Wednesday, February 07, 2007

lay off ~= business strategy ~= choked by your own success

Four weeks ago, I called in to a meeting from home. In that meeting, John, my manager was let go, because the business strategy has renewed. The rest of us were assured in a later company-wide town-hall meeting, that "this is the team we are going forward with." John wasn't present. I was told later that he was asked not come in at all and his employment terminated that day. Why the rush? We were just about to roll out a major release on the ASP platform our team work on for the first third of our customer base. John was a hands-on manager, so the big void caused by his departure was apparent.

Three weeks ago, Stevie, Matt, and Prakash, three more team members, were let go. Their positions were eliminated, because the management is confident that the latest release on the ASP platform is "feature-rich and robust enough to go forward without new development, for years to come". Again, my team or the left half of it were assured that "this is the team we are going forward with." Why the rush? We were yet to roll out the major release to the rest two thirds of our customer base.

Does this second layoff justification suggest that our team choked by our own success? If less feature were rushed in by John and squeezed in by Sales/marketing and we didn't work days and nights and weekends to smooth the edges, we'd all still have jobs? I couldn't help wondering whether this why ISVs release bug-ridden code or QA/test inadequately.

At any rate, the red PANIC button has been pounded on. Seasoned professionals as we are, we instantly hit the floor. Calling recruiters, line up old friends and contacts, update resumes and post them. It pretty much resembles a scene where rats rush off a sinking boat.

Various news starts to tickle in through the cubicle walls. Hallway meetings anytime. Then, Matt's sense of humor struck me. He said, "Yes they were a bit clumsy firing people. It could only be a good thing. At least they are not used to this kind of thing or hadn't do it often enough to become proficient and smooth."

I don't think I am thinking straight right now. I probably will add a few more comments when I have leisure to reflect, after I find my new job somewhere else.

No comments: