Holy cow, I wrote a book!
for those who don't get the reference.)
The term War Room is attributed to Winston Churchill,
used to describe the underground meeting room where
the war effort was directed.
It is the "crucial meeting room
where important decisions are made" sense of the term
that is used at Microsoft.
Many software products
(or even just components of software products)
have a meeting room designated as its War Room.
Depending on the stage of the project,
might be held weekly, daily, or even several times a day.
The meeting is run by the War Team,
with representatives from all product components in attendance.
Progress reports are given,
the schedule is managed,
critical bugs (or, if things are coming down to the wire,
all bugs) are reviewed.
For projects that are spread out over multiple locations,
fancy teleconferencing equipment may be installed,
and there may be clocks on the walls for time zones around the world.
Since the same people tend to attend these meetings over and over,
there's a good chance that you'll find long-standing inside jokes
and other rituals.
For example, in the Windows War Room,
there are pieces of paper on the walls
with various catch phrases printed on them.
I have no idea what they mean, but they are obviously a source of
amusement for the people who spend hour after hour in the War Room.
If you're a
programmer or tester, you don't have much direct interaction
with the War Meetings unless you are responsible
for a bug that has caught the attention of the War Team,
at which point you are suddenly thrust into the frenzy.
Before each War Meeting, your manager will want a status report,
and if it's a new bug, you may even have to
explain the situation in person.
For example, suppose the project is in its final days, and a new bug just
You may be called upon to describe the bug to the War Team,
assess how risky the fix is and its impact
on performance, application compatibility, and all that other information
that the release management team will need to know in order to decide
whether they are going to approve the fix.
(Another phrase you may hear is
taking a bug to War,
bringing the bug before the War Team
to request that they approve the fix for the product.)
And now that you've learned all this
vocabulary surrounding the term War Room,
you have to forget it all,
because the new term is Ship Room,
since that is the room where decisions about shipping the product are made.
(Though it seems that the security folks still call their meeting room
Aside: The White House War Room
was renamed the Situation Room in 1961.
I don't know the reason for sure, but I suspect the old term
is deprecated because it sounds too belligerent and uncooperative.
Inside the SQL 2008 Ship room.
And no, the music is not part of the meeting.