Microsoft products are being developed and delivered in a shorter period of time than ever before.  The business demands that, and you might be wondering just how we are getting this accomplished.

Microsoft VP Brad Anderson is going to answer many of these questions and more over the next few weeks.  We’re starting today with a discussion around “What's New in 2012 R2: Beginning and Ending with Customer-Specific Scenarios” in the first of a nine-part blog series, but we will quickly dive into other areas. 

Historically, Microsoft’s approach to building quality Software and Services was to first focus on functional and unit test techniques that were targeted to ensure the component and feature functionality behaved according to design specifications.  The limitation of this approach was that it ignores the fact that customers do not use the components and features of products in isolation – they use combinations of them to fulfill the needs of their business.  Understanding this important fact made it critically important to validate all the functionality within the product, and then ensure it met customer expectations for interoperability.

At Microsoft we operate more than 200 cloud services, many of which are servicing 100’s of millions of users every day.  Our development and planning across Windows Server, System Center Windows Azure, Windows Intune and Windows planning is prioritized with end-to-end scenarios for the first time.

With the Windows Server 2012 R2 and System Center 2012 R2 engineering cycle, we dynamically evolved our engineering planning, execution, and quality validation processes by engraining an end-to-end focus on customer scenarios into all phases of the development lifecycle.  Specifically, starting with Windows Server 2012 (and expanding in the Windows Server 2012 R2 release), we used customer-specific end-to-end scenarios to plan, prioritize, design, implement and validate the solutions we bring to market.  This approach was analyzed and discussed in several sessions at TechEd 2013 a few weeks ago.

Also in Brad’s post you see he mentions several foundation pillars.  Those pillars guide the design and development of our products and we’ll bring you deeper insight on how they are applied to the real world you deploy, secure and manage.  There is a calendar and publication schedule for the coming articles, and you can expect we’ll continue to cross post some information as well.

For now, head on over to Brad’s blog and read up on end-to-end quality as we deliver on the Cloud OS vision.  If you are ready to learn more, by all means go download Windows Server 2012, System Center 2012 R2 or one of the other preview products available for download at the Microsoft Evaluation Center.

Written by Keith Combs, Microsoft Server and Tools Marketing.