Microsoft Exam MB5-705: Preparation
Here’s some study and exam advice for anyone considering becoming a Microsoft Sure Steps guru by taking exam MB5-705.
I passed this exam in October 2013 and since it’s so new here’s some guidance on what it contains, how to prepare and a list of useful links for anyone else that is planning their study. The post contains an overview of the exam, resources available to study, my suggested preparation, the key knowledge areas and some useful links,
In September 2013 Microsoft retired exam MB5-858 and replaced it with the new MB5-705: Managing Microsoft Dynamics Implementations. The exam is intended for anyone who works to implement or support Dynamics projects and is based around the Microsoft Sure Steps methodology.
The exam is 2 hours long with 45 multi-choice questions. Questions vary between the “find the right answer” to “choose 2 or 3 answers that form part of the solution or complete solutions in themselves”. The pass mark is 70%.
There is no Microsoft eBook dedicated to this exam yet (as far as I know) but Microsoft has produced the two-day instructor lead course 80450. This is split in to ten modules when walks you through a project management concepts overview before concentrating on the specifics of the Sure Steps approach and the recommended approach for managing Dynamics implementations. The course is further backed up by a detailed case study of Tailspin Toys which walks you through a fictional ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) or CRM (Customer Relationship Management) implementation for a wooden toy manufacturer.
Since there is no Microsoft eBook I dipped into the Microsoft Dynamics Sure Steps 2010 book by Chandra Shankar and Vincent Bellefroid. This was good background reading.
The other essential was the Sure Step User Guide itself which can be downloaded from the Microsoft site (links below).
Finally, commercial test providers will sell you sample questions for the test (many of which are very similar to the actual exam questions) but beware – the samples I saw contained about 1/3rd incorrect answers so you should not be alarmed if your answer differs from those provided by the example papers you have purchased.
My suggested preparation then for taking this exam is: –
a) Download and install the Sure Steps client application and get familiar with the layout, structure and how you drill down to find information.
b) Look at the online Sure Steps web application and note the key differences between this and the client application.
c) Review the Sure Steps user guide.
d) Work through the eBook or, ideally, the material for course 80450 as the exam is based around this material.
e) Set up your own test project and have a look at some of the key documents. The most important ones in my opinion were the high level project charter and high level project plan at the diagnosis phase and the functional design requirements, fit gap spreadsheet, functional design document, technical design document and solution design document.
f) You should also be familiar with the cut-over document and the go live process.
g) Take some sample questions if you can find or buy a sample MB5-705 set of questions but double-check the suggested answers.
h) Finally you can use my high level checklist in the next section which highlights the most important areas of knowledge in my opinion.
Here is a list of the key knowledge points, from my experience of the study for the test and the test itself.
1) Know the Project Management Institute (PMI) definitions of a project and the different phases for PMI e.g. Initiation, Planning, Execution, Closing and Continuing.
2) Know the triangle and diamond models of projects and how changing one element affects the others.
3) Know the activities of the Diagnostic phase, particularly the dependencies between the different possible accelerators and what the deliverables in each accelerator are. Can the fit gap be performed before the business requirements and solution blueprint accelerator, for example (no, it can’t).
4) Know the low-level details of the Proposal activity (for example, that a high level project charter and a high level project plan are created a part of proposal creation) and the use of the Statement of Work and the Licensing Agreement information. You should know what project roles are responsible for each document.
5) Know the pre-conditions for starting each of the different accelerators – for example, that a qualified sales opportunity exists.
6) It should be pretty obvious that you should of course know the Sure Step phases in their correct order and the key deliverables from each. If there is a clear pre-condition/trigger for a phase you should know that too.
7) Know when the solution is actually installed and customized and critically that non custom elements can be deployed before the development phase during design. I made the incorrect assumption early on that all actual “hand on” work with the Dynamics product would occur in the Development phase – it doesn’t!
8) Know the dependencies and the order of flow of the following documents; the functional requirement document (FRD), the Fit Gap analysis, the Functional Design Document (FDD), the Technical Design Document (TDD) and the Solution Design Document (SDD).
9) Be familiar with the core project roles and their responsibilities.
10) Be familiar with what happens at project closing and the transition to the operations phase, it’s not always intuitive I think what activity falls into what phase so I needed to revise closely to have this process clear.
11) Be aware of the cross-phase processes but these didn’t seem to feature highly in this version of Sure Steps. A more important area is to know the project disciplines and the sort of activities that relate to each one.
12) Pay careful attention to the definition of an agile project and its practice.
13) Know the “light” agile project management approach and what documents are produced, critically the solution backlog and the use of sprints.
14) Know the suggested timing for sprint activity – 16 hours maximum for a task, daily sprints for a really flexible customer.
15) Know the recommendation of performing a full and then a delta data migration one week apart before go-live.
16) Be familiar with the online and client Sure Steps tools and the differences between them – particularly the use of SharePoint of shared file repositories for project documents and what data you can change after you have set a project up (can you change the project type for example… no!)
17) Be familiar with the types of trainers and the documents produced in support of training and when it is delivered in the Sure Steps life-cycle.
18) Be aware that operations is still very much part of the project – even when the system is delivered and working in its production environment there are still ongoing project activities up until project closure.
19) Understand the go-live cut over process.
20) Understand the use of kick off meetings, who is present and what agenda is recommended by Sure Steps.
As promised, a list of useful links related to the exam: –
- Official Microsoft page for the exam
- Sure Steps online, but will need a partner-affiliated Live ID to access it.
- Partner Essentials service plans.
- Sure Step Training Road Map
- Microsoft online course material, you will need to be an Microsoft Certified Trainer to access this.
- Download the Sure Steps client application
- Sure Step web seminar
- Student course material for Sure Steps study, you will need to be a Microsoft Certified Trainer to access.
Here are the notes I made during my own preparation, I hope they are of use to you.