Using an Agile Hybrid approach to the implementation of Microsoft Dynamics CRM

By - August 1, 2013

We have  good success implementing Microsoft Dynamics CRM utilizing a project methodology based on the Agile method.  The Agile approach allows users to “touch and feel” the systems sooner, agree that there will be some unknowns going into the project, and gain a more tolerant acceptance of change.  The last step, acceptance of change, is a big reason to use the Agile methodology.  How many times have you entered a project with a buttoned up design document only to get half way through to find out you were not fully aware of the full process.  My favorite statement at this point is ‘we didn’t know what we didn’t know.’  It’s bound to happen.

We have used this methodology on our larger projects and it allows us to take smaller chunks of work, implement, verify, test and launch.  This allows users to get on the system quicker and also aids in user acceptance.  It allows us to ease the end user into the system, rather than flipping a light switch and turning it on.  There are some challenges as far as coordination of the legacy systems currently in place.

As an example, we may go into a project and do an overall project design.  This is not necessarily a roadmap.  It just allows us to know what entities and functionality will be in play.  We are then able to prioritize the work and start designing for the first phase.  This is usually just implementing the contacts and accounts maintenance.  These entities are usually used organization wide and are a good general starting point.  While a customer service rep may use them differently than a salesperson, the data will basically be the same.  We have the ability to train just on these two entities and any further training needs will be identified throughout the process.

After the implementation of the contacts and accounts, a next logical step would be activities and the processes, and functionality around that.  This may or may not constitute a full sprint depending on complexity of these processes.  Training at this point really needs to be about the process since the user should be familiar with the way the form works.  Opportunities, cases and custom entities logically make up the next several sprints.

A byproduct of this method is the cost and the division of work between our firm and the customer.  Because of the sprints, the CRM power users have the ability to see the designing of the forms.  This allows them to start playing with entities in future sprints prior to moving onto the sprint.  The acceptance of those maintaining the system is higher because they have the ability to touch and feel their portion of the system earlier on.

We’ve found in using the Agile Approach, our projects have a high rate of user acceptance, low rate of rewrites and reworking, and most projects come in under budget. Learn more about our Microsoft Dynamics CRM success stories.

If you are implementing a Microsofty Dynamics CRM project and have questions about this approach, contact our professionals at crm@mcgladrey.com or by phone at 855.437.7202.

By: Bob Kanzler – Microsoft Dynamics CRM consultant in New Jersey

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