Microspeak: Landing, especially the heated kind

Raymond Chen

Work on Windows occurs in several different branches of the source code, and changes in one branch propagate to other branches. When talking about a feature or other task becoming visible in a branch, the preferred jargon word at Microsoft is landing. In its purest form:

We expect the feature to land in the trunk early next week.

The term land when used in this way is typically used to describe a feature arriving in a branch different from its home branch. From this basic meaning, extended usages arise.

The term landing is often accompanied by additional aviation adjectives to describe how smoothly the feature will arrive or the task will be completed. In these extended usages, the location of landing is often the feature’s home branch.

We’re coming in for a hard landing on bugs.

A hard landing is one that is rather inelegant. An example would be a feature that arrives fully functional but rather unpolished, or in the above example, that the bugs are all resolved, but perhaps with more bugs marked Won’t fix or Postponed than management would have liked.

The feature is going to land hot.

A feature with a hot landing barely makes its deadline. You can also say that a feature is coming in hot if it is headed for a hot landing, and a feature is running hot if its current trajectory suggests that it’s going to land hot.

The last thing that came in hot was Feature X and we did not land it well.

I like the above citation because it employs both metaphors.

We did not have a good process in place for managing the specs that came in hot.

Several deployments are coming in hot due to other resource commitments.

More generally, something is coming in hot if it is running right up against a deadline and is at risk for being late.


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