The Windows Shutdown Crapfest

Moishe Lettvin, who worked at Microsoft as a developer on the Vista team working on the shutdown menu Joel Spolsky complains about, explains how the Microsoft bureaucracy prevents good design from evolving:

So that nets us a conservative estimate of 24 people involved in this feature. Also each team of 8 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 17 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.

It’s worth noting that Lettvin now works at Google.

Saturday, 25 November 2006