Open Forum

Like what you see? Discover the benefits of the D365UG/CRMUG Community. Learn More

Topic: CRM Change Documentation

1.  CRM Change Documentation

Posted 10-20-2016 05:09 PM

I am curious to hear how others handle documenting changes in CRM. I am thinking of changing to entities, business rules, processes, etc. All of these changes that are on the system that would be very beneficial to be documented so other technical or business people can refer to.

I have thought of using VSO to track the changes in our releases since the details are in stories on VSO. But, the search functionality is not the best. I also thought about having a place on our SharePoint server, like a wiki. Keeping the document updates is always "fun".

So, I would love to hear how others are handling documentation of changes.

Thanks

------------------------------
Lou Rainaldi
Principal Engineer
Development Dimension International
Pittsburgh PA
------------------------------


2.  RE: CRM Change Documentation

Posted 10-20-2016 06:17 PM

We track changes in our TFS, document technical information in a "Run Book", issue release notes to users, and update user documentation on a SharePoint site.

------------------------------
Allison Briden
Business Systems Analyst
Energy Trust of Oregon
Portland OR



3.  RE: CRM Change Documentation

Posted 10-21-2016 08:09 AM

Hi Lou

Here is an approach we take with documenting changes, essentially documenting everything in a web resource file attached to the solution:

https://itsolutions.bdo.ca/insights/keep-track-of-configuration-changes-in-crm/

The benefits is that the details are in CRM, and travel with the solution from DEV to TEST and PROD.  Having it in a web resource means we are not limited to the "description" text field on the solution itself.

Cheers
Nick

------------------------------
Nick Doelman
Manager of CRM Solution Development
BDO Canada LLP
Ottawa



4.  RE: CRM Change Documentation

Posted 10-21-2016 08:37 AM

Great topic Lou. I, too, am looking to change how we manage this.

Our partner had us use the aforementioned TFS and I really liked it - easy to use after you get the hang of it and could move things through various stages, document notes, etc. which was great to keep things in order and watch the changes and commentary evolve throughout the different stages of each element.

That said, and perhaps I'm just biased to Canadians (I'm not), but Nick's solution sounds excellent too - he had me at "...details are in CRM, and travel with the solution...".

Malcolm

------------------------------
Malcolm McAuley
Director, Information Systems
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada
Burlington



5.  RE: CRM Change Documentation

Posted 10-21-2016 09:51 AM

Nick

Great idea!

thanks

satish

------------------------------
Satish Srinivas



6.  RE: CRM Change Documentation

Posted 10-21-2016 10:32 AM

We have created an entity within CRM called Issues.  We document all issues and enhancements here including status, dates, notes, priority, and who this is assigned to.  We then have different views to show all active, completed, etc.  If we are doing large changes such as an upgrade, we use our TFS system.  Hope this helps! 

------------------------------
Michelle Baumann
Ortho Molecular Products, Inc
Woodstock IL



7.  RE: CRM Change Documentation

Posted 10-25-2016 10:17 AM

What if you come into an environment that has no documentation? Is there a way to extract a list of everything that has changed or compare two environments and get a list of differences?

Thanks

------------------------------
Jim Corriveau
A.W. Chesterton
Groveland MA



8.  RE: CRM Change Documentation

Posted 10-26-2016 08:23 AM

Hi Jim

The XRMToolBox (www.xrmtoolbox.com) has a LOT of tools to help gather information from existing deployments.  Specifically the Metadata Document Generator can create a Word or Excel document with listing of entities, fields, forms, etc.  "Custom" schemas will have a prefix (default "new_").  There are other tools that are helpful as well.

Mitch Milam (Microsoft MVP) has an advanced tool for documenting CRM deployments as well:

http://www.crmaccelerators.net/snapshot

Hope this helps.

Cheers

Nick

------------------------------
Nick Doelman
Manager of CRM Solution Development
BDO Canada LLP
Ottawa



9.  RE: CRM Change Documentation

Posted 10-26-2016 12:51 PM

It's funny. Its been on my CRM To Do list for a while to address the limitation of having release notes in the Description of the Solution. 

Thanks for the great Link Nick!

We also run using the Agile approach for our CRM team and are big users of TFS as well. We are looking into options to have our users stories compiled into a user friendly release notes document that would be posted to our intranet.  Perhaps we can show how tie it all together so it posts an updated web resource into CRM with TFS links ... hmm wheels are turning now.

Great topic.

------------------------------
Todd Mercer
Dynamics CRM Technical Lead
MD Financial Management
Ottawa



10.  RE: CRM Change Documentation

Posted 10-26-2016 02:59 PM

Great ideas and thoughts everyone! I am finalizing how we will be doing our documentation and will share what we do. We are nearing our initial launch of CRM Online in January 2017!

------------------------------
Lou Rainaldi
Principal Engineer
Development Dimension International
Pittsburgh PA



11.  RE: CRM Change Documentation

Posted 8 days ago
Lou,

How did the launch go?  Did you find a method of change documentation that worked for you?

Thanks,


------------------------------
Jim Corriveau
A.W. Chesterton
Groveland MA
------------------------------



12.  RE: CRM Change Documentation

Posted 5 days ago
Here's the release and documentation process we use for our enterprise projects:
  1. Capture stories in JIRA or Visual Studio Online (VSO)
  2. Create a solution file for each story in the Dynamics 365 development instance (DEV)
  3. Promote stories to the validation  instance (VAL) after unit testing and peer review in DEV. Promotion is automated through a tool run every few minutes that looks for changes to the story status in JIRA or VSO.
  4. Promote stories to the testing instance (TEST) after validation. Promotion again is automated, and this time solution components of validated story solutions are batched into a release candidate solution automatically.
  5. Promote stories to the rehearsal instance (REH) after acceptance three days prior to the release to production.


We capture release notes on the story in JIRA or VSO that describes the affected users and the impact of the story. Our promotion tool grabs all the release notes from the release candidate's stories and publishes them in a page on the project wiki.

Post-deplpoyment, we run XRM Accelerator's Snapshot for Dynamics CRM to document the as-built design of the production system.

------------------------------
Neil Benson, Microsoft MVP
Customery
Brisbane, Australia
@customery
customery.com
------------------------------



13.  RE: CRM Change Documentation

Posted 5 days ago
​We have created a custom "Requirements" entity in CRM (similar to JIRA) where we log requirements and track them throughout the development process.  With them being in CRM we can control all the fields and data without having to involve another group or share a tool with someone else.  This allows us to create charts to show progress directly in CRM, track the stage of development, testing, etc.

Once we bundle up many requirements for a release we are able to use this to create a release guide for our end users to let them know the new functionality that is available.  We post the release guide as soon as the release is available and also post it internally to our intranet as a reference point.  Depending on the release we might also perform end-user training.  We are releasing about every 8 weeks and so this allows us to be very efficient and minimizes the amount of back and forth email between the team as the Requirements entity/charts acts as our team dashboard so everyone always knows where we are at.

------------------------------
Shawn Hickey
Burns & McDonnell
Kansas City MO
------------------------------



14.  RE: CRM Change Documentation

Posted 4 days ago
Hi Neil,

Can you go into any detail on the tools/process you're using to batch many solution changes into a single solution? Are you just collapsing patches or are you doing something else?

Thanks!

------------------------------
Steve Platz
Commercial Excellence Technical Lead
LORD
Cary NC
------------------------------



15.  RE: CRM Change Documentation

Posted 2 days ago
Hi Steve, our tool enables the release manager to flag all stories that have reached a stage in JIRA/VSO (e.g. passed acceptance testing), a source instance (e.g. DEV) and a target instance (e.g. PROD). It will then compile a release solution comprised of all the components from all the individual story solutions. It installs the release solution in the target, saves a copy in source control, and publishes a wiki page comprised of the descriptions from the individual story solutions and the release notes from JIRA/VSO.

------------------------------
Neil Benson, Microsoft MVP
Customery
Brisbane, Australia
@customery
customery.com
------------------------------



'