. I even like to code, I'm just not sure if I have the skills to be an SDE at MS.

Ugh.

Anonymous said...

Re: "saved 1M" - it's doable! A friend of mine from Eastern Europe has been here for about 3 years and already has $200,000 in cash+stock savings - granted, he lives frugally (no car, $1200/month studio apt, no girlfriend) but it shows it's doable. His savings are a combination of strictly saving 33% of his takehome as well as socking-away his bonuses. He also got promoted to L62 from L59 in 4 years (he started working in Canada). He also never cashed his stock-awards, which are now worth a lot. So if you can save $200k in 3 years, that extrapolates to almost $700k in 10 years - tack on interest earnings as well as moonlighting (and possibly inheritance, but that's cheating) then hitting $1m is doable.

...not that $1m is a lot of money. It still isn't enough to live-off if you put it into a high-return investment account, for that you need $2-3m now.

Myself, I'm also successfully saving 33% of my takehome (in addition to 401k) yet I have car payments and a more expensive apt (though similarly girlfriend-less) - I currently have $100k in cash and stock assets after working here for about 2 years.

Anonymous said...

While it is preferable to make the cut in one fell swoop, it is really hard to do when you are talking about such large numbers.

I left Microsoft in 2011, and am currently working in a relatively senior position in a company which has fallen into really unfortunate times. I have seen 4 rounds of layoffs in last one year. We would like to get it done in one go, but it is not possible.

Some projects are ongoing and cannot be stopped in the middle. Some people you want to lay-off but cannot as they are the only ones with the knowledge of that project. Some times you make a cut and then see if things improve - market changes, revenue increases etc.. and if no good news comes then you make another cut to survive.

It's a horrible situation to be in, but sometimes leaders don't have a choice.

The biggest problem with this is that your best people, whom you definitely want to retain, will not stick around to find out if they make the list in the next round. Your best will leave quickly and you would be left with those who could not find a job outside which just makes it worse.

Anonymous said...

You have to start to prepare switching from PM to Dev now. Otherwise, when the day comes, it even hurt you more. I spend more than 3 hours every day to do learn and successfully switch from SDET to monitoring/telemetry people. Ops team will be hit hard next time since DevOps will come.

Anonymous said...

left MS 5 years back and the only think is miss is Prime and Orca card.
Is there any cuts in I.T?

Anonymous said...

You have to start to prepare switching from PM to Dev now. Otherwise, when the day comes, it even hurt you more. I spend more than 3 hours every day to do learn and successfully switch from SDET to monitoring/telemetry people. Ops team will be hit hard next time since DevOps will come.

Anonymous said...

HR isn't done.

Anonymous said...

To some of the guys talking of saving 60 to 70K per year are you serious? I cant save more than 10K

Anonymous said...

I think SDEs owning functional tests will cause a lot of test gaps and will affect product quality eventually. Most of the developers are all about coding, and not serious about testing. This is natural. This is where we need SDETs.

Anonymous said...

So, is being laid off considered prejudicial? Are hiring managers not going to look at resumes from folks that were laid off?

Anonymous said...

So, is being laid off considered prejudicial for being hired into another position? Are MS hiring managers not going to look at resumes from folks that were laid off?

Anonymous said...

I have collectively worked for Microsoft for about 10 years, but left the company and rejoined, twice. Can anyone comment on if severance is determined based on total years worked or just the total time of my most recent service since returning?

Anonymous said...

It is 100% sure the quality will be down a lot. And it is not chance to hire new SDET any more. who will care about quality, VPs, PMs? It took 3~5 years for a team to change. so I expect OSG will continue to sink.

Anonymous said...

Former softie. I was so-called 'deadwood' laid off a few years ago.

Gladly turned my talents to iOS, Android and open-source backend development. Never happier.

Oddly, got urgent call early thursday morning for a contract dev role at MSFT.

Anonymous said...

Are all the cuts in SDETs over or more to come tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

Were coming for you whitey...at the stroke of midnight. To breathe curry breath all over your minty self.

Anonymous said...

Probably the new paradigm shift to cloud asks for a descent quality service to be rolled out quickly and often than a great quality product once a year. SDETs are unlikely to match their automation development for a weekly service release cadence. Instead they can be a hurdle with all their automation passes and unwillingness to give in on minor bugs. SDET role will eventually be killed at least for the services world.

Anonymous said...

>> Myself, I'm also successfully >> saving 33% of my takehome (in >> addition to 401k) yet I have >> car payments and a more expensive apt (though similarly girlfriend-less) - I currently have $100k in cash and stock assets after working here for about 2 years.

Perfect perhaps you and your "friend" can get together Friday nights and suck each other off...

Anonymous said...

11:23 if you're in OSG and in the USA then I think you should be safe tomorrow, according to Terry's mail

Anonymous said...

"All right Nadella! Talked to all my Indian friends- none of them got fired. Just the whites & chinese. That's how we do it!!! Indian love!"

That's definitely not true. 4 of the Indian folks I know are fired. And there are many other too.

Anonymous said...

Oh Satish your yummy curry cock tastes so good...ummm you too Sanjiv...Let's check our bank accounts now and then our service telemetry...We win in the boardroom and the bedroom...

Anonymous said...

When will the deadwood in Bing Ads be let go? Plenty of PMs doing nothing and I am not counting managers, directors who can't even articulate what their teams are actually doing. At least LCA got a much needed boot in the rear. Bing Ads next!

Anonymous said...

"Now, with new cloud-based methods of building software, it often makes sense to have the developers test and fix bugs instead of a separate team of testers" - Satya Nadella said in an interview last week after releasing his memo.

Anonymous said...

"That's definitely not true. 4 of the Indian folks I know are fired. And there are many other too."

Stop trying to reason with a crazy person...

Anonymous said...


1.>> 2 of them, Chinese, can't even hold a conversation let alone sell $hit.


2.>> Someone please send these ping-pongers back to their communist roots ...


3.


4.Captain America, please dont forget your immigrant roots. You owe your largest debt to the Chinese govt. So before you talk trash, think about the near future where you will have to apply for H1 work visa to go to China and work on minimum wage to kiss some Chinese butt and wipe some Chinese ass.

Anonymous said...

Listen, I have no sympathy for all the fools complaining that the H1Bs are taking their jobs. It's completely your own fault. You drank the kool-aid of diversity, multi-culturalism, and equalism and idly sat by as your company and this country was taken over by turd-worlders, homosexuals, and feminazis. They run the show now, it's their company/country. You just live here and you are now at their mercy. When it's chopping block time, it's your heterosexual, white-male dumbass on the line, they are always going to protect their own.

Enjoy the wonders of diversity and bow down to your new masters, Rajeshkumar Dipasetty, Sanjeeb Charagundla, Jawad Gopali, Gang Bang Foo, and the rest. You let this happen, now deal with it.

Anonymous said...

Terry can be a great leader from time to time, but he is also a bully. Senior people are leaving OSG rather than fight him. This is creating an "Emperor's New Clothes" culture where nobody wants to tell Terry when he's wrong. I hope Satya has the balls to take Terry down a notch, when necessary.

Anonymous said...

East West
Satya is the Best

Anonymous said...

Nadella's net worth grew by ballpark $2M on the layoff rumors and subsequent announcement. I imagine the board's collective net worth has grown about $50M. Here's a link board members may find useful: http://www.northwestharvest.org/

Anonymous said...

I'm a former SDET who left in 2011. To the person who posted at 10:52, testing is simply done poorly at Microsoft. The waterfall process, where developers essentially throw code over the wall to testers who are charged with finding every bug, is absurd and adds no value. In other companies engineers who work in test roles write integration test and other support infrastructure, and the developers either own or share responsibility for testing in their individual project. When I was there we actually had a 1:1 dev and test ratio in our org, which was obviously overkill and couldn't possibly fit this model. Further, testers need to have the same coding chops as the devs, and in fact it's probably a mistake to separate the roles at all.

Back to the case at hand though: sure, there were/are plenty of testers who haven't been serious enough contributors to keep (and they should go) but are they really what has been holding back the company? It seemed clear to me that there were layers of middle management who had limited technical abilities and survived mostly through sly politics. Enough of those people made things truly toxic. Nobody should be a pure people manager until they have at least a double digit number of reports. They need to be contributing code.

Anonymous said...

The reason Test is so screwed up in MS is because of the Indian and Chinese housewives who instead of sitting at homes become test leads

Anonymous said...

Mini, a) welcome back and b) you are forgetting that 12 months is equivalent to warp speed at Microsoft.

Anonymous said...

>>probably the new paradigm shift to cloud asks for a descent quality service to be rolled out quickly and...
You are right. For services it may be appropriate to rely on functional testing done by devs. But this approach will definitely not work for on box products like windows, office. It requires the traditional functional testing that SDETs used to do. If you look at the FVTS written by devs today, they are nothing but slightly more advanced unit tests.

Anonymous said...

To be honest, I have not see single Chinese test lead did bad jobs, but many Indian women test leaders. Sorry for offending people.

Anonymous said...

Did any incompetent curry smelling Redmond reject managers get whacked in MS India?

Anonymous said...

Any layoffs in ASG?

Anonymous said...

Hmm. Maybe the real problem with this company is it's full of entitled racist misogynists.

Anonymous said...

Hyderabad is well known to be corrupt and useless. Even the posts from Hyderabad acknowledge this issue with the management there. Some groups I've been in have outsourced there, only to have to rewrite all the code that was sent back to even get it to work.
The Indian managers I've worked with here in Redmond are some of the worst I've ever come across. Very political. Always ready to take credit for someone else's work. It's not personal, it's cultural.
Of course, in the face of this what do the SLT decide to do? They put an Indian manager in charge of the whole frickin' company!? Did you really expect that to go well? No, this is just the start.
No, this is not a race card, nor a H1B thing. I came to the USA on a H1B myself.

Anonymous said...

I'm sad to see such racists who are/were part of microsoft.

Anonymous said...

10:40 commenter replying to 10:52 commenter.

"This is why the test org was gutted...."


Good perspective. I certainly hope this is why the test org was gutted. But if was the case, then you'd expect guys that wrote shitty tests and found the fewest bugs would be fired. Or guys that had multiple selfhost blocking bugs in their area would be fired. You might also expect that management would use data analytics to sift through the bug database/atlas to make such determinations. I highly doubt any such analysis occurred. Some tests were very successful and found many bugs yet those SDETs were still let go.


But I agree with you that the current test collateral and the metrics to measure daily build quality generally blow and some people had to go. The WHQL/WHCK logo program is a joke too - all the 3rd-party devs know it. Maybe that's why we're getting rid of logo certification for < 8" devices.


Selfhost finds lots of bugs but they are often really shitty bugs and don't include logs. It takes way too long to get those bugs resolved with all the back and forth. We still need guys to write the tools do do analysis, automatically gather the *right* logs, analyze aggregate data to understand customer impact etc. The new quality org aint doing all that. And I don't think the dev teams really want to do it either.

I think PM should take part of it. We should all be able to wear any hat. Maybe any PMs that are afraid of installing VS2013 and writing some C# code or powershell scripts should be shown the door too.

I just want a balanced approach here. I think we're going too far towards self-host/data analytics where the devs code it and throw it at the wall to see if it sticks. I think that's going to waste a lot of time with many dupe bugs and bugs taking longer to get resolved. Not saying the old way was perfect, but there is some merit in test authoring and being reasonably confident about certain API surfaces not regressing *before* sending out builds to selfhost. The fact that Office365 was pretty much hosed on last week's selfhost is a huge embarrassment. How did that shit get RI'd to winmain? How many selfhost hours did that shitty build waste?


So again I think we need some balance here.


I think its better to have one team try to break the other team's code rather than one team testing its own code. Whether that is SDET vs SDE or SDE vs SDE, I don't care. All I know is that SDE was fully booked on dev work and then the new testing role was sprung on them after the OS plan was locked. That is total bullshit. It means we'll cut lots of features in M2. It means we'll once again piss off OEMs and drive them towards android for 2015 designs.

Anonymous said...

This is the end of Microsoft as a great company it once was

Anonymous said...

Today I witnessed the death of any chance for Microsoft Windows to become a quality product again.

The Entire Windows test team was laid off today at a time when the product quality is the worst it has ever been. So many of the people that were laid off were key players and fundamental tool/infrastructure owners. It's completely obvious to me that nobody did any research into how important each person was to the overall business but rather just neutralized entire teams.

They are going to feel the pain come Monday when they realize they lost so much undocumented tribal knowledge at a time when they need it most.

Great job Nadella, you have done far more damage to the Windows business then Steven Sinofsky ever could.

Anonymous said...

There are lot of innovations happening in MSR. Instead of firing people they should channelize effort to bring innovations from MSR to customers.

Anonymous said...

while outsourcing to india continues.

Anonymous said...

Mini - we all know you are some people manager at Microsoft. You should first be ashamed to take advantage of your popularity to save ass of people managers. It's these clueless people managers, typically middle management, is what's destroying Microsoft. They should be called "politics managers". These people have no deep understanding about the products and problems. They do bullshit all day long constantly avoiding technical stuff but at the same time faking as if they know everything. These delgators who never let their feet touch on the ground revel in 30,000 ft where everything should be working and if not then it's fault of those "real engineers". These are the people that needs to get out and I hope these incompetent rusted grey matter is the first one to get fired. There is no place of non-technical so-called middle management. Google and Facebook have already eliminated these roles as much as possible. Microsoft should be the next one if they want to complete and cut down on politics.

Anonymous said...

10:40 commenter replying to 12:04


"Testing is simply done poorly at Microsoft."


Yes yes yes. Well at least in Windows anyway. I don't think its that bad company-wide. But maybe it takes guys that have left Microsoft and gone elsewhere to truly see it.

"Further, testers need to have the same coding chops as the devs, and in fact it's probably a mistake to separate the roles at all."


Agreed. If its true that some SDETs are really SDEs who couldn't hack it, then yes let them go and put the good ones in the dev org where they can shine.

But don't let the job title or org name arbitrarily restrict what the staff can focus on. Let the guys most passionate about breaking code focus on that instead of coding lame features dreamed up by a PM flunky like me :) Likewise, let the devs who are less passionate about test stick to feature work.

Anonymous said...

Can anyone from OSG share Terry's email?

awesome pm! said...

There is no layoff in ASG ( Bing side ). Not sure about the Office.

I am actually kind of bummed that I am not laid off. it would be nice to get that 6 months severance, since I am planning to relocate to SF anyway.

Test ICs and leads deserve to be axed hard, they do not do anything productive, just sending emails and write shitty reports.

Anonymous said...

Who else is joining the flashmob at Satya's Q&A session on Friday? I can't wait to see his reaction.

Anonymous said...

To all of my "affected" MSFT coworkers who've just had a really bad day at work, only to find some insane racist and misogynist asshat "peers"(?) spewing their bile all over Mini's internets: I hope your today is much better than your yesterday, and I want you to know that you and your contributions to this company are truly appreciated. Much success on your job searches.

Anonymous said...

The diversity shake-down currently underway in Silicon Valley started by that disgraceful race-hustler Jesse Jackson is already here. Never mind that whites are already under-represented in these companies as a percentage of their population. Never mind that Sanjeevkumar Gopalkrishnan and Sum Ting Wong are already way over-represented in the workforce. The diversity nazis will not stop until at least half the rosters are filled with AA women, and the other half with our buddies from the subcuntinent and the fareast.

And don't even get me started on these female Indian test leads and managers. Some of these ****s are actually Principles at places like MSIT, it's unreal the amount of garbage we have at this company.

Anonymous said...


RE: Focusing our team
Team,

As Satya shared last week, and we’ve been discussing for almost a year, we are making broad changes in how we engineer products. Thus, today we are restructuring some parts of our team in three areas: consolidating some of our geographically distributed teams, cancelling some projects to increase investment on higher priorities, and changing the ratio of people working across disciplines as part of our new engineering process. For individuals in Redmond whose jobs are impacted, a leader within their organization will have reached out by 11:30 AM PDT today; timing outside of Redmond will vary.

This change is so incredibly hard. People whose jobs are impacted by these changes are our colleagues and friends. The company is offering support, services and assistance during this transition in a number of ways. For those of you whose jobs are impacted by this, I want to thank you for your contribution to Microsoft and our customers, and wish you the best.

It will take time for all of us to adjust to today's announcement, but we can now move forward knowing that we have completed the OSG-wide restructuring in the US today; the process outside the US will be completed according to local law and practices.

-Terry

Anonymous said...

+1 to all the apologist comments. 10+ years at MS and I don't hear racist comments--because racists know that sh*t isn't kosher in the workplace. I double-dog dare the next H1B1 racist douche to sign his comment with a Google account, and expose himself for the asshat (and non-softie) he is.

I was laid off twice in the dot com bust, and both times it turned out to be a good thing--but that doesn't help you, if you were laid off yesterday. All I can say is, hang in there. A lot of us feel survivor guilt, which is silly but there you go.

Anonymous said...

Any impact in MSIT India and the incompetent PgM teams? There is massive deadwood there and plenty of middle aged men looking for easy retirement, having earned their $$$ as H1B.

Anonymous said...

I was one of the many who was shown the door today. OSG, SDET 2. 9+ years. All in OSG and its previous incarnations. Good reviews. We were told 3 was good. Correct?

I went to the 10:30AM meeting thinking something was up. I was positive it would be about moving the entire team to work on Domino, Apex,.. It took me two bullets into the 1st slide to figure out what was happening. They never said laid off, fired, etc. But conveyed the message. I would say nearly 75+ people in the conf room. All let go. All skin colors, all nationality, all visa types.

Nearly 13 folks from my team were let go. Mix of SDET 2 and SENIOR. Some of them doing stellar work this review season. My manager most certainly got a stellar review based on the work of 1 of the SERIORs this review season.

No managers were let go. All ICs. Not sure how management ranks will be reduced by doing that. Someone please ask Satya that today.

Fellow Softies - when colleague sends a good bye message, be nice and reply back with a nice message. All I heard was crickets. The response might be a cliche but that's OK.

DEVs with whom I worked for 6+ years side by side - drop by to have a quick chat. Just saying "I will help you in any way I can" goes a long way. Heck, just drop a message.

Test Managers - You used our work to make your careers. Drop by and have a chat at the minimum. You should be ashamed as none of you were to be seen today.

Everyone one who came out with kind words, contacts, referrals, THANK YOU!

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

To all the worthless limp-wristed Seattle liberals telling everyone how racist they are and then patting themselves in the back, I have a mission for you.

Go to work tomorrow, open Outlook, then open GAL. Next, find a random Deepak Gupta Dev-test lead/manager (or look for a Wi Tu Lo), and then look at their directs. Almost 100% of the time, their directs will be the same curry/dim-sum eating fools as the managers. They always look out for their own, except the dumb**** whites, who activity work against their own and undermine them every chance they get. Try going to your kitchen around lunch sometime and see if you can manage to survive there for more than 10 seconds. And if you are unlucky enough to share an office or conf room with one of these Indians, my sympathies to you. If you don't pass out from the stench, you're left wondering, in a county where we have hot water, soap, and deodorant, why these vermin won't take a shower?

Anonymous said...

Complaining about H1B is not racist. We are being pushed out of the workforce and need to discuss the forces that are driving it.

India and China have 2+ billion people. Common sense would dictate that there is a limit on how many of them we can absorb into our labor force before we start to feel the negetive impact. At point do we set that limit and say we can’t take any more? 10 million people? 100 million? 500 million?

Anonymous said...

You are very naive and stupid, its not that simple and if this country is becoming junk is for many different reasons. What you are saying is just based on hate and don't actually solve any problem or make things better for anybody.

Anonymous said...

"Complaining about H1B is not racist."

In itself, no. But this is:

"these vermin"
"curry/dim-sum eating fools "
"They always look out for their own, except the dumb**** whites"

Always. All of them. And white people are uniquely immune to protecting their friends.

If H1-Bs are being misused, don't blame the person holding the H1-B. They only applied for one; they didn't issue it to themselves.

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 12:10:00 AM:
The reason Test is so screwed up in MS is because of the Indian and Chinese housewives who instead of sitting at homes become test leads


haha this is so true! Whats up with all these foreign housewives types, constantly getting pregnant, etc, and keep on climbing the ranks at MS so quickly? Is there a secret deal to hand out 1 promotion per pregnancy @ MS?

Goal: have 3 kids and reach manager level, 4 will get you director

lol

Anonymous said...

For those complaining about h1b, Indians indeed make the majority of them, ( for example, the ratio of Indian : Chinese h1b is currently 10:1 ). Indians are taking over the american high tech and other industries is a process as sure as daylight. This is the trend, better accept it.

Anonymous said...

"Is volunteering to be laid off an option?" Based on personal experience, be VERY careful with this. A few years ago during a previous redundancy round, I approached a trusted contact (!) in HR to ask this very question, the answer was no. Imagine my surprise when in the subsequent annual review I received the lowest rating of my career based on perceived lack of long-term potential! I left shortly afterwards, vowing never to trust anyone in HR again! We live & learn.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry for all the OSG ppl that got canned. Good luck in your job search!
What's the situation in other orgs? STB (or however sql server umbrella org is called these days)? Office?
Re testing windows: quality of win 7 (and 8) is light years ahead of vista (and xp), so SteveSi did something right... however, focus of the win org has been drifting for a while (case in point: win 8 and reversal of many things in franken win 8.1) - win marketing cuts seem overdue - win PMs you're next...
a tiny bit on H1B issue: MSFT (and GOOG/FB/most of the valley companies) are paying market rates for H1B ppl, the ones actually exploiting the system are all the outsourcing companies (example from last year: http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2013-02-20/news/37200308_1_h-1b-programme-h1b-h-1b-visas)
How come no one is angry about 30K CSGs (number is from my time at MSFT, I guess it's higher now)?
--another former softie (left in 2010 for greener pastures)

Anonymous said...

Not a racist, but I notice many of my maie Indian co-workers have wives who also work at MS, some are vendors, but mostly they were married overseas and the wives just came over to Redmond and gets to work at MS within a few months. Is there some kinda network where they hook each other up for the housewives? Sometimes I wonder if the husband do the work for the wife as well.

Anonymous said...

Ex-'softie here.

You sure sound like that union guy that pops in here every so often, trolling and scare-baiting so you can try to hit the still-MSFT-employed up to vote in unions. Worked out really good for those Boeing workers you screwed over that don't have profit-sharing, huh? I bet they like those dues flying out of their checks, too.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like those union trolls that come in frequently. See my other reply farther down.

Anonymous said...

Watch out for union trolls...

Anonymous said...

I would love for that to be true, but Ballmer is still on the board and Nutella is his hand-picked successor. If anything, he's protecting them for Ballmer, but he is forced to change strategy. He's out of his sycophantic element, pushed to the top, and that makes me wonder if that's why the new strategy is glacial and chaotic. There IS an anti-Sinofsky theme, however, those peeps are pushed out the door, or sent to Siberia.

Anonymous said...

I blame the Sunnis. We Shia have had to put up with your crap for far too long, and it's high time we did something about it. Them Kurds aren't much better but at least they keep to themselves and mostly know their place.

Anonymous said...

Part of the angst against H1-B has got to do with the fact that people conflate folks being hired over at MS as FTEs (who have been educated in computer science in good univs over here) and the hordes of folks who have been brought over on H1-B from India by all these outsourcing companies (Infosys, Wipro etc.). The H1-B hired directly as FTEs from top univs are paid quite well (6 figures from my own experience), so really the fault for all this rage against H1-Bs goes to the outsourcing companies who have been outrageously misusing the H1-B program for at least a couple of decades now.

Anonymous said...

AFAIK most of these H1Bs come southern part of India. They have some fetishes there, not necessarily in order:

1. Join some tom dick & harry school and get an engineering certificate
2. Work for some Indian shop for a few years
3. Try to get an H1 and go to America
4. Live like a beggar and send all $$ back to their mal-nourished families.
5. Bring more like you and form a network.
6. Bang an American hooker.

Anonymous said...

One and a half year ago I was given a 5 by lead, who was a partner without a reason. I left the company and found a new position, now my pay is tripled, yes, that is three times than I earned in MSFT (was L60). So, do not panic, MS just sucks in review process, not comes the layoff.

Anonymous said...

I'm a little confused...are we done or this just wave 1?

Anonymous said...

Why managers are not fired.. Interesting

Anonymous said...

Managers never get the cut on the first wave. Wait until September for wave 2.

Anonymous said...

People that should have no place at Microsoft:

- Amateur managers. As an IC I have no use for someone who is "practicing" -- I have a real career, and deserve good guidance and leadership.

- Micro-managers. The PMs who exist merely to whip-crack and manage daily standups. The fear-ridden and insecure manager who tries to direct your every move. Total wastes of oxygen.

- Psychopaths. Christ, where do I start? The directors who swear at their reports, continually make arbitrary and conflicting decisions, and who "manage upward" and somehow haven't been fired. The partners who have quit-in-place and no longer give the company any value (just political churn).

I left MS (an L66) nearly two years ago and haven't regretted it a moment.

There are lots of good people left at Microsoft, and they deserve better management than they are getting.

Anonymous said...

While you still have the blue badge, you can always go to the Apple store and get 10% off a MacBook or iMac if you want to add some iOS to your skill set.

Anonymous said...

Cut the "mobile first, productivity first" BS OK?
Apple is allying with IBM in mobile productivity.
Microsoft is just the wallflower
to be made into an Indian H1b Landing force. Look at all the indian contracting companies Microsoft keeps paying big bucks for.

Anonymous said...

Is ASG just less affected because teams have been moving to Combined engineering in the past few months?

Feels like the good SDETs became SDEs and are actually doing really well. They contribute to live site investigations because they know how things break.

That being said, in our org at least, the weaker testers joined an org that doesn't own a product or service, just tools and dashboards. Yes, I really believe these teams are just fat, so I wonder if the layoffs are coming for them...

Anonymous said...

The person who wrote -"For those that don't know the new TLAs, OSG= {Operating Systems Group} which is Windows + Phone + Xbox platforms under Terry Myerson. (Sigma= Silicon + Graphics + Media)"

You nailed it!!!

Anonymous said...

"We are a nation of immigrants who hate the newer immigrants" -Jon Stewart, The Daily Show

Anonymous said...

Still lots of fat around. Look around and ask youself - what did I do for my customers/users today? Will they care and like it or will they be pissed off?

Anonymous said...

Ummm you do realize that you may not be indigenous to this country either and somewhere in your ancestry someone would have migrated here too. So essentially.. You are dissing your own ancestors too

Anonymous said...

Yesterday I was one of the SDETs in OSG to be let go, I worked at MS for seven years with a lot of talented people, Devs, SDETs and PMs. Personally I saw this coming for some time so I was sort of prepared. We had our chances to move to dev roles when they started restructuring our jobs and pass almost everything we did to devs, writing was on the wall. We just got too comfortable.

The people let go were of all types, nationalities, rankings, etc. There were people who were fantastic at their positions and still let go, some leads were let go earlier during the day. The people were from sdet 1s to principals.

These are my thoughts:

- I feel really sorry for people who have family members and kids who were in the mix. Especially folks who were getting their GC and had just bought homes, etc. That sucks when you think you have some form of safety but it is just a fake reality

- leads will probably become ICs , they will all report probably to test managers. They did this to have one sdet to two devs mapping as opposed to 1:1. This means 50% of SDETs in OSG were probably let go.

- most people who were let go are very smart and talented and capable, I am sure and certain that most will find better opportunities in Seattle or elsewhere. I have been contacted by many places already.

- we were probably cut because of lack of interest on RT and windows phones, etc. it didn't take a scientist to figure out this was coming. I suspect some devs and pms will be let go later to fill those 5000 numbers, but I am not so sure to be honest.

- I don't think anyone in their right minds will consider to work for Microsoft anytime soon. It is not safe anymore, no one is safe. I remember a few years ago I was told even the 5's at Microsoft who worked in windows (by the way some 5s are still hard workers and talented) will never be touched in this safest place. But reality is that our jobs aren't fulfilling the business and justify it now as it did many years ago.

- Many devs and pms were shocked and saddened by this news. We were a team and we worked together for some time (imagine a small company) and there were lot of these type of "small companies" within Microsoft. I am sure the management in our divisions had to make really hard decisions but I am sure for legal reasons they probably had to put some "randomness" as well to make us scratch our heads (think hr and legal)

Bottom line it is done, we were lucky folks before and the severance package isn't too bad, I hope people who were let go will find something very soon. My hearts to folks with family, kids, and people who are here on work visa or in GC process, and folks who had just bought homes.

I am still rooting for my friends and the products we all worked for, and I still believe windows and windows phones and Xbox can still be successful. The upper management just need to listen to customers as well as the voices inside of the company instead of pushing ideas from themselves (I.e think start menu and some current issues on phone which shouldn't go to public as is that can be seen on dev preview)

/peace

DV

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know if Kevin's org has already done the axing?

Anonymous said...

At the same time that Satya is planning the biggest layoffs in Microsoft history, he's also awarding Infosys, an Indian contractor Infosys $100 Million IT contract. Microserfs better ask Mr Nuttela about Infosys.

Anonymous said...

To the person who wrote this...

Cuts done right:

Cut at the M3 and Partner level. Cut hard here. Cut the good old boy network and make sure that the people that deserve a seat in the lifeboat can't continue to save their inept, political friends.

Bravo sir! I 100% agree with you...absolutely crushed it!

Anonymous said...

A REAL STORY about favoritism and dirty politics in the Exchange Test Team and how it saved itself from the layoffs.

A few months back, EVP Qi Lu decides to reorg the Exchange team. The idea was to get rid of the test discipline and decrease the “management layers”. SDETs/SDET Leads will all be converted to Dev. Test Managers, Test Directors and Test CVPs will be converted to IC’s or shown the door (indirectly). Dev Leads become Dev Managers and get more reports. The test-to-dev converts will also report to these new Dev Managers.

When the re-org came, Test Director Steve Connor made the best move of his career. He knew that most of the test team was just dead wood and it was just a matter of time before most of them get laid off. He somehow convinced CVP Rajesh Jha to create an entirely new ‘Customer Engineering’ dev team with a headcount of ~200. That saved his ass. When it was time for Steve to build his team of directs (Group Dev Managers) and their directs (Dev Managers) he picked them up ENTIRELY from the TEST discipline. In that, he selected a few of his previous directs (Test Managers) he was closest with (Satish Krishnan, Nagaraju Palla, etc) and asked them to select their own team. These GDM’s created new teams from their old orgs. ‘Senior SDET Leads’ will become ‘Dev Managers’ with 10 dev reports (again, all previous SDETs) each.

Test Managers who weren’t as close to Steve, will be converted to Dev ICs in the default org. They weren’t even considered for the ‘Dev Manager’ (let alone GDM) position in the new team. Those positions are being taken up by very average Senior SDET leads. I was close to one of these very capable Test Manager. This is blatantly unfair and everybody across Exchange acknowledges this obvious, “who you know” is more important than “what you are capable of”. What a shame. Exchange used to be a great team within Microsoft.
Here’s the kicker. An IC who was previously a Senior SDET and now a Senior SDE jokes, “This has been a great summer. I became a senior dev without interviewing for it. And, best of all, since my entire team was kept intact with no real devs being hired, I am really only competing with other SDETs. That keeps my reviews and work-life balance in good shape”. He is right and it will stay that way because the dev’s don’t want to join Steve Connor’s team.

I am now a part of the dev team and I’ll have to work my butt off to compete with other devs and get promotions. As for Steve Connor’s entire team, they got a free title without any added responsibilities. Unshamed nepotism and sandbagging by the test org. Hope Rajesh / Qi / Satya are listening…

Anonymous said...

Fellow Microsoft-ies

Look up Michael Nielsen and Nicole McKinley. They are classic example of the deadwood at Microsoft....directors who contribute no technical value but just polish PPTs and manage up by kissing a$$. I used to be on their teams and wondered what they did to deserve their fat salaries.

These are the people Satya needs to cut...they are the cancer that's killing our company.

Anonymous said...

Another example is ECO, which recently shifted to India to do some crappy job and save the a$$ of folks who deserve the axe.

Anonymous said...

Sinofsky's Triad model is SO BROKEN! There is zero accountability at the Director level and most decisions are watered down compromises that are typically delayed.

With Sinofsky gone, the Triad model and Directors' role need to go.

For Satya to truly get to a agile fast moving company:
1. Reduce Partner ranks by 85%. Keep only those Partners who have a proven technical and hands on track record for the last 3 years. Partners frankly are the biggest financial and innovation drags on the company at the moment.
2. Reduce number of managers by atleast 50%. Use WHI as one of the criterion to keep a manager in their role. Manager feedback another one. "People managers" need to be let go. Keep managers with a proven technical track record AND who have a proven people management track record.
3. Get back to the PUM/GM model where there's a single butt-on-line accountability for the product.

Anonymous said...

To the exchange story, is it a really good story. Your test pairs may not so bad and they do contribute a lot to the team. I knew Exchange team have thought about the change for long times, and most of their SDETs are doing monitoring and telemetry. The test managers are true technique driven.

Anonymous said...

True

Anonymous said...

Is there life after MS -- definitely -- provided you have the right skills to stay employed and engaged in your industry.

I quit MS several years back and re-skilled in a competitive platform. Companies were beating down the door for me, and I had a vibrant consulting career, including some for MS.

Eventually MS chased me down to re-hire me permanently with an 'offer you can't refuse'

That was a disaster, and I left soon after. I had forgotten how toxic the environment could be, and had seen what life was like 'over the wall'. No money was worth it.

I left and was hired by a competitor, and can't imagine ever going back to MS. Ever.

As for H1b -- You can't generalize. People are people. I am sure there are is a lot of cronyism going on with people of particular nationalities who 'understand' the system. I observed a lot of that myself.

But as an H1b myself, a few years back, I can testify that the system is very, very, difficult for the immigrant, and you are effectively an indentured servant/wage slave for a number of years. You'll do -anything- to protect your status.

And there are people who will take advantage of that -- that's why many hiring managers who were H1b's themselves end up hiring other H1b's, because they can control them more effectively than they can a citizen. It's not an Indian/Chinese pals club as much as it's a way to get ahead.

That's why (IMO) companies are trying to move away from some of the restrictions on H1bs -- so that the immigrant has the same rights as a local worker, and cannot be exploited in the way that they are.

I'm not an expert -- just someone who came through the system, and directly experienced the exploitation.


Anonymous said...

@Friday, July 18, 2014 7:44:00 AM

Former Ex test team - wonder how safe they really are...

From the outside, their charter seems tenuous at best.

Wondering where the next 5k layoffs will come from. Is most of the Redmond cutting done for the 2014 bloodbath? Spreading it out over 6 months is cruel.

With the test purge in OSG, will the QA positions at Amazon finally get filled? To me Amazon is a last resort, there has to be other positions in Seattle area that aren't Msft/contractor or Amazon.

Time to brush up on Android and iOS mobile development?

Anonymous said...

Any news on other orgs?

DevDiv (or whatever it's called now)
DPE
CSS
MSIT

?

Anonymous said...

any pfe's cut in the layoffs?

Anonymous said...

To those who are talking about cutting PMs: From personal experience over may years - Satya thinks that developers should toil in the mines and business minded PMs are the ones who make Microsoft run.

Anonymous said...

I feel for those being shown the door today. I was in your place just over 5 years ago.

I was apparently considered deadwood but was enough of a competitive worry to MSFT that they threatened to sue a company who considered me for employment highly relevant to my skillset after that.

I left the country and OS development to get out from under their shadow.

Fast forward five years. My work is far less interesting and professionally satisfying. But helping to balance that out is that I have 30 extra hours each week to do other interesting things I never had time to do before. Cash in hand per year is equivalent to my old MSFT salary + annual stock vesting.

I would still rather be at MSFT, but only if two particular managers were pink slipped. Until that happens, I've got a better deal here. Plus probably a more stable job. The 20 year old company I work for has never had a mass RIF.

Anonymous said...


Exchange Test Team story is a good read. Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

I left MSFT of my own accord, as an SDET, about a year ago. A lot of my former colleagues were let go yesterday. What really pisses me off are the recent college hires, who I know were given the "SDET is just SDE but for tools" talk by recruiters. It is clear management did not see things this way.

Anonymous said...

Recruiters: "SDET is Dev but for tools"
Microsoft Internal Perception: "SDET is a Dev with training wheels"

This was never healthy for Microsoft, and the derogatory opinion of the notion of testing was evident in product quality ("Release Almost Quality") for years.

The latest moves are a huge step backwards for Microsoft. The mindset for building strong automated testing systems and the mindset for building features may coexist in some people, but in my experience, not in most.

Yes, all developers should write unit tests. It's part of being professional and producing quality work. But trying to get your feature devs to also write full integration and functional testing? You either get a serious slow down in your ability to move rapidly (because, yeah, Microsoft is already too agile and fast on its feet) or you get half-assed testing. Or both.

Anonymous said...

They are cutting some low level ICs, but promoting too many partners. In my early years at MS partners are rare and really strong. Now almost every Dev mgr in some divisions are partners, and they are not even as good as principal level devs a few years back. if MS really wants to save somthing, they need to get rid of 80% of the partners.

Also agree some people mentioned above, it matters now in MS who you know, not what you can do.

Your review score is defined by what task they give you, and if you are not a buddy of your boss, you have no way to get a decent project. This probably happened all the time in MS, but I'd say, 5 years ago, maybe 50% of us can still work through our way to a certain level; now, less than 10% without connections.

the flattening of the org - what I see is a lot of leads become ICs. a couple with connections and protected by some higher level friends, they become managers.

Anyway, hard time starts. let wish the best.

Anonymous said...

This is the beginning of the end. Better be prepared for the demise of msft soon.

Anonymous said...

I just tuned in to the webcast. Satya seems really nervous. He is using so many hand gestures and looking down at his teleprompter. So far it appears he is getting softball questions.

Anonymous said...

Nobody cares about what they are talking right now, they are avoiding the elephant in the room... He will get away with no questions maybe people are scared to ask and be exposed

Anonymous said...

Webcast questions are garbage. HR pre-approved softballs. If I hear another book recommendation I'm going to lose my shit.

Anonymous said...

I really don't want to see Lisa Brummel or Frankie Shaw's ugly mugs in this webcast anymore.

Anonymous said...

Satya is spending 10 mins answering each of these weak questions. At this rate no one will ask the tough questions. Right now, Satya gets a thumbs down from me until further notice.

Anonymous said...

Writers in System Center and Windows Server were hit really hard yesterday. I heard numbers around 20% of the org was let go.

Anonymous said...

Have heard of very few managers. I agree it's silly that so many ICs were cut and so few managers.

Anonymous said...

What kind of comedy do you enjoy?

Really!!!!!

This is not the Q&A i was looking for..

Anonymous said...

The people asking the questions share at least half the blame. Jesus Christ.

Anonymous said...

fuck yammer

Anonymous said...

well that was a waste of an hour - learned nothing

Anonymous said...

To the person writing this;

Fellow Microsoft-ies

Look up Michael Nielsen and Nicole McKinley.....

I agree 100%. You must be from CSS too. I worked in Nicole's team a couple years ago....complete idiot who undoubtedly became a senior director by sleeping with the right people.

Anonymous said...

@Mini, any chance you can remove the racist comments (they affect your reputation by allowing them), or move the whole comments section to another system like Reddit where they can easily be buried down by others?

Anonymous said...

Wow. That Q&A session was worthless. Some employees are really stuck in the bubble. This is why the company won't succeed.

Anonymous said...

Did someone ask Satya if the bloodbath is over?

Anonymous said...

Hmmm, wonder what percentage of people laid off were over 40 or had high medical costs. Not that those factors would ever be an issue. HAHAHA, oh sorry.

Anonymous said...

Somewhere in the beginning of the cast Satya said "and we're not done yet" referring to layoffs. Did he mean globally? Or in the US? I thought US layoffs were over with.

Though I'm still expecting OSG's PM role to change in 2015.

Anonymous said...


Did someone ask Satya if the bloodbath is over?

No, but the bookbath is going strong

Anonymous said...

Waiting for the axe to fall in SMSG.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
@Mini, any chance you can remove the racist comments (they affect your reputation by allowing them), or move the whole comments section to another system like Reddit where they can easily be buried down by others?

//

Agree, Mini. I think a MiniMSFT subreddit would be a great place to have an ongoing dialog. I supposed the challenge would be moderation.

Anonymous said...

Its really interesting that you bring up SMSG, that place has a lot of fat. There are folks there who struggle to even explain what their roles are.

I am equally surprised that there has been no mention of any cuts in that Org yet.....

Anonymous said...

On Nicole McKinley +1. I have never worked in CSS but have seen her work at close quarters and have been surprised that she has lasted this long at Microsoft---- a perfect example of staying close to people who matter and take shameless credit for work done by others.....

Anonymous said...

My boss told me that yesterday roughly 80% of the cuts are done in the U.S. The rest will be handled before the end of the calendar year. Basically, it will be a battle of the underperformers based on reviews. It won't be the folks that crashed and burned this past year and got the equivalent of a 5. Those folks have already been shown the door. It will be the folks that get the low end of a 3 or 4 (not sure what the equivalent is with the new connect system in HR). The folks that are in this fight for their job will be communicated during performance review time next month.

Anonymous said...

EX-MSFT AMERICAN PROGRAMMERS

You are facing a difficult road ahead while an H1-B holds a job that you could do.

Time to get active and let your Senators and Congressman know what you think!

HEY HEY HO HO - H1Bs GOTTA GO

Anonymous said...

Great job Nutella on the Q&A today. No one gives a shit how many books you read or apparently, don't finish ready. That bitch that took five minutes kissing your ass should be fired on the spot. Now let's move on to the REAL questions:

1. How many layoffs are done as of today?

2. How many more to come?

3. What specific groups and locations are going to be affected and when? Redmond, Fargo, Reno, Dublin, etc.

4. What is Lisa Brummel doing to remove the road blocks in place to fire incompetent managers?

If he were to answer these questions, mad respect to him.

Anonymous said...

Are there any more layoffs coming at Puget Sound ? How badly was ASG affected ? Any more layoffs at ASG ?

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry that anyone has to go through this process. As someone who has been through it at Microsoft it was horrible.

It is simple. The Review system scores or awards means nothing in the end. It hasn't for years so please understand and embrace that simple fact.

It is super nice that you are getting severance packages and vesting. I was part of the stealth layoffs when 5 people on my team were "managed out" due to "performance reasons". I had some vacation but I got $0 for my 11 1/2 years at Microsoft.

Sometimes I feel like you are playing the Big Brother game and everyone should realize "YOU ARE NOT SAFE"

Anonymous said...

Is it going to impact India Bangalore Gtsc support people?

Anonymous said...

There were tons of people cut from our org yesterday 7/17. Mostly SDET. Several were my friends. I survived the cut. But its a terrible feeling. I hope everyone who were impacted finds an even better job elsewhere soon. It seems so quiet in the corridors.

Anonymous said...

"You are right. For services it may be appropriate to rely on functional testing done by devs. But this approach will definitely not work for on box products like windows, office. It requires the traditional functional testing that SDETs used to do. If you look at the FVTS written by devs today, they are nothing but slightly more advanced unit tests."

Completely agree. Cutting SDET in windows division doesn't make sense at all

Anonymous said...

==============
Is it going to impact India Bangalore Gtsc support people?
==============

When everything is being Bangalored, I don't see any problem in India.

Anonymous said...

Employees that have been "spared" are now left in the lurch without having any kind of communication and the lack of transparency from the test managers. Would our projects continue? Would our projects be chopped? Are there more cuts coming? We just get the usual BS and vague stuff.

Joined MS over a year ago and being here has been the worst experience in Corporate America. First, I was put in a project that could have been given to a fresher and was told to wait until all the reorg completes in OSG (I only had to wait for 5 months for that to complete). And then the new project had no set goals or and not completely defined by leads. ICs having to "go figure what needs to be done" without any concrete feedback given. Now this crap. What a completely unproductive year.

Anonymous said...

MS is the Titanic. This is all simply rearranging of the deck chairs. The company is irrelevant. It may, after considerable pain, re-invent itself like IBM but the handwriting is on the wall.

I am surprised anyone with any potential is intending to stay around. There are so many better opportunities out there, especially if you are willing to relocate.

Anonymous said...

"My boss told me that yesterday roughly 80% of the cuts are done in the U.S. The rest will be handled before..."

Are you SDET?

Anonymous said...

The only thing I miss is seeing all the brown nosers in action at the Charlotte campus. After Kevin Shea quit you could smell the shi.. on the noses. Rob, Scott, Jeff, etc.

Anonymous said...

Bad day for MSFT, but one hell of a good day for anyone in recruiting at Amazon, Google or any local startups.

Amazon spends upwards of a year waiting for the right hires for their open roles. Engineers, take heart.

PMs, start your job hunts NOW. Few companies these days rely on PMs as much as Microsoft does, preferring a model where SDEs work directly with Product managers with no middlemen.

If PM roles are cut more than others, you're going to have more competition than you think out there, so start looking this weekend, stat.

Signed, PM at Amazon.

Anonymous said...

The reason MS wants so many indentured servants (H1Bs) is because they can treat them like cr@p. They are docile and compliant because, hey, Seattle sure beats a $hith0le like India or China.

Anyone with any sort of freedom and sense will flee for greener pastures.

Unless you are a "made man" partner or are a politician with those sorts of ambitions, there is no reason to stay if you have talent.

Anonymous said...

Anyone know of potential impact to MSN, Bing, or Advertising?

I've searched the thread but found no mention of MSN or advertising.
Thanks

Anonymous said...

Bing wasn't affected much, if at all.

HeatherLeigh said...

I'm an MS alumni (1999-2011) and was in staffing. Now I am consultant working with other larger local employers and am well-connected to their staffing organizations (disclosure, I am consulting at one of them now). This is me (or was me when I was at Microsoft): http://blogs.msdn.com/b/heatherleigh

How can I help? I can point folks to a reference guide on updating your LinkedIn profile for better exposure but am also happy to offer resume assistance and get your resumes into the right hands in some staffing departments of some other great companies.

Feel free to reach out to me if you are impacted or worried and want to start looking or want advice on how to go about a job search. heather.hamilton@whizbangsolutions.net

Anonymous said...

In my husband's group, there seemed to be no rhyme or reason about who was let go. People with 1's at their last review were just as likely to be let go as someone who received a 5. The only thin they had in common was that they were SDET's. 100% of the people in their 50's and 60's were let go. 50% of the people in their 40's were let go. Not so for those in their 20's and 30's. My friend's husband used to work in ITG (I think that is the acronym) and he said MSFT kept track of how much each employee used medical insurance (as in how expensive it was to medically insure and employee). Wondering if that had anything to do with who was let go????

Anonymous said...

"The only thing I miss is seeing all the brown nosers in action at the Charlotte campus. After Kevin Shea quit you could smell the shi.. on the noses"

Thanks for helping me understand how the term "brown nosers" came to be.

Anonymous said...

I heard Display Advertising was going to get hit hard. They are on the chopping block since that function is going to be handled by a third party. It's not a core competency.

Anonymous said...

What about Qi Lu org??
Nothing heard about Bing + other Qi Lu org??

Anonymous said...

Qi Lu's org is next on the firing line. It has been a money sink for too long.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry to hear about fellow writers who were cut. There will be more cuts in large content publishing organizations. If you have more than 1 manager above you within the org itself and if you have one or more groups in your org that are solely dedicated to process and clunky, 10+-year-old tools--get out while you can.

What really needs to go are the process, tools, and managers...but you all know that won't happen. You already spend so much more time dealing with bad processes, reporting up, and "being visible" than you do developing content. Writers are superfluous. Your org thinks it only needs the managers and process groups.

Anonymous said...

IDC Bangalore/Hyderabad team impacted??
Heard the WinSE team here was dissolved and their good for nothing big shot like (Govinda, Bashakr, Anubhav and PM) went to other to other team, so at least now IDC has sane employees

Anonymous said...

3 questions for Nutella:
1。 If laying off is necessary, why is Microsoft still awarding $100 million contracts to Infosys, an Indian contracting company 2 weeks before the massive layoff?

What are you planning for all the other Indian contractor companies
that are siphoning off billions of dollars?

2. With such a protracted layoff, you are telling the best employees to go away. Why?

3. IBM is allying with Apple in Enterprise Mobility. What is your
real plan for Microsoft's Enterprise Mobility? Or is it just a pipe dream?

Anonymous said...

Qi lu's Org had layoffs as well. I heard the Long Island office under Rajesh Jha has been completely closed (despite previous commitments in a town hall that it wouldnt be closed).

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know if any partners or VPs were affected by this layoff? If not, this layoff does nothing to speed decision making or reduce the bureaucracy.

Anonymous said...

"1。 If laying off is necessary, why is Microsoft still awarding $100 million contracts to Infosys, an Indian contracting company 2 weeks before the massive layoff?"

Because they will work for one whole day for a bag of lentils and a chicken.

Anonymous said...

L63 Senior PM in OSG let go yesterday after 15 years.

While I was all for a quick and clean cut (I’ve seen what it does to morale otherwise), I missed out on the rhyme and reason on this one in OSG. I’m not seeing ‘flatter’. And it’s unclear the firing criteria. I privately took a manger or two aside to probe into the criteria and the only reply was, “There was a common criteria.” Deeper probing was unsuccessful. Whatever the bucket, I apparently fell into it.

Contrary to some here, I thoroughly enjoyed my job, team and lead. I was genuinely surprised to get the axe.

In the room with 10 other people in the RIF meeting, I was surprised I was there. While I got a 4 last year (1st ever after 15 years – always 3 or 2), the other folks in the room were openly disdainful of MSFT and/or had clear performance/personality issues. I honestly felt I didn’t belong. These folks were deadwood – many boasting they’d already been looking elsewhere and that their team stunk. Returning to my team afterward to share the news, I heard validation of that from my teammates: WHAT?!?! You? Why not Joe, Bob or Betsy?!? Oh well. Onward and upward.

If it helps discern the mystery criteria, there were a few sheets of paper (possibly by mistake) in the RIF packet titled ‘Workgroup Summary’ that listed the ages, titles, levels and number of all employees in my ‘Decisional Unit.’ Each individual (no names) was placed in either the ‘Job Eliminated’ column on the left or the ‘Not Selected for Elimination’ column on the right.

FWIW, the 10 folks in the Elimination column spanned levels 60, 61, 62, 63 – with a 65 and a 66 as well. But we were all above 30 years old (5 in their 30s, 3 in their 40s and 2 in their 50s). The Keep column has a glut of 64’s like me, so perhaps my age (late 40’s) and the glut factored in too.

Starting my job search in earnest today.

The encouraging words from those saying ‘there is life after Microsoft…and it’s frequently a lot better’ helps a lot. Beyond that – how do you find an outstanding technical recruiter/headhunter that’s not affiliated with the cruddy brand-name vendor/contractor outfits?

I’m very comfortable organizing and carrying out my own job search. But a lead on a good recruiter/headhunter in parallel would be super valuable.

Anonymous said...

It's not true that no leads/managers were laidoff. In my team, 6-8 leads were let go. They just didn't go to the 10:30 meeting.

Anonymous said...

‘there is life after Microsoft…and it’s frequently a lot better’

Not when there are so many other people out on the street competing with you. Got mine in 2009 and it took six months to find a decent job. With so many looking employers are going to very picky.

Anonymous said...

Why the fuck is Lisa Brummel still employed? That sack of shit should be the first to go.

I'll bet dollars to donuts females made up less then 1% of layoffs. Need to keep up liberal media talking point of "females in tech". You never see any in the universities, but if you can have a bleeding vagina here's your director job.

Shame on Bill Gates and other tech CEOs for pushing for more H1-Bs. The Indian and Chinese cronyism makes me sick. Seattle libtards are screaming "racism" when these imports build empires staffed exclusively with their countrymen. They must be laughing at how they are just absolute raping the Americans. Keep your more diverse-than-thou attitude all the way to unemployment you blind pussy.

Anonymous said...

For non-technical talent (especially PMs) I plead with you not to rule out contracting.

PM hires used to be FTE from the start, but since the recession there's a very "try before you buy" attitude in the marketplace. Often it's the only way to eventually go FTE with a given company. Definitely don't rule it out and cast your net far and wide.

That said, yes, the world can be awesome outside of MSFT, and there are plenty of companies with wickedly smart, talented people that you'll love working with. Getting laid off sucks for sure, but hang in there and life will be bright again in the new world.

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