Ravi Mohan's Blog

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

If Linux Had MBA s

I don't like blog posts that just point to another page on the web and don't say anything original.

But just this once , I'll make an exception.

I've always liked the Mini Microsoft blog and the recent coverage by BusinessWeek (and Slashdot) has given it a lot of exposure. If you ever wondered what it was like to work for the Borg, read it first. Be sure to read the comments, which are mostly posted by people inside Microsoft. The comments are way more fun than the articles, which are themselves very good.

If you want a feel for what the blog is like, look here.


"Oldskool MSFT managers wouldn't be afraid to say "no" to upper management or tell Bill or Steve to fuck themselves. Seriously. They better have a point and ammo to back themselves up, but they wouldn't be afraid to say it. The new managers don't like waves. You are punished if you criticize. That's why we end up on blogs instead of yelling "Bullshit" internally like we used to. Does Steve throw chairs? Heck yeah, so does Bill, most architects, etc. We used to have holes punched in walls around NT. But I would rather have that than the passionless yes-men corporate Dilberesque managers we have now. And there is no accountability at MSFT anymore because of this. No manager dares to point a finger because they are afraid of a finger being pointed at them."

More fun .. "For the people bitching about test, this tester says you can f'ing bite me. If you guys could ship code that worked, heck, code that even COMPILED PROPERLY without a buddy test and a test pass, Microsoft wouldn't be employing us. The growth of QA is specifically because developers cannot be relied on to write functional code."

Someone complained that "When I started, my first manager gave me a project by pointing me to the PM who essentially sold it to me as 'this is why we need it', and I started on the library and delivered a fully functioning project two months later... Fast forward to the present: I won't know what I'll be working on until a PM delivers a fifty page spec with pixel measurements and colors...Then I get to start on a document describing all technical aspects of the implementation in detail, together with a daily schedule of what I will do when. All of this will be debated in many more meetings. Then I start writing code."

A PM responded with

" ...An increasing number of PM roles are filled with top CS students from top schools that are looking to have a broader impact on the product, enjoy design, and can work with people (this was how they sold me the PM role). The result is more control being placed into their hands, often times turning the dev into a blackbox that inputs specs/PM direction and outputs coded features. ..."

to be floored by

"..What a load of bull. The PM positions have traditionally been filled with techies that couldn't handle code. They are a good dev's worst nightmare: someone who knows just enough about software to throw out the words, but a complete lack of depth to understand what they are saying. Combine that with the fact that their job title includes the word "manager" and the vaguest job description I've ever seen in my 20+ years of software development and you have a walking, talking, time-wasting disaster. Feature direction and design? Yeah, it's called today's whim.

"...the PM's I work with have backgrounds in CS, and would proudly call themsleves engineers.."

I'm sure they would...fortunately, no one would believe them. "

Hilarious!!! Of course there are more insightful posts too .

"..Regarding all of the recent comments about PMs, my opinion is that there are some great PMs that really help improve the product. The problem is that I think it is *MUCH* easier for a talentless PM to escape notice than a talentless dev. If a PM sucks, dev and test can ignore him and the feature still gets written. If a dev sucks, he can't hide the fact that the feature is late, always crashes, etc. .. "

More ...

"..Testing as a concept is fine. Testing as the accumulation of the political and inept employees is not. ..."

The part I liked best (and where the title of this post came from) was

So, when you think about it, MSFT used to be like the open source community. A bunch of engineers writing a ton of code. And, the engineers were motivated by the same thing. It wasn't about cash, it was about making something cooler than the competitors, just like the Linux guys want to make something cooler than Windows.

That was the root of "crushing the competitors" just like the Linux guys want to crush Windows.

So you open source guys should at least appreciate that. Imagine going from the environment you are in now to having a boss sitting there with charts and graphs, with people who don't code telling you that you need to go to idiotic meetings, etc.

We used to be like you except working on closed-source. In fact, I used to be big on FreeBSD and had conversed a few times with Linus when we were both in school and Linux was still a hacked Minix.

All things considered, engineers are engineers and want the same things whether they work on Linux or Windows. They want to write screaming code that is better than anyone elses.

But now, we've been Dilbertized. We've been internally infested by professional managers who don't know how to engineer.

If Linux had MBA's with no coding experience telling developers what to do, what do you think would happen?

Well, that's what's happening at MSFT. Put yourselves in our shoes for a minute, and I'm sure you'll be able to understand the disgust, frustration, and outrage. "

Bwaaaa ha ha ha ha ha!!! That's the funniest thing I've read in years ! And remeber all this is from just one post in the mini msft blog! Read ! Weep!


zee said...

Very interesting link, even more interesting, insightful and humourous are the comments.
Don't I see them in my company too ?

Ravi said...

Indeed. That is the scary part.