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Microsoft Solutions Framework

Envisioning Phase
Planning Phase
Developing Phase
Deployment/Stabilization Phase

The Envisioning Phase

The Envisioning Phase culminates at the Vision/Scope Approved milestone.

The Envisioning Phase has three interim milestones.

  • Team Formation Complete
  • Draft Vision/Scope
  • Final Vision/Scope

There are four primary deliverables of the envisioning phase:

  • Vision/Scope Document
    • The Vision/Scope Document defines a clear direction for the project team, sets expectations, and provides the criteria for the designing and deploying the solution. There are four content elements in the Vision/Scope Document which address the what, where, when, why, who, and how of the project: The problem statement (or statement of objectives), vision statement, user profiles, and solution concept.
  • Risk Management Plan
    • Risk ascertains the impact of the consequence by determining the likelihood of its occurrence and the severity of the outcome relative to established project objectives.
  • Project Structure Document
    • The Project Structure Document defines how the project will be managed and supported, and the administrative structure for the project team going into the Planning Phase.
  • Next Phase Estimate

The Vision and Scope


There are six fundamental concepts and guiding principles that underlie the MSF project vision and scoping approach
  • Peak performance begins with a commitment to vision
  • To produce great results, vision must exist and be communicated
  • A great project vision combines verbal and visual information
  • Vision is bounded by no preconceived limitations
  • The sustaining source of vision is business value
  • Vision guides shorter-range objectives (scope)


Setting the scope means that the needs of a diverse set of end users must be balanced against each other as well as other priorities set down by management. Several variables may impact the potential success of the project, including costs, resources, schedule functionality, and reliability. The key is finding the right balance between these variables

The Team

Each role on the MSF team has a defined responsibility and brings a specific competency that complements the other roles to ensure successful completion of the project.

  • Product Management documents user needs, defines business problem, identifies expected benefits, articulates vision, identifies management risks, and manages expectations.
  • Program Management establishes design goals, establishes success factors and metrics, identifies necessary project infrastructure, and documents the solution.
  • Development researches existing technology solutions and works with Program Management to document technical solutions.
  • User Education identifies practical user communications channels and identifies training requirements for project personnel and users.
  • Testing identifies testing criteria based on design goals, identifies testing process and frequency, logs risks and rate by potential impact, and establishes feedback loop for communication of high-risk situations.
  • Logistics Management researches and reports on material constraints, identifies shipping and delivery issues, and provides the foundation for long-term management and support.

Last updated:
Copyright 2004, Adam Stanley