Former Xbox manager: To save Microsoft Ballmer + 1000s must go. Only Xbox innovates?

Discussion in 'Graphics and Semiconductor Industry' started by Cyan, Jun 15, 2013.

  1. Cyan

    Cyan orange
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    http://www.bizjournals.com/seattle/blog/techflash/2013/06/former-xbox-director-to-save.html

    She blames some problems of the company on Ballmer.
    .
    She hints at the fact that innovation is only recognized in the Xbox division.

    Ballmer said when the iPhone came out that it sucked. :|


    Her name is Jennie Locati she left the company in March 2013. I think she is right. Ballmer is a dinosaur. :???:

    Other people also left not much time ago, bkilian :eek: for instance. Coincidence? Maybe this explains why only the Xbox division seems to be forward looking now. -although products like Surface show there have been some improvements-

    [​IMG]

    She wrote this in her blog when she left the company.

    http://wyswords.com/2013/03/19/leaving-microsoft-entering-the-unknown/
     
    #1 Cyan, Jun 15, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 15, 2013
  2. Cyan

    Cyan orange
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  3. blakjedi

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    I know for a fact that what she writes is both true and widespread. Their system of review is colloquially known as "rank and yank" - the worst management review method in the industry. There are probably damn case studies at Harvard detailing how bad this is.

    Ballmer and this structure are definitely a problem.
     
  4. ERP

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    The review system is exactly the same as the one used by every other large company I've ever worked for. Top 20%, bottom 10% and everyone else, it's an asinine system because it gets applied regardless of organization size, if you're a team of 6 your bottom 10% can be very different that an organization of 5000.
    The difference when I was there was how strictly it was applied and the amount of compensation that was dependent on it. Though it's my understanding that the latter has changed in he last couple of years.
    How destructive it is at MS is heavily dependent on the organization you happen to be in.
     
  5. Cyan

    Cyan orange
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    It seems to me that most people in these mega corporations are just numbers and not people. I mean, not literally, but maybe she felt that way. Leaving such a big company where you are problably earning a lot of money has to be difficult.

    If I were her I'd probably tell myself: "Did I really do the right thing by quitting my job?" and things like that. I know from personal experience that in those cases I like to think I did as I was no longer getting emotional satisfaction out of it that I once did. But at least it gave me so...

    Aside from the fact that I still don't get how the company might work internally in every way, of course, taking into account the latest products of the company ( Surface and Xbox One come to mind ) there seem to be a bit of evolution and they seem to be breaking some new ground.

    Ballmer was initially anti-Xbox, as told in this article: (not so shocking if you ask me) http://www.vg247.com/2011/08/03/the-xbox-story-part-2-gunning-for-greenlight/
     
  6. blakjedi

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    The way it was described to me was that say you had a team of five; a manager, two coders, an artist, and a sound guy, even if the team got the product shipped on time and under budget to rave reviews, at least one person on that team HAD to receive a low ranking, whether or not their actual work was stellar. I don't know of many organizations that do that.

    That's not a review system that rewards good work. Its been a disaster internally causing people with great ideas to jump ship to other organizations like apple, Google and startups.
     
  7. ERP

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    Same thing happens at very big company I've ever, worked for.
    It doesn't exactly work the way you state.The way it works is your manager ranks his staff, then he and all of his peers get in a room and rank all of there staff, and it escalates up.

    The problem comes because peers of your manager have no idea who you are and as a result it becomes a how good is your manager at ensuring his employees have visibility competition.

    In general people in the bottom 10% deserve to be there, the issue is the line between the top 20% and the 70%, because the reward structure at least used to be heavily skewed towards the top.

    It's a stupid system, but EA, MS and Sony all use it.
     
  8. itsmydamnation

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    I work in an org of 25,000 people and if you count who own us 125,000. Our performance review system works nothing like this. MS sounds completely nutts. Maybe its just an American thing ( we have a very small American presence).
     
  9. ERP

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    Could be the only companies I worked for outside the US as an FTE had less that 10 total employees....
     
  10. Grall

    Grall Invisible Member
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    The US is a very elitist, totalitarian society, it doesn't surprise me that people are treated so callously by large corps there. If you're not the winner you're by definition a loser kind of attitude. It's rather crass, methinks, and very prevalent. Americans might not notice it themselves, I dunno really, but as an outsider it's very clear.

    Sorry for tangenting off into RPSC space. :)

    Regarding ballmer, he seems to have barricaded himself pretty firmly at the top; the company isn't doing terribly exactly so it seems he's secure for the foreseeable future as well. Don't really know what it would take to oust him if having so many people saying he's not the right guy for the position is not enough to accomplish it...
     
  11. Silent_Buddha

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    And yet Sony and many Japanese companies do this exact same thing. I guess you can lump in Japan as an elitist totalitarian society. :p

    Speaking of which you might as well throw Taiwan, Korea and China into that group as well. As to Europe I don't have any direct experience with how companies are run there. I think the Philipines, Malyasia, Sinapore, India, etc. use similar methods of employee evaluation. At least with the larger companies.

    Regards,
    SB
     
  12. Squilliam

    Squilliam Beyond3d isn't defined yet
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    Well it's like having the best team in the league and constantly finishing at best 2nd and at worst not making the playoffs.
     
  13. Silent_Buddha

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    Yes, the purpose of this within any large organization is to prod people into performing better by making them it a competition of sorts. Or the carrot leading the horse as it were.

    On its own that's a great way to do things. The best will rise to the top. Everyone else in theory gets better by competing to be in the top 20%.

    Problems come in when, as ERP mentions, you have managers evaluating and giving a score to people that they have no direct experience with. To a point this is understandable. You want some sort of check to prevent favoritism and nepotism by introducing an objective outsider. But it doesn't quite work out that way because they are still relying on that one person to sell the qualities of members of their team.

    As well if the discrepancy in rewards between the top 20% and the next 70% is too large it can potentially breed resentment instead of healthy competition as it seems it did for this female blogger. But that's a hard balance to strike between making the reward meaningful but not have it overshadow what it is trying to accomplish. In the end you will always have people that resent not being in the top 20% even if they don't perform well (by choice: lazy, or can't due to ability) enough to be in the top 20%.

    I see nothing wrong with rewarding people that work harder or better. The problems is trying to objectively classify how well people are doing versus how good they are at social networking.

    But that problem exists even if you aren't using the 20-70-10 guideline.

    And an even worse problem comes up if you do away with rewarding the people that do well, whether it's the top 20% or 30% or whatever. If they feel someone putting in significantly less work than they are or doing a worse job while still getting the same pay/rewards, then they are far more likely to quit and go to a different place of employment. At which point you risk losing all of your top talent to your competitors.

    Regards,
    SB
     
  14. lanek

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    Its the same thing in financial group, and most big company ( telecom etc ) in Europe, the only thing, the manager in general hide this type of use to their subbordonnate. This type of method can be considered as illegal in some country or at least not well view by some, but this dont mean they dont use them. ( most bank ( i should say, all ) use it ). They nearly copycat all management method used on US or have learn them, Most management "school" teach the same methods.

    Even 1 month ago, on News they was a documentary about French Bank group who was use this method. It all depend of the activity of the entreprise anyway.
     
    #14 lanek, Jun 19, 2013
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  15. tongue_of_colicab

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    In Japanese companies it's more about ass kissing and staying late. If your actually working doesn't seem to be that important.

    I always leave early (unlike Japanese I actually work somewhat efficient and make sure I don't have to stay late) but sometimes I come back to the office late to go out for a drink with co-workers and the people who are still there often are doing nothing more than just scrolling through their excel files etc.
     
  16. Lightman

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    This is interesting and surprising to me!
    I always thought Japanese are very hard workers, but it seems they have more in common with most of other developed countries than I suspected.

    I'm still saving for my trip to Japan anyway!
     
  17. pMax

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    Yeah, it is silly (especially for the evaluation of then middle ones).
    But if you are on top of it, it is very cool.
     
  18. pMax

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    hmmm I'd say a mix. Actually, I knew Japs that work very, very hard and a lot.
    problem is, if you work 14 hours, you cant be productive as if you worked 8 hours.

    Now I am working alot (10-12 hours) but my productivity is actually worse (ssh!) since I work too much ...
     
  19. ERP

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    Oh I get my bonuses, but I've managed in the system, and I think it does more harm than good.
    At some point if you have 3 excellent performers, and you can only finagle 2 spots in the top 20%, then you have to rate an excellent performer as average.
    Even if you then you have the flexibility make the bonuses even (which not every system lets you do), the employee sees him/her self as having been undervalued, and you are on the way to losing one of your best employees.
    At MS they at least try and get around this by giving out gold star awards in the off 6month cycle, they can be worth a lot of money, but at they end of the day they don't offset the stigma of the rating. And people go work for someone else.
     
  20. Cyan

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