The Microsoft Solutions Framework (MSF) is an adaptable approach for successfully delivering technology solutions faster, with fewer people and less risk, while enabling higher quality results. MSF helps teams directly address the most common causes of technology project failure — improving success rates, solution quality, and business impact.

MSF focuses on:
  • Aligning business and technology goals
  • Establishing clear project goals, roles, and responsibilities
  • Implementing an iterative, milestone/checkpoint-driven process
  • Managing risk proactively
  • Responding to change effectively
  • Develop a clear understanding of what is needed within context of project constraints.
  • Assemble the necessary team to envisage solutions with options and approaches that best meet those needs while optimally satisfying those constraints.
  • Evolve the conceptual solution into tangible designs and plans so it can be built in a Build Track.
  • Build the various aspects of a solution in accordance with Plan Track deliverables, such as designs, plans, schedules, and requirements.
  • Improve solution quality to meet release criteria for deployment to production.
  • Validate that solution meets stakeholder needs and expectations.
  • Validate solution usability from a user perspective.
  • Maximize success and minimize risks associated with solution deployment and operations in the solution's target environments.
  • Integrate a solution successfully into production within designated environments.
  • Transfer responsibility for the remaining solution delivery from a project team to operations and support teams as smoothly and soon as possible.

Checkpoints, a central theme in MSF, are used to plan and monitor project progress and call out completion of deliverables and activities. Checkpoints are used to provide explicit opportunities for a team and the customers to reconfirm project scope, or adjust project scope to reflect changing customer or business requirements or to accommodate risks and issues that might materialize during the course of a project. Checkpoints are used for many reasons, such as:

  • Help to synchronize work elements.
  • Provide external visibility of progress and quality.
  • Enable midcourse corrections.
  • Focus reviews on goals and deliverables.
  • Provide approval points of work before moving forward.