The Microsoft Campus – Behind the Scenes

Last week I spoke with students about computer science and Microsoft, and mentioned many of the things that happen at Microsoft, from product research and development to testing labs. 

Some places can be seen via video, so here I’ve listed tours that provide glimpses into how things are done at Microsoft.  If you know of others, please let me know or comment below.

XBox & Game Development

imageThere’s a new Channel 9 series, Microsoft Campus Tours, and the first episode is a look at the XBox team’s spaces in Studio A (and B,C, D) with Larry Hryb (Major Nelson).  The tour also includes a glimpse of the Commons, a collection of dining and shopping options that opened in 2009.

imageAlso, there’s a look at the Playtest LabsPlaytest, located on campus in Studio D, is a program where people can drop in to play games in development and provide feedback on their experiences.  Yes, really.

Microsoft Research

imageThe second episode of Microsoft Campus Tours focuses on Building 99, the main Microsoft Research (MSR) building in Redmond (but MSR has offices around the world, including here in Cambridge, MA.) 

This tour is in three parts, with part one focusing on the MSR anechoic chamber.

Microsoft Hardware Labs

Here’s a nice series of videos providing glimpses into how hardware like mice, keyboards, and webcams are developed and tested:

And if you’d like to note the facility and process changes, there’s a 2005 tour of the Hardware Labs as well:

Patterns & Practices (aka Developer Guidance)

imageWorking with Agile methodologies, or just want to see interesting workplace design?  Join Brian Keller for a 2009 tour of the Patterns & Practices development lab with Peter Provost and Ed Jezierski, with insights into how physical space can work with agile development practices.

Microsoft Signature Lab

imageFor a look at how the Microsoft Signature PC image is managed, see this lab tour and interview of Ken Fowles by Ben Rudolph. 

Here’s Ben’s post about the interview.

Redmond, Bellevue, and Seattle

imageA tour of Seattle was recently posted by the Microsoft Careers group.

There’s also an interesting 2008 tour of the Redmond and Bellevue campuses.

History of Microsoft

imageWhile not necessarily about workplace tours, it’s definitely worth mentioning the History of Microsoft series, with episodes from 1975 through 1999 (they’re firming up plans for 2000-2010 coverage).