Friday, September 01, 2006

The first day of a new blog....

I'm not sure what's happened to this blog. In the process of cleaning up various drafts, I think stuff got deleted. The old posts are probably not going to be recovered, but we'll start afresh. Please post away. The retreat, constructive criticism, India becoming a region, reviews....nothing is off limits. Please be open and respectful. In the next day or two, I will rewrite this opener and post (and this time I'll create a back up in just in case something gets messed up).

Great retreat: This was a well organised retreat. The new hires found it very energizing. The old timers got drunk AND didn't get bored out of their skulls. I wish there had been a detailed agenda of who was presenting when, but that’s nitpicking. During the general session, bringing in 2 people whose lives and livelihoods we have directly impacted was a stroke of genius. Bravo ! Sure there were hiccups, but the bottom line is that it was well put together. Hyderabad would not have been my first choice, but the retreat proved that the location is secondary if the event is well put together. The food was acceptable, logistics were good, the presentations were on schedule for the most part, content was passable if you were new to Microsoft. The party was fun (although the drive to Ramoji and back was too long).

A few questions:
  • We were awarded a Worldspace radio because we are apparently not able to give employees a reward of >$100 without triggering all kinds of LCA alarms and warning bells. SLT - Where there's a will, there is a way. If you recollect, each SMSP employee got a ~$2000 reward a couple of years ago - was LCA was caught napping on that one???
  • Why Hyderabad?There was zero participation from the other groups based in Hyderabad, so the event could have been in ANY city. Could not the GDCI, GDIC and MGSI heads have traveled?
  • Only 23% of all the employees were happy with compensation at Microsoft India. I'm curious what we are doing to address it. With 250 new hires, this must be cause for concern
  • It was surprising that not even one management team member spoke about what did NOT go well and what our learnings were from those experiences.

The only way to provide feedback: I'm glad that the management team is reading this blog and acknowledging that it does exist. It is strange when you have to look outside the system to get visibility to issues within the system.

27 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amidst a lot of skepticism and cynicism, The Hyderbad retreat was better than the expected and made the critics sit and take notice. I think it is fair to say that the people behind this put real hard work to make it what it was. We should it give it to the retreat team at MS India!

10:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

On Retreat Awards -

Why cant you read out the nominees for the category of awards (like Oscars, Grammys etc) - it will make the winner feel extra special and build a lot of credibility to the awards.

1:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The retreat surely exceeded my expectations.

However, during much of the general sessions we confined ourselves to pounding our chests and basking in collective glory. Which is a good thing - it peps one up for the coming year - but it would have been even better if we looked at some of the areas we are lacking in and identified corrective steps as a GO DO. Secondly we didnt compare our performance with the rest of the industry, our competition and other emerging markets.

Do we really believe alls well and that we are set up for success come what may?


Question for RaviV:

What do you think are the biggest threats to reaching our Horizon 2 or 3 goals and our FY09 $$ goal given the way we are currently executing and are structured?

2:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why is not HR sharing their GO DO's? Do they not have any objectives or do they think we are happy with their performance? Will HR share their commitments for the year with the employees.

10:21 PM  
Anonymous chingari said...

Why is the head of PS making fun of the name of Kerala Education minister because in his state he is supporting Linux over Microsoft? This is not the right way to treat people. Different peoples in India have different names and if we start teasing in front of 500 employees then nobody can tolerate it. We must treat all people with same respect even if they are from different states.

10:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

An observation -

I think it was extremely in poor taste when the head of the PS business started mocking an important head of state in Kerala - I know we are Microsoft and we are irreverent and bold and so on - but this might not be the best example to set....

11:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think while Ravi began his keynote in an inspiring manner the rest of the leadership team just couldnt keep upto him....some of the presentations were downright bad!!!!!

Presentation skills 101 anyone?

11:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

On retreat -

Food was excellent.
Some of the sessions were inspiring and reminded me why I came to work here.

Room sharing is a big no-no - why should I have to be a Director and above before my need for privacy is appreciated in Microsoft?

Sharing a single bed with a complete stranger is just plain wrong and unacceptable - maybe the leadership team should show the way for the rest of us to follow

Negotiate better room rates than asking everyone to do a "chicken coop"

11:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does the top mgmt really think that we are geared for the task ahead of us?

While everyone was saying that we need to get things done nobody really said HOW they would like to do it.....

Asking the field for strategy instead of execution is a bad habit this sub has acquired over the past years

11:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The retreat was very good. I do not like sharing rooms. If the management team also shares rooms, then I am willing. I did not know my roommate and he was making bad noises in the night. Next year, I will ask him to share room with management team member. I think we should have common policy for all people.

The guest speaker was very very bad. We should be more selective in who we ask to speak. In Microsoft management team, Ravi was very good, Doug was good but did not prepare and Neelam was as bad as usual. She must take public speaking classes.

I am hearing that the grade levels in different Microsoft offices are different. MGSI, MSR, R&D all have higher grade levels than SMSG. If we earn the revenue, why do we get the lowest grade levels? What is HR doing to solve this issue? We only say we are one company, but in truth we are not. We dont have same retreat, we dont have same grade levels, we dont have one common leader.

7:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You could revive some stuff from MSN / Google cache.

Please do revive some stuff, since there were useful comments in the past.

For example:
http://72.14.203.104/search?q=cache:iizf385ZPmsJ:minimsftindia.blogspot.com/2006/08/few-more-ground-rules-week-that-was.html+few-more-ground-rules-week-that-was.html&hl=en&gl=in&ct=clnk&cd=1

Use a tool such as Windows Live Writer to keep you from losing stuff in the future! :)

6:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

just a complient for GTSC; we have a great leader in Sashi and now that he is promoted to GM; GTSC will shine....

However I think these levels difference in India purely stinks of "Laziness"; India Leadership is not ready to bite the bullet and set things right for once and for all; is it too much that we are asking for. I know leadership knows of this blog; hope they do something...Why should MGSI/IDC/MSR have different levels for the same job..why ?? set it right before its too late considering our growth.

9:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To be fair to Neelam, I thought she was a good speaker. Her style is casual and conversational and is endearing at best. She has found a mention in the Forbes list of most influential women and rightly so.

10:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sherpaman,
Are you starting a Sherpa family here?
LOL!
I now see you have a Sherpasister as your team mate!

10:47 PM  
Blogger zeromalice said...

great show ILT India .Retreat incountry well appreciated. Who says Neelam was off colour .

Super speech Neelam .. way to go . Ravi as usual inspiring.

One blemish - who ever announces that sucession planning is a top priority 2 weeks into a new job. One ILT did !!

1:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is bullshit to say Neelam is a bed speaker. She was excellent and to the point.. DPE dance was very good. Ram have all skills to win Sony Boogie Woogie. All the videos were very good.
Summary excellent retreat. Way to go SMSG India.

1:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OneMicrosoft in India has been the most dubious campaign created in the recent past. It’s a huge farce that is designed only to create great illusions of cross-group/cross-org thingy working successfully at India. The leadership team at MS India is desperate to create a positive (but misleading) picture at Redmond. Just because an Indian VP at Redmond dreams of watching all the GMs of MS India playing together nicely like kids, this can’t just materialize so easily.

In the last 2 years, how of much of OneMicrosoft did we see and realize? Zilch!! Here is why this would never work here:

IDC – This is the biggest glasshouse with almost no access to the other MS India orgs. The teams and leaders of IDC are so full of attitude that they don’t treat rest of the non-IDC employees - forget about treating them as colleagues; they don’t even treat them like humans. Today, the TS, SS and DPE teams have no knowledge of what’s being cooked here. Though there can be a potential feedback pipe built across customers and the IDC via the SMSG technical folks, this is an impossible task as IDC plays their card very close to their chest. Have you ever seen an IDC PM or a GPM taking a call at a SI, ISV or enterprise customer (AND THEN FOLLOWING IT UP)? They don’t care! They are oblivious to the fact that the field in India can play an important role in ensuring their long term survival. Oh yeah! I have seen some presenters from IDC at TechED trying to pretend that they are really technical. But the audience only got disappointed as these IDC presenters couldn’t even defend their own product and technology. And yes, the leadership team might be just drafting another cool HTML mailer to corp. about the recent CODE4BILL success story and how IDC played a key role in that. Let’s be clear! IDC spent time in that initiative because they could save at least a dozen recruiting trips across the country and of course a few 1000 $$. They quietly hired all the 19 finalists and that was the hidden agenda in actively participating in the contest. Never mistake IDC to come forward and invest in an initiative that is good for the overall MS in the country. Few GPMs/directors at IDC are a better suited for Redmond than IDC. They don't appreciate this country and the place they work for. They should leave the floor for young and passionate individuals who can drive the teams better.

But the India Leadership team might want to use the following as proof points when the Indian VP visits us the next time:

OneMicrosoft is working out ot be great because:

GTSC hires TAMs from SMSG
MGSI hires consultants from SMSG
GDCI hires PMs from GTSC
IDC hires PMs from GDCI

So, you see, we raised the bar high. At least, I am glad that the HR hasn’t put a spoke yet in the cross-hiring (Am I giving them clues?). At least, there is enough headroom to maneuver, if you are frustrated with your manager and the group that you are in, you can move onto a diff. org.

India Leadership Team – Please stop wasting time on One India Strategy meetings and instead put your heads together on reviving employee morale which is in pits. There are other issues that deserve your attention, time and energy than the superficial One Microsoft India!

And finally, please stop sending the candy floss messages to Redmond about how things are hunky dory here in India! I am sure folks in Redmond have their eyes wide open and are following this blog!

2:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

First things first - Stop whining!

Re: room sharing: let's remember cost efficacy and if you dont then stop whining about the stock price. As to why Directors get separate rooms, its time you accepted that with great power comes great responsibilities and greater rooms :-) Not to mention that it will be impossible to block out 550 rooms in a single hotel!
Awards: 67 awards is just too many! Though there seems to be some geniune competitiveness around the awards. Earlier the gripe used to be that awards were given on a round-robin basis, atleast that's been put to rest!
Mgmt presentations : Kudos to Doug for braving our Vista & Office 2007 for a public presentation. Yeah the slides were messed up etc but hey he's running our dogfood. Cut him some slack and do the same thing on your machine (Oh stop whining about my machine isn't Vista ready ) PS: All machines that were issued in the past 1 year are Vista-Capable (not Vista-Ready!)
Re: Kerala comment : Get real guys, I am not sure if you loved the news about MS getting booted from Kerala schools in entirety thanks to Mr. Stallman's consulting to the State Govt. Besides, you should get absolutely hard-core about beating the crap out of competition.

8:33 PM  
Blogger ghostwhosells said...

On the retreat, my PsOV:
Brilliant: The Event management. Ramoji Film City.

Good: The hotel. Overall retreat. Food.

Bad: Ramoji timings. No trip to the IDC - One Microsoft, somebody? No message of any oneness from Srini and "others" - they all sounded like independant orgs whic Bill founded. Kamini asked for jacket sizes when all she wanted were shirt sizes! No focus on Competition. No focus on What-Went-Wrong (www!!).
Outrageous: The PS chief's apparently sick sense of humour - he not only denigrated himself and his position, but has also compromised Microsoft's already delicate image.

12:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I somehow smell that some leadership folks are putting extremely positive comments ; I wonder why ?? The grass is always greener on other side; this is what grass root level employee feel ...

10:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Give Rohit a break guys
Public Sector is not a fun business to be in, besides having to deal with the politicians you also have to worry about OSS. Dont just sit in those comfy chairs and bash someone - try selling software in PS instead and you'll realize!

Mr. (Mini) India, whatever happened to the objectivity of the blog?

12:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I appreciate your effort but can you be careful about posting of internal info? For example, the percentage of people happy or unhappy with pay - we don't want all our competitors to come after us by giving them data like this.

There is a bit of responsibility involved in being part of an organization. You have an awesome platform. Use it responsibly

-An IC IDC employee

3:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why is not HR sharing their GO DO's? Do they not have any objectives or do they think we are happy with their performance? Will HR share their commitments for the year with the employees

Corp HR is to blame for at leat 25% of what ills MSFT. They are an ineffective organization with no balls and no culture to step up to the challenge of doing their jobs.

4:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Asking the field for strategy instead of execution is a bad habit this sub has acquired over the past years

I'm <65 at Corp and I do more strategically than any partner I've ever seen or dealt with. Someone needs to tell them being able to put 7 bullet points in the space of 5 is not a strategic initiative. Innovation?! LOL. I'd be happy if they could understand a project plan and speak intelligently about it with me.

4:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the Management -

By acknowledging the presence of this blog you have also tacitly endorsed the tone and purpose of this blog - Kudos to all of you!

However if this is indeed a healthy forum for self-expression why not encourage this inside of the company in the first place?

Mini India - will you stop this blog if that happens?

10:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What MS India lacks is intellectual honesty -

It means having the honesty to
1. Accept your mistakes
2. Say I DONT KNOW when you really dont know
3. Not dress up data to look good
4. Give feedback face-to-face
5. Not judge a person based on perception
6. Respect your and others deadlines
7. Not find scapegoats to pin failure

Do you REALLY think we have the maturity to give up even one of the above?

All the best - I quit.

11:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

SHERPAMAN : Is it possible that we move this blog to a location/property which is a "Microsoft" property and not residing on a "Google" property ?

I am sure that this is something which has to be done !!!

12:32 PM  

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