Amazon URA PIP/Pivot process (SDM perspective needed)

Amazon / IT noobi
Jul 28 36 Comments

Can a current or ex-Amazon SDM give details about how the Pivot process works wrt team size, timeline etc ?
I'm not asking about what happens when a candidate is put into devlist/pivot. That information is available on blind already.
But the other interesting pieces of info, for example would be
- what time of the year would this happen (post-OLR or any time)
- how do they come up with who should be in pivot across the org?
- I hear some people are on dev list for 6 months+. Is it the manager's decision when to move them to Pivot (from devlist) ?

Ideally, a description of timeline of the performance discussions for the entire year would be great info to know. I heard some SDMs were forced to PIP even those they thought were good SDEs. I'm not very interested in the case of pivoting a genuine low performer (which can happen any time) but the other case.

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TOP 36 Comments
  • Uber 10010
    Jeez what’s with all the Amazon PIP posts?

    HOW many people does amazon put on PIp? Why hire them in the first place??
    Jul 28 7
    • Bloomberg / Eng
      offByOme

      Bloomberg Eng

      PRE
      Bloomberg LP
      offByOmemore
      If you’re under performing why would keeping you around fill a shortage?
      Jul 28
    • Amazon / Eng OlAl28
      The problem is, I dont think it's always due to under performance when the pip percentage is predetermined.
      Jul 28
    • Amazon / Eng OlAl28
      I will say I've only seen 1 pip first hand and the person definitely deserved it lol
      Jul 28
    • Amazon / Eng lAgRu
      All you need to prepare is LC Mediums/ Hards, Medium/ Hard level System Design, and Leadership Principles. Amazon hires people, they join, and every quarter there is a mandatory dev-list of 10% and PIP of 6% to be done. If you're dev-listed or PIP'ed, it is probably not your fault. Amazon mandates a 10% rule. Hire and develop the best, remove the rest.
      Jul 28
    • Amazon CeoExtra
      Amazon doesn’t retain HV (high value employees). Only the TT (top tier). Unfortunately, you can be performing at the next level but not TT at the current level.

      So, you need to fill exodus of HV with new hires who typically get 30% more new hire TC offer. But it’s hard to replace a veteran HV’s performance with a new hire. So, PIP chance goes up.
      Jul 28
  • Amazon CsaP25
    Sure. Current SDM here.

    When someone joins the team, in the first few months I have several conversations with them regarding expectations. What constitutes the bar, what exceeds the bar for their level and what meets the bar at the next level. What I expect from them day to day and in their role (e.g don’t miss meetings you’re required in, show up to work, etc.).

    Then, as time goes on, I check in with them regularly and provide feedback on what they’re doing well and what they’re not doing well on as it relates to those expectations. Then I give specific, actionable, timely feedback on where they can improve.

    If someone isn’t meeting expectations and after several months of no improvement with feedback then I start documenting my feedback and expectations. My feedback goes from verbal to formal. I’ll spend more time coaching the individual to help them improve (e.g try to understand why they only show up to the office once a week and miss every team meeting after being directly asked to attend).

    If their performance continues to decline or there is no improvement with coaching then I’ll enter them into the dev list and formalize the documentation with HR.

    I’ll do everything I can to help them turn things around. But after 60 days and there still fail to meet expectations (the same ones they know about from day one) and there are no options left then will work with HR to start a pivot.

    So time of year doesn’t really matter. But there are mechanisms in place to force managers to identify and coach low performers since it’s a lot of work and some managers would rather just ignore problem individuals.

    The manager doesn’t come up with who should be in pivot. It’s a pain in the ass process that no manager wants to do. But sometimes someone just refuses to show up to work and you have to do something about that.
    Jul 28 16
    • Amazon / Mgmt observer42
      SDM here and I've also been on pivot appeal reviews panels and even single reviewer setup where the entire appeal was up to me. However you end up in pivot, the system really is setup to make sure we're not pushing out talent who embodies our LPs and at least meets the bar. I think the piece that goes unmentioned is the bar is always going up for each level, this means you cannot stagnate or will eventually you will end up at the bottom.

      And to answer the OPs question, no I've sided with the SDE before as well, and left pretty harsh feedback for the SDM who was potentially abusing the pivot program.

      Also an SDM needs his managers approval to enter someone into pivot.
      Jul 28
    • Amazon bnkbksj
      Can you please DM me
      Jul 28
    • Amazon / IT noobi
      OP
      I understand the theoretical basis for this kind of a thing. It's just that it can be tough on the individuals who happen to be good enough. I'm pretty sure everybody (even Jeff) has the scope for improvement on at least 1 LP. Now, will you consider them to embody our LPs or not is the question?
      Jul 28
    • Amazon / Eng lAgRu
      ^ this. And in your support, I'm copy pasting the comment by another amazonian from other post on the blind:

      "LP is good for self-discipline and self-motivation. BUT they are the most dangerous tool to PIP out anyone at Amazon. Anyone! Because you cannot be perfect every single day, using all the 14 LPs as a weapon, it is always easy to build a strong case against anyone to kick them out as part of the mandatory 10% dev-plan. Even Jeff Bezos failed to earn trust, wasn't frugal, did not think big, careless on ownership recently, and obviously not right a lot!"
      Jul 28
    • Amazon / IT noobi
      OP
      CsaP25 & observer42,, can you please answer the questions about the deadlines wrt forced URA ? What event happens at what time of the year? Seems pivot should be after OLR ?
      Jul 28
  • Amazon / IT kQpl61
    Pip in Amazon is really weird. A friend of mine was put in dev plan becaus apparently there's a quota that a certain percentage of people under an L8 need to be put under dev plan.
    Jul 28 3
    • Amazon / Eng lAgRu
      10% is mandatory. If you're dev-listed or PIP'ed, it is most likely not your fault.
      Jul 28
    • Amazon / IT kQpl61
      But I have heard some SDMs just fighting that off saying that they don't have anyone to be pipped
      Jul 28
    • Amazon / Eng lAgRu
      You have to give one name at least, with documented reasoning, and it's up to your manager if they also want to fight & refuse with more reasoning. As an L6, I sit with L5/ L6 SDMs to discuss, when asked to give one name, I have to hint at one team member. It's not an easy task, but you have to reply to upper leadership. Hire and develop the best, and remove the rest.
      Jul 28
  • Microsoft / Design
    dvdkdksnn

    Microsoft Design

    PRE
    Microsoft
    dvdkdksnnmore
    A friend of mine was put on that list after getting a new manager. From top to bottom in matter of a week. That didn’t seem to be tied to any schedule.
    Jul 28 0
  • Amazon rshnsWg
    I was put on it for expressing interest in changing team! There are many more similar stories here on blind.
    Jul 28 3
    • Amazon / Mgmt observer42
      You were likely already in the dev list, you can't put someone in pivot without the prior track record of failing to improve.
      Jul 28
    • Amazon CsaP25
      This.

      There are so many stories because people who are failing and on the dev list are the most likely candidates for switching teams.

      If you were happy and doing well on a team, why would you leave?

      If you want to avoid the situation, before you get ready to leave a team, put in 200% effort for 6 months. It makes sure you can leave, gives you a ton of room to negotiate and leaves behind a good impression on the team you’re leaving. Building bridges and a network along the way.

      So often I see people slack off when they’re going to transfer. Because they don’t care anymore. And the slacking puts them onto the dev list.
      Jul 29
    • Amazon rshnsWg
      Lol. Not true. That's not what happened.
      Jul 29
  • Amazon CeoExtra
    so it’s hard
    Jul 28 1
    • Amazon / Mgmt observer42
      Yup, it takes up tons of time and energy. Every time I dev list someone it's with the goal of coaching them off of it and to trend towards promotion!
      Jul 28