Microsoft Dynamics Sure Step has made a giant leap into the realm of Agile Sure Step Project methodologies. Consultants have delivered ERP projects in waterfall fashion and budget overruns, missed schedules, scope creep or scope reductions – these have been more of a norm than an exception. Agile Sure Step approach is radically different from the waterfall approach.
The Agile implementation model is associated with an iterative, incremental process for developing Microsoft Dynamics Solutions. This Project Type gives customers greater control over the final solution because they can quickly change the direction of solution development and implementation from one sprint cycle to the next.
MS Sure Step ERP implementation is more into the waterfall model. Agile Sure Step ERP implementation becomes valid for Sure Step ERP implementation projects that comprise of customized solutions on top of the integrated platform. Microsoft Dynamics Sure Step now covers Agile Implementation for Microsoft Dynamics Sure Step ERP, MS Dynamics AX and MS Dynamics CRM.
Microsoft Dynamics Sure Step Waterfall Approach
Waterfall approach is a classic implementation model staging from Analysis, to Design, to Deployment, and finally Operation. This approach works for MS Dynamics Sure Step project types (Enterprise, Standard, Rapid, and Upgrade). The project types have different customization levels, except Rapid which is the type of implementation without customization or with minimal customization.
In waterfall, the implementation process is divided into distinct phases which are executed in a strict order, without a possibility of ever falling back to a previous phase or stage. All requirements are analyzed first, then functionality is designed, then developed, then tested and finally deployed. It is often also called the big-bang approach, because all the functionality is delivered at once.
A big risk of the big bang approach is that if there is a misunderstanding of a requirement, there are big chances that the solution will not match customer’s need, and this will only be found out very late in the project. Falling back is expensive, if not impossible, and costs of fixing these mistakes are often huge.
Agile Sure Step methodologies, on the other hand, are iterative and incremental in their nature, focusing on delivering a functional whole through smaller chunks of functionality over a series of relatively short development cycles. By iteratively delivering smaller functionalities, the risk that the customer ultimately won’t get the right solution is effectively mitigated.
If the solution delivered doesn’t fully match the need, it can be easily fixed during the next development cycle, customers generally get more influence over the design and development of the solution, and generally a deeper understanding of the requirements is achieved, resulting in a higher solution quality at often considerably lower costs. The drawback, though, is that Agile Sure Step projects can only be efficiently executed with a time and material agreement
- In Microsoft Dynamics Sure Step, the agile project type starts with the detailed business process analysis and the definition of the high-level requirements, upon which the fit gap analysis is conducted.
- The output of fit gap becomes a cornerstone document for the agile project, which is called the Solution Backlog.
- The MS Sure Step Solution Backlog is a living document that is used throughout the project to continually track current business and project priorities.
- Up to this stage, an agile project pretty much resembles the standard project type, and most of analysis activities executed in scope of a standard project are executed, to a varying degree of detail, in agile project as well.
- The project execution is where the agile project is radically different. While traditionally in MS Sure Step project execution is split into two distinct phases – Design and Development.
The MS Sure Step agile approach executes the project through a series of 30-day sprint cycles. During each sprint cycle, a smaller subset of the requirements is taken from the Solution Backlog into the Sprint Backlog. Each requirement is broken down into smaller manageable tasks.
During the execution of a sprint cycle in MS Sure Step, the project team gathers every day in a short daily sprint cycle meeting, where each team member shares what has been achieved since the last meeting, what is planned to be achieved until the next meeting, and which issues have been identified that interfere with the smooth execution of assigned activities. The goal of such meetings is to keep all the team members in the loop about what’s going on, to address issues early, and to eliminate any showstoppers quickly.
Developed functionality is consolidated once per day into the daily build which is deployed into the test environment. As soon as a requirement is deemed developed, it is immediately tested through a process called sprint testing. At the end of a sprint cycle, the Sprint Technical Preview is executed together with the customer over a series of steps, where a customer reviews, and signs off on the developed functionality.
Then a Sprint Post Mortem is held to communicate and document any lessons learned and to officially conclude the sprint cycle. Then the next sprint cycle is initiated, and the process is iterated as many times as necessary until the solution backlog is exhausted.
Locus IT always delivers projects in compliance with the Microsoft Dynamics Sure Step and provides Microsoft Dynamics Sure Step ERP implementation services along with support. If you are planning on using Microsoft Dynamics Sure Step for you’re business and need more information on the same, please contact us.