Chris Alexander

On Engineering

Software Engineering: The Microsoft way?

6th February, 2008

As part of Cybernetics first year at the University of Reading we study a Software Engineering module. At the moment we are on a section on Requirements engineering - stuff like obtaining information from stakeholders about exactly what they want the product to do, and presenting it to the various technical levels of people that will be involved in the project.

While I was answering some questions on this I wondered about some of the requirements documents or methods that Microsoft use when they’re developing Windows. I dare not imagine the scale of a requirements document for a project of that size, and how they manage to keep track of something like that across all the personnel and departments that have to deal with it.

I e-mailed a contact I have at Microsoft UK asking what length, approximately, the requirements specifications for products such as Windows XP and Windows Vista are, but unfortunately this kind of thing is confidential, especially as it’s about their “most important product”. He did, however point me to a useful site which contains more information on how they do that in the Microsoft parts.

Link 1 - Link 2