Microsoft's Sure Step Project Management Methodology
Microsoft has published project managment guidance on the appropriate way to manage an implementation of a Microsoft Dynamics software product (GP, NAV, AX, and CRM). This guidance is called the "Microsoft Dynamics Sure Step Methodology" for managing implementations. Microsoft encourages partners to use the Sure Step Methodology by requiring Microsoft Dynamics partners to pass a certification exam proving that they understand the Sure Step methodology.
In addition to providing the methodology and framework, Microsoft has developed software to help you manage a project using Sure Step. This software walks you through the steps in managing a project and also contains a large number of templates in Word, Excel and Publisher to help you implement the methodology. You can obtain this software/templates in one of 2 ways:
You can download and install a piece of software that let's you manage an implementation by going here (requires a PartnerSource or CustomerSource login):
You can use an online version of Microsoft's Sure Step software by going here (requires a PartnerSource or CustomerSource login):
Summary of the Methodology
This is a summary of Microsoft's Sure Step methodology.
Typically, a Dynamics software implementation includes 6 project phases:
Diagnostic (before sale is completed)
Here is a summary of each phase:
Phase 1 - Diagnostic Phase
This is the "sales" process, so this phase happens before the sale is complete. Optionally, you can use one of 7 Decision Accelerator offerings to help the client make decisions.
Key documents: Budget. Statement of Work.
Phase 2 - Analysis Phase
This happens after the sale is complete. The primary activity is reviewing the customer's business processes to understand requirements. You also build any sandbox and training environments at this phase.
Key documents: Functional Requirements Document. Project Plan.
Phase 3 - Design Phase
Begin system configuration
Design integrations with other systems
Design data migrations
Begin testing by conducting "feature" tests (typically done by consultant only) - is Dynamics GP configured the way we want it to be configured and can it do what we think it should do to meet client requirements?
Identify "fits" and "gaps" (what doesn't the software do that we need it to do?)
How do we solve the "gaps"? What custom code?
Create test data
Key documents: Functional Design Documents - Fits. Functional Design Documents - Gaps.
Each gap would have a Technical Design Document.
Phase 4 - Development Phase
Build training documents
Develop data migrations
Complete system configuration
Develop custom code
Define and deploy security roles
Conduct "solution" testing: this is testing done with end users and is more comprehensive testing done in a way that mirrors client business processes.
Key documents: Training Plan.
Phase 5 - Deployment Phase
Final prep before go-live:
End user training
Final testing ("user acceptance testing") - this is a final round of testing to ensure complete, end-to-end functionality is working.
Build/finalize production environment
Final data migration
Phase 6 - Operations Phase
Go-live support and final completion. Migrating the client to "support mode".
For larger implementations:
Conduct disaster recovery test
Conduct performance tuning and optimization