Saturday, July 19, 2003

Joining Up MSF and MOF

Microsoft have two great framework methodologies Microsoft Solutions Framework (MSF) which helps teams envision, design, develop, and deploy a business solution, and Microsoft Operations Framework (MOF) which is all about you operate the solution. These two frameworks are based on proven practices - things that have been proven to really work. MOF, for example, is based on ITIL, recognised world wide for it's value in the service management arena. They also fully incorporate risk management in a highly structured way

Every organisation can make use of both MSF and MOF, and woud benefit from using them together. However Microsoft's current positioning of them is to make them as diferent as possible. It looks like he two framework teams are in different buildings and just don't talk together much. While the web pages may look similar, that's where the divergence begins, Any Microsoft Certified Trainer can teach the MSF course, but wolud have to go through extra hoops to teach MOF. You can get a MSF course at any Gold MS CTEC, who are required to have an MCT on staff certified on MSF, but not MOF. The MSF course is MOC, which means it can be used by partners, sold to third parties, etc. The MOF course isn't. Etc, etc, etc. These differences hold back adoption

If MS wants to do big joined up stuff with MSF and MOF, then, they should:

1. Make the 2 MOF courses MOC and include them in the MOC curriculum. Enable them to be ordered in the same way as we can order all other MOC. MS training should be delivered through one channel - MOC, not many different, inconsistent ones.

2. Make MCT requirement of MOF consistent with MSF - namely any MCT can teach (although as for MSF recommend the MSF practitioner exam). It would be good to insist on the practitioner exams for MCTs, but that might be pushing it. If an MCT is good enough to teach MSF, then he should be good enough to teach MOF.

3. Create a MOF Practitioner exam similar to MSF exam (this time please use VUE too!). The two frameworks should have similar levels of certificationf requirement.

4. Drop the requirement in MOF for the external ITIL certification. Don't get me wrong, ITIL contains a great deal of great information, but there should be no need for an external certification. MS should create a MOF Practitioner exam that means something and covers the ITIL underpinnings of MOF. ITIL should very heavily 'recommended' - but it should not be mandatory.

5. Include MOF and MSF exams as electives for MCDBA, MCSD and MCSE. If you want to build ground-root support, then make it part of the MCP path.

6. Create a public microsoft.public.mof newsgroup and select MVPs for .mof and .msf groups. Again, make MOF equivalent to MSF in terms of support.

7. Require Gold CTECs to have MOF and MSF practitioners on staff. This really is a no-brainer!

8. Ensure every MOC course, MSDN book, and every related MS Press includes some mention of solution design (using MSF) and solution operation (MOF). Evangelise the frameworks

9. Ensure MSF/MOF exams appear on MCP transcript and on MCT CEC section. MSF and MOF certifications should be part of the MCP programme and included on the transcript.

10. Sit back and watch adoption of these two key frameworks grow.

I've now published these ideas in the private MCT newsgroups and the public MSF newsgroup. Everyone I know who's read the ideas think it's a good idea. One MS Product manager said 'good input'. Thus far, nothing's actually been done.