What I learned from Microsoft’s “Open-Design” philosophy

“Open design” is Microsoft’s approach to building software and hardware in a method that gives a feel as if the product was built by one company. It is a big shift in the way the company does things especially when it comes to the collaboration of work teams. It is a shift from the independent workgroups to a more interactive set-up.

What led to Microsoft’s decision on the implementation of the approach is the fact that the company had experienced a lot of challenges with the method of product development which it was used to have. I can say that the company is currently gearing towards a choice which it sees right after all the losses and mishaps in the past. As others say, the experience is the best teacher and we always need to learn from our mistakes.

Microsoft’s Solution: Open Design for agile approach

With the risk exposure of the past, the company decided to evolve on its ways which required a massive adjustment on its work culture. Being more agile is one of the key areas that the company looks into and this would mean that the company can be more responsive to the needs of its market. This evolution is really challenging because of the fast-changing customer needs and wants with the pressure given by its competitors and by the tech-market as a whole.

The same as Spark Company, a leading telecommunications company in New Zealand, Microsoft’s move to go full-scale agile requires a lot of careful consideration as it affects not only how the output is delivered but also the roles of the players who get the work done. Alignment in its finest details is not a joke and it needs a lot of ironing even in terms of the inconsistent employee roles. It needs restructuring.

The saying that, “It takes two to tango”, is also applicable to the idea of “open-design”. This means that with the software and hardware running with outstanding compatibility, key features will be maximized to deliver beyond standard satisfaction for the consumers.

Open-Design is about the alignment of the company’s visions

Another key area is that Microsoft envisions to build an ecosystem of products that runs in alignment with each other. The scale of implementation is massive as it affects the major portion of the company’s products and services, if not all. This area is really familiar when we think of Apple. As the company targets to have its existing products and future products to run in the same software platform, how will Microsoft deal with this differently?

The huge objective of engineering alignment of software design and hardware specifications is not something that can easily be achieved for a year or two. This high jump reshapes how the company did things. It molds how things are currently done and it gives a big picture of how Microsoft will become in the future.

Timing is Everything

The Fluent Design System 2017 was a big step, but the company still has a long way to go. The feedback from the market should also be thoroughly analyzed as it may impact the image of the company during the early years of the implementation. Right now, others see this massive leap as the experimentation stage and the company should be open with the market feedback to clearly address on-going issues.

Otherwise, customer expectations will not be delivered if the information will not be disseminated to the public properly in a way that proper expression will bridge the gap between layman’s term and technical jargons. It is vital to let the market understand what a uniform fluent user interface design has more to offer.


Overall, the deliberate move is not something that is for mere show-off. This approach is more of a necessity to cope with the ever-changing market, its competition and demands. 

 However, the questions remain in mind. How far will Microsoft go in order for its products to run in single software design? How much more will the company invest in this directive? Coherence to what is expected to add value to the consumers drives this goal.

A Software Engineer who loves to code and write articles.

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