Windows 1.0 Postmortem

Tl;dr: Memo in 1989 on shipping Windows 1.0 with a postmortem of what went wrong given it took 5 years to code

Peter Jackson on 17 December 1989 wrote a memo entitled, Opus Development Postmortem, but would be more colloquially be referred to as Microsoft Word for Windows 1.0 Postmortem.

Opus was the project to build the first version of Word. It took them 5 years!

“The Opus project has been a long one. Many things went wrong and many things went right, but the final product that was produced is one that we can all be proud of. This document focuses on the things that went wrong – hopefully, we can learn from these.”

The 5 years was worth it as this was the product that eventually killed WordPerfect and gave them a decades-long monopoly in word processing that still exists. Lotus 123 suffered a similar fate against Excel.

There is an interesting thread on HN about this if you want to nerd out.

  • 55 man years
  • 38 man years by full time employees (FTEs)
  • 7000 LOC/yr code written per FTE
  • product + tools = 347 KLOC
  • 12,511 bugs, 9377 deemed fixable
  • 1197 bugs postponed (13% of that were fixable)
  • 247 bugs/yr fixed per FTE
  • 38 bugs/KLOC
  • Total 5 yrs (1st yr just 1 person, last yr had 13 max, other yrs had 10 avg)

Opus Development Postmortem

Opus Development Postmortem


You can read the rest of the memo collection here.

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