We are all beta testers for Microsoft Dynamics 365

Working with Microsoft Dynamics 365 is often painful but always exciting #HoskCodeWisdom

Microsoft Dynamics 365 version 9 has seen a lot of bugs in Microsoft Dynamics 365, particularly an increase in bugs in the core functionality, not just new functionality.   I have heard a few Dynamics professional say

“We are beta testers for Microsoft Dynamics 365”

What’s happening and why is it so bad

This is my opinion with no evidence to back this up apart from talking to other Microsoft experts and my experiences.  Before Dynamics 365 was rebranded e.g. Dynamics CRM 2016 and before, there would be a few bugs with new features (which we all know to never use a first version e.g. Microsoft Dynamics Marketing)

In version 9 I have seen lots of bugs, obvious bugs, solution bugs.   I wondered if it was just my bad luck but speaking with other Dynamics professionals they have seen an increase in bugs.

Some bugs I have had the pleasure of in 2018

  • Auditing broken
  • lookups have no names
  • Importing solutions times out
  • holding solutions broken and get stuck (breaking other imports)
  • adding visuals breaks solution import
  • Microsoft minor updates creating dependencies
  • minor update stops solution being imported with duplicate guid
  • Problems with performance and scale groups
  • memory leaks in web servers
  • Microsoft adding dependencies in minor patches – When a Patch to Microsoft Dynamics 365 can break your instance
  • Microsoft adding functionality into Case management and breaking solution imports
  • Microsoft updating instances slowly, stopping up solutions being imported between Dynamics 365 environments
  • Dynamics instances getting stuck, disappearing or being unusuable

What might have caused this?

The direction of Dynamics is to move to business applications, take the processing out of Dynamics and put it into Azure via

  • PowerApps
  • Flow
  • Logic Apps
  • Azure functions
  • Azure WebJobs

Dynamics 365 is one part of the solution and integrated with many services. Processing should be moved out of Dynamics to reduce load on Dynamics and move data out to store it where it’s cheap (e.g. not in Dynamics 365 where it’s expensive)

To do this, Microsoft needed CDS (common Data Service) to be easy and affective to use. I have always thought of Microsoft Dynamics as a GUI front end to a database and a framework to trigger customisations.

Now CDS is a blank Microsoft Dynamics 365

 

To decouple the default functionality of Sales, Marketing and case management, Microsoft needed to recreate these to use standard and supported solutions. Trickier than you would think because the functionality was created using unsupported customisations because supported customisations couldn’t do.

This explains why the CRM 2011 screens have been sitting in Dynamics 365 for so long, Microsoft couldn’t take them out without rewriting all that unsupported functionality (naughty Microsoft).

Microsoft have recreated the functionality with supported customisations (so they could decouple  it). They needed to create the custom control framework and other cool stuff to do this but they have finally got there.  This will be great once they give us a tool to edit the custom controls.

I like the ability to import Sales, Marketing, Case management solution only if you need them, if you are using Dynamics 365 CE as an XRM framework you can now remove those unwanted dependencies.

This rewrite has caused many bugs but I see this is short-term pain for long-term gain.

Microsoft has moved to Azure SQL and moving from SQL server to Azure SQL caused a bunch of problems no one expected.

Process

We got a bug which was reported as fixed,  we tested it and found it wasn’t.  After some investigation the support analyst told me the developer had forgot to check the code in. How did this get reported as fixed?

Azure

Microsoft has fully moved Dynamics 365 to Azure, they are the largest service on Azure,  they are eating their own dog food. This added infrastructure problems to compliment the bugs it added to the system.

Online

The move to Dynamics 365 online has picked up speed, now all customers want to use Dynamics 365.  This means we are getting different projects, doing different things and find different bugs.   The number of projects, type of projects and crazy things developers are doing with Dynamics 365 online has exploded.

Devops and automation

Best practices like DevOps and automation are being brought to Dynamics projects.  This is finding problems not identified before or seen before.

Will it get better?

I read this article about how they build windows 10 and I’m guessing Dynamics does it a similar way

The one version is coming – The new Microsoft Dynamics 365 release schedule is coming and with this Microsoft are moving to a continuous release cycle and a greater testing.

New Dynamics 365 fixes will be tested by Canary (early release) organisations and smaller regions (sorry smaller regions, the need of the Europe and America is greater than the need of everyone else). Everyone will be on the one version which means more testing will be done on the one version.

Microsoft have just persuaded all Dynamics production instances to test it for them or risk breaking their production instance on upgrade.

 

Microsoft has put the pressure of testing earlier onto its customers, accepting the latest major release is not optional and cannot be scheduled. Companies will have no option but to test the new release in a sandbox instance. The one version (to rule them all) should lead to greater automated and manual testing from Microsoft and all its Dynamics 365 customers, this will find bugs faster but will leave the question on how quickly can Microsoft fix and release these fixes.

Features can be turned off, you can avoid using them until they work 

Microsoft are improving the monitoring and proactive fixing and self healing of Azure resources.  Proactively finding problems with customer Dynamics organisations and send them advice. Microsoft will release a tool to check solutions, which does static checks on code to find poor performing code.

The move towards the one version of Dynamics could initially be painful but will improve Dynamics 365 in the long term. Microsoft seem to making the right noises about moving toward continuous deployments, mentioning automated testing and other improvements should help.

The windows development post ends with a good quot

Adopting the principle that the Windows code should always be shipping quality—not “after a few months of fixing” but “right now, at any moment”—would be an enormous change. But it’s a necessary one. Microsoft needs to be in a position where each new update is production quality from day one; a world where updating to the latest and greatest release is a no-brainer, a choice that can be confidently taken. Feature updates should be non-events, barely noticed by users. Cutting back to one release a year, or one release every three years, doesn’t do that, and it never did. It’s the process itself that needs to change: not the timescale.

Embrace it

What I have always enjoyed working with Dynamics is its attitude to change. Microsoft add new services, new tools and new everything. It’s often painful, but it’s always exciting.

Future projects will look nothing like the projects you have been creating for the last 5-10 years and we are all going to need to learn the limitations and best practices. You will laugh, cry and scream with frustration but hopefully not every day.

Other interesting articles

The future of Microsoft Dynamics 365 projects
Will development move towards no code solutions?

Advertisements

Hosk’s recommended Dynamics 365 and other articles December 2018

Quotes

Mediocre people don’t like high achievers, and high achievers don’t like mediocre people.  Nick Saban

There is no such thing as requirements so clear that no developer could misinterpret them

Articles of the Month

awesome-1

Great Dynamics 365 articles this month

Programming/Scrum

Other/Business/Leadership/Management

The Hosk – currently reading

The Hosk – last 5 recommendations

Selected  HoskWisdom

  • All future development roads lead through CDS, PowerApps and Flow. So start heading in that direction now
  • IT projects are not about delivering technology they are about enabling users
  • Too many workarounds never get done properly
  • Code is as complex as you make it
  • Life is too short to write bad code
  • Writing good code is like being sexy, if you have to tell people you are, you aren’t
  • No matter how bad things get, you can always refactor them
  • If you want to do well as an individual, you have to work well in the team
  • There is nothing more persuasive than the other person thinking it’s thier idea
  • Life is short and should not be wasted doing boring work

Last months Monthly articles

Last months recommended monthly articles

Hosk’s CRM Developer Articles

A collection of my favorite CRM Developer articles I have written

Dynamics professionals salary survey 2018 and other stats

Developers aren’t free because they need money and we need work #HoskCodeWisdom
Effort is the price, experience, knowledge and skills is what you get #HoskCodeWisdom

The start of the year is a trigger for people to reflect on their career, goals and happiness in their current role.  The Nigel Frank Dynamics salary survey is a tool to help you understand if you’re paid the market average and other information about Dynamics professionals.

Companies employ many Dynamics professionals but the reality is you work for yourself because people rarely work for one company their whole career.   You should make sure you being paid the market value.

You can download it here Dynamics survey, I have highlighted some interesting facts below but it‘s worth reading the whole survey which contains details about

  • Average wages dependent on country and role in the Dynamics ecosystem
  • Workplace diversity
  • Benefits and retention
  • Microsoft certifications and experience
  • Job satisfaction
  • Top benefits of Microsoft Dynamics product
If you want to see trends over the last 4 years you can read previous posts on the salary survey

WHY KNOWING AVERAGE WAGES IS IMPORTANT

Money should not be the key driver for moving jobs but make sure you are being paid your worth.  Use the average wage statistics to assess if they underpay you, take into your yearly review, tell your manager you are not being paid the market rate and ask what can they do?

Knowing the average wage for your role and experience helps you negotiate in your current role or a new job.

Wages should be based  on the industry average not an increment of what  you were previously paid

Why do people move?

  • 57% lack of salary increase
  • 54% lack of career or promotion prospects
  • 49% Needing a new challenge
  • 36 Lack of leadership and vision

46% are considering moving in the next 12 months, 17% not sure.  This might be due to the increased head hunting by recruiters on LinkedIn.  People who are not looking for jobs might be tempted if jobs with higher salaries keep being sent to them.

Recruitment has changed, people are applying to job adverts less and being head hunted more.

This post will help you evaluate different job offers.

How to evaluate job offers for Microsoft Dynamics 365 roles

Money and moving roles

It’s common to say you shouldn’t move for money but why?  Money isn’t a motivator because after a few months the more money it will stop making you feel happy.  Getting paid more does‘nt  make you enjoy your job or the company culture more.

If you consider your own career, you will have progressed to a more senior role and get paid 2 or 3 times the wage you started on but are you 2 or 3 times happier now?

Those who move jobs for money, lose motivation once used to the new wage.  Money is a problem when you don’t have enough.

if you decide you want to change job  to further your career, go to a company that shares your values or move to a new role which can further  your career.  Think about the things that can improve your job

  • Company culture
  • Training
  • Career progression opportunities
  • Getting new skills
  • Role

 Dynamics 365 professionals UK 2018 salary

Below are the average wages for Dynamics 365 CE professionals in the UK, you can see here Nigel Frank salary survey 2018

Certifications

Dynamics 365 professionals who are certified get paid more than Dynamics 365 professional who are not certified.  I have benefits of Dynamics certifications before the message is clear

Get certified and get paid more

Retention

The benefits and rewards are not just financial, consider other benefits when you are negotiating new roles and your yearly review because there might be more flexible with benefits.

The other consideration is the benefits could have a more positive effective on your job satisfaction and life.  Working from home an extra day from home could have a positive affect on your work/life balance.

Interesting facts from this years report

  • 68% of respondents said they are happy in their current role but are open to new opportunities
  • 82% of respondents who have experience with Dynamics 365 said they would recommend it to others
  • 54% of respondents have a Microsoft certification with 61% holding a Business Applications certification
  • 61% of Partner respondents reported an increase in workload over the last 12 months, up 3% from 2017
  • 56% of respondents believe years of experience in Dynamics had the greatest impact on earning potential
  • 68% of respondents said they are happy in their current role but are open to new opportunities
  •  Only 53% of respondents believe their employer pays men and women equally.

The successful growth of the Birmingham CRMUG

Learning and keeping up with Dynamics 365 is difficult, new features, services and functionality is being released at an increasing rate.  This makes working with the Dynamics community and sharing knowledge is more important now than ever

I presented at the Birmingham CRMUG on November 28th, with a presentation on change in Dynamics called – Dynamics 365 is survival of the most adaptable.  This was the 10th meeting of the Birmingham CRMUG and just over 2 years since the first meeting.

Many people have helped create the Dynamics community in the West Midlands, the group now has 151 members with 40 people attending the last meeting in November.

The beginning

On the 17th October I got an email from someone called Imtiaz sent me an email

Hi Ben

The Birmingham Chamber of Commerce has sponsored the first meetup, they have provided a venue and refreshments. The dates they have given me are 7th, 9th or 11th November. times 6pm – 8pm

Would love for you to cover some content on the first meet, or should I put it to the group to see if any one would like to present anything. The topic that have raised interest are Dynamics 365, Azure integration, ADX portals, CRM 2016.

what do you think?

 

I liked the idea but I didn’t like the idea of meeting up with only a few people, so I wrote a post to encourage more people to attend

Birmingham Dynamics Crm User Group has started – Join now 

I managed to persuade in person a bunch of people so the first meeting felt like a great start, here is a picture from the initial meeting

Where is CRMUG Birmingham now?

The last meeting of CRMUG had a great turnout with 55 signed up and 40 people attending.  Three interesting

  • Lucy Muscat – Use Microsoft Teams to Transform sales team collaboration –
  • Imtiaz Hussain – CRM Projects from Conception to Inception –
  • The Hosk – Dynamics 365 is Survival of the Adaptable –

The meeting was vibrant and has progressed from trying to get enough presenters to now have having a choice of presenters and topic.  The meeting can get a good balance of presenters to appeal to a wider range of audience members.

The future

You can’t know what the future holds but it doesn’t stop you excited about it.  Dynamics projects are changing fast with the maturing of the Power platform and CDS.  With Dynamics projects increasing in complexity, it becomes more important to share practical experience and talk about limitations and functionality with those who have done it.

As the CRMUG Birmingham user group grows, the value of attending increases because it attracts a wider range of people with different experiences and skills.

Attend the next meeting on February 6th and meet great Dynamics professional, read more about it here

D365UG / CRMUG Birmingham – Febuarary 6th 2019

Wednesday, Feb 6, 2019, 6:30 PM

Weleyan
Colmore Circus, Queensway Birmingham, GB

9 Members Attending

Our next Dynamics 365 User Group meeting in Birmingham will be on Wednesday 6th February from 6:30-9:00pm. The Wesleyan have again kindly agreed to host our event at Colmore Circus, Queensway, Birmingham, B4 6AR. This is next to Snow Hill Station and a short walk from New Street Station. We’ll confirm the agenda soon … We will have all our usual ne…

Check out this Meetup →

 

Hosk’s recommended Dynamics 365 and other articles November 2018

Quotes

IT projects are not about delivering technology they are about enabling users #HoskCodeWisdom

The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said. – Peter F. Drucker

Articles of the Month

awesome-1

Great Dynamics 365 articles this month

Programming/Scrum

Other/Business/Leadership/Management

The Hosk – currently reading

The Hosk – last 5 recommendations

Selected  HoskWisdom

  • IT projects are complex, difficult and all about people #HoskCodeWisdom
  • Released code hides problems, bugs magnify them #HoskCodeWisdom
  • The more problems you find in design , the less panicking you do in delivery #HoskCodeWisdom
  • Passion in developers is great but only when combined with competency #HoskCodeWisdom
  • Code is like a fart. You love your own and disgusted by other peoples #HoskCodeWisdom
  • An architects diagram without a developer, is just a dream #HoskCodeWisdom
  • Days writing code go slow, projects go fast #HoskCodeWisdom
  • A good plan implemented badly gets the same results as a bad plan implemented well #HoskWisdom
  • Time is limited but few people act that way
  • The shower is where ideas rain down upon you
  • If you can’t control it, don’t worry about it
  • The opportunity to over think things is only a decision away

Last months Monthly articles

Last months recommended monthly articles

Hosk’s CRM Developer Articles

A collection of my favorite CRM Developer articles I have written

Interesting resources for Dynamics professionals from Ignite 2018

Learning never stops, never ends, never finishes

Ignite has a wealth of resources for Dynamics professional.  The problem is not having enough videos to watch, the problem is there is too many and finding the ones interesting to Dynamics professionals.

I have picked out some of the presentations that look interesting.  I haven’t watched them all but I have watched a bunch of them.

This has been really useful to see how the changes, new features and new services (PowerApps, Common data service, Logic Apps, Flows) fit into future projects.

Interesting resources for Dynamics professionals from Ignite 2018

Successful people are constantly learning

Change will make or break your project

“It is always easier to talk about change than to make it.” ~ Alvin Toffler

Change will make or break your project, changes can‘t be controlled your reaction can.  A fixed mindset breaks instead of bends when confronted with change.  Change is constant, some don’t adapt, others adapt enough to survive, a few use change to be successful.  The less rigid and more adaptable you are, the fewer times you get stuck.

Technology, resources, environment and tools change, it costs you time and effort to change but the cost of not changing will be higher.  What was successful in the past, might not be successful in the future.  By focusing on the past, you won’t be prepared for the future.  The past has gone and can‘t be changed but the future is yet to be defined, embrace change and improve your situation.

Code and change

The art of develop lies in the constant adjustments to change

Robust code is decoupled, ensuring it can adapt to the evolution of requirements and manage the effects of change.  Agile development leaves design decisions to as last as possible, giving more time to gather information and decide based on better understanding.

Requirements and solutions evolve, the more detail you uncover, the more feedback you receive the greater your awareness of the problem and the solution.   You can’t capture requirements up front and get a deep understanding without going through iterations of designs and problems.

Project change

A project won’t change but you can change yourself and the approach to be successful.  A project which does not adapt to the changes will fail.  We are servants of projects, they will tell you when it‘s not working.   Think about the pain points, how could this work differently.

Nothing is fixed, people, requirements, technology and politics change, be fluid, formless and adaptable.  Take a flexible approach, what was successful on previous projects might not be successful with these requirements, environments and people.  When you think requirements are certain, you risk creating brittle designs and brittle plans that will break when change happens.

It’s not if change happens but when and how you react.

Projects evolve, the design at the start is not the functionality in production.  This is because the requirements change with understanding and feedback.

Each projects rhythm is unique and the most efficient way of working different.  You have to adjust and keep improving, finding a smoother way to move functionality from requirements to production.

Conclusion

Don’t fight change and don’t wait for it to happen, embrace change and use it as an opportunity for improvement.  Change is not comfortable or easy and involves conflict but through this something better emerges.

Knowing change is coming won’t make it easier because you will need to move past the friction but it’s the only way to make progress