At Nortec, our methodology for cloud services and unified communications projects sets us apart as a managed service provider by improving structure, reporting, and communication between all parties. The Nortec project methodology is based on the Microsoft Solutions Framework, and consists of a 4-phase solution delivery model to take projects from start to finish. Each phase is mapped to a schedule of milestone-based deliverables, charting progress against the overall solution scope, so clients can easily track project progress. Below we have laid out a detailed description of each phrase within our methodology to breakdown the different steps of our managed services process.
1. Envision – Achieve team and customer agreement on the desired solution and overall project direction.
- Current State Assessment: Documentation of an accurate description of the environment and its corresponding variables in which the solution will reside. This is a living document to be constantly updated and used for reference.
- Vision and Scope Document: Represents the ideas and decisions developed during the envisioning phase, including the agreed upon solution and project direction.
- Project Scope Document: Defines the approach the team will take in organizing and managing the project. It is the strategic representation of initial decisions made regarding goals, work scope, team requirements, team processes, and risk.
2. Plan – Create and organize a detailed project plan
- Master Project Plan: Documentation in which all subsidiary plans are synchronized and presented together as a single plan. This document facilitates an understanding of the overall approach to the project, facilitates reviews and approvals and helps identify gaps and inconsistencies.
- Subsidiary Plans: Communication Plan, Backup & Recovery Plan, Budget Plan, Deployment plan, Support Plan, Training Plan, Pilot Plan, et al. These plans break up the project into manageable functional aspects.
3. Develop – Test, audit, and document progress throughout the plan implementation
- Testing Report: This document will be used multiple times at frequent intervals during the development, testing, and stabilization phases. For example, during a six-week build phase, the test team might submit this report weekly, or six times during the build phase; however, the team might submit the report bi-weekly during the stabilization phase.
- Traceability Audit: Documents the processes of 1) comparing specifications to what was actually developed and plans to actual events, 2) identifying if and where change control process broke down, and 3) determining the cause of all variations and deviations. The comparison process focuses on Functional Specification and the Master Project Plan and looks at what occurred in the development phase and how that was different than planned.
- Test Specification: The technical outline for conducting the testing process. It defines the input, output, environment, and procedural guidelines at the solution level as well as for each test case. The Test Specification is developed using the framework of the Test Plan (created during the Planning Phase) and the contents of the functional specifications.
- Validation: Records the results of the process that validates that what is delivered during the pilot meets specifications and business requirements. Provides valuable insight into the solution’s value. If the development and testing activities rigorously followed the specifications and design, the pilot should go smoothly.
4. Deploy – Deliver solution and analyze project results
- Project Close-Out Report – The project’s epilogue—it records the comparison between the initial intent of the project and what the project actually delivered. It also records the closing of all remaining open issues, documents any significant changes that occurred in the project during the development and solution deployment, and provides information on the vision for future projects. This is not an evaluation document – the final project analysis is recorded in the Post Project Analysis document.
- Post-Project Analysis – document records the results of conducting a depth and breadth assessment of the project from its inception (envisioning phase) to completion (deployment phase). This assessment captures successes, challenges and failures, and identifies what should have been done differently on this project and what could be done differently for the next project.