You want HR Hardball? Try this one on for size.
You're a publicly traded company. There's a software release that doesn't go well. Turns out your customers are vocal. So, you serve up the name of a middle manager who apparently was responsible for the failure.
The company? Apple. More from iLounge:
"Apple’s quickly-pulled iOS 8.0.1 update was overseen by the same manager in charge of catching problems with Apple Maps before that program was released, according to Bloomberg. The report claims mid-level manager J*** W****** (I took the name out) oversees quality assurance for iOS, and W****** was also in charge of quality control for Apple’s much-maligned Maps release in 2012. A source said W****** was removed from the Maps team “after the software gave users unreliable directions and mislabeled landmarks,” but he remained in charge of iOS testing. W****** has reportedly been working on quality control for iPhone software “since early iterations of the product,” and he leads a team of more than 100 people worldwide.
Former employees said the company relies on people to find bugs more than it uses automation-testing. The report also notes that engineers in charge of testing new software “often don’t get their hands on the latest iPhones until the same time that they arrive with customers, resulting in updates that may not get tested as much on the latest handsets.” Only senior managers can use unreleased iPhones without special permission, sources said."
There's a lot of issues to sort through on this from the Human Capital side, including:
1. The name got leaked - can't say it was a company leak, but any time a single name gets leaked in response to a company failure, you have to assume that deep sources in the company are behind serving up the name.
2. From a performance management perspective, the employee in question was involved in a tough release involving Apple Maps, but retained a lot of his QA responsibility. That tells me the guy who's name was leaked was at least a decent performer, or he would have been moved out altogether.
Now for two deeper issues...
3. The same article that reports the leak of the employee's name also indicates the QA group doesn't get their hands on a phone until the launch (See shaded green above for that tidbit...) wha???? That's crazy talk. Now, some fanboys will undoubtedly tell me that you QA in this type of situations the same way app developers use simulated environments to QA as they build apps. But c'mon - it's Apple. That's like tell me you test jet engines on the Commodore 64 simulator rather than in a million dollar wind tunnel and on real planes that have test pilots with nerves of steel.
4. And the big close - wait for it - you probably know if Apple leaked the name intentionally based on their corporate zeal in finding the source of the leak. Apple is notorious for hunting down sources of future product leaks and firing those individuals on the site - and with that being the case, wouldn't they hunt down someone who leaked the name of an employee if the leak wasn't corporately endorsed?
Leaking an indivdual name as the source for a failure. That's hardball people. You and I work in day-cares in comparison.