Our working models aims to holds true to the 8 fundamentals of MSF
Waterfall development models tend to work well in settings where large and well defined scopes of work can be scoped and where there is a low risk of deviation on customer alignment dimensions (e.g. Banking environments). These work well offshore where requirement analysis is conducted onsite, development and technical testing done offsite while phases such as UAT are back onsite again.
On the other end, Agile development approaches rely on a rapid developing cycle of a narrow set of prioritized requirements from the customer. These require intense customer involvement and mitigate the risk of lost effort due to customer mis-alignment. These approaches are expensive to execute due to the high amount of onsite interaction they require, the high customer interaction they demand and the need for continuous build cycles the development teams need to follow.
Our custom blended methodology aims to use the short cycle spirals of the agile development cycles but raises the level of structure required in documentation beyond what is typical in low-documentation agile approaches. We feel that structured and precise communication is the key to successful execution of a blended project. Our teams embedded into customer meetings via audio and video web conferencing tools aiming to understand customer priorities, undertones and concerns first hand. It reduces the number of milestones recommended by MSF because we feel that these can overly formalize things and move the delivery cycle away from the low-cost/high-value delivery cycles the customers are looking for.
We also customize this approach further in each practice. For example EAI or B2B projects typically contain fairly well defined requirements so the need for rapid weekly spirals is significantly diminished there.
Similarly in BI projects, significant portions of requirement analysis that deal with analysis of data, its cleansing etc can be done quite effectively offsite typically via remote VPN connections.
Support projects rely largely on VPN access to systems or subsystems. Operators offsite can thus act exactly like tier 2 and 3 support operators remotely accessing servers. For scenarios of critical data sensitivity these tasks are conducted onsite. Tier 1 support is typically conducted onsite.
The sections on practice specific methodology detail highlights of customization in those areas.