Dynamics 365 and ALM/DevOps Information to get you started

ALM takes the boredom out of development #HoskWisdom

ALM and automated release management has moved from a nice to have to a must have for enterprise projects in Dynamics 365. The more developers you have working on a project the more important setting up ALM and release management. ?Without ALM you will waste hours manually deploying and having merge and build problems.

There is an investment in time to set it up and learn about ALM tools but the longer or bigger the project, more you use it and the greater the return on the investment.

Start at the beginning

Get your head around the ALM concepts

Application lifecycle management (ALM) with Microsoft Power Platform

White Paper — Solution Lifecycle Management: Dynamics 365 for Customer Engagement apps

Application lifecycle management

You may question if setting up ALM worth the time, this page Application lifecycle management has a healthcheck, read it and score your current setup. The key points Hosk highlights below

You should be deploying managed solutions beyond development

If you aren’t deploying managed solutions, there is a danger the environments beyond dev are out of sync, this can hide bugs and invalidate your testing on those environments.

Environments outside of Dev are to test individual components and how the solution works as a complete system.

Environments should be disposable

You should be able to deploy to a new environment with solutions and data and set it up quickly. Changes should be made in DEV and then deployed to all non development environments.

Source Control

Source control should your definitive version of the truth and all customisations, data, templates and reports should be checked in. You should be able to deploy everything from source control.

Use the Solution Packager to convert your Dynamics 365 customisations into XML files, you can see the changes in detail. Deploying from source control means if your environments get corrupted you can rebuild them easily and quickly.

Solutions are binary files, you can see any changes.

Automated ALM and Release

If it can be automated, it should be automated #HoskWisdom

This increases builds and deployments and finds problems quicker, the more frequently you build and release the sooner you find problems. Fixing problems is easier and quicker in a smaller changeset.

Developers are expensive resources, don’t waste their time and enthusiasm manually deploying solutions or wasting time fixing build/release problems because it’s not done often.

The fewer manual steps you do, the less mistakes you will make releasing updates.

Articles to get your started

I’m hope you have read some of the material above and you are now itching to get started, If you have skipped read this page Application lifecycle management (ALM) with Microsoft Power Platform

Read the two articles below

Overview of tools and apps used with ALM

Scenario 0: ALM for a new project

The articles below give step by step instructions to setup an ALM process. The best way to learn is by doing

Video’s

Release Management

Source Control

Solutions

Solutions are core part of deploying your customisations and organising your the development team.

DevOps books

There are lots of resources available online and videos to watch. Technology books can go out of date quicker than they can be written. The three books below are about the theory and give you a deeper understanding of DevOps.

The two books below are fiction, showing you how DevOps can help a business and the pain you might experience trying to implement it

Conclusion

ALM is worth the investment because it’s something multiple developers on your team do every day. ALM increases build and release frequency, enabling you to find problems faster in smaller changesets.

ALM will set standards on your development process and increase quality.

Once the ALM and release management is set up, you will benefit it every day and you will wonder how you ever did without it.