One of many improvements the latest version of Microsoft Dynamics Sure Step methodology has brought along is the revised purpose of the Functional Requirements Document (FRD). This document has long served as cornerstone of every Analysis process of every implementation project: it was the main deliverable of the Analysis phase and it both documented customer’s requirements and explained how they will be met with Microsoft Dynamics NAV solution.
Recently, a reader, commenting on my last post about Sure Step, pointed me to an article by Karl E. Wiegers
“Read My Lips: No New Models!” I initially responded to the comment, but I figure the comments aren’t read as often as posts, so I decided to blog it.
It’s doubly funny that the reader is using Dr. Wiegers to devalue and dismiss Sure Step: firstly, the article has really nothing to do with implementation methodologies at all, and secondly, when I delivered Sure Step training at WinDays pre-conf earlier this year, I gave to each attendant a copy of Karl E. Wiegers’s latest book “Practical Project Initiation”—at the time it was the best book available that matched both the message of my training and the point of Sure Step as a methodology.
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.
Four months ago I attended a conference, where I had a chance to listen to Miha Kralj, an architect at Microsoft, talk about architectures. It was one of the best presentations I ever attended, and ever since I had this topic in queue, but never really had chance to write about it. Most of the stuff he talked about reminded me of some bad experiences about architectures on projects I’ve worked on. Most of stuff here is also not my original contribution to the universal pool of knowledge, and I reuse it with the permission of the author, so Miha, thanks! What I did, however, is that I applied general principles to specific Microsoft Dynamics NAV situations.
The biggest jeopardies often lurk where we least expect them. When implementing an ERP system such as Microsoft Dynamics NAV, what should be one of our best allies, turns out to be our mortal enemy. It has a simple name: The Standard. Standard processes, standard functionality, standard documents, standard system. All these gizmos can turn into gremlins in a blink of an unattentive eye.
Standards are tricky. If during due dilligence, or diagnostic or analysis phase, we hear the prospect or customer utter the word “standard”, what do we instinctively do? Well, in a standard system, it’s pretty obvious what the standard is, and when the customer says that they “just have standard processes” it means that these processes are just covered with such a standard system, right? So we instinctively tend to skip the more detailed analysis of these, because after all, they are standard.