Death Spirals

Subject: Death Spirals
From: Richard Lippincott <rlippinc -at- BEV -dot- ETN -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 20 Jan 1995 16:36:56 EST

This is inspired by Tara Scanlon's posting:

> Suppose your new company president decided that
> you need to reduce the amount of information
> (documentation and online help) your company
> produces by 80% in the next year. He's not looking to cut
> people, just words.

At my last employer, we got into a cycle that started off with the managers
deciding to turn down customer requests for updated manuals. "Insufficient
personnel" was the reason. We were told, of course, not to worry about our
jobs.

Then, suddenly, there were staffing cuts. "Not enough revenue to justify the
headcount" was given as the reason. There was another round of work turned
away due to "insufficient personnel", then another round of cuts due to "not
enough revenue...", and so forth.

The department went from about 100 people in 1980 to a current staffing of
about 25, and the cuts are not over yet. (I lasted until mid '93)

I hate to put scary thoughts in anyone's head, but when I hear words like
Tara's, my stomach churns.

Rick Lippincott
Eaton Semiconductor
Beverly, MA
rlippinc -at- bev -dot- etn -dot- com


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