When it comes to serving our clients in the Microsoft Dynamics CRM space, or pretty much any software space for that matter, the quote from the Jerry Maguire movie, “Help me, help you” becomes appropriate. Because their feedback is necessary in order for us to provide them with the best service possible. Sometimes I don’t think the client realizes just how valuable they are in the process – largely due to the fact that they have called upon consultants to assist them. One of the biggest areas where this is prevalent is in defect and issue reporting.
When it comes to deploying a new Dynamics CRM software system, there are going to be bugs, issues, defects, incorrect behaviors, wrongly named fields, workflows that don’t produce the right fields, workflows that don’t produce the right results, etc. When these situations arise, it is critical to the success of a project that they be reported to your implementation partner. This process by which the reporting happens can play a tremendous role in the cost and time factor for resolving such problems.
My hopes for this blog are that I can help bring to light some of the most important points in defect and issue reporting that will aid in the resolution process that will save you time, money and frustration. So let’s get started.
I cannot tell you how important it is to standardize the method of communication by which defects and issues are reported. As easy as it may seem to physically show and tell someone about an issue, it is actually one of the worst ways to report it. Reason being it is not documented anywhere but that individual’s brain. The reliance on them to remember the issue and seek out the resolution is far too great and not worth leaving to chance. Written documentation is an absolute must when it comes to reporting issues.
Now, with that said, there are a multitude of ways you can document in writing of course. Email, Microsoft Excel spreadsheets, tracking software or anything alike are all potentially acceptable methods. Using a combination of all of those methods with no rhyme or reason however, would not be advised. You have to decide ahead of time the method that you are going to use and then stick to it with unwavering dedication. Before you begin reporting issues on your system, it should be agreed upon between you and your support team which method will be used so that there is no question from the start how and where your issues will be managed.
Step By Step:
When you want to document an issue or defect in your Dynamics CRM system, you need to think of it in the same way you would physically show them. If a particular set of actions produced an error or result that was incorrect, you would probably physically walk through those steps with your support person to show them what you are experiencing. This is what you should also be doing when documenting the issue in writing.
Providing a step by step recount of all the clicks or moves you made to produce the issue or defect is vital to the troubleshooting and resolution process. This does not mean that you have to write a short novel just to report a defect, it can be as simple as a bullet point list. Having those exact steps that caused the issue right from the beginning will greatly reduce the time it takes us to zero in on its nature and figure out how to correct it. Sometimes it may seem obvious to you as an end user, but it’s not always the case to the folks who are supporting you on the system.
A Picture is worth a Thousand Words
Not to take anything from the paragraph above, the words are very, very important but a screenshot or picture of your defect is truly worth its weight in pixels. (Get it? Pixels.) Being able to physically see the issue or error message or incorrect field population, whatever the problem may be, provides your support team a certain clarity that sometimes even the best written description cannot produce. When it comes to saving time and money, this is potentially the best bang for your buck. Similarly to the written communication, there are of course many different methods of taking pictures or screenshots. If your budget is tight and you don’t want to purchase a fancy screen capture tool, there is nothing wrong with using the good old Print Screen button and Microsoft Paint. And if you really want to take it to the next level, you can even draw on the screenshot to highlight the areas to focus on and point out specifically where the defect or issue is on the screen. (One of my personal favorites.)
This is the part that you, and only you, as the client can do. When you are experiencing issues in your CRM, sometimes they are going to be very minor and sometimes they could be seemingly earth-shattering. Unless you assign a priority or severity to your defects, we cannot address the issues in the appropriate manner. Major problems should be rated and communicated as such so that your support team can afford the necessary resources to handle it before it affects your business. Some sort of numbering or weighting method is usually most popular to serve this purpose. This allows you to very easily, and in a very standardized way, communicate your issues and the priority in which they should be handled.
Going back to our friend Jerry Maguire, never ever forget how “Help Me, Help You” can help with your Dynamics CRM implementation.
If you are looking for additional news, tips and other insights for Dynamics CRM, our blog, www.dynamicscrmpros.com are written by our experienced consulting bringing you a variety of experience from training and development to business process improvement and data integration.
By: Chris Witham – New York Microsoft Dynamics CRM partner