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DevOps at Microsoft- a successful transformation story

When Microsoft started our own DevOps journey, we quickly realized that our transformation to DevOps would have broad organizational impact. Every DevOps conversation needs to focus equally on people, processes, and tools to ensure a successful transformation.

Our DevOps journey began by gradually changing the way we work. For example, on the people front, we were able to reduce team sizes from over 20 members to 8-12 members, and we also shifted from working in private offices to working in team rooms. The DevOps journey also allowed us to flatten our hierarchy over time. Smaller teams working in a more collaborative environment increased our ability to more effectively present, test, and implement solutions more quickly.

From a process perspective, we changed from our established 4-6-month milestones to 3-week sprints with features shipped upon the conclusion of every sprint, instead of annual shipments. With the sprint format established, we also transitioned from lengthy planning cycles to a continuous planning and learning cycle. Ultimately, this journey allowed Microsoft to complete one of the most important mindset changes—success is now determined by user satisfaction as opposed to installation numbers.
Lastly, our DevOps journey changed the tools we used. While we once relied on creating time-intensive 100-page spec documents, we now create agile mockups in PowerPoint. Azure DevOps provided the tools we needed to streamline our work process, to share our ideas with the right audience, and to change the way we thought about our work. Over time, we were able to introduce broad mindset changes that our organization now actively embraces and lives every day. These changes have improved our organization and the way we work.


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