Comment Stream - "Microsoft Has Turned The Corner"
For product development: Yahoo!'s Carol Bartz has a good point when she swears like a sailor over the number of designers and program managers vs. actual developers. In fact, at this point in the history of Microsoft, we need to hit the career reset button: the PM / Test / Dev path has diverged people like Eloi and Morlocks. What I mean is that career development in most groups has become a walled garden of "...oh, the PM will figure that out..." or "...that's not my job, it's the <insert other discipline>'s job..." At the basic level, the PM / Test / Dev designation helps basic ownership. But it has really gone way to far at Microsoft.
What we need to be are engineers. Engineers who code. Engineers who design for our customers and that connect with our customers. Engineers who create automation. Engineers who plan product strategy. Engineers who hammer on the features and rip that little black box apart into scraps. Engineers who can claim responsibility for all of the feature's lifecycle, and for all of the product.
I think of that demotivation.com poster: "None of us is as dumb as all of us." The dumb part is acquiescing all thinking and decision making based on discipline ownership. Too often, teams spend a huge amount of time planning, a huge amount of time stabilizing, and a slice of time actually writing the features, cutting all of the features limb by limb you loaded up on your planning until you've reached a weary consensus of what's left you can do. It's better than the past but it is still hugely inefficient. You need engineers who can demonstrate end-to-end feature development, from rough design to prototype to stable implementation to quality release. You need engineers who can sell their feature ideas with entrepreneurial zeal through running code, not decoupled from reality with Photoshop and PowerPoint.
Who do we keep around? Those folks. Who - from product development - do we throw into my 15,000? The folks walled off into one small part of being an Engineer at Microsoft. Specialization is for insects.