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Who's at fault? Programmers or managers?

© February 2009 Anthony Lawrence

You must have seen that report about Microsoft overpaying some severance packages and asking the former employees to return the money. A lot of people have wondered if Microsoft is just asking pretty-please because the published letters don't seem very demanding. Folks also wonder how many ex-employees would be fool enough to hand back the extra cash without lawylerly threats. Good question, I guess, but not the first thing that popped into my mind. Microsoft explained that the errors came from an "inadvertent administrative error". I have to ask: could an over-burdened Excel spreadsheet have been involved?

It's all too common to see Excel misapplied out here in the real world; why should it be different in Microsoft's administrative offices? Complex macros, inter-twined sheets that get so stupidly complicated - I see them all the time out here. It's hard to think that Microsoft employees would be any smarter. Why would you take a decent tool like a spreadsheet and give it application development capabilities and not expect people to muck it up? Microsoft programmers screw up in every other language, why wouldn't they screw up in Excel? And that even assumes that real programmers vet whatever Byzantine apps the administrative folks use. My bet would be that managers write their own confused little Excel monsters just like so many people out here do.

Ah, but that's speculation. What's worse, though? That Microsoft managers wrote their own fubarred Excel apps or that Internal Apps churned out the "Termination Benefits Control" package that screwed up the checks? I think it's pretty funny either way.

Speaking of funny: usually I detest E-Weeks dumb slide shows. All they are is an obvious effort to put a lot of ads around very little content. I get suckered into seeing the first page now and then by a good headline, but I seldom read more. For a welcome change, this was pretty good: What Would a Microsoft Store Look Like?

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-> Who's at fault? Programmers or managers?


Inexpensive and informative Apple related e-books:

Photos: A Take Control Crash Course

Take Control of Preview

Take Control of iCloud, Fifth Edition

Take Control of Apple Mail, Third Edition

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More Articles by © Anthony Lawrence

Tue Feb 24 15:28:25 2009: 5497   BigDumbDinosaur

It was later reported that Microsoft dropped the request that the overpaid ex-employees return the unexpected largess. How nice of them (Microsoft, that is)! Makes me all warm and fuzzy inside.

Tue Feb 24 16:38:17 2009: 5498   TonyLawrence

I just want to squeeze them..

Very, very hard.


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