Tag Archives: Diagnostic

Microsoft releases Sure Step 2012

imageA 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 Smile) 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).

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Sure Step in action: a blurry Degree of Fit?

image Sometimes the Degree of Fit might seem like comparing apples and oranges. With 90 extremely detailed fits, and 10 high-level gaps, the degree of fit seems high, but it isn’t. 90 extremely detailed gaps, and 10 high-level fits, make the degree of fit seem low. In either case the degree of fit is unreliable and it doesn’t tell you anything at all.

For a degree of fit to be reliable, all the requirements should be specified roughly on the same level of detailedness. If they aren’t, you might have an extremely risky project before you, and you just don’t see it. Or you might have a slam dunk, and you stand scared to death by the non-existent risks you see all over.

In situations such as these you have to level the requirements to get a more meaningful figure, otherwise your Fit Gap Analysis doesn’t serve its purpose.

But how exactly do you tell apples from oranges in a requirements list?

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Requirements and Process Review – Critical vs. Non Critical

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.

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Fit Gap and Solution Blueprint Estimates

The Sure Step season seems to have started in its fullest for me – it is the second time this year already that I’m delivering the Sure Step course, this time in Copenhagen, Denmark, and I must say that I truly enjoy it.

Anyway, while discussing the Fit Gap and Solution Blueprint decision accelerator, an important component of the Diagnostic phase, a student asked me an interesting question: why do we need to give effort estimates to meet the requirements at this stage?

And indeed – isn’t it far too early to give or commit to any effort estimates at this early stage, isn’t there a huge risk that the customer might understand these estimates as final project estimates? What’s the true meaning of effort estimates during Fit Gap analysis in diagnostic phase?

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Sure Step 2010

One of the drawbacks of being a freelancer is a slight risk to learn a bit late about anything new. Once upon a time, when I was still blogging actively, I made sure I was the first to blog about something new, as long as it relates to Sure Step. This time, the news came to me through two channels: through Microsoft Dynamics UK Blog and through Chandru Shankar’s post in SureStep PM Methodology group on LinkedIn.

So, I’m not going to reinvent the wheel, I’m just reposting the content from these two sources, but I’ll not miss to say that I am totally thrilled with this new release, and the new stuff it brings along.

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