Microsoft Employee Reviews for Senior Program Manager
Senior Program Manager159 reviews
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Great opportunity to learn with fellow employees in a working environment that is vert team orientated. Very smart engineers that are willing to help others succeed. Great work/family lifestyle. Good Communications with Upper Management.High visibility projects where you get notice by upper management.
Benefits-Family Time-Smart-Team Orientated employees
I was a Senior Program Manager with a virtual pager. Had to rotate with Devs for 24x7 on-call escalations of multiple 24x7 online services. Review process changes every year. Very bureaucratic and political. Lots of turnover due to local competition for talent. Devs and PMs get burnt out with the expected work culture (at least on my org). Sloth-like SDLC. Most enjoyable part of the job were the people I worked with.
I was there while stack ranking was still the standard review process. This created a lot of back stabbing in the company to get ahead. I understand that the review process has since changed away from stack ranking however, it will probably take many years to actually change the culture.
Microsoft gives you unparalleled scope and scale for work and impact. Every job I've had is engaging and invigorating and challenging. But... forget career advancement. The only way to get ahead is to leave, and let the company recruit you back. Sure, some people get promoted, but it's way, way faster to leave and come back.
A typical day at work goes by so quickly learning every step of the way but also sharing of skills amongst colleagues. The hardest part of the job is keeping up with the demand and the sheer volume of work but at the same time I find this motivating as I will not be beat as I refuse to loose. Technology is what I love. Being part of something much greater than myself is what I desire. Microsoft provides that culture. The most enjoyable part of the job is that you are not alone. All share the same desires to succeed but are wiling to help one another as part of one gigantic team!
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The money is here, but the culture is absolutely caustic to anyone who is not already old buddies with the director and certainly any contract employee is treated like a second-class slave. This is the place where, if you have good ideas that could help the entire team?... you had either keep your head down and wait the requisite 3 years before unleashing them... or make them 100% your boss' idea. If you implement anything on your own, you will be shunned because it makes your management structure look bad because they need the ownership of any improvements.
The churn from reorganizations makes team and relational cohesiveness elusive, sapping the synergies of orgs and individuals. It's like building a house and constantly having all the subs suddenly change multiple times. The "new team" now has to figure out what was done, where the pipes and wires were laid, and frequently either busts into the walls to redo what was already done, or suddenly finds a short circuit due to mistakingly cutting into an wire or pipe, or has vermin infesting the structure because holes were left gaping because the person who was formerly working on structure was moved to a new job. Moreover, I have frequently observed that annual mandated quotas of 5-10% "poor performance" rating system forces out amazing colleagues, not because of poor performance, but due to meeting arbitrary quotas. Ironically, the horrible impact to the churn mentioned above, plus the stress on staff, far exceed any theoretical benefit of "culling the poor performers." (Yes, there are sometimes bonafide poor performers, but 5-10% a year? What changed? MS hired them believing they were great. So did really 5-10% suddenly become bad performers each year, or is there something endemic with the organization that could be at play here? How much better would it be to really invest in those people assets to either get them the skills needed or help them find a great match for their skills and experience in another group?) I have had amazing bosses and brilliant colleagues suddenly disappear from the company because some GM or VP had to meet a quota number set by some HR "expert", - more...
Smart colleagues, great benefits, challenging work, telecommuting
Re-org churn, managers who are not good people managers, annual quota firing policy
Overall Microsoft's benefits are very good compared to other companies in the industry. The company has changed a lot over the last 15 years. Microsoft will continue to get better as the old managers are moved out and new management is brought in. Many of the existing managers maintain decades old loyalty and shield mediocre managers. The downside is that it prevents these individuals from getting better. Many divisions within the company have strived to improve their culture (Office) while others are still very political (Xbox); and the right people need to like you for you to grow in your career.
401k match at 50% up to the IRS limit
No free lunches
Since Satya Nadella become CEO, the workplace culture has positively changed from having to pretend to know everything and have all the answers to I'm imperfect and have weaknesses and will learn and grow. Fail fast and learn, it's okay to make mistakes, move on and grow, is now the culture.
Extremely smart people willing to help others succeed
Extremely fast pace and demanding, which is not for everyone
Pros: Stable financial state Decent work-life balance Many different products offer many different kind of things to work on Generally very well defined role structure Cons: Very slow to move towards technological change Very hierarchical
Much changed in the past five years, Microsoft continues to improve. From a top-down impetus from Satya, being open and self-critical are now the hallmarks of the company. While the compensation is very good, not excellent, the work-life balance is excellent and the work environment is generally very good.