May 19, 2020

Microsoft's new 'Head of Xbox' promises 'incredible new chapter' for gaming

Microsoft
Xbox
Nokia
Xbox Live
Bizclik Editor
2 min
Microsoft's new 'Head of Xbox' promises 'incredible new chapter' for gaming

Microsoft Studios executive Phil Spencer has been promoted to ‘Head of Xbox’ meaning he will now take charge of the entire Xbox ecosystem. His new position as leader of the Xbox team will have him overseeing the Xbox and Xbox Live, as well as the creative teams at Xbox Music, Xbox Video, and Microsoft Studios. Spencer has been with Microsoft for more than 25 years.

“Combining these teams will strengthen the connection between some of the world's most innovative creators and those building the Xbox itself. I am incredibly proud of the talented Xbox employees around the world and believe, like they do, in the power of technology to bring games and entertainment to life across console, PC, tablet and mobile devices,” Spencer said in a statement on the Xbox Wire. “It's been a remarkable year for Xbox and I am honored to lead the team at this incredible time for Microsoft and the games industry.”

SEE MORE: Apple in talks with Comcast over TV streaming deal: WSJ

Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella made the announcement today and revealed that Spencer will be reporting to Microsoft operating systems executive Terry Myerson. Nadella also confirmed that former Nokia CEO Stephen Elop would join Microsoft as its Executive Vice President of the Microsoft Devices Group, which includes Xbox. This move, first reported last month, will become effective when the $7.2 billion Microsoft/Nokia deal closes. The change of management alludes to a greater emphasis being placed on the gaming division of the company in coming months.

“Our mission is to build a world-class team, work hard to meet the high expectations of a passionate fan base, create the best games and entertainment, and drive technical innovation,” said Spencer.

Spencer also hinted that Microsoft would have much more to share in a few months during the Electronic Entertainment Expo. “You will hear much more as we head into E3, but we are at the beginning of an incredible new chapter for Xbox and I can't wait for the days and years ahead. This is going to be fun,” he said.

SEE MORE: [INFOGRAPHIC] How we consume the Internet on a global scale

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Jun 12, 2021

How changing your company's software code can prevent bias

Deltek
diversity
softwarecode
inclusivity
Lisa Roberts, Senior Director ...
3 min
Removing biased terminology from software can help organisations create a more inclusive culture, argues Lisa Roberts, Senior Director of HR at Deltek

Two-third of tech professionals believe organizations aren’t doing enough to address racial inequality. After all, many companies will just hire a DEI consultant, have a few training sessions and call it a day. 

Wanting to take a unique yet impactful approach to DEI, Deltek, the leading global provider of software and solutions for project-based businesses, took a look at  and removed all exclusive terminology in their software code. By removing terms such as ‘master’ and ‘blacklist’ from company coding, Deltek is working to ensure that diversity and inclusion are woven into every aspect of their organization. 

Business Chief North America talks to Lisa Roberts, Senior Director of HR and Leader of Diversity & Inclusion at Deltek to find out more.

Why should businesses today care about removing company bias within their software code?  

We know that words can have a profound impact on people and leave a lasting impression. Many of the words that have been used in a technology environment were created many years ago, and today those words can be harmful to our customers and employees. Businesses should use words that will leave a positive impact and help create a more inclusive culture in their organization

What impact can exclusive terms have on employees? 

Exclusive terms can have a significant impact on employees. It starts with the words we use in our job postings to describe the responsibilities in the position and of course, we also see this in our software code and other areas of the business. Exclusive terminology can be hurtful, and even make employees feel unwelcome. That can impact a person’s desire to join the team, stay at a company, or ultimately decide to leave. All of these critical actions impact the bottom line to the organization.    

Please explain how Deltek has removed bias terminology from its software code

Deltek’s engineering team has removed biased terminology from our products, as well as from our documentation. The terms we focused on first that were easy to identify include blacklist, whitelist, and master/slave relationships in data architecture. We have also made some progress in removing gendered language, such as changing he and she to they in some documentation, as well as heteronormative language. We see this most commonly in pick lists that ask to identify someone as your husband or wife. The work is not done, but we are proud of how far we’ve come with this exercise!

What steps is Deltek taking to ensure biased terminology doesn’t end up in its code in the future?

What we are doing at Deltek, and what other organizations can do, is to put accountability on employees to recognize when this is happening – if you see something, say something! We also listen to feedback our customers give us and have heard their feedback on this topic. Those are both very reactive things of course, but we are also proactive. We have created guidance that identifies words that are more inclusive and also just good practice for communicating in a way that includes and respects others.

What advice would you give to other HR leaders who are looking to enhance DEI efforts within company technology? 

My simple advice is to start with what makes sense to your organization and culture. Doing nothing is worse than doing something. And one of the best places to start is by acknowledging this is not just an HR initiative. Every employee owns the success of D&I efforts, and employees want to help the organization be better. For example, removing bias terminology was an action initiated by our Engineering and Product Strategy teams at Deltek, not HR. You can solicit the voices of employees by asking for feedback in engagement surveys, focus groups, and town halls. We hear great recommendations from employees and take those opportunities to improve. 

 

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