Dan looked at his agenda. "The first thing we need to do is to review your reading assignments. Who can tell me what the first phase is in the MSF Development Process Model, and its purpose?" Dan held a transparency in his hand, waiting. "Marilou?"
"It's called Envisioning. Its purpose is first, to understand the problem you are trying to solve, and then to build a high-level vision that everyone agrees with." Dan nodded, and put the transparency on the projector. It was the MSF Development Process Model diagram they had seen in their first meeting.
"The MSF Development Process Model has four phases: Envisioning, Planning, Developing, and Stabilizing. Each has a set of deliverables, and each concludes with a major milestone. Within each phase are interim milestones. Who can tell me the difference between a major and an interim milestone?"
"That's easy," said Tim, reaching for a doughnut as he spoke. "The interim milestones are seen by only the project team; the customer doesn't have to know about them. The major milestones, on the other hand, are sign-off points at the end of each phase, where the customer and the project team agree that it makes sense to proceed with the project." He took a bite and continued, "All milestones are times for the people involved to check their progress and to re-synch their efforts."
"Good work, Tim," said Dan. He reached out and picked up the doughnut box just as Tim reached for another. "Now, for a bonus doughnut, can you tell me the four major milestones, by phase?" Everyone laughed as Tim grinned at Dan. Tim went to the nearest easel, picked up a marker, and drew the MSF Development Process Model's four phases. He labeled each phase, then wrote the names of the four milestones and drew arrows to connect the names with the diamonds at the end of each phase. Affecting a sing-song voice like a six-year-old, he recited, "The Envisioning Phase concludes with the Vision Approved Milestone. The Planning Phase concludes with the Project Plan Approved Milestone. The Developing Phase concludes with the Scope Complete Milestone, and the Stabilizing Phase concludes with the Release Milestone." He then bowed in an exaggerated manner as the group, including Dan, applauded, and went back to his chair as Dan slid the box of doughnuts across the table.
"Excellent!" Dan said with a smile, pleased that his young network manager had risen to the challenge. "Let's hope that everyone else knows it as well as you do." He turned to the rest of the group. "So, who can tell me some of the principles of the MSF Development Process Model?" Marta quietly raised her hand. "Yes, Marta?"
Marta ticked the principles off on her fingers as she listed them out loud. "Use versioned releases, create living documents, schedule for an uncertain future, manage tradeoffs, manage risks, maintain a fixed ship-date mindset, break large projects into manageable parts, perform daily builds, and use bottom-up estimating." Finished, she sat back and looked at Dan with a small smile.
The rest of the group stared at her, stunned. Finally, Tim whistled, low and long. "Wow, Marta, you're good." He slid the box of doughnuts across the table. "Here, you deserve all of them."
Marta simply laughed and slid the box back to Tim. "No, thanks, Tim. I'm not really into doughnuts like you are. Keep them for later."
After a pause, Dan said, "Quite impressive, Marta. I'm not sure I could list them all in order like that, at least not without writing them out as I went."