Deliver Phase Overview

Published: April 25, 2008   |   Updated: October 10, 2008


Introduction to MOF

The guidance in the Microsoft® Operations Framework encompasses all of the activities and processes involved in managing an IT service: its conception, development, operation, maintenance, and—ultimately—its retirement. MOF organizes these activities and processes into Service Management Functions (SMFs), which are grouped together in phases that mirror the IT service lifecycle. Each SMF is anchored within a lifecycle phase and contains a unique set of goals and outcomes supporting the objectives of that phase. An IT service’s readiness to move from one phase to the next is confirmed by management reviews, which ensure that goals are being achieved in an appropriate fashion and that IT’s goals are aligned with the goals of the organization.

Overview of the Deliver Phase

If one thinks of the IT service lifecycle as a continuum that begins with the efforts of IT to understand the services that the business needs and ends with those services operating in a production environment, then the Deliver Phase is the part of the continuum where the services are planned, designed, built, and deployed. It is also the part of the continuum where an infrastructure project or deployment of a packaged product are planned, designed, built, and deployed. And finally, it is the process through which any change must go, large or small. The degree of change rigor will depend on the nature and size of the change. Generally, standard changes—which are already known and tested—will move through the process more quickly than other sorts of changes, such as a minor, significant, or major change. See the Change and Configuration SMF for more information.

This process starts with an early form of planning called “envisioning,” moves through a more formal project planning stage, continues with the design and build stage, follows up with testing, and ends with deployment. There are several choices that those managing a project can make in terms of a management discipline to apply to the project. Possibilities include Microsoft® Solutions Framework (MSF), agile software development, Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) process management, Scrum, and Project Management Institute (PMI). While MSF is the basis for the SMFs in the Deliver Phase, organizations can easily adapt the information in those SMFs to any management discipline. For more information on agile software development, see Microsoft Visual Studio® Team System Process Guidance Home at

The Deliver Phase contains the following service management functions (SMFs): Envision, Project Planning, Build, Stabilize, and Deploy. See the “Service Management Functions (SMFs) Within the Phase” section in this guide for more information on these SMFs.

This phase begins after the Portfolio Management Review (MR), which provides a bridge between the Plan Phase and the Deliver Phase. This phase is moved along by the Project Plan Approved MR. The Release Readiness MR comes near the end of the phase—between Stabilize and Deploy. These Deliver Phase MRs are described in greater detail later in this document.

This phase is one in which project teams frequently play a major role. The primary team accountability that applies to the phase is the Solution Accountability, with the accountable role type for the phase being the Solution Manager, who has oversight for all solutions and their project teams.

Other key role types for the phase are Program Manager, Product Manager, and Developer. More information about those and other role types, as well as the Solutions Accountability to which they belong, can be found in the “Team SMF Focus” ** section of this document*.*

More information about project team roles is also contained in each of the SMF documents for the phase, and in the Team SMF, which is part of the foundational Manage Layer of the IT service lifecycle.



Figure 1. The Deliver phase within the IT service lifecycle

Goals of the Deliver Phase

The primary goals of the Deliver IT service lifecycle phase are to ensure that IT services, infrastructure projects, or packaged product deployments are envisioned, planned, built, stabilized, and deployed in line with business requirements and the customer’s specifications.

Specifically, that means ensuring that the project team:

  • Captures the business needs and requirements prior to planning a solution.
  • Prepares a functional specification and solution design.
  • Develops work plans, cost estimates, and schedules for the deliverables.
  • Builds the solution to the customer’s specification, so that all features are complete, and so that the solution is ready for external testing and stabilization.
  • Releases the highest-quality solution by performing thorough testing and release-candidate piloting.
  • Deploys a stable solution to the production environment and stabilizes the solution in production.
  • Prepares the operations and support teams to manage and provide customer service for the solution.

Meeting these goals requires:

  • Alignment with the service management functions (SMFs) for this phase.
  • Using periodic management reviews (MRs) to evaluate the effectiveness of the phase.