Windows Live Calendar

Windows Live Calendar is live! This has been many, many, many months in the making, starting with an idea a long time ago (it first surfaced when we started talking about rebuilding Hotmail three years ago!), to coding in two continents, to finally hitting the Go button today and RTWing (Release to Web) our product. This is the second v1 product I’ve been able to participate in from start to ship and it’s as unique and as exciting watching the service go online as the first time.

To give you an idea of what happens when we go live, we have a lot of folks in a conference room with a Polycom conference system where people are dialed in to. There are projectors with logs of the production machines displayed, people marking things on the white boards to make sure that changes and fixes don’t get forgotten and the actual folks pushing the software to the servers. We try to have the day itself scheduled down to the half hour or fifteen minute mark, but we do make changes to on the fly.

We had our whole data center ready and prepped to go today, so our “go live” moment was a final decision that was made with all the key stakeholders which then resulted in us marking the service as In Service, and within seconds new users were pounding on it, creating accounts! Thus, Windows Live Calendar was born. It’s amazingly cool to watch a log file fly by with reports of new users being created.

It’s not easy to make that final “yes” call. From late last week we’d been working long hours in the home stretch (including a 3+ hour conference call on Sunday night!). Lots of time checking, double checking and triple checking that everything when we finally said yes would work — and by and large it did. Of course, when you’re bringing a new service online, stuff doesn’t work (and it didn’t all work), so having everybody in that conference room I mentioned earlier was key to making decisions on the fly.

Ship or go home – it’s everybody’s accomplishment getting us to where we are today, and I’m proud to have been a part of this team. Lots more to write about, but I’m exhausted from the last few days; expect to hear more soon.