Microsoft Solutions Framework, part 3. Management Model, Directions, Checkpoints

This time, we will look at the MSF management model, its various directions, checkpoints in the MSF and the iterative approach.

MSF Management Model

The management model (formerly the process model) is designed to provide the necessary instructions to the right people at the right time. It is structured and allows the team to develop the main components of the solution faster than if they first concentrated on the highest-priority opportunities and moved on to less important elements in subsequent releases. The model is structured to help the group quickly decide on how to implement different aspects of the solution. The management model is a flexible MSF component that is successfully used to improve project management, reduce risks, improve the quality of the solution, and accelerate development. Since MSF is completely customizable, it is assumed that the organization adapts the management model in accordance with its business processes and approaches to developing solutions.

The MSF management model combines project management with the implementation of the necessary processes. Project management focuses on optimizing the solution development process and efficient use of project resources. The implementation of processes focuses on identifying, building and deploying a solution that meets the needs and expectations of stakeholders.

The main aspects of the MSF management model are the overlapping directions of the procedures used, the synchronization of checkpoints and the incremental approach of providing business values ​​to the client.

Directions

The MSF management model allows the implementation of project management and the implementation of processes through intersecting directions. At one level, the goal of the agreed groups of specific actions is to obtain relevant results for each direction. However, the direction of MSF is wider than this – each of them has its own goal and each of them represents a change in the speed and focus of the project. The directions use analysis and synchronization points, which are called checkpoints  (they are discussed below) to determine if the goal goals are fulfilled. In addition, the main checkpoints are used to complete each direction, which allows you to transfer responsibility for managing many activities and helps the group to take a new look at the next direction.

The MSF management model consists of five overlapping directions of implementation and a permanent direction of management that covers the directions of implementation.

Direction of management

The management focuses on the balance between the effective use of project resources and the implementation of the solution, taking into account a set of potentially changing project constraints. In addition, the direction of control ensures continuous improvement of processes.

Effective project management provides a sufficient level of control and guidance for the optimal use of project resources, implementation of solutions and the handling of trade-offs with the necessary balance in relation to a set of potentially changing constraints. The purpose of MSF management is to ensure and continuously improve the project management process. It consists of separate and permanent operations throughout the life cycle of the project.

The direction of management has the following objectives.

  • Control actions to implement a solution that receives repeatable and reliable results.
  • Optimization and continuous improvement of group productivity, quality of solutions and processes.
  • Get approval:
    • from users that the solution meets their needs and is convenient in work;
    • from the operations department that the solution is ready for deployment;
    • from the client that the project is completed.

Directions of implementation

The implementation of the process is a detailed sequence of actions by which the solution is determined, developed and deployed. In fact, the implementation areas help the group achieve a high-level agreement on the overall presentation of the project and develop options for its implementation (the direction of the concept development), evaluate these options and plan the implementation of the chosen option (direction of planning), build solutions (direction of construction), make sure that the solution corresponds requirements (direction of stabilization) and deploy the solution (direction of deployment).

Each of these areas has the following objectives.

Development of the concept

  • A clear definition of what is needed, in the context of project constraints.
  • Formation of the necessary group for designing solutions using options and approaches that best correspond to the needs, with optimal satisfaction of the given constraints.

Planning

  • Improvement of the conceptual solution in material projects and plans for its development in the direction of construction.

Assembly

  • The construction of various aspects of the solution in accordance with the necessary results of the planning direction, such as projects, plans, schedules and requirements.

Stabilization

  • Improve the quality of the solution to meet the conditions for deployment in a production environment.
  • Verification of compliance with the requirements and expectations of interested persons.
  • Verification of the convenience of the solution from the perspective of the user.
  • Optimization and reduction of risks associated with the deployment and use of the solution in target environments.

Deployment

  • Successful integration of the solution in production environments.
  • Transfer responsibility for the remainder of the implementation of the solution from the project team to the operating groups and support groups as soon as possible.

Checkpoints

The checkpoints, the central concept in MSF, are used to plan and track the progress of the project and provide the necessary results. The checkpoints allow the group and clients to explicitly reconcile the project area, reflect the changing customer requirements or business requirements, or take into account the risks and problems that may arise during the project lifecycle. Checkpoints are used for many reasons, such as:

  • synchronization of work items;
  • external access to information on progress and performance;
  • correction in the course of the life cycle;
  • concentration of verification procedures for objectives and results;
  • providing approval points before proceeding to the next stages.

In MSF, there are two types of checkpoints: basic and intermediate. The main checkpoints indicate the completion of the main activities and the receipt of important results, including the completion of the planned action for the referral. Intermediate checkpoints  are determined by the group to indicate the progress of the work on the direction and the division of large tasks into smaller and more convenient elements.

Iterative approach

The decision will not give business value until it is deployed in the production environment and will not work effectively. Therefore, the life cycle of the MSF management model includes incremental development and deployment of the solution in a production environment, ensuring the implementation of business value and achieving the strategic vision and goals of the group. In MSF, this is achieved through reliable multi-dimensional representation of the business in the working group with a clear focus on the impact on the business throughout the process.

Iterative development is often found in MSF. Documents, projects, plans and other results are formed iteratively. As you might expect, the MSF management model is an iterative approach.

In summary

Microsoft Solutions Framework can be an effective tool for organizations that want to quickly develop high-quality technology solutions for business. The flexibility of this platform makes it easy to adapt it to most of the technology projects, helping the working groups to effectively interact and coordinate their work.

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