Tag Archives: Sure Step

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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Sure Step Proficiency Assessment

Microsoft Partner Network 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.

Good luck on the exam!

4 strategies for a favorable Degree of Fit

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.

Let’s see what they are.

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Sure Step in action: more about Fit Gap Analysis

image 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.

This is not the first time I blog about it. I explained the meaning of the Degree of Fit, as well as its value in determining the risks of customizing the solution, and then I shared some thoughts about how to use hourly estimates from the Fit Gap worksheet. But every time I think of Fit Gap or I teach it at a course, there seems to be so much more to it.

There are a couple of more points I’d like to address about it:

  • How (and why) to engineer the Degree of Fit?
  • Isn’t the Degree of Fit a bit too blurry?
  • Are the five fit/gap categories really all there is about it?
  • Can you inherit a Fit Gap Analysis results from another consultant?

Let’s discuss the first topic today: engineering a desirable Degree of Fit.

Continue reading Sure Step in action: more about Fit Gap Analysis

When Does Waterfall Work Well?

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.

Continue reading When Does Waterfall Work Well?