Michael Cross – Microsoft Dynamics CRM Consultant

Using Microsoft Dynamics CRM to improve your relationships with customers and increase your sales and profits.

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Avoid Problems and Use Change Management Processes and Procedures

September 2nd, 2009 · No Comments

Microsoft Dynamics CRM is so easy to customize/tailor to your needs that it’s tempting to just go in and make the changes and get them done with and make the users happy with your fast response.

Not so fast!

Sometimes even the simplest changes, such as adding another picklist value, can wreak havoc on a stable system, especially when you have JScript or custom code implemented.

For example, say you have a business process that depends on a picklist having one of two values. If the user selects one value, both JScript and a workflow rule are triggered. If the user selects the other value, a different JScript and a different workflow rule are triggered.

What happens if somebody wants to add a third value to the picklist (which is very easy to do in Microsoft CRM), and you go ahead and add it without thinking? Well, chances are you have just broken your business process because this third value has not been accounted for in the JScript or workflow rules. Not only that, you might have just made it easy for the users to populate the database with bad/inaccurate data.

Therefore, the best way to avoid unintended negative consequences from customizations is to consistently practice disciplined change management processess and procedures.

In a case like this, you would want to be sure that the system administrator checks for any JScript or workflow rules that might depend on that picklist attribute. You can ensure this is done by creating a checklist that is followed for each customization.

You should also document each request and the resulting customization so that it is easily accessible and visible to the CRM system administrator. This enables the administrator to quickly get up to to speed on how the system is setup, and why it was setup that way. This is especially important if the CRM system administrator changes over time and the new person does not have the history or experience with the initial implementation of Microsoft CRM.

So be safe, go slow, and follow a consistent process and procedure. You’ll be glad you did!

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