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:
- 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?
- 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.
- 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?
- 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?
- 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?
- 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?
- Post award reporting. When are reports due? When do you want to send reminders to grantees?
- Closeout. What happens at the end of a grant? Which reports are required? How are closeout documents executed?
For more information on grant management and Microsoft Grants Manager Plus, see my posts:
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
InfoStrat Releases New Version of Grants Manager Plus
Extending Grants Manager Plus
Understanding Grant Management Data: CDBG-DR Programs
Understanding Programs in Grants Manager Plus
Understanding Budget, Payments and Milestones in Grants Manager Plus