Today I welcome a collegue of my Rebecka Isaksson as my first guest blogger. Rebecka is focusing on project management and business analysis and is part of the global Sure Step Development Team.

Here we go Sure Step methodology

Sure Step overview
Overview of Sure Step. Click and login to download partner document 

Why Sure Step?

So, “Why another methodology?”, you might ask? What’s so special about Microsoft Dynamics™ products that they require yet another methodology, on top of Microsoft Solutions Framework (MSF) and Microsoft Operations Framework (MOF)? How does it compare with PMI and ITIL? These are some of the most common questions that I have received so far, when talking to customers, partners and colleagues about Sure Step. As I work together with Jonas, he’s asked me to make a guest appearance here on his blog, to tell you a little bit more about Sure Step in general and some of the improvements and updates we're planning to make in Sure Step. I will try answer some of those questions here and give you my view on why I think Sure Step is so important to us and to our customers.

 

What’s the purpose?

First of all, I think it is important to remember that an ERP or CRM implementation is quite different from other software development and implementation projects. In particular the ERP implementation that very often impacts pretty much everyone and everything in the organization where it is introduced. Someone said once that “ERP implementations are 30% about technology and 70% about organizational development” and in general I tend to agree with that statement. Also, we need to keep in mind that the most common reason for purchasing and implementing this type of software is to reduce cost, increase efficiency in the business process and drive operational excellence by optimizing and standardizing the way people do things. In other words, customers want our help (software + service) to shape a more efficient business process by introducing a well-proven, standardized solution based on pre-defined processes that can be easily adopted to match their own functional needs, right?  So, it is not about customizing and developing lots of new features in the software and add new functionality but rather to focus on what the business needs and select and shape that standard functionality so that it fits and supports the business. This is what Sure Step can help you do.

 

Having said that, how does Sure Step match those objectives then? Well, we have not created the wheel all over again but instead we’ve picked the cherries from existing, well-proven methodologies, such as Microsoft Solutions Framework and Microsoft Operations Framework (MSF and MOF), combined those with the best practices and experiences from thousands of Microsoft and partner consultants and projects from around the world and created a common framework that can help us deliver high-quality services in a consistent manner, across large organizations and different geographies. By using aligned procedures and a common method we can offer much better, seamless services; smoother deployments at reduced risk;  on time and within budget; and with a much higher quality than ever.

 

What’s the Value Add?

Well, you could regard Sure Step as a toolbox containing a range of tools for what, how and when in the different project stages you need to perform certain tasks and activities. It contains well-structured activity flows, tools and templates, deliverables, role descriptions, recommended responsibility splits along with additional project management tools that makes it all much easier and quicker to manage and document every aspect of an implementation. On top of that it is customizable to fit specific customer situations (rapid or full implementation, upgrade, etc.) and the product (CRM, AX, SL, GP, NAV) that is being implemented and it spans across all phases of a project from initial diagnostics to post-implementation operations. Project management practices are based on well-proven and globally recognized practices such as PMI and ITIL, and are fully integrated across all phases, covering the whole spectrum of project management from scope management through risk, quality and time and cost management amongst other disciplines. This makes it all very easy to adopt for most of our customers as in most cases they recognize and can relate to the concepts presented to them.

 

Updates to Sure Step currently under development will make Sure Step more business oriented than it is today and we’ll be adding and improving many deliverables and templates, add a business process analysis cross phase process (including business modeling tools), as well as enhanced support for change management. There will be nine cross phase processes in total within Sure Step, all with specific activities providing customers and partners clear linkages and dependencies between them, thereby elevating the level of visibility within the implementation project even more. Improvements are under way so watch PartnerSource for announcements on releases of these updates in the coming months!

 

Where can I get my hands on it?

Sure Step is available through PartnerSource and enrollment in a Partner Service Plan for Microsoft Dynamics is required.