Vista shut-down menu: 1 year, 24 people later

Wheels of bureaucracy grindingly slow

An ex-Vista developer describes in his blog how it took 24 Microsoft staff a whole year to create the shut-down menu in the latest Windows operating system, which is released at the end of January.

In total, no less than 43 people were in some way part of what was originally described on the blog as "a hierarchal hell".

When Joel Spolsky criticised the shut-down menu that pops up when a user wants to exit Microsoft's Windows Vista , not many could predict how bad the situation surrounding the function had become. One of the programmers responsible, Moishe Lettvin, replied in his blog how the development had progressed.

Poor co-ordination, plenty of populous meetings, a slow decision-making process, six hierarchical levels, and no influence over decisions taken among those who worked on the function are among the many reasons cited for the slow development of the shut-down menu. The scenario described is, mildly speaking, not positive at all.

Poor time management

In total, the tiny menu - which Lettvin says should have taken a week to design, program and test - took an entire year to complete. The result of the work involved was a few hundred lines of code.

It should be noted that Lettvin is now working for Google , considered by many to be Microsoft's most serious competitor. Anna Lagerkvist

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