home > News & Events > Alumni > Webinar: “Managing Large Scale Cloud Computing Projects: A case study on Azure Shiproom”

Join us online on Tuesday, December 7, 2021 for a free systems thinking webinar with Emad Zand, Gayle Sheppard, and Zach Holmes of Microsoft Azure. The talk will stream live on YouTube.

About the talk: “There is a tremendous amount of complexity in managing large scale cloud computing projects. In this session, we present some of the challenges for managing large scale cloud computing projects and share the results of a case study on running Azure Shiproom, the execution forum for managing one of the largest cloud computing projects in the world that has been taking place in Microsoft. We review people & process, as well as technologies we internally developed for driving the Azure Shiproom. The presentation includes lessons we learned and the potential for using the Azure Shiproom as a blue-print for managing future large scale cloud computing projects in the tech industry.”

About the spekers:

Emad Zand has several years of product management experience in the cloud, security and mobile space. He is currently a Principal Program Manager in Microsoft Azure Global organization, responsible for development of a set of services to ensure all Azure products meet certain promises related to quality, availability, resiliency, security, privacy and compliance. Prior to Microsoft, Emad was a Product Management Director at VMware Cloud Native Application Business Unit. Emad has been a product manager in Akamai cloud security and Nokia mapping divisions in the past. Emad has a Master’s degree in engineering and management from MIT.

Gayle Sheppard is the Corporate Vice President and Head of Global Expansion and Digital Transformation for Microsoft Azure, a Fortune 50 global technology company with over $125B in sales and in the top 3 of Forbes most respected companies list. With 50% of Microsoft’s business outside the U.S. Gayle develops and leads the teams responsible for Azure’s global cloud expansion for both public and sovereign clouds, Microsoft’s Vanguard Customer Innovation Program, Ecosystem leadership in emerging markets, and Engineering tooling for strategic workloads for SAP, high performance computing, Virtual machines, and mainframe platforms. She is responsible for related acquisitions and future technology development.

Previously, Gayle was GM/VP of Saffron AI, an AI/machine learning business unit, acquired by Intel, for which Gayle was a founder and the Chairman of the Board and CEO pre-acquisition. Gayle’s software career includes leadership roles at PeopleSoft and JDEdwards, with experiences including building and shaping Asia Pacific and Japan markets, leading global software sales and services organizations and working with customers across the Global 500 to achieve their business expansion and transformation plans. Gayle received a Bachelor of Science, Business Administration from the University of South Florida.

Zach Holmes is a Principal PM Lead in Microsoft Azure Global organization. He and his team own and manage the Azure Shiproom and supporting software systems for Microsoft Cloud Services successfully delivering against time critical, strategic customer requirements. Zach has 20+ years of experience in software Operations, Development and Program Management including 11+ years with Microsoft in SRE Lead and Program Manager Lead roles across DevDiv, Windows and Azure organizations. Prior to his software career, he spent 8 years as a Squad Leader and Senior Leadership instructor in the U.S. Army Rangers.

About the series

Sponsored by the System Design & Management program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the MIT SDM Systems Thinking Webinar Series features research conducted by SDM faculty, alumni, students, and industry partners. The series is designed to disseminate information on how to employ systems thinking to address engineering, management, and socio-political components of complex challenges.