Thanks to the largesse of my employer, I had the good fortune to attend Sharepoint Summit 2009 in Montreal. It was not as large as Microsoft’s annual conference, but the smaller conference size allowed for greater interaction with speakers and vendors.
Mike Fitzmaurice of Nintex gave one of the more interesting talks, as part of the keynote speaker’s round-table. Fitzmaurice is current V.P. of Product Technology for Nintex, a Sharepoint work-flow application vendor. Previously, he spent ten years working at Microsoft. Much of his talk focused on the way software is developed at his previous employer, particularly as it relates to Sharepoint.
As Fitzmaurice described Microsoft’s process, Sharepoint and other major server products from Microsoft have a three year development cycle. This three year cycle is driven in by Microsoft’s three year software assurance contracts to major customers. Planning for each three year development cycle begins during the third year of the previous cycle.