Microsoft Solutions Framework. Basic principles

The Microsoft Solutions Framework (MSF) implements a flexible approach that allows faster creation of technological solutions, attracting fewer people, reducing risks and raising the level of quality. MSF helps groups directly address the main problems with technological processes, which improves the quality of decisions and the impact on the business.

MSF focuses on the following aspects:

  • coordination of business and technological goals;
  • definition of clear goals, roles and responsibilities for the project;
  • implementation of the iterative process on the basis of milestones and control points;
  • proactive risk management;
  • effective reaction to change.

This article describes the following basic elements of MSF.

The MSF group model allows you to scale projects, guarantee the fulfillment of the needs of stakeholders and determine roles and responsibilities based on goals. The MSF management model (formerly called the MSF process model) allows you to quickly get high-quality results using a proven project lifecycle that defines the main activities of the project.

Basic principles of MSF

The Microsoft Solution Framework (MSF) is based on principles and thinking patterns that are years of experience. These years were formed in concepts that are valid for various models, processes and disciplines of MSF. Although they result from common sense, it is not so easy to understand them and correctly implement them. However, this will help groups to effectively create quality products.

Basic principles

The following principles and concepts of MSF direct the project team to implement a quality solution. Each member of the group must understand and accept these principles when interacting with other group members, their organization and stakeholders. At the heart of MSF are nine basic principles.

  1. Open interaction. To ensure that the work of your group is effective, you and the other participants should share relevant levels of information with members of the groups and employees of the enterprise. The group should understand the nature of the solution being created and how the group members and external contacts will interact. The difficulty lies in determining the appropriate level of all relationships and information that will be publicly available.
  2. Develop a general idea. The overall presentation enhances the effectiveness and dynamism of the group, which allows participants to quickly make informed decisions in the context of implementing the delivered presentation. The general view also helps to fill in the gaps in the requirements when they are detected.
  3. Empower the team members. Granting authority to members of the group is not only one way to survive in an ever-changing environment, but also a way of creative search for successful solving problems and helping each other. If members of the group are not allowed to work at the maximum, not only will their creative potential be narrowed, their morale will not be at an altitude and you can not create a productive group.
  4. Establish clear boundaries of authority and shared responsibility. Armed with the powers of the members of the group more often feel more responsible for their decisions and for the project as a whole. A greater degree of responsibility of the members of the group leads to a higher quality. For example, if a group member states that the task is completed, but it turns out that the quality level does not correspond to what is necessary, this member of the group is responsible for correcting the results. By encouraging positive results and responsibility, and not punishing for such mistakes, it can be achieved that the members of the group will be jointly responsible for the overall decision. This motivates the strongest participants to help others work as efficiently as possible.
  5. Implementation of incremental results. The implementation of incremental results is related to two aspects:
    • it is necessary to make sure that the provided results are optimal for interested persons;
    • it is necessary to determine the optimal increments for the delivery of results, i.e., “delivery frequencies”.
  6. Be flexible, expect changes and adapt to them. Since changes can occur often and at the worst possible time, having a flexible way to handle changes will help you minimize downtime associated with them. Flexibility means that the organization is ready for change and can easily adapt to them.
  7. Invest in quality. Many organizations use the concept of quality (often it is very fuzzy), but do not understand how to quantify it. Quality is what needs to be proactively implemented in the solution delivery life cycle. It will not appear by itself.
  8. Learn from any experience. If all levels of the organization do not learn from what used to work and did not work, how can they expect improvements in the future? Team members should understand that training takes place at all levels:
    • at the project level, for example, when clarifying the process for the entire project;
    • at the individual level, for example, to improve interaction with other members of the group;
    • at the organization level, for example, when adjusting the quality indicators that are collected for each project.
  9. Collaborate with internal and external customers. If the client works together with the project team, you increase the probability of the project’s success. But this does not mean that customers should do all the work for your group. However, when clients closely and consistently cooperate with the project team, the solution obtained is more in line with their requirements. Collaboration with clients is mutually beneficial, because it helps to eliminate uncertainty, reduce time for eliminating problems with requirements, and improve the understanding of the value proposition by the group through regular contacts.

In next articles we’ll pay attention to the way of thinking of MSF, MSF Group Model, MSF Management Model and Control points as the central concept of MSF.

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