5 Proven Techniques to crack the Microsoft Azure AMP Audit
5 Best Practices to crack the Microsoft audit for Azure AMP
We recently earned Microsoft Azure Advanced Specialization in App Modernization!
The certification involved an elaborate and rigorous third-party Microsoft audit of our capabilities in delivering application modernization services. It also included live review of successfully executed projects, as deployed on Azure. I was more of a silent spectator in the process, while our team did the talking. This gave me a chance to observe more carefully and take notes :).
Here are the 5 best practices, I recommend (some of these may be applicable to any audit):
1. Organize your preparation for Microsoft audit or any other
Everyone prepares. But, how much attention do you give to organizing your preparation!
- Created a Teams Channel for easy collaboration
- Defined a project-wise folder structure to collect all the necessary document (Proposal, SOW, Architecture diagrams, weekly updates etc.). This structure was for preparation and contingency (see best practice 4 below).
- Made a parallel folder structure that simulated all audit points and sub-points. Documents collected in project-wise folder structure were re-organized for each point separately. This structure was for use during the audit.
- Most importantly, tracked it all in a simple table, mapping projects to audit requirements (see diagram below).
2. Provide an introductory overview
The Microsoft audit had to go sequentially, point-wise. And we had some projects being showcased against multiple points. We wanted to avoid repetition of information. It was also important to avoid a feeling that few projects are getting repeated in different context.
So, we started our pitch with the summary slide illustrated above. We explained, right upfront, how many projects we’ll showcase and which project will be used for which audit point. Then we also provided a quick 2-3 minutes overview of each project along with the respective team (alas, we were not on video at this time … refer point 5 below).
This template provided for very easy tracking. The auditor also became familiar with our projects and could evaluate these more easily against the audit requirement.
We enrolled an external consultant, who has gone through such audits, to rehearse the process 3 days prior to the actual audit.
The key was doing it very rigorously. It was not a status update or a review. We role played to simulate the actual audit scenario. The missing links became very apparent to us. It also prepared the team much better for the actual presentation. We knew the slide transitions much better. We also knew where to take how much pause for the auditor to digest the information.
4. Plan for contingency
One of the Microsoft audit points required us to showcase 5 different projects. We were prepared to showcase 5 of our best ones. But couple of them, though different projects, were done for the same customer. Auditor inquired if we could showcase projects for 5 distinct customers. And we were ready. We could quickly dig into the project repository and showcase 2 other projects that were done few months back and were similar, but for different customers.
At another point, the auditor was not satisfied with just the SOW and Architecture diagram. We could quickly pull out the original proposal (pre-SOW) as well as several weekly reports (post architecture design) to establish the end-to-end time and duration of the project and successful completion. Having as many documents as can be available is helpful to let the auditor validate the work from several different perspectives.
5. Use Video
Our team was spread across 3 geographies. For the first half of the audit, 2 locations were only on voice bridge, while the auditor was on video all the time.
After the break, all of us decided to be live on video. This allowed the auditor to get a much richer picture of the team behind the work. The auditor could relates to specific people on specific projects and appreciate the depth of knowledge across the team.
Usually it’s a 5 point scale, but I don’t mind giving you 5+
In summary, do anything and everything to make the auditor’s job easier and fun.
The blog was originally published on LinkedIn Pulse.
Director, Motifworks India Pvt. Ltd.
Vikas is a firm believer of “Technology is What Technology does.” His ability to relentlessly identify & focus on what matters makes him the go-to person for strategic decisions. With over 25 years of experience, in his current role, Vikas oversees Designing and implementing business operations, Establishing policies that promote company culture and vision and managing the operations of the company.