March 26th, 2006

Discontent at Microsoft.

Wow. This is really something. I am so glad i am not in their shoes.

Stuff like this is telling, especially since much of it seems to be from Microsoft employees:
Is this what Windows has become? An upgrade no one wants, forced upon them because the new hardware they're buying doesn't support anything less?

Compare this to OS X, where people fall all over themselves trying to get the newest version running on their old hardware because there's actual value in the new features.
I've been critical of Vista and why to buy for a long time... this release feels nowhere near where we were with XP... I knew in November it was going to slip... with XP far less features and yet %50 of the people I knew had it on there primary at that point... Feb, March and I still don't know anyone that depends completely on a vista box day in day out.

Three years back this summer I had a neighbor of my parents back in the midwest come up to me all excited about longhorn and he asked me... "so why should I buy it" I blanked... had nothing to say... I still don't... nearly three years later... THATS NOT GOOD!
What I saw in MS was PM's pushing hard for features:
* even if it meant that the test combinations would be very large, so the product couldn't not be tested properly.
* even if it couldn't be done properly in the time allocated. After all an estimate of time was made, now all of those features mus go in the product evne if things are taking longer than expected.
* even if the product was falling apart at the seems b/c every other pm was doing the same thing.

In fact, people often played schedule chicken. It didn't matter if you were running late by the metric of the day as long as another group was running later.
Microsoft CANNOT manage a project the size of Vista. The fact that devs spend virtually no time writing code is a pretty solid indicator. Between the checkin system and the RIs between depots almost all time is spent on process. Maintaining a Longhorn test machine can take two days a week by itself, and managers' only response to complaints about the frustration of the process is to issue silkily-worded threats about "performance expectations."

In DMD we'd have dozens of checkins getting rejected due to autosmoke failures having nothing to do with the checkins, every subnmission being rejected on the same two (or two dozen) failures. Network problems, indiv server problems, whatever .. and nobody ever got around to doing anything about this.

Should we be running AppVerifier right now? Walk to the other side of the building and ask someone who isn't in his office. Why are checkins failing? Ditto. What version of LH should we be running on our test boxes? Ditto.
WinFS is a great example of a file system designed by lunatic engineers and inbred GPM teams (led by a totally lunatic DirPM) without a clue as to what a real customer even looks like. Complexity in the design for complexity sake is the kiss of death. Complexity without a clear, or even muddy, picture of the problem you are actually trying to solve for the actual customer is the kiss of death. Not having customers involved at every step of the design and development process is just arrogance. Believing you know better than the customer is just stupid.

Microsoft is, as a corporation, in love with overly complex software because internally, the people that make 'big bets' are rewarded, even when they are unable to actually ship anything.
I thought nothing could beat that until i saw this:
I don't know what to say about Windows. I interviewed with them when I was in Office and was told by an interviewer--confidentially "this really isn't the place for a woman." I should have reported that crap.