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hoopmeister 12/5/2012 | 1:57:59 AM
re: Ciena Cuts 1/4 of Staff My 2 cents on Ciena,

1. The massive layoff is of no surprise given the fact that the management has failed miserably in guiding high potential product lines into a dominating position in the market place. The problem lies in two aspects, product line management and sales. After ONI has been acquired, the custmer base has barely increased. Ciena as a bigger company has never added value into ONI's product line in terms of sales and marketing. The poor sales team management (lack of knowledge for Metro product) made ONI's product line (metro/edge) lose counteless opportunities.
2. Ciena is notorious in its supply/manufacturing management. The Ciena Corporate Tax on product cost is prohibitive, as in today's market place, transport is going toward commodity, many deals just can not go through. In the same time, many cost reduction plan can not be budgetted because of its cost (not from development, but from various peripheral functions, such as testing/project management etc.), this is a direct result from senior management who can not prioritize and scrutinize.
3. As a result, ONI's metro is a 4 year old product with a high-cost architecture. ONI's edge can not even penetrate to incumbent carrier, and in the same time bringing down the Metro's price tag(as a competitive solution). CoreDirector has been a 7 years product, much of the optical front end are discreet based and never been cost effective.
It's not an exaggeration to say Ciena management killed two could be dominating product lines in the repective marketplace. Instead, newer generation Metro/switching products from other vendors will rule as bandwidth demand pick-up. I don't if Ciena will exist. To compete in crowded so-called data centric space and alcatel dominated broadband access market will not be smooth sale. It's called ducking the failure.

In the end, Ciena executive should be held accountable for either the failure of lacking the vision or failure of using the right executive engineering management. Some of the San Jose site exectuive engineering team could well be a laughing stock. It's that bad.
opsguy 12/5/2012 | 1:57:51 AM
re: Ciena Cuts 1/4 of Staff Sorry for the lack of clarity on that:)

What I meant to say is, some of Ciena's acqusitions had superior processes (including systems) and teams than were implemented/employed in Linthicum. However, they chose to keep their own on both.
As an example, I know that when ONI was acquired, there was a survey that was given to all Linthicum user groups regarding a comparison of both companies op's test platform. The results were telling. Ciena's test pf scored in the 60% test coverage whereas ONI's scored in the 90%. What happened? They all but canned ONI's platform in favor of the legacy.
Mind you, ONI had been in business far less then Ciena and they STILL couldn't get things right.

Like I said before, what has not been reported is that some of the people who were impediments to progress werelet go in the last RIF.
gbennett 12/5/2012 | 1:57:48 AM
re: Ciena Cuts 1/4 of Staff Comrades,
I just wanted to give you more background on one of my comments in Post 34:

Prior to GÇÖ95 FORE was OEMGÇÖing a dreadful box we called the LAX-20. CanGÇÖt remember who actually made it, but it was an appalling piece of junk.

The box in question was built by a company called NetEdge, and a former employee has contacted me to give me additional background.

As in all of these cases, there's another side to this story, which (Twilight Zone theme) involved poor management decisions by FORE's marketing department. This person's explanation made perfect sense to me. My earlier remark was made from a personal perspective (of one of the people who had to face customers), and I now accept that it's not a general reflection of the NetEdge quality or capability.

In fact it stands as yet another example of mis-management of inter-company deals, whether they are OEM deals or acquisitions.

And I agree with OpticOm, that management is a common factor in all of these sagas. But don't single out FORE management for criticism. I saw more of these things at FORE than other companies I'd worked for, but that was because I stayed longer at FORE than others, and I was more senior (and so had access to more juicy gossip).

I can tell you that the degree of management incompetence that I witnessed at Proteon, Ericsson, Wellfleet and Bay Networks was of the same order of magnitude as FORE. And a lot of that bad management centred around OEM and acquisition deals. But hey - I still had a great time at all those companies. And at most of them the good products tended to outweigh the bad.

lollapalooka 12/5/2012 | 1:57:38 AM
re: Ciena Cuts 1/4 of Staff Most messages in this thread have been very insightful and I've learned a lot.

However, it is always THEIR fault. If THEY didn't kill the better solution, or if THEY had vision, things would have been better.
Sometimes all of us are THEY.

Haven't you ever done something while driving and realized that in this situation you're the jerk?

I'm thinking about this more from an organizational standpoint. I've worked in places on their way up and their way down. When managers don't support sales, when engineering and sales don't talk, or when a product is entirely engineering driven, when tech support yells "incoming" when something is released, or in other scenarios there are problems.
But they all seem to be organizational problems.

I still don't know anyone who goes to work and says to themselves, "what can I screw up today?"

Solutions? I don't know. But being able to put yourself in someone else's shoes is probably a good start.
jim_smith 12/5/2012 | 1:57:37 AM
re: Ciena Cuts 1/4 of Staff I completely agree with you - everyone can make mistakes. After all, we are all humans.

But that is really not the issue, and I don't know how you could have missed that. I guess you must have made a mistake ;-)

Let me try this one more time: the point is not whether management makes mistakes or engineers make mistakes. The point is that engineers seem to be bearing the consequences of these mistakes more than management and the reason for that is because in today's organizational structure, management has all the power. I would like to see that change. Are you with me?
Light_Headed 12/5/2012 | 1:57:36 AM
re: Ciena Cuts 1/4 of Staff Here are 3 perspectives you should consider and ask yourself why this happens. It&#8217;s called not being customer focused and working in a commodity industry. Or being so single customer focused that your customer leads you to the guillotine.

Management/Sales &#8211; Product sucked &#8211; too expensive, difficult to use, un-user friendly, difficult to integrate into network, not competitive with others, could not satisfy customer needs, behind delivery schedule

Engineering Team &#8211; Great product with all cool features, bells, and whistles. My professor would be proud of me. Management doesn&#8217;t know how to sell our cool product, bunch of idiots. They couldn&#8217;t sell lemonade if their life dependent on it.

Customer &#8211; Company sucks, doesn&#8217;t help us solve our problems, company is more concerned about pushing their product on us, which is riddled with bugs and problems and expensive. Not confident in their ability to execute &#8211; testing, certification, installation, support, etc. Product will be outdated in 6 months and forced to upgrade at least software wise. Unless they can give it to us at cost, because we&#8217;re not biting. There are numerous competitor choices anyway and someone like Huawei is willing to give it away. Screw em.

Unless you&#8217;re product is really unique, which is almost impossible in this overcrowded industry, I don&#8217;t see this changing anytime soon.

Engineers should realize that you are a commodity. If you don&#8217;t like it, then move into management. Also remember that you do have a boss that has a strong voice and is considered management. So, if you don&#8217;t like what is going on, complain to him/her. And yes, engineering managers do make mistakes, colossal ones.

Good luck to you. My advice is get out of this worthless industry.

lollapalooka 12/5/2012 | 1:57:35 AM
re: Ciena Cuts 1/4 of Staff I'm with you.

Engineers want to be higher in the food chain than the way they end up being. But even among engineers, some are better at multitasking, and others are better at focusing. Both are necessary. Multitaskers make good managers, the focused ones don't, as most who've unwillingly risen to management ranks can tell you.

Engineers can't tolerate the distractions that happen and remain focused enough to get things done. That task oriented inclination is inherent in the function of engineering.

I'm not even sure that management has all the power. (S)he who has the gold sets the rules.
Light_Headed 12/5/2012 | 1:57:31 AM
re: Ciena Cuts 1/4 of Staff Industries that are doing well and have some to several openings:

Automotive (OEM&#8217;s and suppliers-electronic devices, powertrain computer/controls, brakes (ABS systems), airbags, GSM devices, etc.)
High end consumer electronics (plasma TV&#8217;s, I-Pod devices, etc.)
Large digital billboard advertising equipment manufacturers
Wifi derivative companies
Network security

It&#8217;s not all rosy but seems to be much better than optical. If I saw a turnaround I would be less negative, but I don&#8217;t see one in site for at least 5 years (I hope I am wrong). Most telecom skills are transferrable to these companies and easy to apply. Good luck whether you stay or go.

sigint 12/5/2012 | 1:57:31 AM
re: Ciena Cuts 1/4 of Staff Light_Headed:
Good luck to you. My advice is get out of this worthless industry.
Other industries are not much better off. Professions like medicine, where you can afford to NOT have a boss and hierarchy, are probably an option. Too late for me, I guess!
opsguy 12/5/2012 | 1:57:28 AM
re: Ciena Cuts 1/4 of Staff Blame,

I hope I'm not giving the wrong impression that everything is THEIR fault.

I gave a very specific instance in which I have experience with regarding Ciena and their old strategy of acquisitions. If you've followed Ciena in their conference calls, you'll note that they always get knocked on how they transition new acq's. This is old new's.

As for their transition strategy now? I'm told they are much more receptive to differing processes and teams and have in several instances, canned legacy Linthicum employees in favor of their new acquisitions, so this is a change.

The closing of San Jose is not a sign of product doom for ONLINE and especially CoreDirector products. I'll ask again, when was any significant announcement made for enhancements or revisions for either of these product lines in the last 1 1/2 years? Both are mature!

In my mind, keeping 425 people employed to do revision work and NPI for mature products is a waste of money! Ciena exec's should have cut this group sooner rather than later and then witheld their own pay packages until the ship got squared away!
I don't say any of this with levity, I really feel sorry for all the groups. It's a tough market in the valley.

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