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Microsoft Solutions Framework

Envisioning Phase
Planning Phase
Developing Phase
Deployment/Stabilization Phase

Microsoft Solutions Framework: an introduction

MSF is a flexible, interrelated series of models that can guide an organization through assembling the resources, people, and techniques needed to bring technology infrastructure in line with business objectives.

The purpose of the process model is to provide a framework that will assist organizations to successfully implement technology solutions that meet or exceed the predefined vision and business objectives.

There are four phases in the process model: Envisioning, Planning, Developing, and Deploying (for infrastructure projects) or Stabilizing for development projects)—and there are four milestones associated with them: Vision/Scope Approved, Project Plan Approved, Scope Complete/First Use, and Release.

The MSF Team Model focuses on staffing, competency, management, responsibility, and quality in complex projects.

The six roles of the team model correspond directly with the six key quality goals for an effective project team. They map as follows:

Team Role Goal
Product management The goal of product management is customer satisfaction. The product management role is positioned to achieve this by acting as the customer advocate to the team and as the team advocate to the customer.
Program management The role and focus of program management is to meet the quality goal of delivering the product within project constraints. To meet this goal, program management owns and drives the schedule, the features, and the budget for the project. Program management ensures that the right product is delivered at the right time.
Development To succeed in meeting its quality goal, the role of development is to build a product that meets the specification and customer expectations. It is important that development focus not only on coding to the functional specification but also on meeting customer expectations. This is because functional specifications are written before any significant development or building take place, leaving them inherently incomplete. Therefore, development must innovate, but only to solve the customer's problem, not just for the sake of implementing interesting features.
Testing The goal of testing is to make sure that all issues are known and addressed prior to releasing the product. An issue is anything that prevents the product from meeting its requirements.
User education User education focuses on enhancing user performance so that users are as productive as possible with the product. To accomplish this, user education acts as the advocate for the end user of the product, much like product management acts as the customer advocate to the team.
Logistics managment Logistics management serves as the advocate for the operations, product support, help desk, and other delivery channel organizations in its focus on smooth deployment and ongoing management.

In order for a team to be successful, it must interact, communicate, and coordinate with other external groups. These range from customers and end users to other product development teams.

The following diagram illustrates how coordination occurs either with a business focus or a technology focus. Program management, product management, user education, and logistics management are the primary facilitators. These roles are both internally and externally focused, whereas development and testing are internally focused and insulated from external communications.




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Copyright 2004, Adam Stanley