Skip to main content

User Stories for Grants Manager Plus


My company InfoStrat offers government software solutions, and our most popular has been Microsoft Grants Manager Plus, based on Dynamics 365.  I receive inquiries on this solution from around the world, and the most common questions include how long it will take to implement and how much will it cost.

User stories which describe your grant program and business processes are essential to determine the scope of the project and create accurate estimates for an implementation.  User stories are descriptions of a process from the point of view of a user role.  They do not include technical details of the implementation but they capture business rules and data elements that are tracked for a specific scenario.

To create user stories for Grants Manager Plus, first identify how many grant programs you offer.  Do different programs have distinct business processes or track different data?  If they use the same processes and data, you can create fewer user stories.  Often our clients have some variation among programs which change the ways that they interact with grantees.

Here are some user stories that you are likely to need:

  1. Create a funding source.  Identify data elements and business processes for funding that is applied to a program.  What rules or conditions must be passed down to grantees? Can a program be funded from multiple sources?  Do you integrate with your financial management system to view balances or pass transactions to that system?
  2. Create a program.  Define attributes of a program such as schedule, budgets, evaluation criteria for applications, metrics, and others. Define the post award reporting schedule. 
  3. Create account on grant portal.  This is from the perspective of a grantee.  Can they apply for an account?  Does it require approval? Will the grantor send invitations to the prospective grantees? Will all people who access the application be from the same organization?  Do these users require different roles and permissions?  Can the grantee manage permissions for others at their organization?
  4. Create an application.  This is also from the grantee perspective.  Care should be taken to provide the best possible user experience because this may be the most complex and lengthy process. How is the application divided into sections?  When are attachments uploaded?
  5. Review and scoring.  Once an application is submitted, what are the steps to review it? Who reviews? Inside or outside reviewers?  Where do they enter remarks and scores?  Can an application be returned to the applicant for changes?
  6. Payment requests. How are payment requests made?  Through the grantee portal?  What are the business rules that govern release of payments such as milestone completion? Do payments need to be allocated across funding sources? 
  7. Post award reporting. When are reports due? When do you want to send reminders to grantees? 
  8. Closeout.  What happens at the end of a grant?  Which reports are required?  How are closeout documents executed?
Grants Manager plus contains standard data elements and workflows which meet substantially all of typical grantor requirements, but you are likely to want to customize them to match your business rules as closely as possible. 

User stories are at the heart of requirements analysis in the Agile methodology.  They also serve as the basis for your test plan.  


For more information on grant management and Microsoft Grants Manager Plus, see my posts:

InfoStrat Releases New Versions of Grants Manager Plus
Microsoft Grants Manager Plus Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
6 Things to Look for in Grant Management Software
Estimating the Cost of a Microsoft Grants Manager Plus Implementation
Grants Manager Plus: Theme and Variations
Microsoft Grants Manager Plus
Online Resources for Microsoft Grants Manager Plus
Portal Options for Microsoft Grants Manager
Statewide Grant Management Systems
Usage Scenarios for Microsoft Grants Manager
Extending Grants Manager Plus
InfoStrat Releases New Version of Grants Manager Plus


Popular posts from this blog

The DATA Act Driving Grant Management Automation

The Digital Accountability and Transparency Act enacted in May 2014 calls for making spending data available in open, standardized formats to be published online.  It is a continuation of transparency initiatives and lessons learned with experiences such as grants.gov, the 2009 economic stimulus under the Recovery Act and the spending site USASpending.gov.

Government grantees will have significant new administrative responsibilities.  Many organizations that were tracking grants in spreadsheets or documents will have to adopt more sophisticated automated grant management systems such as Microsoft Grants Manager to keep up with reporting rules.

For profit companies will lose some privacy as a result of this law.  Grant recipients will be required to disclose information including officer salaries.

Continued improvements to publishing grant opportunities such as grants.gov may make it easier to find grants. These reforms together are designed to improve the effectiveness of grant prog…

Dynamics 365 for Government Contractors (GovCon) Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

One of InfoStrat's most popular solutions is Dynamics 365 for Government Contractors (GovCon).



Here are some answers to frequently asked question on this solution:
Can I add new fields to the solution?  -- Yes, the solution is fully customizable and you can add your own new fields to any form, view or report.Does Dynamics 365 for GovCon work on mobile devices?  -- Yes, Microsoft offers mobile apps for all the most popular platforms including iPhone, iPad, and Android phone and tablets.Does Dynamics 365 connect with bid data systems such as Deltek and Onvia?  -- Some information services, such as Onvia, offer integration with Dynamics 365.  Others require third party solutions such as the InfoStrat integration with Deltek GovWin IQ.What do customers typically customize for their unique requirements? -- Not all contractors follow the same steps in the capture process.  Most clients will tailor the business process to add or remove steps in order to match their sales methodology.  Of…

Understanding Microsoft AppSource and Dynamics 365

On July 6, 2016, Microsoft announced the introduction of Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Microsoft AppSource. Scheduled to be available in the fall of 2016, Microsoft Dynamics 365 will allow new ways for customers to consume Microsoft's current CRM and ERP cloud offerings based on business functions such as financials, field service, sales, operations, marketing, project management and customer service.

Microsoft AppSource will be an online store for cloud services from Microsoft and third party providers such as InfoStrat and other Microsoft partners.  Microsoft expects to offer more than 200 business SaaS apps, add-ins and content packs when AppSource launches.



The announcement garnered quite a bit of response in the press, including the Wall Street Journal and Forbes
Although all the details of Dynamics 365 have not been announced, the essence is bundling and un-bundling of products and features from Microsoft's extensive Dynamics catalog.  Microsoft is enhancing the integrat…