It’s important to take Zachary’s Show Stopper! into context; it’s a book written about the process of making Windows NT back in the mid nineties. Zachary attempts to make things sensational, and the book clearly needs the services of a good editor, but it was an interesting read just the same. A lot of the attempts to bring software engineering “to the masses” are sort of half-assed, but clearly this was a book written for the masses, and not an insider’s book.
What I found most interesting was that the book provided, to a small degree, a nice study of how software development worked at Microsoft at a point of time. A lot of things that perhaps might be taken for granted now was innovated there. It also provides an interesting study in the nature of large software projects, the business of software, and corporate policy at a software shop. There’s also some food for thought about what makes a good (or bad) senior leader on a large engineering product. Worth a look.