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?
Many of my Sure Step students have asked me if there are any practice tests, like MeasaureUp, available for Sure Step exam (MB5-858). I used to say “no”, but that has just changed. I somehow missed this, and I am not exactly sure when it appeared, but there is an online knowledge assessment tool which can help you decide whether to take the exam, or to prepare better instead.
The tool is called Microsoft Dynamics Sure Step Proficiency Assessment and is available here.
The prerequisites to access the tool are a Windows Live account, and access to Microsoft Partner Network. Since exam targets Microsoft Partners, I’m pretty sure all partners already have access. If you don’t have the access already, just click the link and it will guide you through the process of linking your Windows Live account with your Partner account.
If your Degree of Fit is just not there, or the balance between it and the budgetary estimate is not favorable, the risk that project will exceed the budget or not meet the requirements is high, but you might still decide to go on. In fact, most consultants often do, choosing to fight the odds. According to field reports, this approach often fails.
There are four things you can do to ensure the customer satisfaction while keeping the project in budget and still reducing the risks by increasing the degree of fit.
Fit Gap Analysis is one of the core activities of the Sure Step. It’s in fact so important that on most projects this activity should be done twice: the first time you do it on a very high level just get a quick overview of customer’s processes and requirements, and the second time you dive deep down into details to figure out everything.
Today I’ve completed delivering the Microsoft Dynamics Sure Step course in Belgrade, Serbia, and I totally enjoyed it. The discussions were great, there was a lot of experience accumulated in that room, and all of the thirteen people attending the training were participating and contributing knowledge. If ever, this time during training I got zillions of ideas for blog posts, too bad I forgot most of them immediately thereafter 🙂
One of the discussions we led was about waterfall and its (in)effectiveness. Some of the people, those who primarily come from development background, expressed their belief that waterfall is a bad and an outdated approach which usually leads to failed projects. I shared some of my thoughts on the topic, but I still believe that I didn’t give a good explanation when the waterfall approach works better than an agile one.