Customer Engagement & Dynamics CRM Forum

Expand all | Collapse all

How have you documented your CRM implementation?

  • 1.  How have you documented your CRM implementation?

    TOP CONTRIBUTOR
    Posted 29 days ago
    I'm looking for some inspiration on how to document our CRM implemenation - from a technical perspective but also from a business perspective.

    E.g. how are you documenting your solution when it comes to elements like entities, forms, views, fields, business rules, workflows, flows, canvas apps, model-driven apps, integrations, code etc.?

    Are you using any specific tools? How and where are your storing the documenation? How is it linked with your operating model/procesdures etc.

    Any input is appreciated 😊

    #Functional






    ------------------------------
    BR,
    Niels
    ------------------------------


  • 2.  RE: How have you documented your CRM implementation?

    TOP CONTRIBUTOR
    Posted 29 days ago
    Niels -

    I really struggle with disciplined documentation...there is never enough time in the day!  I am getting much better at it in baby steps.  We use Jira to track issues, changes, projects, etc. and I have always created a Jira ticket for each release and note all the changes I make there.  The Jira ticket has the same name/number as the release so they tie together that way.  I've recently started using the checklist function in Jira so I create a check-list of all the items I plan in the release and check them off as I go.

    I've also started being more diligent about using the description field on all fields, views, workflows, entities, etc., by typing in a brief explanation of the purpose of the item, any  impacts in has on or by other systems and eventually plan to include URLs to more thorough support documentation for custom functionality.

    -Jill

    ------------------------------
    Jill Vazquez
    Technical Specialist - CRM
    Bioventus, LLC
    Durham NC
    ------------------------------



  • 3.  RE: How have you documented your CRM implementation?

    TOP CONTRIBUTOR
    Posted 28 days ago
    @Jill Vazquez thanks for the input. I'll have a look at Jira at see if that's something we can use.

    I can relate to the part about discipline. And once you keep developing the solution without updating the documentation the task gets bigger and bigger. ​

    ------------------------------
    BR,
    Niels
    ------------------------------



  • 4.  RE: How have you documented your CRM implementation?

    SILVER CONTRIBUTOR
    Posted 28 days ago
    Niels,

    Consider your audience.  Documenting to the nth degree just for the sake of it--probably isn't the best use of your time.  Implementations can be tricky but focus on the complicated areas and processes.  I write most of my documentation from the perspective, "what would I need to know to repeat this process at a later date?"

    I think admins should have a base level of documentation that can be reasonably maintained. In my case, I regularly update an enterprise systems architecture diagram (Visio), data dictionaries for main and custom entities (Excel) and track change requests in various projects and backlogs on Azure DevOps.

    If you don't have a change management process in place, develop one yourself. It could start small and grow over time. It doesn't have to be perfect.

    Good luck!

    Bob


    ------------------------------
    Bob Chang
    CRM Application Developer
    Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
    Bethesda MD
    ------------------------------



  • 5.  RE: How have you documented your CRM implementation?

    TOP CONTRIBUTOR
    Posted 28 days ago
    While I agree with @Bob Chang, documenting to the nth degree often isn't the best use of our time - and why it is so hard for many of us to be disciplined about it, I've come to feel it is the right thing to do.​​  I was just in a meeting where it was mentioned that our documentation should pass the vacation test....if I just put a change in the system on Friday afternoon and left for vacation, on Monday morning, if there were questions about the change, would someone have to call me on vacation?

    In my previous role, I started using CRM 2016 on prem and the company had an ongoing relationship with a partner.  There was one piece of custom functionality they had done which was really useful, but over time, needed some changes.  The company had no documentation on how this custom functionality worked and the developer with the partner was no longer there and they had no documentation either....no one had a clue how it worked or how to go about updating it.

    In my current role, I inherited a system which was already implemented and had some customizations in place from a partner we no longer work with and by previous admins.  Fortunately, there was very little non-standard OOTB configuration, so I was generally able to look through all the steps in workflows and attribute dependencies to figure out what was what, but that doesn't tell me if a particular field is used in our integrations or if it will have any impact on other systems if I make changes so I spend more time tracking all that down.  And then there's the aspect of trying to determine the logic behind why some things were done they way they were...without documentation to explain, sometimes you're just left scratching your head and hoping for the best as you try to make improvements to other people's work.

    I built a custom end-to-end process for the sales reps in our company more than a year ago.  During the final stages of testing, I created a document as a guide for the users on how to step through the process as well as an admin guide for whomever might have to assist users in my absence if they had questions or if something went wrong...just this past Monday, I had a day off and a user was stuck on how to proceed with the process and my manager (who is not a D365 guru) was able to pull out the old admin guide and figure it out without having to call me.  Even with that, we discovered some ways to improve that admin guide that would have made it possible to solve the user's problem quicker and still, I am realizing that the documentation isn't thorough enough to easily explain the inner workings of the process to the admin who will come after me some day (hopefully way far in the future)

    So, because I have been burned by lack of documentation, I am trying really hard to gradually become more disciplined and thorough with documentation because it's not just about me - it's about making it easier on the next admin, making it so I don't need to be called while on vacation and not crippling the company if I get hit by that proverbial bus!

    ------------------------------
    Jill Vazquez
    Technical Specialist - CRM
    Bioventus, LLC
    Durham NC
    ------------------------------



  • 6.  RE: How have you documented your CRM implementation?

    SILVER CONTRIBUTOR
    Posted 28 days ago
    Hi Niels,

    While this won't answer your entire question, there is a tool called Snapshot that does help to document a lot within your D365 environment. This might help with the entities, fields, forms, views part.

    ------------------------------
    Scott Florance
    Business Applications Consultant
    KTL Solutions, Inc, Frederick MD
    ------------------------------



  • 7.  RE: How have you documented your CRM implementation?

    Posted 28 days ago
    Edited by Preshma Linet Pereira 28 days ago
    Hey Neil,

    We use, Visual Studio TFS to keep track of everything from Javascripts to Reports.

    Now when it comes to documenting solutions, I had developed/written powershell scripts to automatically fetch latest solution updates to my TFS & push any new changes from TFS to Dynamics CRM. I also did the same for Plugins & workflows. I also wrote an article about it, which you can find here. I am not sure if that is what your looking for. Other than that, we maintain our changes & change requests in a shared excel sheet on SharePoint.

    ------------------------------
    Linet Preshma Pereira
    Senior Technical Consultant
    Infinite Computing Systems, Inc
    Dallas, Texas
    ------------------------------



  • 8.  RE: How have you documented your CRM implementation?

    TOP CONTRIBUTOR
    Posted 27 days ago
    Hi all,

    I'm not sure if you all know how awesome of a conversation this is or how beneficial it could be in helping others in a "peer to peer" setting like Community Summit North America or other events learn from users like you in how you approach this discipline.   I've been around this for the last decade and absolutely see a stunning "Panel Discussion" topic or even presentation topic from folks like you @Jill Vazquez, @Scott Florance, @Bob Chang, @Linet Preshma Pereira and @Niels Lønberg

    We are opening our Call for Proposals for Summit on April 1st. I hope you'd consider sharing your experiences with other customers.  I see an "Admin" angle to this discussion and some "Dev" considerations that Preshma was eluding too as well.  Involving more user voices at an event with great topics like this is what makes the User Group standout at Community Summit.  Please consider - jointly presenting or considering this a panel discussion.  Plus, for all selected speakers to these marque events there are discounted ticket prices that allow you to go if it should help convincing your boss.

    This discussion is to the heart of peer to peer learning.   Thanks for considering in how you'd like to share later this year, whether at an event like Summit or even a virtual topic we share openly and freely with the community!  @Laurie Gramer

    Sincerely,
    Tony



    ------------------------------
    Tony Stein
    D365UG, GM
    Dynamic Communities
    Fargo ND
    ------------------------------



  • 9.  RE: How have you documented your CRM implementation?

    Posted 25 days ago
    ​Like Scott Florance, I also use Snapshot to capture the technical documentation for my implementations. It is especially great when you are brought into an existing implementation, to get the lay of the land before starting on anything new.

    ------------------------------
    Rob Pike
    RSM
    Minneapolis, MN
    ------------------------------



  • 10.  RE: How have you documented your CRM implementation?

    TOP CONTRIBUTOR
    Posted 25 days ago
    @Bob Chang I'm not trying to document everything just for the sake of it - but it comes down to vulnerability. And pointed out so greatly by @Jill Vazquez - pass the vacation test. So it's both vulnarability from both sides - my company's and mine. I don't want to get calls during my vactation - and if I leave the company it should be easy for the next person to take over.

    And that's why I'm also want to make sure that things such as integrations are documented properly - from both sides, e.g. integrations between CRM and ERP.

    @Scott Florance @Rob Pike I'll definately have a look at that Snapshot. It seems very interesting. I've also been looking at some of the tools in XrmToolBox that where you can export metadata to Excel.

    @Linet Preshma Pereira There was a quit interesting session on Azure DevOps in our local user group (mainly focusing on deploying solutions). I would really like to get started using it but I'm still not sure how value it adds if your have a no-code solution maintained by a single person.
    ​​​​

    ------------------------------
    BR,
    Niels
    ------------------------------



  • 11.  RE: How have you documented your CRM implementation?

    SILVER CONTRIBUTOR
    Posted 23 days ago
    @Niels Lønberg The benefit of using a tool such as Azure Dev Ops or Jira for work item management is that, when used correctly, it provides traceability from the solution to the original requirement, including WHY it was needed. The information is also centralized and available to others, not just the one person who created the solution. This gets back to the vacation question...if you're not available then people can refer to the tool for more information. I strongly recommend the use of such a tool.

    ------------------------------
    Michael Cross
    Senior Consultant
    eLogic
    Rochester NY
    ------------------------------



  • 12.  RE: How have you documented your CRM implementation?

    TOP CONTRIBUTOR
    Posted 21 days ago
    @Michael Crossit it sounds really interessting. Are you using Azure DevOps or Jira?



    ------------------------------
    BR,
    Niels
    ------------------------------



  • 13.  RE: How have you documented your CRM implementation?

    SILVER CONTRIBUTOR
    Posted 20 days ago
    @Niels Lønberg We use both Azure DevOps and Jira on-premise now. We've been using Jira for a long time but are now starting to use Azure DevOps more. Both tools work fine for work item management/product backlog items. They have additional features such as integration with GitHub for developers, Test Plans/Test Cases, etc. Here's the documenation for Azure DevOps: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/devops/?view=azure-devops ​

    ------------------------------
    Michael Cross
    Senior Consultant
    eLogic
    Rochester NY
    ------------------------------



  • 14.  RE: How have you documented your CRM implementation?

    GOLD CONTRIBUTOR
    Posted 17 days ago

    We use two different methods of documentation – 1 for our small team of administrators and developers and 1 for our end users...

     

    CRM Team Documentation

    we use a shared OneNote that has become our "user manual" for how to administer the system.  We store specific steps on creating solutions, migrating changes from Dev to Stage to Production, etc.  This has been very helpful, especially when we've had to cover for each other during vacations/absences.

     

    User Documentation

    We have created a series of How To Guides and store them out on our intranet site for all users to access.  This has cut down on the repetitive questions we receive and is used to onboard new users.  Each How To Guide contains the "why" for context along with the "how" and we have screenshots so they can follow along in a self-service model.

     

    Shawn Hickey  \  Burns & McDonnell

    Associate & Department Manager \ Information Technology

    O 816-844-4518 \  M 913-907-0158

    9400 Ward Parkway  \  Kansas City, MO 64114

     

    A close up of a sign  Description automatically generated

     

     






  • 15.  RE: How have you documented your CRM implementation?

    TOP CONTRIBUTOR
    Posted 15 days ago
    @Shawn Hickey I really like the idea of using OneNote because it's just so accessible and easy to use for all.

    ------------------------------
    BR,
    Niels
    ------------------------------



  • 16.  RE: How have you documented your CRM implementation?

    SILVER CONTRIBUTOR
    Posted 14 days ago

    Hi Niels,

    Since our implementation is ongoing, we use the Description field for all entities, fields and processes. We can easily export an excel (tabular) form of those lists in D365 and store it in the SharePoint Collaboration site.

    I hope this is helpful.

    Thanks,
    Cristall



    ------------------------------
    Lyrio Amurao
    Technical Consultant
    North York
    ------------------------------



  • 17.  RE: How have you documented your CRM implementation?

    TOP CONTRIBUTOR
    Posted 14 days ago
    @Lyrio Amurao

    We also use the description field. However, we use the field for the help text as that is what the user sees when they hover a field in an app:

    It would make sense to have two fields. One for help text for the users and one for a description for admins and developers/makers - just like Salesforce has it:

    Image result for salesforce create field

    ------------------------------
    BR,
    Niels
    ------------------------------



If you've found this thread useful, dive deeper into User Group community content by role