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Sure Step: the guarantee of successful Microsoft Dynamics project implementation

Lately, I attended a training session, concerning the Microsoft Dynamics project management methodology: Surestep. Here I share with you some insights and best practices to follow during Microsoft Dynamics project implementation.

The six phases of Sure Step methodology are:

–          Diagnostic

–          Analysis

–          Design

–          Development

–          Deployment

–          Operation

Depending on the project type and size, some phases could be simplified or even ignored.

NOTE: Surestep methodology covers project management for all the following Microsoft Dynamics solutions:

–          AX (ERP solution, formerly Axapta)

–          GP (Accounting solution, formerly Great Plains)

–          NAV (ERP solution, Navision)

–          SL (Accounting solution, formerly Somolon)

–          CRM (Client Relationship Management solution)

–          CRM Online (CRM solution in cloud)

Each phase is composed of activities, ends at a milestone and requires deliverables.


Description of the activities, milestones and deliverables of the phases:

–          Diagnostic

This phase happens before the signature of the project. We can treat it as a part of the prospection. The activities to do are:

  • Prepare the RFI (Request For Information)
  • Prepare the RFQ (Request For Quote)
  • Prepare the accelerators if necessary. Accelerator means the additional actions to do to accelerate the sales cycle. It contains:
    • Requirements and Process Review OR Upgrade Assessment
    • Fit Gap Solution Blueprint
    • Architecture Assessment OR/AND Scoping Assessment
    • Proof of Concept OR Business Case
    • Sales proposal (License and Service)
    • Launch meeting

Milestone: Sales proposal signed

–          Analysis

Main tasks are:

  • Prepare the project planning
  • Analyze the potential risks
  • Plan the communication
  • Train the key users
  • Analyze the Fil&Gap (if it was not done in the accelerator)

Milestone: FRD (Functional Requirement Document) signed

–          Design

The objective of this phase is mainly to terminate the analysis, to conclude the developments to do and the startup of the configuration. So the main actions contain:

  • Continue to plan the project
  • Prepare the FDD-Fit (Functional Design Document) and the FDD-Gap
  • Prepare the TDD (Technical Design Document) and SDD (Solution Design Document)
  • Prepare the integration and interface documents
  • Startup of the configurations
  • Prepare the data migration

NOTE: the data migration should be started at this step. In the dynamics projects, almost all the failure or delay of the data migration is caused by the lateness of preparation.

Milestone: FDD, TDD, SDD confirmation by the client

–          Development

In my understanding, all the 3 previous phases are to develop solution which is the most adaptable to the clients’ requirements. It contains the following actions:

  • Plan the rest part of the project
  • Develop the specific requirements
  • Develop the integration and the interface
  • Finalize the configurations
  • Prepare the training documents
  • Do the unit test and the integration test
  • Basic test and prepare the pre-production

Milestone: Test validated by the client

–          Deployment

Main actions contain:

  • Review the project planning
  • Train the final users
  • Prepare the Go Live of the production
  • Migrate the data
  • Acceptation test

Milestone: Go Live of the production

Until this phase, the GoOnline of the production means the termination of the implementation. The final users begin to use the solution. But attention, there is left the last phase, which is also important and could be a good opportunity and should not be forgotten: Operation.

–          Operation

In fact in this phase, the sales people will be integrated to propose the Support.

The main actions contain:

  • Review the project planning
  • Support post Go Live
  • Step into the Support
  • Optimize the solution
  • Review the modifications during the implementation
  • Finalize the project 

Obviously, besides the project type and project size, many unexpected factors can impact the project management, such as the culture, the personality of the client and the project manager, and so on.

Our objective is to follow this structure, and add or remove some actions to best adapt the different projects.


Chao Zheng


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