Friday, July 15, 2016

The Windows Shutdown Crapfest

Moishe Lettvin (2006, via @SwiftOnSecurity):

The most frustrating year of those seven was the year I spent working on Windows Vista, which was called Longhorn at the time. I spent a full year working on a feature which should’ve been designed, implemented and tested in a week. To my happy surprise (where “happy” is the freude in schadenfreude), Joel Spolsky wrote an article about my feature.

I would like to try to explain how this happened.


So that nets us an estimate -- to pull a number out of the air -- of 24 people involved in this feature. Also each team was separated by 6 layers of management from the leads, so let’s add them in too, giving us 24 + (6 * 3) + 1 (the shared manager) 43 total people with a voice in this feature. Twenty-four of them were connected sorta closely to the code, and of those twenty four there were exactly zero with final say in how the feature worked. Somewhere in those other 19 was somebody who did have final say but who that was I have no idea since when I left the team -- after a year -- there was still no decision about exactly how this feature would work.

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