SharePoint Workflow Configuration or Development

As with any consulting engagement, it is extremely important to understand what is considered “in scope”.  What is even more important to the paying client is being clear on what is “out of scope”.  Microsoft does a good job of clarifying this question when working with Advisory Services related designing and implementing workflows in SharePoint Designer 2007 or SharePoint Designer 2010.

While the in-scope/out-of-scope topic has had books written on the subject, something I find that will deserve more and more attention as implementation tools and frameworks grow (like SharePoint) is the concept of configuration vs development.  For example, Microsoft details very clearly that they will ‘assist in developing workflows’, yet creating workflows in Visual Studio is out of scope.  I think that what they are trying to clarify is that they will help configure workflows in SharePoint designer.  If you ask a Developer if using SharePoint Designer is considered development – most will laugh.  It can be used to help develop a solution, but they will explain that this is not developing workflows – this is configuration.  Wikipedia (the only place to get the straight dope) explains that “The term software development is often used to refer to the activity of computer programming, which is the process of writing and maintaining the source code, whereas the broader sense of the term includes all that is involved between the conception of the desired software through to the final manifestation of the software.”

Using SharePoint Designer is clearly not writing and maintaining source code, so I suppose that Advisory Services is choosing to use the broader sense of the term…

Included with scope
  • Assist in planning business logic for workflows.
  • Assist planning list structure, content types, and site columns.
  • Assist in developing workflows.
  • Assist with debugging existing workflow logic.
  • Assist in helping customer understand workflow capabilities in SharePoint Designer 2007  or in SharePoint Designer 2010.
  • Assist planning migration options.Assist choosing the best workflow technology for a scenario.

Out of scope

  • Create workflows in Visual Studio.
  • Manually migrate list workflows in SharePoint Designer 2007 or in SharePoint Designer 2010.
  • Create customer actions.
  • Implement custom actions.
  • Debug custom actions.

Microsoft Advisory Services is an hourly fee-based, consultative support option that provides proactive support beyond your break-fix product maintenance needs. This is a remote, phone-based support option that includes working with the same technician for assistance with issues like product migration, code review, or new program development. This service is typically used for shorter engagements, and is designed for developers and IT professionals who do not require the traditional onsite consulting or sustained account management services that are available from other Microsoft support options. This article also provides some self-help resources for this scenario.


Snippets quoted from KB2283286

For additional information on Microsoft Advisory Services, including on how to engage, refer to this Microsoft web page:

By John Stover

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