It’s been a week since User Group Summit in Orlando! This was a great week of learning and networking. I presented many times and also hosted the 3rd annual DMV Summit Happy Hour.
Patrick Wright and I presented some basics for new Dynamics 365 administrators. These sessions have also been scheduled for repeat webinars in January so make sure you get registered for Part 1 and Part 2!
Five DYSFUNCTIONS of Dynamics Teams
I started the conference off with Chelsea Schlepp talking about getting teams to work together effectively. We talked about lessons learned from The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni. There is a pyramid of issues that teams need to work through to be fully effective. These dysfunctions need to be resolved in order as each builds on the next. This includes: Absence of Trust > Fear of Conflict > Lack of Commitment > Avoidance of Accountability > Inattention to results.
For each of these issues we walked through the characteristics and some exercises to resolve. I recommend you check out the book to learn more. There is also a assessment available in the book to evaluate areas your team might need to work on.
20 Flow Design Tips
As I already know about Dynamics workflows, I am working to translate this into Flow knowledge. So I attended this fast paced Flow design session with Jerry Weinstock.
Here are a few of the main tips I took away:
- Build iteratively: Build a bit, test, keep going
- Use Dynamic Content: If you are hard coding anything, ask yourself if there is a better way
- Variables and Compose: If you just need to store a value use Compose. If you need to set multiple times, use a Variable.
- Start with a button: Use a button to manually trigger your flow before you wire up any automatic triggers
What to Do when your Flows Don’t Flow
Ed Gonzales shared his Flow mantra in this session: Try, Fail, Learn, Repeat. The Flow checker will show you many common issues but when those fail there are 5 problem solving tips:
- Keep it simple
- Use your tools
- Don’t get discouraged
- Think around the problem
- Help Others
You can learn more about these tips on Ed’s blog.
With the twice yearly updates to Dynamics 365 Online, we need to be constantly ready for change. So in this session on Tips on Continuous Upgrading in the new D365 CE World Beth Burrell shared some information to keep in mind.
As I mentioned, Online receives updates twice a year in April and October. Additionally ad-hoc updates are rolled out on a weekly basis with no way for the customer to opt out. This could include new features, security updates or other changes. It is important to know how to test and handle these items.
Management needs to understand that these updates will take time and resources. It is important to test the changes in a sandbox environment during a code freeze or a fully separate environment (but still with your customizations). This should be tested by users with testing scripts they have written. Any resolved issues need to be documented and then you should do the upgrade multiple times to ensure you have all the steps.
It is very important to be on the lookout for security changes. Security Roles are getting more granular and it is possible for changes to be rolled out that cause access issues for your users. Keep in mind new permissions will not be automatically added to copied or custom Security Roles so you will need to find and make those changes yourself.
5 Steps to Create PowerApps for Any Device
Jonas Rapp spoke in the Power Zone (the Silent Disco of conferences) on creating responsive PowerApps. Here are his rules:\
- Disable scaling
- Size: work with form elements to adjust the size
- Position: everything needs to be relative to other controls and orientation
- Spatial awareness: this will take some testing with a focus on usability
- Geometry: you will have to do some math
We also discussed using the default Tablet experience as this allows you to change the size and set portrait versus landscape. Also remember that the designer and preview always scales so you will need to publish to test.
The other interesting tip was to use a separate page to store your calculations for height and width. This will give you a visual way to test and also allow you to grab those values from one place.
Microsoft Flow Integration for CRM Administrators
Last but not least, I joined Chris Cognetta and Jerry Weinstock to talk about how they are using Flow as an integration platform. They are integrating huge systems and are working to on using a mapping custom entity in Dynamics so that the integration can be controlled by internal resources and changes made easily.
They are also using a custom entity to keep an integration log. This is helpful so administrators have one place to look to see the status of all Flow integrations and review if errors need to be resolved.
A quick tip shared was around data validation. Flow does not handle null values very well. So always check that the values received are in the expected range. If not, these can be logged as errors at the beginning and do not need to run through the full process.
You can also use Flow to monitor Flow! This means you can create admin Flows to do things like send notifications when new Flows are created or for errors.
Some Flow conditions were also discussed. Switch case can be used to have a different set of actions performed depending on the value used. Keep in mind, if a new value is added the switch will not automatically update or notify you. Instead it will use the default case. There is also the Configure Run After action that can trap errors and prevent the whole Flow from failing. You should also review the Environment Variables and how these can be used to store data for your different environments to prevent needing to manually edit after migrating.
To go deeper into these concepts check out the whitepaper on Building Enterprise Ready Flows,
That’s all the sessions I had time for! Be on the lookout for encore webinars for my sessions and enjoy some pictures below. I hope to see all of you at the next User Group Summit in Nashville!