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When Agile meets Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Part 1: The Encounter

by Guus van
CRM Solution Consultant, Avanade Inc.,
September 17 2013

Ever since I was introduced to the concept of agility in the context of  software development , I have been drawn by its powerful principles. However, being a Microsoft Dynamics CRM consultant I have run into occasional friction when proposing Scrum - the most popular agile development method at the moment - as the approach for a CRM implementation. In a new series of articles, I will advocate using agile methods when implementing Microsoft Dynamics CRM and aim to provide guidelines for success.

How Are Agile Projects Different?

Looking at software development in general, there are three project truths that present challenges: (1) It is impossible to gather all requirements at the beginning of a project, (2) whatever requirements gathered are guaranteed to change, and (3) there will always be more to do than time and money will allow. Agile accepts these truths.

First of all, agile focuses on people and their interactions rather than processes and tools. The emphasis on people is concerned with: amicability, talent, skill, and communication. This attention to the human issues gives agile projects a particular feel. Functioning effectively in an agile team requires a certain mind-set. Typically it is very difficult for agile people to function well in a rigid organization and vice versa.  Therefore agile is not for everyone ─ something an organization should consider before adopting agile.

Second, agile focuses on working software rather than comprehensive documentation. Analysis, design, development, and testing are performed continuously and in parallel as opposed to traditional sequential methods. Members of an agile team are joined at the hip working together on a daily basis throughout the project. This introduces accountability across the team for every part of the process. This requires agile team members to ...

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About Guus van

Guus van Waardenburg is a CRM Consultant at Avanade Netherlands. He obtained his masters degree in Information Sciences at VU University in Amsterdam. Guus is a published author, mainly on Agile adoption within Enterprise environments. With years of experience in the field of Dynamics CRM implementations - mainly in the Consumer Packaged Goods industry, and his continuous drive to explore and learn he is continuously expanding his knowledge on topics like Agile, Social Media, Gamification and other aspects in the context of Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

More about Guus van
Submitted by GVerreault on Tue, 09/24/2013 - 09:46 Permalink

Great post. I've been involved in large implementations of CRM, mostly in the public sector, and I gotta say that each time that we approached projects with the concepts that you describe, we've nothing but success, effective solution for the end users, delivered on budget and on time, and even sometimes before the initial due date! We actually pushed these concepts to the limit, working a lot with iterative development using CRM at the very beginning of the project. And I think that it's where Dynamics CRM excels, because of the ease of use of the various personalization tools. We're conducting design workshops with end users, and some of the requirements gathered at the beginning of the session can often be shown before the end. While we were often put in the rigid structure of public sector, and always on fixed contracts, we managed to adapt their strong methodology so it could fit the Agile approach. It's all in the work methods! I'll be waiting for the second part of your post!

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)