An insight into Vista Development


Woah.. I'm still here?
Political Access
26 Apr 2004
How many people does it take to create the shutdown menu..

Just a quote.. the whole article is a good read :)
So just on my team, these are the people who came to every single planning meeting about this feature:

# 1 program manager

# 1 developer

# 1 developer lead

# 2 testers

# 1 test lead

# 1 UI designer

# 1 user experience expert

# --

# 8 people total

These planning meetings happened every week, for the entire year I worked on Windows.

In addition to the above, we had dependencies on the shell team (the guys who wrote, designed and tested the rest of the Start menu), and on the kernel team (who promised to deliver functionality to make our shutdown UI as clean and simple as we wanted it). The relevant part of the shell team was about the same size as our team, as was the relevant part of kernel team.

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.

By the way "feature" is much too strong a word; a better description would be "menu". Really.


Awesome is as awesome does.
Political Access
5 Apr 2002
Interesting read. Thanks for sharing.


OSNN Addict
1 Dec 2006
I did not think it would take that many people to make the shutdown command, especially considering how we all change it so the standard button is restored and don't have to use the extra menu they made lol :)


Act your wage.
Political Access
27 Dec 2001
Is that what we call "operational efficiency?" :p


Tech Junkie
19 Apr 2002
Not very surprising to me. :)

I've been told by friends within the company that there's quite a bit of bureaucracy in certain divisions that tends to slow things down. This was especially true of the Windows division, apparently (and I guess it showed from the length of the development cycle!).

Not sure if that's changed now under Sinofsky's management. Maybe it has. The Office people I've talked to seemed pretty happy with his way of doing things.


Electronica Addict
Political Access
3 Feb 2002
Heh. And aren't MS actually hiring thousands of more employees each year? Well, I guess they can afford to. But... imagine what they could do if they used each employee's talents properly.


OSNN Veteran Addict
18 Mar 2002
That is an interesting insight, the fragmented repository is the most shocking thing to me

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