RIM cuts down summer vacation for Ottawa staff; Bumps work week to six days

RIM Offices
By Adam Zeis on 5 Jul 2012 01:30 pm EDT

According to the Ottawa Citizen, RIM is now cutting down on summer vacations for its Ottawa employees and also bumping up the work week to six days. The increased work hours have been put in place to ramp up efforts to get BlackBerry 10 out the door in what is now Q1 of 2013. The new devices were originally set to launch later this year, but another delay means there are still plenty of things for RIM is looking to done before they can get the devices to the public. Hopefully the extra hours of manpower will be beneficial in the long run. 

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Source: Ottawa Citizen

Adam Zeis Adam Zeis "Mobile Nations Content Strategist" 3740 (articles) 2892 (forum posts)

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RIM cuts down summer vacation for Ottawa staff; Bumps work week to six days


Awesome. Now the management at RIM are slave drivers too! If I was one of these employees mandated to work 6 days a week, I'd expect substantial compensation for this or my resume would be out there ASAP (if it already isn't). This to me is a real panic move and illustrates that even with buying themselves another quarter or 2 for release, they still might not be ready. As a long-time BlackBerry user and RIM investor, this news just keeps getting worse and worse.

its funny that you say that because a post that crackberry put up a day or two ago people were saying in the comments that they should try harder and make people work more days and cut back on traveling and that's exactly what they are doing. now all of a sudden people are saying that rim is terrible because they are making people work hard to get consumers what they want. you either want a blackberry that is great or not, so everyone stop complaining. and the news isn't getting worse its only delayed 2 months that's better then what people though. rim has been putting in a huge effort and all they get is bad criticism when rim wasn't trying everyone is like oh who cares.

Everyone has a choice, find your comments very negative and I for one would never employ someone like you

No.. this is a move to get BB10 out the door without any more delays. I'm sure Thor is about as sick of hearing the whining about BB10 being delayed as I am. As for feeling like you are being slave driven, you do have the option to find a new job at any time you like. That being said, there are 5000 unfortunate employees that have or will be losing their jobs soon... so those people that feel like they are being slave driven should just enjoy they fact that they are still getting a paycheck for services rendered. RIGHT?

This is definitely not healthy. If my company asked me to do a 6 day work week, I would be worried about their health.

* this is not sustainable for more than a few weeks!
* overall company morale will suffer
* some people will burn out
* some will use this as an excuse to leave

On the plus side, if management can really sell their employees on what can be accomplished by that bit of extra effort, they might actually get it done.

I agree with you -- it is a panic move and will not go down well with most employees, even the most dedicated employees. Most have families, and they are probably already putting in a bunch of extra hours anyway.

This isn't usually news for a tech company. I've lived through a few deathmarches and they usually go one of two ways: Everyone is amped up to be part of the final push, or everyone gets demoralized as they drag on and just wants to get the thing out the door.

The risk I see here is RIM has effectively announced to their staff that they're looking at a 6-9 month deathmarch up front. A month or two at a time is palatable, but half a year can kill morale and burn out the team. This might be a mistake on RIM's part.

Rather than force six day weeks and cut staffing, you expand the team to make up the extra effort, and keep the hard pushes to short, energetic bursts.

It also says something that the BB10 team was put onto a six day week; a motivated dev team doesn't usually need to be told to go to six days (or seven days) - they're jazzed about the project and want to keep working on it. This tells me we might have a morale problem inside RIM (just as we do outside RIM, I suppose)!

With the extra time will they add anything else to make it special? Have many java employees who are young could learn the ways of QNX instead of losing there jobs? How does RIM make sure that this comes out Jan 1 of Q1 2013 and not the last day of the quarter.

Not everything a company does makes sense at the time, and quite frankly not everything RIM has done in the past made sense even after the result came to fruition. With that being said, you either trust TH as CEO or you don't. To me, it's too early to make that judgement call. It's been 6 months. Let's see how early in the quarter 1 BB 10 comes out.

Loving Jesus!

Everyone seems to have forgotten, this time last year they said it was coming out early 2012!
You don't slip a product by over a year without it being crap

The problem is that to many have saing allready to mutch. If me i tell to rim keep things more secret. To cut summer vacation is bad...because specally now in this sad moment of rim the workers need vacations for load more power and motivation...for all the people cant wait just buy some phone i do before many time but you will see in the end yuo will go back to blackberry...i try iphone, i try htc, i try samsung, i try motorola but nothing can replace for me my keyboard , designe of my blackberrys. Okay in the moment the only i replace is the playbook ..but only because i like a biger screen..sorry rim..:-)
The big problem of blackberry is the app store...i hope they change to wm 8 ....good luck for all of us blackberry fans

The problem is that many already notice that RIM does not have a true plan.

Nokia tied to partner with windows, but got used.

Apple is coming out with a 7 inch tablet. Do you know why if they do this it would succeed? It's not about features, it's about fans.

RIM never announced it is early 2012 it is we that speculated it is Q1 2012, how would have anyone thought it is possible? when Playbook had barebones this time last year.

They did however announce the the Playbook 4G would be released in the Summer of 2011 and here we are today a year later with no Playbook 4G.

They had entered into an agreement with Sprint to do WiMax. Spring labeled it 4G, but RIM bailed on that when support for WiMax was dropping. RIM made the wise decision not to release a WiMax PlayBook, which would only be for Sprint. RIM went with LTE instead but it took some time to get the chipsets out to support the PlayBook.

I know the device has been in testing for several months. One actually showed up on eBay, I believe, several months ago. RIM had tried to get BBM going on the PlayBook for OS 2.1, but frankly if this what's holding up the 4G PlayBook, I think they should move forward without it.

Perhaps part of the delay for BB10 is probably RIM trying to get BB10 to fit perfectly with their existing product line: BIS, BES, etc. To be perfectly honest, the average consumer cares little for BIS or BES. The PlayBook didn't use either, and for some customers, that may be a problem, but the average consumer wouldn't have noticed if it was missing. BTW it is still missing in OS 2.1 beta, but no one cares.

In other words, RIM could have released BB10 without BIS or BES for the consumer market, and provide a later update for BB10 to support those. Business customers are fine with BB7 devices for a little while longer. The consumer market isn't.

Again, RIM must insist on direct upgrades as Apple does, not carrier based upgrades, so they can upgrade the devices as needed.

No there is nothing wrong with RIM as it exists now. They only have to drop kick 1/3 of the work force out the door then tell the remaining that your vacations are cut shorter and you have to work 6 days a week now with probably no overtime. But BB10 will be awesome because the best software is made by overworked underpaid programmers.

Overworked and underpaid?
Sounds like you're talking about Apple's Chinese slaves.
Dan Dodge's QNX staff are more than ready to put in the effort and are compensated more than Apple's Chinese slaves, trust me.

The problem with that response is if they were really 'more than ready to put in the effort' they would already be doing so.

A motivated and well managed development team recognizes when it is time to push and when it is time to back off. Concentrated high-energy pushes are part of every development cycle; announcing a six day work requirement when you are 7-9 months from shipping a product risks extreme burn out and demoralizing a team.

I hate to sound like a downer, but I'm quite concerned that pushing the team now into a death march will result in a team that is down and burned out and, come January, is just doing everything possible to kick BB10 out the door rather than excited about producing the best BB OS ever.

WebOS when created with made by overworked and underpaid sleep deprived developers.

If only they had the cash...

Hey Scroat, um, my guess (as opposed to your guess) is that there will be some hefty bonuses tied to meeting deadlines. I would love to see all surviving RIM employees getting an across the board stock option package to highlight the fact that "we" (they) are all in this together come hell or high water and we (they) will all benefit financially together as a result of all of our(their) extraordinary efforts and sacrifices. Have a great day!
From the virtual keyboard of my Neutrino powered Playbook

I'd have skipped introducing stock into the equation. Every dev on the team probably has options, the problem is they are so underwater as to be completely worthless.

Really. Scroat. You make a statement like that and you should probably compare it to Foxconn/Apple... but then what you normally do is cherry pick the garbage that comes out of your mouth. $600 for a phone while a worker makes peanuts. Hmm... seems fair, right?

Hard news to hear.. but this is an all or nothing strategy so I actually think this is a good idea. Just hope that Thorsten brought this news to his staff in a good way, so that his staff is standing behind his decision! Making staff work a lot more is only efficient if the staff is willing to do so!

Its funny you say this. I'm in the military and we just had a doscussion about this. We have a serious communication issue. Our supervision likes to just say we are working 12 hour shifts no days off for 2 weeks and leaves it at that. In our meeting we explained that people would be much more willing and happier to work if you give them a reason why they are doing it and give them a goal to work towards. Instead they continually just present it in a way they are doing it just to F*?! us. Thor "seems" like a great guy and morale is supposedly high inside RIM. I think he was pretty clear on why he is doing it and presented it in a way that would keep them all motivated. Who knows, perhaps they will all get vacation after its released?

The BlackBerry 10 development team, from management to programmers, should be under a mandate to deliver on time or be terminated if they fail. For the managers an added incentive that they will never work in the industry again is appropriate. These jokers should have been working much harder much earlier so BlackBerry 10 could have been released in August 2012 in time for the back-to-school and holiday sales periods.

LOL!! People act like BB10 is a replacement heart.. and if they don't get their "replacement heart" transplant on October 1, 2012, they will die..

I like my suggested incentive package (see above) better than yours.
From the virtual keyboard of my Neutrino powered Playbook

Yep, because that sort of approach to development always results in high quality code and the best products.

Oh wait, it results in shoddy products that meet a schedule. Good thinking.

I for one believe this is a good call on RIM's part. Employees have to understand the state the company is in. This is not the RIM of 2007 (Shocker...I know). In order for the employees to have jobs, the company has to perform. In order for the company to release BB 10 earlier than March 31st, 2013, they need their employees to work a little harder/longer. This is no different than any other company. It does suck for employees on vacation times, but all is well that ends well. They can get a few additional days on top of what they had when BB 10 is a success. I'm beyond ready to have this on my Playbook.

Loving Jesus!

You back with this sh_t again moron? Didn't you get enough of this the last two days. I've said it 10 times and I'll say it 10 million more times..

1. You aren't the blog nanny.. so f_ck off.

2. I'll contribute something intelligent once you do..

I don't buy this for a minute. The entire idea sounds foolish to me.

1) If I am entitled to X amount of weeks then I am still going to take that time off. Reducing summer vacation does not change anything because that means more employees will be taking off time later in the year. BB10 is not coming out this year so what difference does it make when I take time off?

2) Making employees work 6 days for an extended amount of time will only burn them out and productivity will take a dump.

The idea seems counter productive, and I don't think they rim would do that.

1) Vacation can be paid out or moved to next year upon management decision. It's called crush time. For some tax firms, once September hits, you are forbidden to take vacation (unless a family member dies etc). Your vacation used just roles over next year.

2) Near a product launch a 6 day work week can be known to happen. At the end of the day, if they want a future job this one isn't that hard to swallow. This happens quite often in game development especially.

1. When 5000 people are reported to be losing their jobs, I don't think you have much choice. You either do as asked/told....or get shown the door because someone else will do it for a steady paycheck.

2. I don't disagree with you.. but they also are in a crunch. It is either work extra time to get this out the door.. .or possibly not have a company to be employed by. You pick!

Indeed. In addition, the timing makes no sense. They'd be doing this *now*? When BB10 was originally supposed to be released in the fall, they weren't doing this -- yet they're starting now, when release is 6-8 months out?

Something doesn't add up here.

I am starting to think they are running into similer issues they had with the playbook. Other then the notification system camara and keyboard, I think they are having major issues with the rest and are struggling to get the product complete on time with 100% functionalty out of the box. Why else would they bump up the tempo of development and programming now.

One point a lot of people aren't considering-even if RIM releases 6 months from now they still need to have near-final builds ready to give to carriers/partners weeks if not months before the launch date so that they can authorize them on their networks for the launch date.

So it makes sense to push hard now, so that if you've got a date 6 months away and you plan on giving the carriers access to the devices and software in a state you don't plan on changing too much 2 months in advance that you'd go hard for the next 3-4 months. You can then spend those last 2 months polishing and tidying up all the finer details while you spent your harsh push time getting all the core components integrated together.

It's something to consider at least, everyone always overlooks that the carrier approval process can be stupid slow at times and RIM hasn't up until this point sold directly so they also need to bow to the big carriers-also puts it in context the things Thorsten said about the carriers preferring it early next year.

As an employee, if you don't want the work that's offered, you'd be one of 5,000 taking Employment Insurance. Your choice.

As everybody knows, the only sensible approach is to outsource the work on such race-to-the-bottom economic terms that workers in some far off land begin to throw themselves off the roof of the plant.

if you haven't seen "Pirates of Silicon Valley" you should watch it and see how Steve Jobs and Bill Gates ran their company to be two biggest companies now (in somewhat exaggeration way lol).

I'm a developer and I have never seen more hours get a project done faster. Moral and motivation ye, but not tired, burnt out, depressed developers. This really isn't a good idea and is a sign of panicking, to me.

Totaly agree with the panicking aspect. I am wondering if the new jelly bean realse from google struck the wrong cord with Rim causing them to do a knee jurk reaction.

I agree. My company does a lot of development and not long ago they were circulating an article about how you actually get more out of well rested developers working normal hours vs. driving them into the ground. This is really bad news.

Yet if they didn't take these precautionary measures to ensure the revised deadline was missed...and the deadline ended up getting missed, people on this site would be shouting from the mountain tops about how RIM management is clueless and about how RIM sucks.

They can't win with whatever they do...

Seriously people RIM could state that BB10 devices are coming out next month and some of ya'll would come up with something to complain about. RIM is going out of their way to prove to the world that they are focused and driven. It's either give them their vacations or take away their jobs. Only way the staff is going to even have a job is to get a complete BB10 os out the door a.s.a.p or the staff may no longer even have a job. For those of ya'll that think ya'll can run a business better might as well sell your BlackBerry and go and buy an iphone because if anybody is a slave driver it apple working under age china children to the bone.

If anyone has a problem I'm sure they can go and find a job else where but for the truly committed and dedicated they will do whatever it takes to get through this transition and get BB10 rolling.

You all must have cushy service and non-manufacturing jobs.

Well, I work in the automotive industry and when you're at crunch time to meet a vehicle launch date with your developed product (and trust me you don't want to be that supplier who is late cause there's just really hefty fines - companies can go under if your too late) our engineering all put in the hours.. you work on weekends, extended hours during the week, you move your vacation and your team works their a$$es off to meet that deadline. The only issue here is that for our company nobody posts that in the news for everyone to see like their doing to RIM. But trust me this does happen all the time.

This is a necessary evil that RIM must do for the survival of their company. Yeah ok, they miss the mark and were maybe too optimistic with their first timeline estimation, but as you continue to work to your goal (and this is a major and complex goal), your plan and therefore your timeline may and can change.. at least they had the decency to let people know ahead of time instead of being 3 months late to their previous disclosed date - that would be really bad.. you think the press is hard on them now, they would slaughter them if the latter happened.

I used to work for a large corporation and we had crunch times similar to what rim is put in place and i can tell u, developers can only take it for a short while. Then they burn out so much that the under perform significantly. The product gets out on time but the number of bugs found is triple what it would be if th re was no pressure., regardless of how motivated the team is. Thats been my experi nce.

What is the problem with working alittle harder when it is needed. I have friends that are programmers and when I talk to them about their schedules they are consistently pulling 12 hrs days. Why? Because they like what they do.

I work in a company that do not allow vacations at certain "crunch" times. Damn, I have worked 14 days straight in some situations. Why? First it was my choice and because I enjoy what I do. Am I working all that for free? Heck no.. I get that time returned to me on my terms and is more flexible.

Do they not like their job? Are they afraid that they might be found out they are not good at what they do and the root of the delays? Probably not.

RIM staff will survive missing a free day for a few months since they enjoy what they do and know they are an asset of what they do. Some of you should think of something else.

I would think they would be happy to have a damn job and not be standing up in the unemployment line.

That's just me though.

2 Little 2 Late...now you want to do this when your brand is buried and the fat lady is singing.

RIP RIM for waiting till now to put out something that probably still will not impress..lol

I remember having to work from home while I was on 2 weeks of vacation after the birth of my second child. Whatever was needed to get the work done. People these days do feel entitled, don't appreciate what they have, and don't know what hard work really is.

No one is suggesting that the six day work weeks are permanent or that the vacation time is completely gone. A little extra work at crunch time is normal. No big deal.

You young whipper-snappers * shakes fist at sky *.