Pardon my language, but forced ranking sucks. It’s a terrible terrible idea and whoever came up with it, unless this was a lesser evil, should have a red cone of shame deposited on his or her head. In a recent story on TechCrunch “Stacked Ranking“, Steve Gillmor stated:
Stack ranking, it turns out, is a cancer eating away at Microsoft’s ability to save itself.
And that article, along with a Forbes article The Terrible Management Technique that Cost Microsoft Its Creativity, was responding to a piece in Vanity Fair called Microsoft’s Lost Decade. Here is a chilling quote from the article:
Every current and former Microsoft employee I interviewed—every one—cited stack ranking as the most destructive process inside of Microsoft, something that drove out untold numbers of employees. The system—also referred to as “the performance model,” “the bell curve,” or just “the employee review”—has, with certain variations over the years, worked like this: every unit was forced to declare a certain percentage of employees as top performers, then good performers, then average, then below average, then poor.