Chapter 8.Project and Organizational Change Management - Customer Success with Microsoft Dynamics Sure Step (2014)

Customer Success with Microsoft Dynamics Sure Step

Chapter 8. Project and Organizational Change Management

In the last four chapters, we covered due diligence and solution selling, solution delivery, solution optimization, and upgrading the solution. Underpinning each of these areas are project and change management disciplines that provide the foundation for successful engagements and happy customers. These disciplines will be the focus of this chapter, as will be another important aspect—how Sure Step enables project teams to effectively collaborate with each other when they are not centrally co-located.

In this chapter, we will cover the following:

· The project management discipline in the Sure Step Library that provides fundamentals and guidance to project managers

· The Organizational Change Management discipline in Sure Step that stresses the importance of addressing employee viewpoints and concerns that can arise from replacing existing systems with new ones

· The Projects feature in Sure Step that facilitates the automatic setup of projects on a local drive, shared drive, or SharePoint server

The Sure Step Project Management Library

Sure Step includes a content section that is referred to as the Project Management Library. This section should be considered as the project manager's guidebook in terms of project management fundamentals. It offers an inside view of the project management disciplines, the project management processes, and organizational change management. It provides knowledge and best practices and is designed to act as a constant source of inspiration for project managers seeking to continuously improve their project management skills. You can compare it with the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK Guide) by Project Management Institute (PMI), which is a guide for many project managers providing the fundamentals of project management.

Do we, project managers, need to know about project management fundamentals? It may seem like a trivial question, but it is not. Project management is a true profession; it is not just something that you can do as a side activity. Over the years, the community of professional project managers has increased significantly, indicating that a continuously growing number of professionals do understand the true essence and importance of successful project management. But despite this positive evolution, some managers still seem to ignore this and continue to manage their projects while neglecting best practices. For those who do recognize project management as a true profession and seek to improve their skills, and are eager to learn new things and find inspiration to take their project management knowledge to higher levels, the Project Management Library is an excellent knowledge hub.

The Enterprise project type in Sure Step is fully aligned with the processes, activities, tools, and templates that are discussed in the different disciplines of this Project Management Library. Other project types in Sure Step only include a subset of what is described in the disciplines; how you leverage your project management approach with each of these disciplines is subject to your envisioning of Quality Assurance for a specific project.

Understanding project management disciplines

Have you ever wondered what a project manager needs to do? It just takes one click in the Sure Step Project Management Library to get a bird's-eye view on what a project manager really needs to manage. The project management disciplines encompass the following eight management domains associated with a project manager's responsibilities:

· Risk management

· Scope management

· Time and cost management

· Resource management

· Communication management

· Quality management

· Procurement management

· Integration management

A project manager needs to manage all of these domains in a context that is always unique and temporary. Projects are never the same and we always run short on time, nevertheless, we must manage all of these disciplines. Quite an arduous task! In an operation-driven company, each of these management domains is controlled by dedicated managers, whereas our project manager needs to combine the skills and knowledge of them all, so all best practices and guidance will be more than welcome. That's exactly why Sure Step provides all the fundamentals of the project management disciplines in the Project Management Library.

Risk management

The risk management discipline teaches us fundamentals about initial and ongoing risk management. Here, we can seek guidance on how to deal with risk identification, risk analysis, and how we can set up an effective risk response planning. Apart from valuable guidance, we can also find valuable tools that will help us become much more efficient in risk management exercises, such as the following:

· Project Risk Register: This register allows us to list, describe, and categorize our identified risks and generate a risk rating based on our probability and impact estimation. It also allows us to plan for contingency and responses. What is really interesting is that this Risk Register template also includes a checklist tab that is already populated with known risks for Dynamics implementations.

· Risk Identification Checklist: This checklist with populated risks can act as an efficient starting point for a project manager's risk assessment. The Risk Identification Checklist is a questionnaire that is built up around environmental, people, procedural, and technological risk factors and acts as an efficient tool for risk identification.

Scope management

Are you familiar with scope creep? Bet you are! Can we prevent scope creep in our projects? No, we can't, but we can manage it better. Well-thought-out scope management elevates our success probability of customer satisfaction and acceptance of the implemented solution. The scope management discipline provides insights on how the project team needs to plan, define, document, verify, manage, and control a project's scope. This guidance is highlighted in the project management processes, as illustrated in the following diagram:

Scope management

In this section, we will find specific information on how to make work breakdown structures for our project scope, what elements we need to include in a good scope statement, and much more.

Besides offering helpful insights into scope management fundamentals, Sure Step also provides tools and templates to help us be more efficient. One of these tools is the Change Request form, available in two versions.

The first Change Request form brings our attention to the trade-off matrix. Change requests mostly seem to only address the cost impact to the customer. However, change impacts more than budget; it can have an impact on the complexity of the scope, the deployment of skills and resources, and the schedule. We need to investigate these other impact elements as well and monitor how a set of changes might impact us.

The second available template allows a more detailed description of the change and the trade-off analysis than the previous template. So, we might consider this one when facing larger changes with significant impact that needs extensive and in-depth documentation. This template not only teaches us that it is a good idea to investigate all impacts of making the change but also that analyzing the impact of not making the change is equally valuable. A customer organization needs to be aware that in the course of an implementation, visions and ideas might alter, leading to changed and additional requirements. However, the incremental scope benefits may not always be worth implementing. Some requests might not have a significant impact on the efficiency of the company or the goals and objectives of the decision maker while representing a vast impact on the project and its risks. Analyzing the impact of not implementing those changes reduces potential risks and the scope creep in general.

Time and cost management

In this discipline, Sure Step provides guidance and techniques to set up and manage initial and ongoing time and cost management. Any manager engaged in a project will and must be concerned about the time and budget constraints of the assignment. In a way, they will all manage it even without having a clue about the fundamentals and best practices described for this discipline. This activity is omnipresent and some even (unjustly) narrow down project management to time and cost management. So yes, it is important. And, the more we improve our skills to manage time and cost the more possibilities we will have to control our time and cost performance.

The first lesson to learn is that the initial time and cost management must be in line with the ongoing time and cost management. A common basis is needed for both the initial and ongoing time and cost management; this is where the Work Breakdown Structure(WBS) comes in. The WBS defines all deliverables and activities necessary to deliver the requested value to the customer. It is the basis for estimation and follow up in our project and allows the setup of a common language among project stakeholders. If the breakdown of our deliverables in the beginning differs significantly from the follow-up breakdown in the ongoing project, we might expect problems as we will have a difficult job aligning time and cost performance with the performance we had planned for. A simple search instruction in the Sure Step content reveals how important the WBS is. Searching on WBS generates a result of over 30 Sure Step activities, as shown in the following screenshot:

Time and cost management

This discipline will also provide information on the estimation process. Estimation is generally accepted as a true challenge. At moments characterized by great uncertainty, we need to estimate cost and time durations. It would be great if we could produce estimates at times where all scope and risks were certain. But unfortunately, we are not granted that privilege. Therefore, we need to rely on our estimation efficiency. A good estimate is really important for both the consulting and customer organization, making a good estimation process a sine qua non. This Sure Step discipline introduces the reader to generally accepted estimation techniques such as the use of consulting experts, estimates from similar projects, parametric estimating, and bottom-up and top-down estimating. It also gives attention to the challenges of estimating in an Agile context and provides solid tips such as the use of a three-point analysis and the involvement of the customer in the estimation process.

We can also find guidance in this discipline on how to develop a project schedule and how to prepare project tracking and reporting. Sure Step highlights the importance of structured and well-documented estimation and tracking techniques. Not only do we benefit from these techniques in a single project, but as a historic reference, they will also have great value for future estimates. We might also get inspired by the content that is provided on the Earned Value Concept, a method that integrates project scope, cost, and schedule in order to generate early warning signals by project tracking. This method identifies what we have delivered as per what we have spent and calculates how much more time and cost we will need when progressing with the same performance.

Resource management

The resource management discipline addresses how to organize and manage human resources, equipment, and material resources in the project context. For human resource planning, it is important to distinguish between roles and resources. Project roles are the functional job categories or titles required to complete the project work, for examples, a technology consultant, development consultant, or business analyst. Resources are specific groups or individuals who complete the project work. One resource might execute more than one role. Roles and responsibilities are often described using a Resource Assignment Matrix (RAM). A specific form of RAM is the RACI matrix. The RACI matrix assigns responsibilities to each role in terms of the following criteria:

· Responsible: This role involves working to achieve the task and delivering the effort and skill to complete the job.

· Accountable: This role includes ultimate accountability for the correct and thorough completion of the deliverable or task. Those under the Responsible role will be reporting to those of the Accountable role.

· Consultative: This role involves providing both active and advisory assistance.

· Informed: This role involves being kept up-to-date on progress by reporting on the task.

Sure Step uses an extended version of the RACI matrix, providing the following two additional roles:

· Verifying: This role entails executing a check against the defined scope and conditions of quality standards

· Signing off: This role embodies the actions of review, validation, and acceptance

The following screenshot is an example of how we can map responsibilities against roles by using an RACI matrix:

Resource management

This discipline also covers how to develop, manage, and release the project team and is supported by useful tools and templates such as the Roles and Responsibilities template as shown in the following screenshot:

Resource management

Communication management

An important theme in Sure Step is the importance of communication. As we unveiled in previous sections and chapters, the Sure Step life cycle is planned with a lot of attention for interactions, enabling communication between the customer and implementer's resources. In addition, the Project Management Library dedicates a full discipline to the art of project communication. This discipline discusses how to conduct team meetings such as steering team meetings, project management meetings, and project team meetings. This discipline also informs us on how to execute project performance reporting and how to manage our stakeholders. We can also learn from this discipline how a good Project Charter should be made and how we can conduct effective kick off meetings. This discipline is supported by templates such as the following:

· Project status report

· Communication plan

· Kick-off meeting presentation and meeting agenda

· Project Charter

It also points out that the success or failure of a project is determined by stakeholders and not by the project managers, and therefore, demands our attention for project stakeholders' analysis.

Quality management

The quality management discipline tackles the question of how to assure, control, and improve the quality up to the required and balanced level. Quality Assurance (QA) is considered as the master plan to meet the project's requirements and quality standards. It is often defined as the planned and systematic activities implemented in a quality system so that the quality requirements for a product or service will be fulfilled. In a way, implementation guided by Sure Step processes can be considered as an element of QA. However, this is not enough as we have to tune our planned approach with the specific quality expectations and demands of our customer. This means that first we need to understand what quality means to our customer and only then can we further refine our proactive quality approach. Quality Assurance is about the processes we have in place to deliver what is asked of us. Quality Assurance is not focusing on the deliverables themselves, but on how we plan to deliver them. Quality Control (QC) activities are focused on the deliverables and are concerned with the acceptance of those project deliverables. Now let's assume that you are a customer project manager entrusted with the sign off of the Functional Requirements Document for your implementation. Before signing off, you could inspect each page of this document for the correctness, accuracy, and consistency with your future business processes and demands. This would be an example of Quality Control. You could also verify the process on how this document was created. By doing so, you will retrieve information about the workshops that were organized, the people who attended, how your key users validated this information, that it was double checked by a Fit Gap assessment, and so on. This is an example of Quality Assurance with focus on the process of document creation. The following diagram illustrates how Sure Step integrates QA and QC in the project management processes:

Quality management

Procurement management

This discipline discusses how to manage purchases and acquisitions of services and deliverables from outside the project team to fulfill the defined project requirements. Subcontracting can involve certain project risks, but it also provides the possibility to avoid, mitigate, or transfer risks. Important inputs and outputs for procurement management are to consider and define constraints, assumptions, and boundaries. This discipline explains how to do this by covering the planning, monitoring, and closing of subcontracting.

Integration management

Integration management essentially brings all the disciplines together. This is because it crosses all of them in terms of integrating everything from project conception to closure. Integration is the glue that connects all the disciplines together (scope, time and cost, quality, resources, communications, risk, and procurement).

The first part of integration management is preparing a Project Charter. This is a critical document that formally recognizes the project, gives the project manager the authority, provides high-level requirements, establishes the Business Case, and links the project to the client or organization goals. It also serves as the definition of how success will be measured.

Once the Project Charter is approved, the project manager and the team (along with others, as appropriate) must take the direction outlined in the Project Charter and determine the planning details: how the project will be managed and controlled. Almost every discipline area is analyzed as to how it should be defined, planned, managed, and controlled, and then compiled into the Project Management Plan. This plan includes the strategy and approach to the project as well as the measures and processes to manage and control the project to ensure that the Project Charter objectives and success criteria will be met.

Following agreement on the Project Management Plan, the project work begins and from there, it must be monitored and controlled. The project manager must then integrate all the executing processes into a coordinated effort to accomplish the Project Management Plan and produce the project deliverables.

Monitor and Control Project Work is an integrated control function that is done from Project Initiating through to Project Closing. The project manager needs to monitor how processes are going and typically do not actually perform the work. The integrated function of monitoring and controlling project work includes activities such as analyzing and tracking risks, performing quality checks, receiving changes, and taking corrective action.

The scope of the project may be completed, but is the quality acceptable? The schedule might be met, but are we within our budget? The project manager must balance the demands of the different discipline areas to control the project.

The results of monitoring and controlling the project work can require change requests and updates to the Project Management Plan and other project documents. These changes are accepted or rejected and handled in the Perform Integration Change Control(PICC) process. Changes may be requested that affect any part of the project and the Integrated Change Control Process identifies impacts on all the discipline areas.

The last process is Close Project Phase. This process is invoked at the end of each phase and at the end of the project. If the project is terminated prior to completion, this process will make sure all the documentation is collected and archived. This process finalizes all activities across all the project management disciplines and formally completes the project, phase, or contractual obligations.

Organizational Change Management

Organizational Change Management (OCM) is a discipline that provides a structured approach to transitioning individuals, teams, and organizations from a current state to a desired future state while minimizing resistance and maximizing adoption.

OCM is a critical, and sometimes overlooked, aspect for the success of business solutions delivery engagements. As discussed on several occasions in this book, business solutions encompass multiple processes and workflows of an organization, and any changes to these systems can affect the daily operations of many individuals and their behavior. In smaller organizations, where the CEO or President is often the driving force behind a project of this magnitude, companies get away with pretty much brute force or pressure from the top to "adopt or else." But the larger the organizations, and the larger the scope and impact of the project, the more critical it is for project teams to consider OCM as an integral part of the delivery activities. This will ensure obstacles to adoption are removed in a timely manner, and employee buy-in is an integral part of the solution deployment approach.

In their article titled The Business Impact of Change Management, the authors have brought together multiple research studies to understand the impact and importance of OCM on projects. The authors explain purpose of OCM:

" mitigate the risks of a project, including costs, scheduling, and performance."

OCM achieves this doing the following:

"...facilitating greater economic value faster by effectively developing, deploying, and aligning the company's assets for a given project."

The article references a McKinsey study that examined many project variables and in particular, the effect of an OCM program on a project's ROI. The results were striking! Projects that included good OCM programs resulted in a 143 percent ROI, meaning that companies gained 43 cents for every dollar they spent on the project. On the other hand, projects with no or poor OCM programs included produced a 35 percent ROI, meaning that companies lost 65 cents for every dollar they spent.

Another study entitled Six Barriers to CRM Project Success was highlighted by the authors, citing the following reasons for failure of CRM projects:

· Lack of guidance

· Integration woes

· No long-term strategy

· Dirty data

· Lack of employee buy-in

· No accountability

The authors also describe a study by ProSci, a recognized leader in change management research. To efficiently and effectively manage the changes that a project produces in an organization, the organization needs the following:

· Effective and strong executive sponsorship

· Buy-in from front-line managers and employees

· Exceptional teams

· Continuous and targeted communication

· Planned and organized approach

As a process, the goal of OCM is to empower the employees to accept and embrace changes in their current business environment. Jeff Hiatt, the author of Employee's Survival Guide to Change, talks about how it is easy and fascinating to talk about change happening to someone else, but how worrisome and uncomfortable an individual becomes when a change happens in their environment. Hiatt describes the field of change management as follows:

The convergence of two fields of thought…an engineer's approach to improving business performance and a psychologist's approach to managing the human side of change.

In the book titled Integrating People with Process and Technology, by The Anton Press, Jon Anton and others, look into how the organization's acquisition of technology does not necessarily translate into its usage by its people. The following is a telling observation from the authors.

The truth about technology implementations is that although technology does what the vendor promised, ROI issues arise when change management is not figured in as part of the overall technology project budget. In cases where technology implementations include change management, the implementation becomes an exhilarating experience that improves the efficiency and effectiveness of the company.

For a successful solution deployment, the authors' recommendation is that the company should

...integrate their people, process, and technology... in such a way that changes are embraced and viewed as good.

They define a "good" change as one where the technology:

...makes it easier for employees to do their job and to be more efficient, makes it more operationally effective for employees serving their customers, and allows the company's products and services to be easily accessible.

These discussions underscore the importance of managing the people side of the change management equation for the success of the project. At the end of the day, it is the system users who ultimately define the success or failure of the solution. Without user buy-in, it doesn't matter how good the solution is if the users don't see the need to use it. As such, it is very important that users are closely involved during the implementation and any concerns are heard and considered. It is also not uncommon for companies to conduct change workshops to convey the importance of being open-minded about the upcoming change.

One of the more popular books on the subject of people and change is Who Moved My Cheese? by Spencer Johnson. Written as a parable featuring two mice and two little people, the story provides an amusing view of how one of the characters is able to navigate through the maze and find the cheese, while the other struggles due to his reluctance to change. The story can be related to a corporate setting in that the maze is the organization the employee works in, while the cheese is the end goal that the organization is trying to achieve. The enlightening story has helped many employees deal with the inevitable change and has also been used as a guide for change workshops.

So far, we have discussed the general concepts of OCM. In the next section, we will look at how Sure Step enables and supports the notion of organizational change during the course of the implementations.

Organizational Change Management in Sure Step

Organizational Change Management is described in Sure Step as an integrated communications, training, sponsorship, and organization alignment approach to assist employees in transitioning effectively into a new way of accomplishing work. The Sure Step approach depicts the strategies for success in the following four critical Organization Change Management areas—a review of the previous section shows that these strategies are very well aligned to the approaches of the change management research analysts.

· Executive and Stakeholder Engagement: This strategy requires business sponsor ownership and accountability for the envisioned solution by calling on the organization's business unit leaders to create an environment where process changes resulting from ERP/CRM solutions are accepted and owned. The strategy includes open communication, setting appropriate expectations, assisting in resolving critical project issues in a timely manner, and providing appropriate levels of reinforcement to ensure project success.

· Organization Alignment and Mobilization: For this strategy to succeed, the delivery team needs to analyze the workforce impact and transition to the future processes with the current business practices as the baseline. The appropriate business stakeholders will need to be actively engaged to understand the solution capabilities and to assess the solution effectiveness for their respective areas.

· Communications: This key success area focuses on the communication of solution design, implementation timing and progress, involvement required by the stakeholders, and acceptance of new methods of work. Communications include getting the right information delivered at the right time in a suitable format and through an appropriate means, as well as feedback and response strategies via periodic surveys and iterative lessons-learned discussions.

· Training: This strategy focuses on ensuring that end users are comfortable with the new business processes, have the required skill set to work within the designed processes, and have been well trained on the use of the application. The strategy encompasses initial and ongoing user training for successful adoption of the new processes and tools.

Sure Step guidance for OCM is aligned along five pillars. Each of these pillars is described in the following sections. The guidance provided within the OCM discipline is broken down into activities, as shown in the following screenshot:

Organizational Change Management in Sure Step

It also bears mentioning that these activities are in turn integrated with the Sure Step project types, meaning that they are called out as prescribed steps within the corresponding project workflow.

Defining the OCM Strategy

The OCM Strategy defines the overall vision, objectives, and activities for the various change management components of the project or program to ensure successful adoption of the solution. The sub-components of OCM strategy include the following:

· Organization Risk and Readiness Assessment: This assesses the readiness of the organization to undertake a project of this magnitude, understand the risks that may exist, and define the mitigating strategies to overcome the barriers to project success.

· Organization Change Management Strategy: This defines the nature and sequence of specific change management activities, resources, and interdependencies required to facilitate the change process

· Communications Strategy: This defines the content, method, and timing of the messaging and communications to align management, stakeholders, and business units

· Training Strategy: This defines the training audience and the approach that will be used to assimilate the new processes and solution to the user groups

· Data Taxonomy: This defines the data entities that will be required as well as any optional data elements

· Master Data Management Strategy: This defines the overall strategy and processes to manage and maintain the master data once the solution is in production

As mentioned earlier, the activities in the OCM discipline section of Sure Step are also implemented in the Sure Step project types, especially the Enterprise project type. For example, Conduct Organization Risk and Readiness Assessment is an activity under the program management cross phase of the Enterprise project type. The project activities also include excellent tools and templates, such as the Organization Risk Readiness Analysis tool.

Aligning and mobilizing leadership

With the strategy components defined, the overall change management action plan is created for the business executives and sponsors in this sub-discipline with the following activities:

· Leadership Action Plan: This drives the change strategy by defining the communications at all levels, from executives and middle managers and the stakeholders to those most impacted by the new solution. The plan should include regular checkpoints to audit the performance and the necessary course corrections that should be made as needed.

· Leadership Communications: This ensures that the project business executives and sponsors communicate periodically with the stakeholders over the course of the project.

For the Leadership Communications activity, Sure Step includes a ready-to-use Outlook e-mail template that can be shaped to suit the organization's messaging style.

Engaging stakeholders

The purpose of this OCM sub-discipline is to ensure that the project stakeholders are identified and are proactively engaged throughout the project life cycle through the following activities:

· Stakeholder Communications: This encompasses crafting appropriate communications to stakeholders from leadership and the project teams, obtaining feedback, and creating action plans where necessary to address any issues that are raised

· Solution Storyboard Presentation: This involves presenting the Solution Storyboard to the stakeholders prior to design completion in order to obtain proactive feedback and buy-in on the solution

· Solution Prototype Demo: This involves demonstrating the configured solution to the stakeholders during solution development in order to obtain proactive feedback on the usability of the solution

Similar to the previous sub-disciplines, these activities are aligned to the Sure Step project-type activities, with templates included for communications, to create storyboards, and so on.

Aligning an organization

The key goal of this OCM sub-discipline is to ensure that the stakeholders are adequately prepared to adopt the new solution. This is achieved by implementing the solution as envisioned for the future processes, defining roles and responsibilities, and preparing and executing training for the organization.

· Future-state business process models: Future-state business processes based on the new solution are developed, which in turn provides the baseline to train and align the stakeholders to adopt the new solution

· Job impact analysis: This is a key step to ensure that the stakeholders have the information necessary to understand the impact of the project initiative on their job performance, job description, and career path

· Roles and responsibilities: This builds on the job impact analysis to define the new or modified roles and responsibilities resulting from the new solution

· Train-the-trainer training: This ensures that the organization's trainers are adept with the new solution and prepared to train the end users

· Master Data Management Process: This ensures that the Master Data Management Processes are implemented by the data owners and that appropriate ownership and accountability for the data is established

As referenced in previous chapters, Sure Step affords a vast library of Process Models that can be leveraged to develop the future state business process flows. Other templates such as a Job Impact Analysis spreadsheet are also included within the associated project-type activities.

Enabling the organization

This sub-discipline ensures that the new solution is deployed, users are trained, and appropriate support processes are made operational.

· End User Training: This ensures that adequate and ongoing training to the end users on the new solution is provided to facilitate user adoption

· Transition Solution to Support: The appropriate support organization is engaged and the solution is handed over to the team that will provide the ongoing support.

· Master Data Management Process handover: This ensures that the data management processes are handed over to the data owners so that the data integrity and accuracy can be maintained in the new solution

The management of data is sometimes confusing to the user as to why that belongs under organizational change management. In ERP/CRM solution deployments, there is an old adage often used by consultants, "garbage in, garbage out." As harsh as that sounds, as good as the new solution may be, if the data provided is still bad, it will only result in the solution users getting bad information faster. Therefore, managing the data elements is an important change component that can impact the stakeholders.

In the above sections, we introduced the concepts of OCM and covered OCM from a Sure Step perspective. As we learned, OCM is a critical discipline that should not be overlooked during solution delivery. Given the investment that companies make in the solution, including OCM experts to guide the organization to successfully adopt the new solution should be a given.

Aligning to other project methodologies

There are multiple project methodologies available to project managers providing a myriad of choices to ensure successful delivery of business software. Earlier in this chapter, we explored the links between Sure Step and the Project Management Library from the Project Management Institute. In many parts of the world and in many verticals, other project implementation methodologies are considered the norm. Examples include Microsoft Solutions Framework or Prince2.

Prince2 and Sure Step

Prince2 is a framework that was originally created in the late 1980s for the UK government to manage it's IT implementations. Today, it not only is highly prevalent in public sector organizations but also has increasing presence in the private sector, particularly in Australia and the UK. The reason for this preference is due to some of the key process attributes of Prince2 and the perceived benefits of the control layers provided by the framework. Prince2 is process driven, while at the same time has seven guiding principles and seven themes that provide controls at each stage of the project process.

The principles are as follows:

· Continued business justification

· Learn from experience

· Defined roles and responsibilities

· Manage by stages

· Manage by exception

· Focus on products

· Tailored to suit the specific needs of the project environment

Comparatives to these principles are found in Sure Step.

The seven themes are as follows and all have indirect similarities to the Sure Step PM Library:

· Business Case

· Organization

· Quality

· Plans

· Risk

· Change

· Progress

As each implementation can dictate its own methodology requirements as directed by many factors—be it geography, the industry sector, or the customer's management team—it is important to understand that other methodologies or frameworks can be complementary with Sure Step, ensuring that best practices shared by Microsoft R&D teams are not overlooked.

Sure Step's Projects feature

In Chapters 4 through 7, we covered the five waterfall and Agile Sure Step project types, including the templates that are provided for the project activities. Those templates include some of the project and change management templates we discussed in the above sections. In this section, we now turn our attention to initiating a project with the appropriate cross section of these templates pre-populated depending on the user's selection.

Sure Step provides a feature called Projects for the easy setup of project templates and efficient collaboration with project team members. This feature can be found under the second tab of the Sure Step application or in the bottom-left corner of Sure Step Online and is appropriately titled Projects, as shown in the following screenshot:

Sure Step's Projects feature

As a point of reference, the guidance, templates, and tools that we have referred to until this point reside under the first tab and labeled Sure Step Methodology, as shown in the previous screenshot of the Sure Step application.

The process to create and manage projects is dictated by the Sure Step application used and will differ if using the desktop or online version of Sure Step as detailed in the following sections.

Sure Step Project Creation Wizard

The Sure Step Projects feature can be executed to initiate projects on a local drive (or a shared drive) or on a SharePoint server. The process for initiating these projects is described in the following section.

For creating Projects, Sure Step provides an intuitive Microsoft Dynamics Sure Step Project Creation Wizard that walks the user through the setup. The following screenshot shows one of the screens of the wizard:

Sure Step Project Creation Wizard

If the project is for a customer in a specific industry such as the process or public sector, or if the solution is a cross-industry solution such as xRM, the Solution drop down provides those choices. Selecting one of those choices will then associate the corresponding templates in the project that is created. On the other hand, if the customer project is not for one of these industry or cross-industry solutions, a General solution value is provided, which attaches templates associated with the standard products.

The Product drop down is where you select the appropriate Microsoft Dynamics product that the project is based on. The wizard narrows down the choices depending on the solution selected—meaning if, for example, you select Public Sector, only CRM is provided as the product value because Sure Step only provides CRM solution guidance for the public sector at this point. At a future point, when additional product coverage for a given industry is provided, the solution filter will provide the corresponding product values.

The Engagement Type drop down provides multiple selections for the following three types of engagements supported by Sure Step.

· If the engagement is related to presales/due diligence, the user selects Diagnostic Phase Offerings, which are the Decision Accelerator Offerings we described in the previous chapters. For this selection, the wizard will then allow the user to select multiple Decision Accelerator Offerings to support customer scenarios that call for the service provider to combine more than one offering in the due diligence process.

· If the engagement is for solution delivery, the user selects Implementation. In the next selection, the user is asked to select one of the four waterfall project types, or the Agile project type, as the basis for the implementation.

· If the engagement is for optimization or review, the user selects Optimization Offerings. Just like the Diagnostic Phase Offerings option, the Optimization Offerings selection allows the user to select multiple optimization or review offerings.

The wizard also provides a selection of whether the project should be created on a local drive or a SharePoint server.

Creating projects on a local drive

The use case for creating projects on a local drive is typically limited to smaller projects with a limited number of resources on the implementation team. In these cases, projects are typically set up and reside on the consultant's personal computer and the deliverables are shared with the customer at appropriate times. Sure Step does, however, allow the user to change the default drive from C:\ to a shared drive, allowing for more resources to work on the same project. Other collaboration options such as exporting and importing these projects are also available in Sure Step.

When viewing a project, it is important to note that when the user clicks on a particular phase, such as the Analysis phase in this example, the view changes to a more detailed one that displays the document Description, the Owner role for this deliverable, and the participant Consulting Roles and Customer Roles, providing a more role-centric experience.

Creating projects on a SharePoint server

The more popular use case for the Projects feature is to initiate a project on a SharePoint server. At the end of the project set up process, the Project Creation Wizard provides the user with an option of selecting SharePoint-based project. Upon specification of the corresponding URL for the SharePoint site, Sure Step will run through a check to ensure that the user has the appropriate privileges to create the site, and following a positive return, will automatically populate the corresponding Sure Step templates to the site. The following screenshots show the steps in this process:

Creating projects on a SharePoint server

An example of the resultant SharePoint site is shown in the following screenshot. This example is of a SharePoint site created for a CRM project using the Enterprise project type.

Creating projects on a SharePoint server

Sure Step Online Project Creation Wizard

When using the Project Creation Wizard from Sure Step Online, the process to create projects differs to that described above. Sure Step Online can only create projects to a SharePoint document library site. In order to link the chosen SharePoint site with the content store for content from Sure Step, a one-time setup must be completed as follows:

1. This is completed by navigating to the Projects tab (bottom-left corner) within Sure Step Online and following the link to download the Microsoft Dynamics Sure Step Online Projects Wizard (SureStepProjectWizard.xap) as per the following screenshot:

Sure Step Online Project Creation Wizard

2. Once downloaded, navigate to the Sharepoint site and choose to add the .xap file as a document as shown in the following screenshot:

Sure Step Online Project Creation Wizard

3. Once added, SureStepProjectWizard.xap should be added as a Silverlight web part a new page within the library, resulting in the wizard displaying as follows:

Sure Step Online Project Creation Wizard

Now installed and configured, the Sure Step Online Project Wizard will work in a similar manner to the desktop version of Sure Step. Upon completing the project information, as per the preceding screenshot, choosing Next will open up the next window in the wizard. Here, the type of project must be chosen. The options are Enterprise, Standard, Rapid, Upgrade, and Agile as shown in the following screenshot:

Sure Step Online Project Creation Wizard

4. The third step of the wizard will determine the location of the SharePoint site (shown in the following screenshot) where the project will be created. In order to proceed, the user must create permissions on the SharePoint site in question.

Sure Step Online Project Creation Wizard

5. The next step will require the user to choose the name of the site where the project will reside. The wizard will create this step and, therefore, there will be no need to create the page in advance. The last step confirms the project requirements, which will then kick off the project creation.

There is one major advantage of using Sure Step Online over the desktop version of Sure Step that is worth noting. Each time a project is created with the Online wizard, the latest updated content is downloaded from Microsoft's content data store, thus always ensuring the latest content is used in a project. The reason for this is the simplicity of the Online environment over the desktop version. Microsoft is able to deploy new content Online with minimal delay. Deploying to the desktop version is much more time consuming, requiring content builds assigned to formal release schedules.

Once the project has been created, the wizard will display a link to the new project site. Opening the link will navigate the user to the new project where all relevant Sure Step documents reside along with shortcuts to the project stages on the menu bar as shown in the following screenshot:

Sure Step Online Project Creation Wizard

Customizing Sure Step templates using the Projects feature

In the downloadable version of Sure Step, the Sure Step Projects feature also provides a number of other useful options for the users. The Change Logo feature is a prime example.

The Sure Step templates come pre-populated with a Sure Step logo, which is also metadata-controlled. The metadata allows the users to make a universal change of the logo across all of the documents in one quick step, using the Change Logo feature under Project Properties. The Change Logo feature supports a number of use cases, such as replacing the Sure Step logo with the customer's logo for a given project or changing the logo to the service provider's logo to create a custom set of templates for their own organization.

The last point is especially a key one for service providers. The Projects feature allows for the saving, importing, and cloning of an existing project, thus facilitating the creation of project folders by industry, engagement size, engagement approach, and so on. Accordingly, the service provider may decide to create a set of project documents that, for example, their consulting teams would leverage as the starting point for all Automotive Manufacturing customers, using Microsoft Dynamics AX Standard project-type templates. Or they may create another folder for small, out-of-box deployments of Microsoft Dynamics SL using the Rapid project type. Alternatively, they may have another project folder for their CRM customers who prefer the Agile approach. Each of these templates could be pre-populated with the organization's logo and key learnings gleaned from past engagements.

Sure Step refers to this as the 60-20-20 rule, meaning that Sure Step provides the starting 60 percent of the templates, which the service provider then customizes and adds their 20 percent based on their expertise in a given area. In the last 20 percent, the consulting team transforms the templates into deliverables specific to the customer's environment.


In this chapter, we covered the Sure Step Project Management Library, which includes the Project Management and Organizational Change Management disciplines. We also discussed the Projects feature in Sure Step that allows for easy setup of project templates and enables efficient collaboration with other team members in both an offline and SharePoint environment.

In the next chapter, we discuss the adoption of the Sure Step methodology from both a service provider's and an Independent Software Vendor's perspectives. We will talk about the Sure Step Adoption Roadmap and how that can help organizations adopt the methodology as their own.