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Steve Sinofsky - Learning by Shipping

Stashed in: Microsoft

To save this post, select a stash from drop-down menu or type in a new one: was prescient:

Sinofsky may be right guy at right time...for now. If you ponder Windows 8 in the evolution of Microsoft, Sinofsky may be what's needed. Like a coach who is a taskmaster, Sinofsky gets results. That approach works well---until it doesn't. In other words, what's required for Windows 8 may not be necessary for Windows 9. Sinofsky could yield to an executive who is more of a player's coach.


The profile linked to is

Sinofsky's critics say he's elevated those battles to a new level, thriving by marginalizing rivals while running the company's most profitable businesses, Windows and Office. Along the way, he's created a rigid product development process that puts more control in his hands and, those critics say, diminish the ability to innovate at Microsoft.


Goomics creator's spoof Org Chart of MSFT is credited to Sinofsky by one blogger:

The Functional Organization builds management reporting lines around job functions -- such as product management, development, software testing. This may be contrasted with a Product Organization where multi-disciplinary teams work on specific feature sets together.


The timing led to press coverage linking it to Forstall's Apple ouster:

Critics said he was overly concerned with empire building and pushing through favored features while blocking other teams' ideas.


His big new project is teaching at HBS and a new blog: in particular praise for his first mega post: It certainly is better organized than his stream-of-conciousness retort to carping by Mini-Microsoft in 2005:

Ineffective Middle-Management Suckups

it is not necessarily the case that the “homework” is bad for the organization as a whole. It could possibly be that the manager is doing a terrible job of justifying the work. Even worse, the manager might be saying “I need , but can’t explain it because my boss asked for it”. Wow that is just a mess. If that is happening in the Office team I definitely want to know about it

The other dynamic that leads to this is when people feel their manager is spending time managing “up”. This is another example of something that no one will defend but is actually a critical part of management. You can say manage up and it can be totally pejorative and essentially means “I am spinning things and sucking up and basically being dishonest about what is going on”

I am, however, the first to admit that it is very easy to act in a dysfunctional way as a manager in the middle (between other managers). You are pulled in a lot of different directions and you have a lot of masters to answer to. The very best managers in the middle are those that do two things: they coordinate with their peer group (and do not focus on managing up) and they seek to clarify the situation and not to muddle it or make it more complex. This is hard. Writing code is a hard skill. Managing is a hard skill. At least you can go take definitive courses in how to write software.

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