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|
Owns all SMFs in this accountability
Acts as project director for all projects
Resolves conflicts between projects
|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||
Investigates development and technology options
Analyses the project’s feasibility
|Tester||Tests to accurately determine the status of solution development||
Tests acceptance criteria
Documents project implications
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
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
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
Advocates for operations on the project team
Brings in operations experts as needed for detailed information
Coordinates with release management
|Documents operations performance requirements|
Owns all testing across all project teams
Develops testing strategy and plans
Ensures that best practice test methods are used
|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
|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|
The following table contains definitions of key terms found in this SMF.
Table 3. Key Terms
|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.