The IT organization and the various Microsoft product teams also develop a "shared goals" process where the two sides sit down togethereven before a product reaches the alpha stageand agree on what they want to accomplish, with the products and from IT, and what they are willing to commit to. "We then sign off on those shared goals, and throughout the process, well take checkpoints every month to see how we are tracking to those shared goals and to make sure were getting the value out of that product that the product group committed to give us," Markezich said.The IT team is also able to make design-change requests throughout the product development process and, as an early adopter, guarantees that its entire environment will be running the product before it is released. But this is done in a phased way, as its Active Directory environment is structured to phase deployment of its products out, he said. Asked what he is likely to change in his new role as IT CIO, Markezich said he wants to get more knowledge and education out to the field, something Microsoft has not been aggressive about in the past, he said. The company wants to help its customers understand the experiences and best practices that have been gained by bringing its IT and services divisions under the same umbrella, he said. "This will take place by training and educating our services staff through a couple of programs, one of which is called an IT Fellowship. Here, they come into IT for three weeks to three months and work with our IT folk to learn some of the operational best practices we use. They then take that experience out there to customers," he said. Microsoft had also created an Exchange center of excellence where staff from the product, services and IT teams were brought in to build best practices and guidance for its customers and partners running Exchange, Markezich said. Markezich, who graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a bachelors degree in management information systems, joined Microsoft in 1998 as the general manager of finance and administration in the IT department, where he and his team developed, maintained and supported systems for the finance, human resources and corporate services organizations. Prior to this, he spent more than nine years at Accenture (formerly Andersen Consulting) in the electronic and high technology group, where he focused on improving business operations through technology use. Editors Note: This story was updated to include comments from Markezich. Check out eWEEK.coms Windows Center at http://windows.eweek.com for Microsoft and Windows news, views and analysis. Be sure to add our eWEEK.com Windows news feed to your RSS newsreader or My Yahoo page:
The IT team also has access to the product teams bug system, so any bugs it finds in the product are logged in the same way the development team logs themand can then be tracked and resolution-tested.