Don’t use your Methodology as a Band-Aid

I can’t remember a time when software development methodology was not a hot, contentious topic of discussion.

“We need to be Agile, because that will make us go faster”

“Scrum will save us from everything we are doing wrong”

“Waterfall is the devil’s child”

“Design Patterns are the only way to go”

“Design Patterns don’t work for me”

The problem with every architecture style and delivery methodology (new and old) is the same as it was yesterday, last year, five years ago and most likely in the 80s.

We refuse to look at what the problem is that we are trying to solve and instead are content with slapping a band-aid on it and calling it “fixed, because we now have #INSERT FAVOURITE METHODOLOGY HERE#”.

If you are not will to identify what is wrong with your delivery of software in the first place, you will never be able to apply the correct methodology that applies to you.

And when I say “identify what is wrong with your delivery of software”, saying “we’re always late” is a cop-out to the true problem.

My company BetaRover Inc, specializes in working with organizations getting over these humps and breaking through the Invisible Barriers that are holding them back.

Check us out, we’re always happy to chat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dynamics Workflow Registration Mismatch

Recently I was deploying an update to a workflow when I received the following message.

workflowfail

Upon further investigation, the cause of the problem were the dll references I was using for deploying this particular code to this particular environment.

I had updated my Dynamics SDK to use the latest set of dlls (8.2.0.566) while the environment I had already deployed to was on (7.1.0001.3108).  A few updated file references later and I was back in business – coding, registering, deploying and testing my code.

Don’t Sweat the Customizations

Dynamics365 (and it’s previous incarnations) is designed and built to be customized and integrated into your pre-existing Line of Business applications and/or seamlessly integrate into your new ones.

That’s the goal of the platform (in my humble opinion).

To this extent, the only times you should be afraid of performing customizations on the core or extended system are;

  • You don’t understand the requirements and are changing things willy, nilly all over the place.
  • You have gone beyond writing your own code and are now changing underlying code which may or may not be supported in future upgrades.
  • You are recreating functionality that already exists in the system in your own variant.
  • You are taking something called an account and making it look like a “cat” but then having to create another thing called an “account” because you messed up the initial account.

Those are times when customizations in Dynamics can get you into a world of hurt.

Now, think about your work as a C# developer, Java, Web, VB.NET, Python, PHP, whatever and read those 4 items again.

Notice anything?

…..

That’s right, those 4 tenets apply to any software development language or platform not ONLY Dynamics365.

I think the “problem” (if you want to call it a problem with Dynamics) is that Customization and Solution Architecture is a very easy to get up and running with (good) but you can miss a lot if you don’t know what you are doing (bad).  At the end of the day, don’t be afraid to customize and leverage core attributes, do be afraid when you are not leveraging functionality in the system and having to create your own.

It’s not good for you or your customers.

 

Why do I need the Unified Service Desk?

I’ve been (and will continue to do) some blogging on the Dynamics Unified Service Desk (USD) but I’ve failed to answer the first, probably most important question you might be asking yourself right now.

Why do I need the Unified Service Desk?

Before I proceed, answer these questions (no rush, I’ll wait).

  • Do I run a Contact Centre? Y/N
  • Do I have a phone system? Y/N
  • Do I already have Dynamics installed?  Y/N
  • Have I invested some serious $$$ in our company’s own proprietary Line of Business Applications? Y/N
  • Do I have agents that work remotely? Y/N

Do I run a Contact Centre?

Great, the USD is designed, from the ground up, to be your agent’s only app they will ever need to do their job.  No more wasted context switching between applications, no more trying to find the right app that applies to the right situation – it’s all there for them to use and consume when they need it.

Do I have a phone system?

Great, with the USD you can use (or purchase from a partner) the CTI – Computer Telephony Integration – SDK that enables you to work magic with incoming phone calls to your agent’s – i.e., ScreenPops.  With this SDK, you can enable the USD to listen onto telephony events that can open up Dynamics, search through it and determine next course of action without the agent having ever picked up the phone.

Do I already have Dynamics installed?

If yes, fantastic, the USD is free, the SDKs are free and all of those wonderful Dynamics customizations and forms you have in place are freely available in the USD.  You don’t need to create any new screens (unless you want to) or develop any new workflows (unless you want to) – you can leverage everything you have to be up and running today.

Have I invested some serious $$$ in our company’s own proprietary Line of Business Applications?

Great, the USD can host many Windows and Web-based applications as hosted controls.  If you want to get really fancy, you can enable Single Sign-On protocols to automatically sign in your agents to these other systems without forcing them to remember multiple credentials.

Do I have agents that work remotely?

Yes?  Great, they can download the USD to their desktop from wherever they are, login and begin working as if they were in the office.  It’s as simple as running an install.

I zipped through these questions pretty fast and so should you.  At the end of the day, the USD can help you deploy and deliver a unified Contact Centre experience to your customers and agents while reducing costs, leveraging your existing Dynamics 365 investments and not having to throw out years of investment in your existing Line of Business applications.

Best of all, the USD does not care if you are on-premise or in the cloud, it loves them all.