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  1. wayoung's Avatar
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    Default RIM cancelling Summer Vacations and Increasing Work Week for QNX Staff

    From the Ottawa Citizen:

    RIM to Ottawa staff: Go all out

    OTTAWA — Research In Motion Ltd. is limiting summer vacations and ordering six-day work weeks for many of its Ottawa staff as it scrambles to push out its much-promised BlackBerry 10 operating system.

    Ottawa is the “epicentre” of development for RIM’s upcoming BlackBerry 10 (BB10) devices and software. The company, which this week delivered a bombshell announcement that its next generation of smartphones will be delayed until next year, confirmed Friday that the intensified work hours are due to the focus on getting BB10 out to market.

    “The successful launch of the BlackBerry 10 platform, and the delivery of high quality, full-featured BlackBerry 10 smartphones, remains the company’s No. 1 priority; and we’re incredibly proud of the commitment shown by all RIM employees as we work toward this goal,” a RIM spokeswoman said in a statement.

    The company is racing to complete quality control and bug testing on the new devices, which were originally expected to be released in the fall. On a conference call to investors Thursday, chief executive Thorsten Heins announced a delay to the release of the devices until early 2013 because making sure the phones work flawlessly is taking far longer than the company had hoped.

    “RIM’s development teams are relentlessly focused on ensuring the quality and reliability of the platform and I will not compromise the product by delivering it before it is ready,” Heins said on the call. “Over the past several weeks, RIM’s software development teams have made major progress in the development of key features for BlackBerry 10. However, the integration of these features and the associated large volume of code into the platform has proven to be more time consuming than anticipated.”

    Rudimentary test versions of the BB10 hardware have been given to developers over the past several weeks in hopes of enticing those developers to make applications and software for the new phones.

    RIM is also offering app developers a guaranteed annual income of $10,000 has also signed deals with universities to teach BlackBerry coding courses.

    News of the delay sent shock waves through the developer community Friday.

    Posting on the blog of RIM’s vice-president of developer relations, Alex Saunders, a developer who identified himself as Frank George vented his frustration.

    “How is it possible that BB10 has got postponed once again? Does anyone at RIM actually believe that existing customers will sit around waiting for BB10 when all the other ecosystems are constantly evolving gaining marketshare?” he said. “How could you and RIM have told us developers for the last few months how close things were, to have got us this excited and then to wait for a quarterly earnings call to bitterly disappoint the only community that will, in the end, make BB10 sing?”

    The financial community is also asking questions about the new devices, which are falling further behind rivals such as Apple Inc.’s iPhone and Google Inc.’s Android phones.

    “The company is in the middle of a major transition with all bets being placed on the success of the BB10 devices,” said Sameet Kanade, technology analyst with Northern Securities in a note to investors Friday. “We would not be surprised by even further delays in the launch.”

    Stephen Li, technology and clean tech equity analyst at Raymond James, shared the sentiment.

    “With BB10 now delayed (until next year) while the competition refreshes its lineup … we believe that could set RIM further back on the specs (technology) curve and the possibility of a comeback is rapidly diminishing,” he said in a research note Friday. “With that in mind, we believe at this point a sale is likely needed to unlock value.”

    With a majority of potential consumers holding off buying a BlackBerry device in the lead-up to the release of BB10, RIM announced it would need to cut more than 5,000 jobs over the next year in a bid to trim $1 billion in costs.

    The company said many of the 5,000 have already been notified. RIM has about 16,000 employees globally, including an estimated around 1,600 in Ottawa.

    RIM conducted a round of 2,000 layoffs last summer. The company would not break down the latest layoffs by geographical region and offered no guarantees that it was finished cutting. However, the company said a planned expansion of its Kanata offices would go ahead.

    “We plan to finish construction on the facility at 5050 Innovation Dr. by the end of the year. Once completed, we plan to relocate some teams from other facilities to the new building,” said the company spokeswoman.

    The new 172,750-square-foot building will complement a recently completed facility at 4000 Innovation Dr. The company owns nearly seven hectares of land in the area. It also recently moved its QNX Software Systems Inc. subsidiary into nearby 1001 Farrar Rd., a 150,000-square-foot building formerly occupied by Dell Inc.

    At RIM and QNX locations on Farrar Road and Innovation Drive in Kanata, employees refused to comment on this week’s developments. Employees outside both buildings directed a reporter to public relations staff as they went in and out for lunch and breaks.

    “We can’t talk, straight marching orders,” said one employee as he smoked a cigarette outside of the Farrar Road office.

    On Thursday the company reported a loss of $518 million during its most recent quarter. The loss compared with a profit of $695 million or $1.33 per share a year ago.

    Sales for the three month period fell to $2.81 billion from $4.91 billion.

    During the quarter, RIM shipped 7.8 million BlackBerry smartphones and approximately 260,000 BlackBerry PlayBook tablets.

    In its outlook, the company said it expects the next several quarters to continue to be very challenging for its business.

    The company’s shares closed at $7.51 on the Toronto Stock Exchange Friday, down $1.91 or 20.24 per cent.

    With files from Michelle Zilio, Citizen staff



    Read more: RIM to Ottawa staff: Go all out
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    nobody works in high tech for the allure of a 40hr workweek.....no vacations and 6 (or 7) day workweeks are commonplace in the reality for the duration of critical projects...
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  3. NJPhilliesPhan's Avatar
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    I believe they are having a hard time recruiting the top talent to move to Canada. The top talent wants to be in the USA. BlackBerry would benefit from a move to silicone valley.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mystic205 View Post
    nobody works in high tech for the allure of a 40hr workweek.....no vacations and 6 (or 7) day workweeks are commonplace in the reality for the duration of critical projects...
    Youre got to get flamed... But you're right. Been there done that... Can be fun if it isn't for an extended period of time.
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    Might as well go ahead and cancel Xmas holidays too.
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    Quote Originally Posted by NJPhilliesPhan View Post
    I believe they are having a hard time recruiting the top talent to move to Canada. The top talent wants to be in the USA. BlackBerry would benefit from a move to silicone valley.
    I think it just has more to do with population. If you compare RIM security it still is unmatched. But I do think a community as large and diverse as Silicon Valley would have benefits for RIM. Apple for instance has 60,000 employees compared to RIMs past 16,000. You can actually argue RIM is doing a much better job. Its the leadership IMO.
  7. lnichols's Avatar
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    Why didn't they do this sooner to get this out this year?!
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  8. lawguyman's Avatar
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    Just like adding people to a project can reduce overall productivity, making people work longer hours can also reduce productivity.

    People get tired and worn out. This is a fact of life. You can't make worn out people be more productive. Tired people need sleep. People need to recharge their batteries.

    People can extend themselves for short periods of time but not for a summer or nine months.

    This is stupid.
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    Quote Originally Posted by lawguyman View Post
    Just like adding people to a project can reduce overall productivity, making people work longer hours can also reduce productivity.

    People get tired and worn out. This is a fact of life. You can't make worn out people be more productive. Tired people need sleep. People need to recharge their batteries.

    People can extend themselves for short periods of time but not for a summer or nine months.

    This is stupid.
    Yup. Totally agree with you. I've been there (several times), and bought the T-shirt.

    It can work for maybe a month - there is a definite buzz working together with your team in "crisis mode" - but then... you just want to be somewhere, anywhere, else and your actual productivity becomes inversely proportional to the extra hours you're putting in.

    So, to do this for the next 6-9 months is folly. It won't work because the duration involved makes it a marathon rather than an (achievable) sprint.

    But, as it is Play #1 in every Project Manager's playbook, I'm not surprised that it's being done. And I'm not sure what else they can do in all honesty.

    Play #2 is to extend the deadline... so I'm not banking on that Q1'13 date for BB10 being held.
    Proud Member of the PlayBook Beta Test Team (Since June 2011)

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    At this rate, current staff will probably call it quits if they can't handle 6-7 days of work. As other have said, working non stop can reduce productivity.
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    Quote Originally Posted by NJPhilliesPhan View Post
    I believe they are having a hard time recruiting the top talent to move to Canada. The top talent wants to be in the USA. BlackBerry would benefit from a move to silicone valley.
    Bases upon what evidence besides your American arrogance?
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  12. Brianflys's Avatar
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    A good move. Obviously based on my thread about a certain VP taking vacation during this critical time. Put this company in high gear.
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    Quote Originally Posted by lawguyman View Post
    Just like adding people to a project can reduce overall productivity, making people work longer hours can also reduce productivity.

    People get tired and worn out. This is a fact of life. You can't make worn out people be more productive. Tired people need sleep. People need to recharge their batteries.

    People can extend themselves for short periods of time but not for a summer or nine months.

    This is stupid.
    While the burn-out factor is indeed a reality, there are times in any industry -- especially one as volatile and competitive as this one -- when the whole team has to knuckle down and make sacrifices for their commitment. I am an IT project manager, and I am very familiar with both sides of the argument. It would be one thing if there were no end in sight and staff were expected to work 80+ hour weeks non-top indefinitely. But this is not the case; the company has a mission, they know what the end game is, the clock is ticking, and the only way they're going to accomplish their goal is for everyone to come together and commit. As mystic said, this is what happens with critical projects, and they don't get any more critical than this. And yes, I have been part of development teams that have done the thrash for a six-month stretch leading up to a mission-critical software implementation. It is exhausting, frustrating, and usually thankless. It is extremely harmful to make it a 'way of life' that is expected project after project, so you make sure it only happens in the most dire of situations. In this case, it is necessary, and the truly dedicated employees will give it all they can. Some won't be happy about it; but some will undoubtedly rise to accept the challenge, and those should be rewarded accordingly if and when success is the result.


    @Inichols, I really have to agree with that question -- I'm very surprised that they weren't already in all-out scramble mode six months ago.
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  14. Superfly_FR's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by mystic205 View Post
    nobody works in high tech for the allure of a 40hr workweek.....no vacations and 6 (or 7) day workweeks are commonplace in the reality for the duration of critical projects...
    Thanked, Liked and not flamed.
    Just an every day classic project deadline finding for many of us.
    Last edited by Superfly_FR; 06-30-2012 at 01:05 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by lnichols View Post
    Why didn't they do this sooner to get this out this year?!
    Very accurate question. But, maybe they did ... ?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jtaylor1986 View Post
    Bases upon what evidence besides your American arrogance?
    Here comes the anti-American rhetoric again...

    How original...
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    If they are just now starting this then communication between everyone must still be horrible. Its like they were caught of guard and couldnt see the delay coming.
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    Quote Originally Posted by lawguyman View Post
    Just like adding people to a project can reduce overall productivity, making people work longer hours can also reduce productivity.

    People get tired and worn out. This is a fact of life. You can't make worn out people be more productive. Tired people need sleep. People need to recharge their batteries.

    People can extend themselves for short periods of time but not for a summer or nine months.

    This is stupid.
    Devs are (should be ?) used to these "rush hours". Sure you can't stand on this rythm as a regular basis, but you can handle it for a limited time, say 3 to 6 months. I believe they'll get some kind of compensation for that ($ or extra holidays ... don't know the Canadian rules for that).
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brianflys View Post
    A good move. Obviously based on my thread about a certain VP taking vacation during this critical time. Put this company in high gear.
    *ouch*
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    Quote Originally Posted by NJPhilliesPhan View Post
    I believe they are having a hard time recruiting the top talent to move to Canada. The top talent wants to be in the USA. BlackBerry would benefit from a move to silicone valley.
    I agree. RIM has been a globally relevant corporation for how many years now? A decade at least. It is ridiculous that R&D is still based out of Waterloo. It is fine for management, marketing and sales to be based there, but they should at least have had some presence in Silicon Valley.

    U of Waterloo is not the be all and end all of software engineering talent, as the last few years have shown. Grads of other schools might have fresh ideas and might not want to freeze their butts off in K-W to develop them.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dentynefire View Post
    Apple for instance has 60,000 employees compared to RIMs past 16,000. You can actually argue RIM is doing a much better job. Its the leadership IMO.
    Apple has many more products, not just iPhone. Plus, almost half of them work in Apple retail stores.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jtaylor1986 View Post
    Bases upon what evidence besides your American arrogance?
    There are dozens of articles out there that support his statement...it's no secret that Facebook,LinkedIn,google, apple etc are constantly recruiting some of the top talent...Not dissing the employees at Rimm(btw)..


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    I think 6 days working is normal on software projects...
    Even 7 days 14-16 hrs every day if deadline is critical..
    ..
    Cigarettes and coffee/tea/beer is legal at most of software work places.....
    ...
    Frustration and brain hogging is quite expected...
    But this is for period of 6/9 months...
    After that..things will start slowing...and engineers will beg for some work...
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    Quote Originally Posted by NJPhilliesPhan View Post
    I believe they are having a hard time recruiting the top talent to move to Canada. The top talent wants to be in the USA. BlackBerry would benefit from a move to silicone valley.
    The Research Triangle Park would be a better choice and they already have an office here. Why go to a state that people are leaving in droves?
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    6 day workweeks and no vacations during a crisis situation?.....what's the big deal? - it happens with companies ALL the time! For example: during intense times of the buying/selling season, during emergencies, during periods when a company is short-handed, during the time when deadlines are drawing near, etc. The only mistake RIM made is not doing this a year ago as their relevancy began to wane in the face of competition (here in the States, anyway). I've been a BB user for many years (going back to the old 850 word pager) - still use BB daily, but understand the frustration some users are expressing...., even I just spent an hour at Best Buy looking at the Androids & Apples - ha! Personally, I will try to wait for BB10 - just hope it eventually comes out & this stalling is not a tactic being used for an ulterior motive. Come on RIM - make my day!!!
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