» Microsoft ends stack ranking

The Verge’s Tom Warren reports that Microsoft is killing its stack ranking system, which fit employees into a bell curve for performance evaluation.

In a closer look at Microsoft’s turbulent history and mixed management decisions, Vanity Fair contributing editor Kurt Eichenwald blamed a combination of Microsoft’s obsessive focus on Windows and Office and the company’s internal stack ranking-system for a “lost decade” and cannibalistic culture. Eichenwald interviewed a number of current and former Microsoft employees who all cited stack ranking as the most destructive process inside the software giant.

As I said last year, I worked at a company that tried to implement this system but was smart enough to back off after employee outcry. It’s a toxic example of the kind of social Darwinism preached by management consultants. Treating your employees like dogs in a fight pit isn’t a good way to run a business. Which kind of helps explain what’s happened at Microsoft.