Windows 10 has had major problems with its updates, with each new version that seems to break more things than it fixes, and now a former Microsoft employee blames the "men" in the company, as well as the CEO's inability to Satya Nadella to get rid of them.
James Whittaker, a respected engineer who used to work for Microsoft, wrote a long blog post about his career there, which says "it encompassed three different versions of the company, each deeply inspiring and tragically flawed in its own unique way."
The three versions of Microsoft that Whittaker talks about correspond to the three CEOs who have led the company: Bill Gates, Steve Ballmer and now Satya Nadella.
While Whittaker praises Nadella for some of the changes he has brought to Microsoft, he regrets the fact that Nadella was unable to rid the company of "people who prospered under Microsoft's toxic management style," and are emulating the flawed leadership. of Gates and Ballmer.
"Both were accomplished smarties, convinced that no subject, however subtle, was a rival to their intellect," Whittaker explains, and "perpetuated their toxic behavior by almost exclusively surrounding themselves with leaders who emulated that behavior," and that "created a monoculture. of cocksure masculinity management that ensured that each manager looked the same, sounded the same and acted the same. "
These "made men," as Whittaker calls them, are still hanging around the Windows department, so the Windows team continued its "boring software tradition and constantly fake errors and updates."
The men behind Windows Phone
According to Whittaker, "a manager who knows everything moves to a new product group and his team that knows everything follows it," so if a new employee joins the team and has a problem with the management style or points For failures in a project, existing team members close ranks and close any criticism.
Nadella has managed to change some aspects of Microsoft, but with Windows, "he simply reorganized the sunbeds made by men." Instead of following his playbook on changing culture, he simply traded the men of Windows for the men of Windows Phone. "
The problem here, as Whittaker explains, is that "the same people [who were] incapable, over the course of a decade, creating a winning strategy for mobile devices suddenly took care of creating a winning strategy for the desktop. "
Windows Phone is one of Microsoft's biggest recent bugs, so if some of the people who were behind that failure, and who are too stubborn to learn from their mistakes, are now in charge of Windows 10, it could mean serious problems for Windows future.
As Whittaker says, "the residue of the past is thick in enough places to quell the culture of tomorrow."
So what can Microsoft do? "If you want a real and lasting cultural change, eliminate the created men who triumphed under the previous culture and promote people who look alike, act and think more like their employees than their managers," suggests Whittaker. Eliminate deadwood managers who have been at Microsoft for decades and promote new employees who have new and exciting ideas.
"Leaders must reflect the ideals and values of those who are below them rather than those who are above them," says Whittaker. "Promoting those leaders is the fastest way to fix a company's broken culture."
Sounds good. However, hopefully it is not too late for Windows.