An introduction to the MOF Build SMF

Our previous blog articles in this series explain the role of the Microsoft Operations Framework (MOF), service management functions (SMF’s) and introduce ITIL IQ™ which is the first step in implementing MOF within your business. Before you use this SMF, you may want to read the following ITIL IQ™ guidance to learn more about the MOF IT service lifecycle, the MOF Plan Phase and the MOF Deliver Phase:

Blog Article 1: What’s your ITIL IQ™? Meet MOF

Blog Article 2: The MOF Plan Phase

Blog Article 7: The MOF Deliver Phase

Blog Article 8: The MOF Envision SMF

Blog Article 9: The MOF Project Plan SMF

The MOF IT service lifecycle encompasses all the activities and processes involved in managing an IT service: its conception, development, operation, maintenance, and ultimately its retirement. MOF organises these activities and processes into Service Management Functions (SMFs), which are grouped together in phases that mirror the IT service lifecycle. Each SMF is anchored within a lifecycle phase and contains a unique set of goals and outcomes supporting the objectives of that phase. An IT service’s readiness to move from one phase to the next is confirmed by management reviews, which ensure that goals are being achieved in an appropriate fashion and that IT’s goals are aligned with the goals of the organisation.

Each SMF is anchored within a lifecycle phase and contains a unique set of goals and outcomes supporting the objectives of that phase. The SMFs can be used as standalone sets of processes, but it is when SMFs are used together that they are most effective in ensuring service delivery at the desired quality and risk levels.

The Build SMF belongs to the Deliver Phase of the MOF IT service lifecycle. The following figure shows the place of the Build SMF within the Deliver Phase, as well as the location of the Deliver Phase within the IT service lifecycle.


Figure 1. Position of the MOF Build SMF within the IT service lifecycle

Why Use the Build SMF?

This SMF should be useful for anyone who is involved with a project team tasked with the actual development of an IT service solution, with creating a development and test lab, or with preparing an IT service solution for pilot deployment.
It addresses how to do the following:

  • Get ready for development.
  • Build the IT service solution.
  • Get ready to release the solution.
  • Meet the requirements for the Scope Complete Milestone.
Build Service Management Function Overview

Build management is the process of developing solution components: the code for any in-house application or infrastructure solution, and documentation that developers create, as well as the infrastructure that supports them. All team roles participate in the building and internal testing of the deliverables. The purpose of the Build SMF is to help IT organisations successfully build solution components. The Build SMF corresponds to the Developing Phase in the Microsoft Solutions Framework (MSF) Process Model.

Building follows the project planning portion of the Deliver Phase and culminates in the Scope Complete Milestone. At the Scope Complete Milestone, all features are complete and the solution is ready for external testing and stabilisation. This milestone is the opportunity for customers, users, operations and support personnel, and key project stakeholders to evaluate the solution and identify any remaining issues that must be addressed before releasing the solution to production.

Build SMF Role Types

The primary team accountability that applies to the Build SMF is the Solution Accountability. The role types within that accountability and their primary activities within this SMF are displayed in the following table.

Table 1. Project Accountability and Its Attendant Role Types

Role Type Responsibilities Role in This SMF
Solution Manager

Accountable role

Owns all SMFs in this accountability

Acts as project director for all projects

Resolves conflicts between projects

Ongoing oversight
Program Manager Drives design, schedule, and resources at the project level

Sets design goals

Describes the solution concept

Creates the project structure

Developer Builds the agreed-to solution

Builds prototypes

Investigates development and technology options

Analyses the project’s feasibility

Tester Tests to accurately determine the status of solution development

Tests strategies

Tests acceptance criteria

Documents project implications

Product Manager

Acts as the customer advocate

Helps drive shared project vision

Manages customer expectations

Sets overall goals

Identifies customer needs

Determines project requirements

Produces the vision/scope document

User Experience

Acts as the user advocate on project teams

Helps define user requirements

Helps design to meet user requirements

Documents user performance requirements

Documents project test implications

Release Management

Evaluates the solution design

Documents operations requirements to ensure they’re met by the design

Creates a pilot, deployment plan, and schedule

Manages site deployment

Documents deployment implications

Documents operations management and supportability

Documents operations acceptance criteria

Operations Experience

Advocates for operations on the project team

Brings in operations experts as needed for detailed information

Coordinates with release management

Documents operations performance requirements
Test Manager

Owns all testing across all project teams

Develops testing strategy and plans

Ensures that best practice test methods are used

Ongoing oversight
Architect (role type within Architecture Accountability)

Looks at future directions and solutions to propose across infrastructure

Designs future state

Helps evaluate products and technologies being considered for building or deploying the solution
Goals of Building

The primary goals of the building process are to develop the solution deliverables to the customer’s specifications, develop the solution documentation, create the development and test lab, and prepare the solution for pilot deployment.
The Developer role type is primarily responsible for this goal, but all roles participate in building the solution. To achieve this goal, Development provides low-level solution and feature design, estimates the effort to deliver that design, and builds the solution. Additionally, Development serves the entire team as technology consultant, validating technical decisions and mitigating development risks. Table 2 shows the desired outcomes of the Build SMF’s goals and lists measures you can use to gauge how successfully you have achieved these goals after completing this SMF.

Table 2. Outcomes and Measures of the Build SMF Goals

Outcomes Measures
A solution delivered to the customer that is free of defects Number of bugs unresolved or deferred
Signoff on the Scope Complete Milestone
A solution that meets the customer’s specifications as described in the functional specification Number of design change requests filed
Number of bugs filed for incorrect implementation
Signoff on the Scope Complete Milestone
A solution delivered to the customer within the schedule’s specified timeline Date the Scope Complete Milestone is approved
Key Terms

The following table contains definitions of key terms found in this SMF.

Table 3. Key Terms

Term Definition
Baseline A known state by which something is measured or compared. Baselines make managing change in complex projects possible.
Bottom-up scheduling Team members representing each role generate time estimates and schedules for deliverables. Each team’s schedule is integrated into a master project schedule.
Conceptual design Conceptual design involves understanding the business requirements and defining the features that users need to do their jobs. Product management takes the lead in creating the conceptual design, which begins during envisioning and continues with project planning.
Customer For IT solutions, the customer is the person or organization that commissions and funds the project (typically management).
Interim milestone Early progress indicator that segments large work efforts into manageable portions. The Deliver Phase recommends a set of interim milestones, but project teams should define their own interim milestones that make sense for their projects.
Logical design Logical design uses the conceptual design and the current state of the technology infrastructure to define the new architecture at a high level.
Milestone A project synchronization point. Major milestones mark the transition of a project from one phase to the next phase. They also transfer primary responsibility from one role to another role. The Deliver Phase SMFs correspond to major Microsoft Solutions Framework (MSF) milestones.
Personas Describes various types of users and their job functions, including operations staff.
Physical design Physical design describes the desired architecture in greater detail than the logical design. It also defines the hardware configurations and software products to be used. As a general rule, the design should contain enough detail to enable the team to begin work on the project plan.
Scope A view of the project’s vision limited by constraints such as time and resources. Solution scope describes the solution’s features and deliverables. Project scope describes the work to be performed by the team.
Solution A coordinated delivery of technologies, documentation, training, and support to successfully respond to a unique customer’s business problem. Solutions typically combine people, processes, and technology to solve problems.
Stakeholder Individuals or groups who have an interest in the outcome of the project. Their goals and priorities are not always identical to those of the customer. Examples of stakeholders include departmental managers who will be affected by the solution, IT staff who will be responsible for running and supporting the solution, and functional managers who contribute resources to the project team.
Users The people who interact with the solution to perform their jobs.
Use case Describes an individual task performed in a use scenario.
Use scenario Describes a particular activity that a user tries to accomplish, such as processing a transaction or checking e-mail.
Vision Describes the fundamental goals of the solution.

The Build SMF describes the process for developing the solution components for an IT service. Those components include the code and documentation that developers create and the infrastructure that supports them. The SMF also describes how to create the development and test lab and prepare the solution for pilot deployment.

The major build processes described by the SMF are:

  • Prepare for development.
  • Develop the solution.
  • Prepare for release.
  • Review the Scope Complete Milestone and sign off on the milestone review report.
How do we implement MOF?

At First Solution, we’re experts in MOF and have even developed a unique ITIL IQ™ process that benchmarks a business’s current state, identifies their desired state and provides an action plan (called a Service Delivery Plan) that helps organisations of all sizes achieve their desired business outcomes. Most importantly, our unique ITIL IQ™ process begins with a Proactive Services Maturity Review (PSMR) which identifies a score (out of 100) that clearly communicates the current state of your businesses IT operational maturity. Armed with your ITIL IQ™ score, a finance or procurement professional can concisely present to the board the businesses current state, desired state, and ITIL IQ™ score with an action plan to improve the ITIL IQ™ score and thereby ensure that IT’s goals are aligned with the goals of the business and that both are progressing together.

How can I build better IT services?

Simply get in touch to arrange a free Proactive Services Maturity Review and one of our MOF experts will conduct an interview with the person responsible for the IT function within your business and provide an ITIL IQ™ score with which you can measure the performance of your IT function. Once you know your ITIL IQ score we can provide a Service Delivery Plan to help you improve it each month and measure and report progress back to you during a Monthly Service Review. And there we have it, an ITIL based solution to simply identify and measure the performance of your IT function. So, are you ready to build better IT services?


The Microsoft Operations Framework 4.0 is provided with permission from Microsoft Corporation. 

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