A couple of days ago, at a Sure Step 2010 training at Sundsgården, Helsingborg, Sweden, while students were preparing to take the exam, one of the students asks me where she can download Sure Step 2010. I give her the link, but she tells me: “No, that’s Sure Step 2012, I’d like to download 2010”.
That came as a surprise. “No way” – I say – “It hasn’t yet been released.”
Or has it?
And then I check, and almost can’t believe it – it’s really there. I completely missed the tweets, the Facebook announcement, the LinkedIn discussions. It seems that I’m not particularly social nowadays. A quick check of Twitter shows me that there wasn’t too much buzz around it, and most of the blogosphere simply redelivers the same content, which either comes from the official announcement (which I also missed ) or from whoever blogged first.
Instead of giving a simple “excited” redelivery of the announcement, here’s my take on Sure Step 2012, what’s new, what’s not new (both sadly and thankfully).
Requirements and process review is one of the decision accelerators in the Diagnostic phase of the Sure Step, aimed at gaining deeper understanding of customer’s business processes, and documenting high level requirements, as well as possible implementation issues. As such, it is an indispensable input into further decision accelerators and the implementation project itself.
One of the activities done in scope of this decision accelerator is identifying high-level implementation issues which are then classified into critical and non-critical. I’ve done some requirements and process reviews and had a chance to discuss it with consultants and project managers, and I’ve often found people to be somewhat confused with the logic behind this classification, because at the first glance it seems totally reverse: what you could call critical shooting from the hip, is in fact non-critical, and what you could say is non-critical, turns in fact to be critical. And it requires some general shift in the point of view of what consultants are generally used to in scope of typical gap analysis activities.
Some time back, as I was riding a taxi from Prague airport to Holiday Inn hotel, I wondered about the fixed price I was about to pay for the ride.
– “Airport to city is 700 flat.” – said the driver when I asked how much approximately will it cost.
Common wisdom goes that flat rates mean you get it worse than if it wasn’t flat. Indeed, if it was on meter, and if the driver took the shortest route (I had a GPS device on me, I could’ve easily checked it!), the fare would’ve been lower. And yet, I decided I loved the flat rate.
Each phase of Microsoft Dynamics Sure Step methodology is equally important in an implementation project. You could argue that analysis is the most important, or that design is the most important, or that operation is less important. I’ll paraphrase Scott Adams here and ask: how one phase can be more important if each of them is completely necessary? Well, except for Diagnostic phase.
Methodology is a tough topic. There are good methodologies, there are bad methodologies, there are good methodologies gone bad. Methodology is not a silver bullet, it won’t just make any problems disappear, and is hardly ever the single source of success or failure. But a methodology can be a major contributor to success. I could put it this way: you stand much better chances of success if you apply a methodology, then if you don’t. With something as critical as an implementation of business software, methodology is a key success factor. According to Jim Johnson of Standish Group, it’s number nine on their ten identified most important success factors.