Microsoft's Iain McDonald, director of project management for Windows Server, says the worst run project at the software giant was Windows 2000.
To folks that aren't familiar with the intricacies of Microsoft this revelation is a bit of a stunner. Was Windows 2000 really a worse run project than Vista, which had a do-over in the middle of the project? Windows ME? That couldn't have been so hot. When you ponder all of Microsoft's worst hits--and the projects behind them--Windows 2000 doesn't instantly register. In fact, Ed Bott gave Windows 2000 a 9 on a 10 scale in his rating of Windows versions.
But who am I to argue with McDonald, who has served on a variety of Microsoft product teams.
Here's what McDonald had to say about Windows 2000:
I look back at all the travails of the past couple of years. But nothing was worse than Windows 2000. People outside are going and saying, “Vista this and Vista that.” But nothing was worse than Windows 2000. They just don’t remember. That was the worst-run project of all time.
We finished that project and I spoke to someone who said I worked 30 seven-day weeks this year. That was someone who worked for me. I knew I worked a lot more seven-day weeks than she did. It was dumb. You should never run a project like that. In the long run, there were some great things we did, but we also made some just fundamentally stupid decisions. Like the security one. Code Red in August 2000: It’s amazing how stupid that was in retrospect. We just didn’t know.
We did a lot of stuff. We wrote XP. And you know, XP was not all that well-received. I remember in November that year, when the first security vulnerability came up for it, I was on holiday in Australia. And I got a call from Brian (Valentine). He was whipping me. He said, this will be on the front page of the paper, you know.
We’ve gone through the equivalent amount of time with Vista and it hasn’t got any of those black eyes, which says to me, I think we’ve done pretty well with that.
I think security is a ten-year job. We started in 2002, so we’ve still got years to go on that.
Those last points are also notable. After all, I totally forgot that XP wasn't well received initially. Now we're hanging onto it instead of Vista. Meanwhile, mark your security calendars for 2012.