Microsoft's Nadella promotes internal sharing of project code by employees

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella revealed on Monday that team members at the company are now allowed to share code from their projects internally with each other for the first time in an effort to change its work culture.

Nadella, who made those remarks as part of a Q&A during the Fortune Brainstorm conference, stated that before he came on board as CEO, team members has a mindset to "hold" and "protect" code from their projects. He added:

We need places where we innovate and we need renewal is in the core. When I think of our challenge today ... the core priority is renewal of mainstream work [processes]. Let's take what we are good at and rethink it. That's not a side project. That is the very company itself.

Nadella also stated that that he would like for more Microsoft employees to contribute to open source projects, including Hadoop. The statements reinforce what he wrote about last week in his over 3,000 word email to employees, where he also hinted at some major organizational changes that are coming to Microsoft in the near future. Those changes are rumored to include an unknown number of layoffs.

What do you think of Nadella's efforts to foster sharing of software code inside Microsoft as well as efforts to add to open source projects?

Source: Business Insider

John Callaham
  • Amazed that this was ever a thing
  • My thoughts exactly! Like seriously?? Then why are you a single company if you can't share resources? Could as well be separate companies, wouldn't make a difference! It's funny when staff forget that as a company, you rise or sink together. If one part is doing poorly, you can be sure it would inevitably affect the others!
  • Promotions, raises, and bonuses typically associated with assholes taking credit for your work.
  • Again, this is simply some of the changes Ballmer was speaking of prior to his departure when addressing product release cycles, faster updates, etc, so it shouldn't be a surprise as it had been mentioned before as a continuity/communications issue. Ballmer said one department didn't know what the other was doing and they were like a bunch of islands instead of one cohesive unit.
  • True.
  • Sorry.  I can't give Balmer any credit for thisl.  It was under his leadership this type of non-sharing system took root.  Not buying it at one bit.  The new guy gets all the credit from my point of view.  Maybe Balmer saw the writing on the wall, but he had many years to make a change and he didn't.
  • I agree, this could be the most absurd thing I've ever heard, who was in charge when this started happening? No wonder the company is in the mess it's in.
  • No mess at all, Microsoft want to IMPROVE. It s solidly the biggest software company of the Solar System.
  • +1 to this comment. Why wouldn't they be allowed to share before? I've become such a MS nerd the past few years... this news excites me for the types of products to come, but at the same time, I'm bummed because we won't likely see these efforts come to fruition for another 2-3 years.
  • I wonder how much better WP's would be if people shared ideas (codes)?
  • you know code is like if(something == "yes"){ var x = 0; while(x < 100){ for(var i = 0;i< 100;i++){print(array[x,i],x,i,x*100+i);} x++} }? and this is only the simple code
  • Yes.
  • I can't believe I actually understood that, and I haven't done coding for years on C++. Go me!!
  • OMG!!!  You know what you did there, you solved world hunger with that code, that was the missing piece. :)
  • Sharing code is not enough nor efficient. The people need to be shared, then you get efficiency, experience, and the same code.
  • Dear Nadella, please stop.
  • Huh?
  • IDK, I think I just don't like that guy.
  • Because we haven't seen anything from him yet! Wait for the change he will make .. Until then you can tell him : Either to Stop or to CONTINUE :)
  • Let's wait and see then ;)
  • Hadoop always makes me think of Mary Jo Foley
  • For some reason, it reminds me of a beer that she would drink or something like that. "I purchased this tasty Hadoop in New York!"
  • +925
  • See why the Zune wasn't reused as xbox music....
  • Finally this makes sense.
  • It sure does...
  • and this makes sense why the latest xbox music is worst than the old ones. different guy doing different thing. O_O
  • Finally someone with the answer!
  • As good as Zune software is, and i still use it all the time. I had to reinstall it on a new computer. It needs internet access to install. WHAT A PAIN. I don't have constant internet access. I downloaded the install when I went somewhere else. But just reusing code, is not the answer. They need to fix all the broken issues with the software even if it is good.
  • I find that code sharing would not be easy as people has the tendency to keep knowledge to themselves.
  • And people that do that, usually find themselves without a job.  The old mindset is protect, new mindset is if you do not share, you are more of a liability.
  • Then a liability I'll be. My knowledge was hard earned, it's not something I give away except to my kids. Your knowledge is your most valuable asset as a worker. Feel free to fire me, and restart your program from scratch... A la Xbox Music. I was free with my knowledge before and it always resulted in my termination once they duplicated it.
  • You can't be serious. Would sharing some of your Xbox music for WP code with the Windows team so you guys can collaborate and make your respective products better really be that bad? Glad you don't work at Microsoft then.
  • I am serious. Xbox music guys should have been involved on all the platform teams from the start. They obviously weren't involved on WP. WP ran off doing its own thing. They didn't involve anyone else in their planning except some of the Office guys. You get shared code through collaboration on projects not from independent departments which is what they've been doing.
    This is how actual engineering is done. A project is started, electrical comes in and does their part, process does theirs, piping does theirs and so on. It's a collaborative effort of specializations to a finished product. Standards are developed and maintained increasing efficiency from project to project.
  • Agreed. In order for great projects to work, communication and knowledge sharing is key. Not all people will like it especially the individual programmers, but from a management point of view, that's the best approach to gel things together.
  • Nadella is rocking...(may be)
  • This guy seems to be keeping busy. It's interesting.
  • This is all good and stuff...but there is a downside...a part of innovation and "uniqeness" is to "hold" things closer to long as this a choice left up to the individual working on a project its fine by me...but don't force me to share a code that could set my weather app apart from all the others out there for example...all for this though things will (should) move faster
  • If you were part of the team that made the Bing weather app for Windows Phone, how would giving some of that code to the Windows 8 team or the Xbox one team to make their own Bing weather app affect the "uniqueness" of your weather app? Also, wouldn't you want them to help you out too?
  • Precisely, all the apps should have a cohesive ui and experience regardless of form factor or device type. Looks like I was mistaken and thought they always shared code. No wonder xbox music sucks this badly lol.
  • Not to mention the time wasted in reinventing the wheel! We are not in business to win Nobel prizes. Time to market is key. As someone mentioned above, it just elegantly explains Zune vs. Xbox music.
  • No. I would want the Xbox team to enlist my Bing weather app guy to help build it with them. If weather app guy just throws code at them, Xbox team takes it, rewrites it to shoehorn it into their line of thinking and you get a bastard version which will hardly ever get updated. Rather than weather app guy being able to make slight modifications for updates.
  • For MS to share code would make it so everything works together better or at least that is what I'm hoping for out of this. The fact they didn't share code before astounds me, why fight to make things work when sharing the code will make it seamless
  • He is not talking about giving the code to Apple, or Google.  He is talking about sharing among other teams in Microsoft.
  • I think it's great and like other users here I am a little surprised that Microsoft has been this closed up on the inside. I have heard stories of internal wars between teams because of the culture (I have no proof or soures), but I think it's great that Satya is pushing forward with big changes.  Microsoft needs to open up internally as well as externally and work together to bring unified experiences among devices and services, and Nadella seems to be going for just that! I can't wait to see what are bringing to the table in the next months and years :)
  • What do I think? I think they should have one codebase instead of 68 of them (
  • That main image is really freaking creepy. As an aside this is great news, it allows people to get a fresh set of eyes on a problem. A team could be working on something that someone else has already encountered, saves doubling up on work as well.
  • It would also make bug spotting much easier as people often miss things when they are constantly looking at the same thing.
  • This kind of explains why Microsoft is so messed up. Satya has a big job ahead of him.
  • The entire organization is changing and from what I've been reading, changing for the better. These changes should have happened a long time ago but that's not the point. Point is MS is making changes needed to get back to a level or better with consumers and business.
  • This chart explains the pre-Nadella-Microsoft pretty well:
  • Wow! Open source definitely didn't exist in the company...and I'm surprised it wasn't! That should be a thing, I would think. No wonder Windows Phone 7 and Windows 8 just clashed. The phone concept was AWESOME! The desktop just didn't match that idea (at the time; I love Windows 8.1 now :)). This is good....VERY good! Can't wait to see what changes happen!
  • The phone concept was awful, it was modeled independently to function like iOS. WP 8 sucks balls, it's an island unto itself and facebook.
    8.1 has brought a lot of functionality and integration with other MS products but still a long way to go.
  • He shouldn't just allow it he should make it mandatory.
  • Good
  • Hopefully now we will see the open source xbox live framework mentioned at build become a reality. We really need this to push more xbox live titles in the store, this is a major marketing asset that they are not utilising to its full potential!
  • New Skype please.
  • I understand the desire to hold tight to your work, but that's so counter productive to a company.... Good direction to move in Posted via Windows Phone Central App
  • That's probably the scariest picture of Nadella I will ever see. "The flesh?  That's the tastiest part."  Horror movie Nadella!
  • Wait, that wasn't already happening? I can't even comprehend what it would look like to not share code within your company.
  • I got burned bad at EDS by someone getting credit for my code which I shared with them to help them out. They were from another group and got a award. Fortunately my boss knew the real story but she had no ability to change what happened in the other group.
  • A B O U T ....T I ME This is wicked news, so much so that im going to stand up and shout out YES!!...   Ok im back.. For those that know the internal workings of MS this is amazing news, finally cross team sharing without the fear of getting fired lol
  • Why are you wondering they didn't share code before? MS is ha huge company, and its devided in many groups - Keeping up with all the projects is impossible, and many of the developers don't know each other... That doesn't mean they didn't share some snippets with the guys next door - but there is no general access for the TFS, which makes sense, because granting all employees access would be a huge security problem ( in terms of protecting their intellectual property )  
  • Really Amazing Decision towards Development......
  • What?? You do mean to tell me that they didn't do this before :O... OMG! How can they become one of the biggest software cooperation if all they care are competing each others INSIDE and completely ignore competing OUTSIDE?
  • ?!
    They should have done this all along! Duh ...
  • What? Microsoft's policy was "to each his own" when it came to code? :O
  • I think its great that they're now sharing code and it now makes sense why everything is f#cked up with Xbox Music!! As long as peeps inside MS don't leak s#it everything will be fine
  • It explains a lot.
  • Please don't let xBox Music team share their code... They will ruin any other product as well that they touch...