For about the past 18 months I have been planning, researching, communicating, and writing in an effort to improve the implementation documentation for our next major release of Microsoft Dynamics CRM. During this exercise, it has led me to many changes in the documentation, which I think are the right decisions. I hope you do to.
To give an idea of the channels I have used to make decisions on how develop the IG, here a list of resources to name just a few that I have researched and or communicated with:
· Microsoft Dynamics CRM Support Team
· Knowledge Base and Support customer incident databases
· Documentation Feedback from CTP programs
· Our own MSCRM product team
· Convergence Conference Meetings
· VAR Partners
· Dynamics Sure Step virtual team
· Blogosphere (I’ve requested feedback about how to improve the IG on 2 separate occasions)
And the top 5 reasons why the Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 Implementation Guide (IG) is improved are…
1. No longer a single monolithic document. The IG has been separated into three documents. Each doc represent three primary phases of implementation:
· Planning- contains conceptual information about how Microsoft Dynamics CRM is designed as well as system requirements and supported topologies.
· Installing – contains procedural information about how to install Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0.
· Operating and Maintaining – contains information about operational tasks, monitoring, troubleshooting, and known issues.
2. Word doc format. The English version will be in Word 2003 and Word 2007 formats. I know many of you print your IG, so I want to make it as easy and formattable as possible. Word rather then a bit-map format, such as PDF, gives you more control over the printed results that you want. (e.g. increasing margins for space to make notes, etc.).
3. Superfluous content removed. Several topics that contained non-CRM specific content have been removed and replaced with specific CRM content. For example, basic information about how to install and configure other technologies such as Windows Server, SQL Server, Exchange Server etc. have been removed. So, you will no longer see steps to install another product as in past version of the IG such as, 2. Insert the Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 CD or click on the setup.exe file in the root of the Exchange Server 2003 CD (a direct excerpt from the previous IG). For those unfamiliar with the task of inserting a CD into a PC, links to this type of documentation in the IG will be provided.
4. Feedback channel is incorporated. At the end of every chapter, there is an e-mail link that populates an e-mail message with information about the IG. The reader only need type their comment in the e-mail message and click send. Don’t touch the subject line or e-mail address and I’ll have everything I need to receive and review your comments. The subject contains information about what document and chapter the comment pertains to and the language the document is in (it can be one of nearly a dozen languages). This helps me locate where in the doc the comment is stemming from. Tell me the good, the bad, and the ugly as it pertains to the content. I want to know.
5. Regular update improvements. After the initial release, the IG will be revised every three months. A revision sheet will be included that summarizes each revision and where the revision occurs in the document.
Thanks for reading.