How Is Windows Built / Developed

“…It is tempting for some to think of Windows as one entity or group, or for some to think of Windows as just a set of specific people. Sometimes someone speaks at a conference or has a blog, and that comes to represent the product for you. In reality, Windows is always a product of the whole team and much of Microsoft.  Nearly every development group contributes to building Windows 8 in some form or another.  And Windows contributes efforts to most other groups as well.

…We organize the work of Windows into “feature teams,” groups of developers who own a combination of architectural elements and scenarios across Windows.  We have about 35 feature teams in the Windows 8 organization.  Each feature team has anywhere from 25-40 developers, plus test and program management, all working together. Our teams are all focused on building a global product, and so some of our teams are located outside the US and are also delivering globally.

…all of our kernel, networking, storage, virtualization, and other fundamental OS work is also part of Windows Server—that’s right, one team delivers the full Windows Client OS and much of the foundation for the Windows Server OS. And some features are built in the core OS but are ultimately only part of the Server product.

…We also have organized these teams in seven larger groups that pull related teams together—fundamentals, devices and networking, core OS, developer experience, user experience, web services, and our engineering system. The Windows Live group (Hotmail, Messenger, Skydrive,  Photos, LiveID, and more) also has a similar structure. Internet Explorer group is also a couple of teams on its own, but obviously contributes across Windows 8.

…Folks want new things, and changes to existing things; they want features to be available globally, to be accessible, and to be super high quality; they want things to work on existing hardware, and to take advantage of the latest new hardware. Our job is to get as much done in as short a time as possible, at a very significant scale. That’s all a pretty significant engineering effort.

Steven Sinofsky

Avatar of Steven Sinofsky

Steven Sinofsky

Microsoft Corporation


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