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Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. (Microsoft file photo)
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. (Microsoft file photo)

Microsoft has a tradition of using massive strategy memos to set a new course or clarify the company’s direction, and CEO Satya Nadella continued the practice this morning with a 3,200-word missive to the company’s entire workforce.

The memo lays out the company’s vision for a “mobile-first and cloud-first world,” using data and cloud computing to empower customers and reinvent productivity — echoing the themes that Nadella has been talking about since taking the top job earlier this year.

But Nadella also outlines a new effort to unshackle the company’s product groups with streamlined decision-making that lets them be more responsive to customers and trends in the market, but also more accountable inside the company. He writes …

We will streamline the engineering process and reduce the amount of time and energy it takes to get things done. You can expect to have fewer processes but more focused and measurable outcomes. You will see fewer people get involved in decisions and more emphasis on accountability. Further, you will see investments in two new or combined functions: Data and Applied Science and Software Engineering. Each engineering group will have Data and Applied Science resources that will focus on measurable outcomes for our products and predictive analysis of market trends, which will allow us to innovate more effectively. Software Engineering will evolve so that information can travel more quickly, with fewer breakpoints between the envisioning of a product or service and a quality delivery to customers. In making these changes we are getting closer to the customer and pushing more accountability throughout the organization.

That’s easier said than done, but Nadella has a unique opportunity here, in his honeymoon phase, to help Microsoft change its culture to bring innovations to market faster and shed its reputation of releasing “me, too” products after others gain traction.

Read the full memo here. We’re still sifting through it and will have more shortly.

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