Microsoft Stack Ranking — A Fond Farewell

Earlier this month, Microsoft announced it was doing away with its stack ranking system; this caused quite a flurry of press and all sorts of discussion.  Specific to Microsoft, I nevercurve completely understood the outside observer’s fuss and scrutiny applied for stack ranking; it is a rather common tool for large organizations for managing performance.

In theory, stack ranking sounds like a reasonable process – appealing to a sense of meritocracy and offering points for validation.  In practice,  stack ranking was deeply unpopular at Microsoft.

For years, stack ranking was humming along just fine at Microsoft — during periods of high growth and / or high employee turnover.  There were common practices in place keeping all in balance (including applying lower rankings to retirees, new employees or teams freshly re-organized into another team).

Doing away with stack ranking suggests three desired changes – slower  people growth,  imminent retention need, heightened desire for teamwork.  Teamwork will go a long way for much needed agility to support a newly reorganized Microsoft .

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