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 MSF Components  

The MSF Home Page on TechNet
The following Core Whitepapers are displayed in the recommended order of reading


MSA & ESF - MSF & MOF Overview

MSA Testing Methodology

Key Concepts


Foundational Principles

Foster open communications
Work toward a shared vision
Empower team members
Establish clear accountability and shared responsibility
Focus on delivering business value
Stay agile, expect change
Invest in quality
Learn from all experiences



In the MSF process model, a baseline is a measurement or known state by which something is measured or compared. Establishing baselines is a recurring theme in MSF. Source code, server configurations, schedules, specifications, user manuals, and budgets are just some examples of deliverables that are baselined in MSF. Without baselines, it is impossible to manage change.


Project Plans

In MSF, project plans refer to a set of documents that describe how the project deliverables are to be completed. The functional specifications describe what will be built. The master project plan is an integrated rollup of team plans for each role. Each team role has plans that describe how it will complete its deliverables.

Type of plan Driving role

Communications Plan

Product Management

Development Plan


Training Plan

User Experience

Security Plan

Development, Release Management

Test Plan


Budget Plan

Program Management

User Education Plan

User Experience

Deployment Plan

Release Management

Purchasing and Facilities Plan

Release Management, Program Management

Pilot Plan

Release Management



Different Roles Drive Different Phases

The alignment of team roles with each of the five external milestones clarifies which role is primarily responsible for achieving each milestone. This creates clear accountability. When the project moves to a different phase, part of the process often includes transitioning responsibility to other roles.
The chart below shows the roles which drive each milestone. Although the completion of each milestone is driven by one or two roles, all roles participate throughout the project life cycle.
Milestone Primary driver
Vision/Scope Approved Product Management
Project Plans Approved Program Management
Scope Complete Development and User Experience
Release Readiness Approved Testing and Release Management
Deployment Complete Release Management
Similarities to ISO 9000-3
The Project Quality Assurance Approach section defines how the project intends to deliver products that meet the customer’s quality expectations. It addresses both the project’s management and the development of the project’s product
MSF QA Approach comparison to ISO 9000-3
  1. Quality expectations
  2. Process for assurance (audit, reviews, contractor controls)
  3. Process for control (peer reviews, inspections, tests)
  4. Quality organization (entities, roles, and responsibilities)
  5. Templates for the Product Review, Project Milestone Review, and Customer Approval reports
  6. Training requirements

ISO 9000-3

Section 4.2.3 Quality Planning for Software

(Partial listing has been converted from geek-speak)

  1. Your quality plans should define:

    1. Quality requirements.

    2. Responsibilities.

    3. Authorities.

    4. Life cycle model.

    5. Review methods.

    6. Testing methods.

    7. Verification methods.

    8. Validation methods.

  2. Develop detailed quality plans and procedures, and define 
    specific responsibilities and authorities to control:

    1. Configuration management.

    2. Product verification.






Product Management

Program Management


User Experience


Release Management