David N. Cutler, wearing white Reeboks, white pants and a T-shirt bearing the legend OVER THE LINE, bursts into the Build Lab and takes stock of the largest, most complex program ever created for a personal computer.
It is 10:20 in the morning, and the latest “build” of the program, called Windows NT, is hours late. Cutler, the leader of the team making NT, is angry about the delay, angry about a botched test the day before, angry at the world. He knows that nothing slows progress more than a steady accumulation of small lapses, and he is bent on pushing ahead.
Cutler insists on frequent builds, or samples, of NT so that his 250 programmers can “eat their own dog food.” It is a frustrating experience, not unlike building a house ...