Microsoft Program Manager Reviews | Glassdoor

Microsoft Program Manager Reviews

Updated October 23, 2018
1,785 reviews

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Program Manager

4.0
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Pros
Cons
  • "Certain groups can have poor work-life balance" (in 1180 reviews)

  • "Outdated review system which is anything but fair" (in 526 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "Growth Mindset"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Principal Program Manager Lead in Redmond, WA
    Current Employee - Principal Program Manager Lead in Redmond, WA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Microsoft full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    You can engineer anything here, from Xbox games to Surface hardware to Office productivity apps to Windows OS to Azure services, and it's easy to move between these teams. The great work/life balance is made possible by well-honed processes and plenty of support that makes it easy to plan time away and get home in time for dinner with the family. Since Satya took over as CEO, the culture has had a major shift towards a growth mindset, so everyone's always learning and challenging themselves, and the corporate results reflect that growth.

    Cons

    Program Management is different than Product Management at other tech companies, doing a bit more design and a bit less market understanding. Microsoft is starting to shift that role, but it has some growing pains around the relationship between PM and Design, and how the company approaches new investments.

    Advice to Management

    Keep up the momentum in culture change and data-driven decision making.


  2. Helpful (1)

    "Great company with interesting work and good culture"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Program Manager in Redmond, WA
    Current Employee - Program Manager in Redmond, WA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Microsoft full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Culture, Work, Comp. Allowed to have life outside of work. PM role is shifting to more product focused role while still maintaining technical nature. PMs are not "dev babysitters" here, which is fantastic! I feel like I can be myself coming into work everyday, which is a great & motivating feeling.

    Cons

    It seems it's 50/50 on if you like where you get placed or not. Half love where they are and half do not. Also, as with working at almost any large company, decisions are usually top down, and it's pretty meeting driven. Meetings are not inherently a bad thing, but it's especially apparent here.

    Advice to Management

    Keep focusing on the customer. Make sure to represent your own core values and do the right thing when confronted with people vs profits.

  3. Helpful (2)

    "Great if you're lucky to work at MS. Terrible if MS is lucky to have you."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Program Manager in Redmond, WA
    Current Employee - Program Manager in Redmond, WA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Microsoft full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    - Work life balance is respected, so you have time to develop yourself outside of work
    - Compensation and benefits are generous
    - It's a family friendly company if you're at that stage in your life and want to slow down
    - The company is financially stable ( for now )

    Cons

    - The ratio of PMs to engineers is ridiculous. There are only a handful of engineers for every PM in my org. Our backlog keeps growing, while the features with the best "visibility" and the least amount of investments gets resourced.

    - Many of the PMs are non-technical. They've landed this job due to dumb luck, then wonder why the over-worked engineers can't get this done faster. When work items take longer than expected, IC PMs are pressed to ask them to "work faster".

    - The more talented people at the company leave. Those who stay are the ones who can't get jobs with similar pay elsewhere. Those who stay and take on work with great "visibility" great promoted. This means that product planning tends to be short sited. Seniors only want to work on something they can get done before the next review period.

    - It's getting more difficult to recruit. PMs are joining in increasing numbers from non-technical domains. They may have domain knowledge in the space, but they're not engineers. This is going to exasperate the problems I mentioned above.

    - Upper management is very disconnected from the reality of building software in the modern age. Most of them haven't touched code in decades, or have been around since the early days of the Internet. They think we are a first-class engineering company, yet we don't have real time metrics, continuous deployment, technical debt controls, testing...

    - Not agile, despite at the rhetoric.

    - We're so much on building a culture around everything except having a great software engineering team.

    Advice to Management

    - Stop hiring unqualified people
    - Promote new college hires - WITH TECHNICAL CHOPS - faster to management positions so the company can be saved before it's too late
    - Understand what you're building before you start
    - Admit to each other that we are not the cream of the crop in terms of talent and ability. Try to come up with a plan to compete under those conditions.
    - Rewarding people per-feature on a yearly basis leads to short term thinking


  4. "Great"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Intern - Program Manager Intern in Redmond, WA
    Current Intern - Program Manager Intern in Redmond, WA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Microsoft as an intern (More than a year)

    Pros

    Great benefits and work life balance

    Cons

    it can get pretty bureaucratic


  5. "Awesome place to work"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Principal Program Manager in Mountain View, CA
    Former Employee - Principal Program Manager in Mountain View, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Microsoft full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    Smart, high-caliber co-workers. Challenging environment. Good compensation.

    Cons

    Stressful, high-energy, tight schedules, and lots to do. Review process keeps you on the treadmill.

    Advice to Management

    Politics cannot be avoided :(


  6. Helpful (2)

    "Much better culture with Satya"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Principal Program Manager Lead in Redmond, WA
    Former Employee - Principal Program Manager Lead in Redmond, WA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Microsoft full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    Lots of resources for the right projects. Can be cutthroat to get funded, but more resources than most companies. Strong push for more collaboration.

    Cons

    Still a ways to go on collaboration. When reorgs happen, people still bring along select people from old teams vs trusting new people.

    Advice to Management

    Push for better assessment of existing teams when new managers come in.


  7. "Great employer"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Program Manager in Redmond, WA
    Current Employee - Senior Program Manager in Redmond, WA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Microsoft full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Flexible with work hours and working from home.
    Treat staff really well. Lots of great perks.

    Cons

    Slow to innovate. Culture of producing software with bugs, or not implement features so that major launch deadlines will be hit.

  8. Helpful (8)

    "Microsoft is over-compensating for diversity"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Program Manager in Redmond, WA
    Former Employee - Senior Program Manager in Redmond, WA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Microsoft full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    Good company, lots of opportunity to work on various things.

    Cons

    Not a great place to work if you are a non-minority male (including Asians as they are not considered minority). Managers are hinted to hire diversity candidates over talented non-diversity candidates.

    Advice to Management

    Don't reduce the hiring bar for diversity candidates. Also don't reduce the promotion bar for diversity candidates, that just is unfair to the other folks in the team who are working hard and many times pick up the slack from the unskilled diversity hire.


  9. Helpful (4)

    "Great Company, Great Culture!"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Principal Lead Program Manager in Redmond, WA
    Current Employee - Principal Lead Program Manager in Redmond, WA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Microsoft full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    Be yourself, encouraged to do your best, great opportunities for growth and development, great benefits and a great corporate citizen.

    Cons

    Rams inclusiveness down your throat and sets strange diversity goals that are not based on merit.

    Advice to Management

    Keep doing what you're doing and stop trying to atone for Satya's incident comment about women.


  10. Helpful (1)

    "13 years, change is slow"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Business Program Manager in Seattle, WA
    Current Employee - Senior Business Program Manager in Seattle, WA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Microsoft full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    Career movement opportunity, flexibility to wfh sometimes

    Cons

    Duplication of roles, multiple people in diff groups working on the same thing, lack of clarity from upper management, running around in circles to react to requests from CVPs, old school buildings (can’t bring dogs), global CORP roles expectation to work crazy hours

    Advice to Management

    Role clarity, M2 and above needs training on change management, how to create clarity with ICs