Appendix A - Understanding Methodology and Risk

The Methodology

The planning and deployment process consists of three phases:

Preplanning   This phase involves examining and documenting your current computing environment, determining your business and technical objectives, understanding risk, assembling project plan documentation, learning SMS, and building your test lab in preparation for the pilot project.

Planning   In this phase, you fill in your project plan documents with details for your SMS hierarchy design, pilot project, SMS deployment, how you will use SMS features, and planning security and recovery. As you perform these steps, test configuration variations and deployment scenarios in your lab environment.

Deployment    In this phase, you continue lab testing, perform a pilot deployment, validate the design, deploy your SMS sites, configure security and site settings for SMS, build your SMS hierarchy, and deploy the SMS client software in phases.

Table A.1 illustrates this methodology.


The post-deployment maintenance and operations phase is detailed in Scenarios and Procedures for Microsoft Systems Management Server 2003: Maintenance, Backup, and Recovery.

Table A.1   Planning and Deployment Methodology for a New SMS 2003 Implementation




Understand the methodology and the risks.

Analyze and document current computing environment.

Analyze your organization’s needs and identify objectives.

Assemble the team.

Begin assembling the project plan.

Learn SMS.

Establish test lab environment.


Complete the project plan, performing lab testing as you proceed with each step:

Design the SMS hierarchy.

Plan the deployment and site configuration and conduct a pilot project.

Plan your security strategy.

Plan for SMS site recovery.


Deploy the SMS hierarchy.

Deploy SMS clients.

The preplanning, planning, and deployment phases are iterative processes. For example, you might complete a preplanning step, such as building your test lab, and later revisit that step to revise your lab hierarchy when your planning work reveals that a hierarchy adjustment is required.

As you progress through the planning phase, you continue to perform risk assessments, evaluate staffing allocations, monitor your timeline, budget and expenditures, perform various tests in your lab environment, and make modifications to the plan that you are designing. Continue to do these same assessments, evaluations, and tests in the lab while performing a phased deployment of SMS in your production environment.

There are two frameworks that can provide you with additional information:

  • Microsoft Operations Framework

  • Microsoft Solutions Framework

Microsoft Operations Framework

Microsoft Operations Framework can provide you with additional information about successful planning and delivery of enterprise solutions. Microsoft Operations Framework provides a collection of best practices, principles, and models in delivering enterprise solutions such as SMS. It provides comprehensive technical guidance for achieving mission-critical production system reliability, availability, supportability, and manageability of solutions. Microsoft Operations Framework provides an in-depth supplement to the guidelines presented in this book.

For more information about the Microsoft Operations Framework process, teams, and risk models, see the Microsoft Operations Framework Web site at

Microsoft Solutions Framework and SMS

The cycle of planning, testing, deploying, and maintaining SMS is the same as for any major infrastructure product. It should follow an established and tested framework, such as Microsoft Solutions Framework, which is the basis of the planning and installation methodology used in this book.

Microsoft Solutions Framework describes in detail all the steps in the process of planning and building an enterprise solution. It also describes individual roles and responsibilities at each phase of implementation.

Microsoft Solutions Framework provides specific guidance for successful application and infrastructure projects. In addition to the technology choices, Microsoft Solutions Framework emphasizes the people and process elements of the project. The framework includes principles, models, and best practices that help project teams address the most common causes of project failure.

To learn more about Microsoft Solutions Framework, see the Microsoft Solutions Framework Web site at

Risk Management

In rushing to take advantage of SMS features, organizations might overlook the risks involved in running a technically complex implementation project that touches nearly every component of your infrastructure.

You must actively manage any risk. To manage risks effectively, identify the risks, and then design contingency plans for dealing with those risks.

Also, it is important to perform a risk assessment and to re-evaluate your risk management plan after you complete each phase of the project.

Risk Analysis

To conduct a comprehensive risk analysis, use a system such as Microsoft Readiness Framework, available through Microsoft Consulting Services.

Microsoft Readiness Framework is a guide created and used by Microsoft partners to provide an approach for organizations in preparing their people and processes for technology adoption. The Microsoft Readiness Framework risk model helps you manage risks that are specific to technology readiness efforts and projects that prepare an organization to fully adopt new technology, and to realize the business benefits driven by this change.

For more information, see the Microsoft Risk Management Model technical paper at

Avoiding Risks

The best way to avoid risks is to plan your SMS implementation carefully. For example, using the default settings provided by Express Setup to install SMS presents considerable risks to your computing environment. The default settings cannot guarantee a successful deployment for every organization. Properly planning configuration settings before deploying SMS in your production environment is the preferred method of performing an SMS installation.

Table A.2 outlines some potential risks that you should be aware of before completing your project plan.

Table A.2   Risk Avoidance and Best Practices



Best practice

Deploying SMS without planning

Hindered network infrastructure stability, reduction in available bandwidth, reduced performance due to improper server sizing, and the potential for SMS to collect data that is not valid

Create a project plan and follow the planning and installation guidelines in this book or in the Microsoft Solutions Framework documentation.

For large and medium-sized organizations, using the Express Setup feature to install an SMS site server without planning or considering the customizable SMS and SQL Server settings

Network infrastructure instability, performance issues, and productivity interruptions due to a reduction in available network bandwidth

Use Custom Setup unless you are evaluating SMS within a lab environment that is physically isolated from your production environment.

Not testing in a lab environment before deployment

Interoperability problems and reduced ability to:

Provide support staff with needed skills and experience

Eliminate the costs associated with incorrect design, which could lead to a costly redeployment

Thoroughly test your SMS deployment, run a pilot project, and document your results before deploying any SMS component on your production network.

No use of change control or change management

Inability to troubleshoot system failure if changes to system are not tracked

Develop a formal change management process and tracking system to ensure that changes are made only where necessary to fulfill objectives, and that all implications and risks are understood in advance.

Not planning for recovery

SMS data loss and complex recovery process

Plan for recovery as you plan your deployment, not after you have already deployed SMS.

Not understanding and planning for SMS security policies

Security breaches — unauthorized access of client computers or malicious destruction of client computers

Plan for security early, so that you can ensure the security of your computing environment.

Not planning for training and education

Improper installation and use of SMS, failure to meet requirements, and poor support for end users, all of which can result in forming a negative reputation for SMS in the organization

As you assign roles to your SMS project staff and trainers, ensure that these individuals are trained in the areas of expertise needed for planning, installing, supporting, and maintaining SMS.

Not planning and carrying out a good communications strategy

Insufficient support from management, colleagues, end users, or other groups in the organization

Plan a schedule for informing the SMS team and all other groups of planning and deployment progress.

Change Control and Change Management

Most of your significant project design changes are likely to occur as the result of testing. In the preplanning phase, begin thinking about how you want to control and manage change throughout the planning and deployment phases of the project.

Change control requires tracking and reviewing changes to your implementation plan made during testing cycles and after deployment. Change management requires testing potential system changes in a lab environment before implementing them in your production environment. By identifying all affected systems and processes before a change is implemented, you can mitigate or eliminate potential adverse effects.

The Microsoft Operations Framework provides best practices in change, configuration, and problem management. This information is available at:


You can further reduce the potential for unfavorable implementation results by carefully planning for backup and recovery, and testing your plan for backup and recovery. For more information, see Scenarios and Procedures for Microsoft Systems Management Server 2003: Maintenance, Backup, and Recovery.