Filling in the black hole of doc feedback



Anyone who has send feedback has probably felt like they were throwing a rock into a deep, dark, pit. You listen for a while for the clink that means you've hit bottom. Sometimes you hear it, sometimes it takes so long that you step away from the pit slowly. You wouldn't want to fall into that!


As part of the Microsoft Dynamics CRM team, I've been working hard to fill in the black hole of documentation feedback...documentation feedback? Where's that, you may ask. At the bottom of every online Help topic is a question, a pair of options, a tiny box, and a HUGE send button. If I have to tell you where the Help is, I may cry. (On the Standard toolbar, click Help, and then click Help on This Page or Contents.)


So, here I am, sitting at the bottom of the Documentation Feedbac black pit. The feedback message comes into my team. I've set my Outlook to hear a lovely "ping" when your mail comes in. Yeah, it's so important to me that I've actually broken the cardinal rule of e-mail management, just for you. If it is in my area of the product, then I read it carefully. I ponder the question behind the question. Sometimes, I know the answer or have heard it before, so I can shoot off a quick answer. If not, I search for it in the Help. Sometimes I find it (just not where you expected it) and sometimes I think "Thank you! Another missing piece I can fill in." After a day or two of research, I type up an answer, provide some resources, and send it to you.


Now, the real work starts. My team tracks all incoming feedback. We look for patterns, gaps in the online Help, inconsistencies and outright errors. Then we write. Sometimes that means updating the online Help, sometimes we write an article or troubleshooting tip for the Communities sites (http://www.microsoft.com/dynamics/crm/using/default.mspx), and always we consider how we're going to use this information for the next release of Microsoft Dynamics CRM. My manager even share your feedback trends with the project managers every couple of months to be sure they are making the right decisions for our next release.



Articles are published twice a month and we are about to release a new help release, our third since Microsoft CRM 3.0 released. In this last update, in response to over 450 doc feedback messages, we updated over 75% of our online Help including adding over 60 additional troubleshooting topics. Not bad for a team of 5 writers, 3 editors and a manager.


So now the bad news, our team is turning its attention to the work for the next release, so we may not be able to answer every documentation feedback message we get, but we will continue to read them, track them, analyze patterns, and use that information to write new articles and of course, make sure the next release of Microsoft Dynamics CRM online Help answers your questions.


So keep that document feedback coming and we'll keep using it to make things better for everyone.


Crystal Smithwick

Comments (13)

  1. Jesus says:

    I Am wondering why documentation, has to be done by only Microsoft. I guess there are enough users out there who love the change the mistakes in the documents. Add new information.

    I guess if Microsoft could create a portal and let People do the changes. Microsoft Can just be a facilitator.

  2. As Renee Wesberry blogged here a couple weeks ago, we recently released a series of articles centered

  3. No matter how hard writers and editors work to get our content just right , Help is often outdated as

  4. No matter how hard writers and editors work to get our content just right , Help is often outdated as

  5. We’re very pleased to announce the availability of Help update 4.2 for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0

  6. We’re very pleased to announce the availability of Help update 4.2 for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 (on

  7. If you find an error or have a suggestion about the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Documentation we want to hear

  8. If you find an error or have a suggestion about the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Documentation we want to hear

  9. If you find an error or have a suggestion about the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Documentation we want to hear

  10. Kim Coulter says:

    Having never worked with CRM, I am tasked with customizing MS Dynamics Help.  Our situation is that many existing applications will be migrating to CRM.  I was told that each application is essentially a tenant of CRM and will share the same Help.  I am not sure what approach we need to take, especially if multiple writers want to customize Help.  Any advice on what approach we take?

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