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Author: Ashley Steiner

Change Management: Navigating Successful Transitions

When launching new initiatives or projects, organizations must go through a crucial process called change management. Understanding how change will affect people, teams, and the entire organization is necessary for successfully guiding people through the shift. User Acceptance Testing (UAT) and training are crucial components of change management, but they only cover a small portion of its overall breadth. We will discuss what change management comprises and why it is essential for getting successful results in any transformative endeavor in this blog article.

A comprehensive strategy for moving from the present condition to a desired future one is included in change management. It starts by acknowledging that people are impacted by change at different organizational levels and throughout the course of a project. Organizations may reduce resistance to change, boost participation, and support a smoother transition by proactively addressing the human element of that change.

A number of essential elements go into effective change management. It demands early engagement and planning, first and foremost. Significant obstacles and resistance might arise if change management is postponed or ignored entirely. Organizations can set themselves up for success by starting change management initiatives as soon as the project is conceived.

Another essential component of change management is having a thorough understanding of the affected people and teams. This entails determining what will change for them and offering the required resources and assistance to get them ready for the upcoming transition. Change management requires understanding who will be impacted and how the change will affect their roles and duties, much like gathering requirements before beginning a project.

The emotional journey that people typically take when transitioning is illustrated by the change curve. Beginning with doubt and denial, it descends before rising to acceptance and problem-solving. By assisting people in passing through the early stages more quickly and without as much resistance as possible, change management seeks to flatten this curve. Organizations can speed up the adoption of new procedures, procedures, systems, or tools by doing this.

If change management is neglected or put off people may get trapped in the bottom section of the curve, which is marked by uncertainty, blame, and resistance. This might cause stress and reluctance to accept the change, which eventually jeopardizes the project’s success. Organizations can proactively address concerns, allay anxieties, and lead people toward acceptance and involvement by beginning change management early.

Change management is a multidimensional discipline that is essential to the execution of projects successfully. It encompasses the full change process, from planning and preparation through adoption and integration, going beyond training and UAT. Organizations may reduce resistance, maximize involvement, and raise the possibility of attaining desired results by giving change management top priority from the start of the project.

Effective transition management requires an understanding of the human element of change and the provision of people and teams with the right resources, encouragement, and direction. Organizations may foster a culture where people welcome change and collaborate to achieve common goals by proactively addressing concerns, regulating emotions, and enabling a smooth transition.

In conclusion, change management is a continual activity that promotes organizational resilience and flexibility, not just a box to be checked during project implementation. Organizations can position themselves for success in a constantly changing business environment by adopting change management as a core component of each transformative endeavor.

Check out our podcast episodes to learn more!

Change Management

UAT is Designed for Successful Dynamics 365 Implementations, Not for Training

A critical step in the Dynamics 365 deployment process is user acceptance testing (UAT) to check that the system satisfies the needs and specifications of the end users. But a widespread misperception is that UAT also acts as a period of user training. This is a false assumption that has to be refuted. End user training should not be done during UAT because doing so can hurt the implementation’s chances of being successful.

The main goal of UAT is to test the entire process, find any problems or faults, and take action to fix them. It is now up to the users to check the functionality of the system, offer suggestions, and guarantee that it complies with their particular business procedures. When UAT is viewed as training, the importance of thoroughly testing the system is lost, which compromises the testing effort.

Additionally, if users see UAT as a chance for training, they might utilize workarounds or recall problems from testing, which can cause confusion and inefficiencies once the system goes live. UAT is intended to identify and address these problems, not as a platform for system usage training. Appropriate training and change management activities should be carried out separately to make sure that users are sufficiently prepared for the go-live phase.

The difference between UAT and end user training must be emphasized. While training should concentrate on showing users how to efficiently use the system after go-live, UAT should be viewed as a specialized testing phase to validate the system’s functionality. Organizations face the danger of deploying a system that hasn’t been well tested and might not satisfy user requirements if they treat UAT as training.

In conclusion, it is crucial for the effective execution of Dynamics 365 implementations to comprehend the goal of user acceptance testing (UAT) and its distinct distinction from end user training. Organizations may guarantee that the system is thoroughly validated, problems are fixed, and users are well prepared for the go-live phase by recognizing UAT as a separate testing phase. Organizations may enhance the effectiveness of their software implementations and conduct the most productive UAT sessions possible by making this important distinction.

Check out our podcast episode to learn more!

Planning and Executing the Best User Acceptance Testing Sessions

Key Considerations for Dynamics 365 Customer Service Success

Establishing an efficient customer service system is essential to increase customer satisfaction and preserve solid connections. Dynamics 365 Customer Service provides a comprehensive solution for customer service management, but there are a number of things to take into account before putting it into use. We will review the important items to think about while setting up Dynamics 365 Customer Service.

Considerations for Setting up Customer Service

Licensing and Functionality

The licensing for the Dynamics 365 OmniChannel app is separate from the licensing for Customer Service. To make the OmniChannel features available, organizations must buy both licenses. Personal phone lines can be set up through Teams, but OmniChannel functionality requires additional licenses for customer support and digital messaging. To ensure cost-effectiveness, it is crucial to assess the additional license costs and identify the precise user requirements.


Each of the two licensing options—Customer Service and the OmniChannel digital add-on—costs about $100 per user per month. The entire budget needs to account for this added expense. To maximize the return on investment (ROI), it is necessary to project the number of people who will actively use the OmniChannel capabilities.

Call Center Size and Complexity

Microsoft is targeting larger businesses with complicated needs for the OmniChannel add on feature of Dynamics 365 Customer Service. The Microsoft 365 stack includes choices for small enterprises, such as Teams and Power Apps, but Dynamics 365’s full capabilities are best suited for bigger teams with complex customer care scenarios. Consider the size and needs of your business to see if the extensive features of Dynamics 365 Customer Service are a fit.

Efficiency and Automation

Features for automation are available in Dynamics 365 Customer Service, which can greatly increase productivity. Power Virtual Agents (PVA) can be used to conduct first client encounters which saves agents’ time from having pointless talks. Organizations can speed up customer interactions, maximize agent productivity, and improve overall efficiency by automating some duties and deploying Power Virtual Agents.

Dynamics 365 Customer Service implementations need to be planned and thought out carefully. Important first steps include understanding the licensing requirements, calculating the extra expense, and determining whether the solution is appropriate given the size and complexity of your company. Additionally, utilizing Dynamics 365’s automation features can boost productivity and increase the overall customer service experience. By taking these considerations into account, businesses can make informed decisions and successfully set up Dynamics 365 Customer Service to meet their specific needs.

Check out our podcast episode to learn more!

OMNICHANNEL OVERLOAD – Learn How Omnichannel Amplifies the Customer Service Experience

Admin Feast: From Starters to Mains, and Now Ashley’s Dessert of Top CRM Tips!

In this final installment of our series on CRM administration, we dig in to Ashley’s best administration advice, which reflects years of experience and the apex of our collective journey. These suggestions, like our earlier ones, aren’t ranked, but they perfectly capture the collective wisdom we’ve accumulated over time. We cordially invite our readers to take part as we unveil each gem. If you have any additional information or interesting suggestions, please add to our debate in the comments or on social media. Our CRM community thrives on shared knowledge and progressive collaboration.

Liz had already set the table with a mouthwatering entrée and discussed her administrative techniques. Ali then served up a filling main course while specializing in administrative tools. It’s time for the delicious conclusion, so let’s savor Ashley’s dessert of information.

1. Utilize an ISV where it makes sense

For CRM administrators, utilizing Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) can be a game-changer. Even though Dynamics provides a powerful platform, there are some particular requirements or peculiar processes that may be better served by specialized solutions. ISVs increase Dynamics’ versatility by offering solutions that are specialized for different sectors and business sizes. I highly recommend Data8, a tool with a focus on data duplication and validation. Data management is essential for administrators, and automating these operations can save a lot of time. Investigate AppSource for potential ISV solutions if you’re having problems. Keep in mind that the time and money saved over time can frequently make the investment in an ISV worthwhile.

2. Leverage calculated and roll-up columns

Dynamics’s roll-up and calculated columns can make managing data and doing calculations much easier. These columns automatically conduct arithmetic operations, assisting with tasks like forecasting, as opposed to relying on manual computations or external programs like Excel. Businesses can improve productivity, streamline procedures, and cut errors by combining these columns. There are restrictions on their utilization, but innovative solutions like joiner tables can increase their potential. Overall, they are useful tools that are frequently underused.

3. Take the time to rollout Business Process Flows

Business Process Flows (BPFs) are effective resources that are frequently underused. By directing users through specified processes, these flows guarantee consistency and effectiveness. BPFs can streamline user interactions by putting crucial steps at the top of the form and allowing for automation within steps. However, developing a consistent method is frequently more difficult than using technology. BPF adoption is difficult in many organizations since there is often a lack of standardized processes. Prioritizing process improvement and establishing distinct processes is essential before incorporating them into the CRM. BPFs not only simplify processes but also act as crucial onboarding resources for new hires.

4. My XrmToolBox hits

Model-driven app copier

The model-driven app copier has completely changed my life. While it may be tempting to directly customize the out of the box model-drive apps like the Sales Hub, it is advised to make your own to prevent more problems. Before, it took a lot of work to recreate these duplicate apps so they looked like the originals. The model-driven app copier, on the other hand, makes it simple to clone an app while keeping all of its features and then change it as necessary. By eliminating the bother of creating apps from start, this technology has helped me.

Recycle bin

Accidental deletions are particularly problematic in a complex system like Dynamics. Even though it’s important to inform users of the effects of deletions, mistakes do occur. In such circumstances, the recycle bin tool comes in quite handy. The recycle bin enables you to check deleted items and recover them if auditing is enabled. But it’s important to be conscious of its limitations, especially when it comes to interpersonal connections. For instance, it can be difficult to restore an account whose primary contact has been erased. The recycle bin, despite its limitations, is a crucial tool for any CRM administrator.

Bulk data updater

Large-scale data management is a typical CRM difficulty that the bulk data updater tool makes simple. This program enables updating hundreds of thousands of entries in a fraction of the time as opposed to updating records in small batches. It also provides the capability to “touch” a record, initiating business rules or workflows without really making any changes.

We’ve just finished our three-course “favorite CRM admin tips” feast, and it’s been a delicious ride. Liz gave us a pleasant appetizer demonstrating her administration best practices. In the main course, Ali served up her top administration tools. Ashley concluded with a dessert of priceless advice on using the tools Microsoft gives you. Despite the size and diversity of the Dynamics ecosystem, administrators are well-equipped to prepare for success thanks to the tools and knowledge offered. This series focused on the skill of tailoring Dynamics environments to each organization’s particular preferences in an effort to create a more enjoyable experience for end users. Although we’re clearing the table on this series, we look forward to seeing the “seasoning” of input from our readers and the Dynamics community to make our journey even more unique.

Check out our CRM Admin podcast series…

  1. Episode 1: What’s an Admin anyway?
  2. Episode 2: What team does your CRM admin belong on?
  3. Episode 3: Tips for Troubleshooting

CRM Troubleshooting: Expert Tips for Quick Answers

Every CRM Administrator needs to be proficient in troubleshooting in the always changing world of technology. Finding the appropriate solutions quickly can help you deliver excellent solutions to your clients while saving you significant time. We will dive into some of the best approaches for troubleshooting.

Utilize MVP Resources

Microsoft Most Valuable Professionals (MVPs) frequently have in-depth expertise in particular fields. Visit the MVP website to learn more about MVPs and their areas of expertise. The bios, histories, and activities listed in MVP profiles often give you a sense of their level of knowledge.

Leverage LinkedIn

MVPs and other Dynamics experts typically highlight their skills on LinkedIn. You can easily determine their areas of focus by looking at their profiles. Additionally, asking questions on LinkedIn can start fruitful dialogues and put you in touch with subject-matter experts.


Microsoft Community: There is a wealth of knowledge on the Microsoft community website. Users are able to ask questions and frequently get answers from both knowledgeable advisors and Microsoft product staff. It is a rich resource that addresses a variety of subjects.

Dynamics User Group (DUG) Discussion Forums: DUG provides a dedicated forum for discussing Dynamics-related questions and issues.

Independent Blogs: Look for independent blogs when looking for information online. In the comment box, bloggers frequently interact with their readers and are happy to assist. For direct contact, you can also locate bloggers on LinkedIn.

Be Mindful of Dates

Always look up the posting and response dates on internet forums. Older solutions might not be applicable now because technology is developing quickly. Whether you come across an old post with a comparable problem, check to see if it still applies today or look for more recent conversations.

Specify Your Platform

Dynamics 365 (D365) includes a number of products. To guarantee you’re obtaining responses that are pertinent to your platform, be specific when asking questions.

A successful CRM administrator will excel at troubleshooting. You can speed up your search for troubleshooting solutions using these recommended practices, which include using MVP resources, utilizing LinkedIn, exploring forums, taking post dates into consideration, and specifying your platform. A wonderful resource at your disposal is the community’s collective knowledge, so keep up with the most recent trends and innovations. Happy resolving issues!

Check out our CRM Administration podcast series for additional insights!

Other CRM administration content:

Ideal Characteristics of Outstanding CRM Administrators

Client Relationship Management (CRM) solutions are essential in the modern corporate environment for preserving solid customer interactions, increasing sales procedures, and fostering company expansion. The backbone of this ecosystem is a CRM administrator, who is in charge of making sure the system functions flawlessly and keeps up with the changing requirements of the business. But what distinguishes a superior CRM administrator? Beyond technical proficiency, there are a number of crucial characteristics that distinguish a great individual in this position.

Product expertise is unquestionably important for a CRM administrator, but the most important traits go beyond system familiarity. The following characteristics are the most important to search for in a superb CRM administrator:

Empathy and Communication Skills: An effective CRM administrator needs to empathize with end users and a thorough understanding of their needs and challenges. This ability makes it easier to communicate clearly and ensures that the CRM system satisfies the needs of daily users. Additionally, the administrator must be skilled in interacting with both end users and executive leadership, bridging the gap between technical details and business objectives.

Adaptability and Continuous Learning: The CRM landscape is continuously changing, with new updates and features constantly emerging all the time. A great administrator embraces change and actively looks for chances to grow professionally. Their willingness to stay updated ensures the CRM system continues to align with the company’s changing needs and industry trends.

Multitasking and Variety Management: A CRM administrator’s job is anything but routine. A effective administrator thrives in a fast-paced environment where tasks can range from resolving technical issues to collaborating with stakeholders on strategic initiatives. It’s crucial to have the capacity to balance a variety of obligations and adjust to changing priorities.

Independent Decision-Making: A CRM administrator often operates with a high degree of autonomy. They need to make informed decisions on what tasks to prioritize, when to push back, and how to manage their workload effectively. This independence requires a strong sense of responsibility and a strategic mindset.

Strategic Thinking and Problem-Solving: Beyond day-to-day operations, a great CRM administrator possesses the ability to create and execute a strategic vision. They can assess business challenges and devise innovative solutions using the CRM system to drive efficiency, improve processes, and enhance customer experiences.

Effective “No” with Solution-Oriented Approach: The skill of saying “no” is essential, but it’s not about denying requests outright. A skilled administrator can navigate these situations by offering alternative solutions or reshaping expectations. This diplomatic “no” maintains positive relationships while ensuring the CRM’s integrity and effectiveness.

Technical skill in CRM management is merely the tip of the iceberg. Empathy, adaptability, multitasking, independence, strategic thinking, and effective communication are just a few of the other important traits that the best CRM administrators exhibit. By ensuring that the CRM system is in alignment with corporate objectives and strengthens customer relationships, these attributes enable them to administer the system as well as contribute to the overall success of the organization. These characteristics will continue to be crucial for administrators to flourish in their professions and foster organizational growth as the CRM landscape changes.

Effective Azure DevOps: Best Practices and Adoption Strategies

For the final stop in our Azure DevOps (ADO) blog series, discover the key best practices and challenges in adopting Azure DevOps. From encouraging transparent collaboration to leveraging ADO’s capabilities for effective reporting, this article delves into the strategies that foster successful user adoption. Learn how aligning team members, clear task documentation, and integration with issue reporting tools optimize project management, making ADO a powerful tool for streamlined workflows. Read on to uncover the essential practices that drive success in the Azure DevOps environment. 

The process of task writing is a critical factor for successful project execution in Azure DevOps. The approach to task creation varies among teams, with some relying on project members to write their own tasks while others involve business analysts or product owners. However, the effectiveness of this practice heavily depends on product knowledge and the level of detail provided in requirements and user stories. Unclear or vague descriptions can lead to misaligned tasks, hindering progress and causing delays. To ensure accurate and comprehensive task documentation, a collaborative effort between team members, including project managers, consultants, and technical personnel, is essential. Understanding the team’s capabilities and fostering effective communication enhances the success of this practice within the ADO environment. 

Another significant challenge to utilizing Azure DevOps tasks effectively lies in ensuring consistent and accurate updates. To overcome this hurdle, it is vital to establish clear expectations and discussions from the project’s outset. Encouraging individuals to diligently update their tasks at each stage fosters a transparent workflow. However, teams often face difficulties in gathering precise effort estimations for sprints due to incomplete task updates. To drive successful adoption, aligning team members with shared understanding of requirements, tasks, and user stories is indispensable. Holding team members accountable for adhering to these practices enhances collaboration and optimizes project progress. 

Effective burndown reporting is critical for optimal project management in Azure DevOps best practices. Incomplete task updates hinder a consultant’s team from accurately understanding the burndown report, impacting their ability to gauge project progress and allocate points appropriately. Transparent reporting extends beyond individual benefits; it directly impacts the company’s financial success and decision-making. Leadership plays a vital role in sharing and interpreting these reports with the team, fostering a deeper understanding and commitment to the process. A cohesive team dynamic, coupled with genuine care for fellow members, becomes essential in ensuring task dependencies and project success within the ADO environment. 

Training plays a vital role in ensuring effective utilization of the Azure DevOps environment. Introducing team members to ADO’s functionalities and navigation is crucial which sets clear expectations for their engagement. The training process should focus on not only familiarizing users with the tool but also emphasizing the “what’s in it for me” aspect to garner their interest and motivation. In a consulting environment, collaborating with clients to integrate ADO into their workflow involves demonstrating its benefits and tailoring its usage to their specific project needs. Providing guidance on acceptance criteria, bug reporting, and utilizing tags and discussions enhances team communication and fosters a seamless transition to ADO, even for those accustomed to email-heavy communication. 

Azure DevOps’s discussion feature proves highly valuable for streamlining collaboration and decision-making. Users can engage in sidebar conversations on work items, resolving issues efficiently and involving relevant team members when needed. The seamless integration of ADO and Teams further enhances communication, enabling specific work items to be brought into team channels for targeted discussions. Additionally, enforcing the practice of logging hours against tasks serves multiple purposes. It provides accurate estimates for project planning and billing, helps identify potential underestimations or overestimations, and ensures transparency in tracking actual work completed. This practice fosters accountability and helps maintain a realistic project timeline, fostering efficient use of resources and preventing surprises during the project’s lifecycle. 

Encouraging team members to consistently update “hours” information in Azure DevOps remains a primary challenge in driving user adoption. People often track time through other mechanisms, making it difficult to convince them to invest extra effort in ADO. The “what’s in it for me” approach, demonstrates the benefits of accurate updates through reports which can be effective in driving adherence to procedures. An essential best practice is utilizing ADO’s import feature to streamline processes by importing templated requirements, epics, or features. This automation opportunity can enhance consistency across projects and reduce manual effort. Additionally, leveraging queries proves valuable in identifying missed tasks, monitoring progress, and ensuring timely completion of work items. By utilizing queries effectively, individuals can keep track of their progress and assess project status more efficiently. 

To ensure successful adoption of Azure DevOps, continuous alignment and reevaluation are crucial. Tailor the approach to fit the team’s needs, understanding that what worked for one company may not suit another. Revisiting practices and procedures allows for adjustments as the team evolves and gains experience with ADO. Integrating ADO with issue reporting tools can be a challenge, especially when using separate systems for support ticketing and project management. Establishing a clear intake process to handle requests and issues, distinguishing between bugs, support tickets, and new features, aids in prioritization and efficient collaboration between teams. Overall, successful ADO adoption requires ongoing collaboration, openness to change, and well-defined intake processes for handling requests and issues. 

In conclusion, this blog post on Azure DevOps explores essential best practices, strategies for user adoption, and common challenges during implementation. Transparent collaboration, accurate task updates, and aligned team members are vital for success. Leveraging ADO’s capabilities, effective reporting, and thorough task documentation are essential for project execution. Integrating ADO with issue reporting tools and establishing clear intake processes optimize project management and enhance collaboration. Continuous alignment and reevaluation ensure seamless adoption, making ADO a powerful tool for streamlined project workflows. 

Check out our podcasts on the same topic:

This wraps up our blog series on Azure DevOps: how to effectively use a project management tool in a Dynamics 365 or Power Platform deployment. 

Unveiling the Power of Azure DevOps Change Requests

Azure DevOps (ADO) provides a variety of work items to facilitate project management and collaboration. While the majority of users are aware of user stories, bugs, and tasks, there is one work item that sometimes goes overlooked but is essential for controlling scope changes and making sure that development teams communicate clearly: Change Requests. We will discuss the idea of Change Requests in ADO and how to use them to address changing project requirements in this blog post. 

Change requests are crucial in projects with broad scopes and changing requirements. Even after user stories are finished, stakeholders can suggest changes and enhancements to the current solution using these requests. Change requests offer a disciplined technique to manage scope creep while maintaining the project deadline since they acknowledge that changes will always occur during the development process. 

Change Requests are used as a specific work item to record the desired changes. It is essential to include particular information when submitting a change request, such as the change being requested, how it will affect the current build, how long it will take to implement, and any potential impacts on the timeline or budget. Change Requests offer the development team and stakeholders transparency and clarity by supplying this thorough information. 

Change Requests frequently need the consent of business owners or other important stakeholders. The project team can get official confirmation from the business that the requested change is legitimate and in line with their expectations by incorporating an approval step within the change request. This helps avoid misunderstandings and guarantees that everyone is aware of the changes being made. 

Change Requests are a useful tool for projects of all sizes and levels of complexity. Change Requests provide a systematic method to manage alterations successfully on larger projects when money and timing considerations are crucial. Change Requests are a useful tool for recording and tracking modifications made to the original requirements, allowing for improved collaboration and preventing contradicting instructions even in smaller projects or teams with specialized IT personnel. 

Change Requests frequently go overlooked in Azure DevOps. They are essential in managing changing project requirements, dealing with scope shifts, and maintaining clear stakeholder communication. Teams may track and manage changes while keeping the project on schedule and within budget by utilizing change requests. Adopting this frequently ignored work item can improve communication, ease tension on development teams, and offer a transparent audit record of modifications made over the course of a project. As a result, the next time a project’s requirements change, think about using ADO Change Requests to efficiently manage and document those changes. 

Check out our podcasts on the same topic:

Now that we’ve covered the basics of Azure DevOps work items, we will talking about how to use ADO to optimize Agile project management. This is where the tool meets theory. Make sure you don’t miss it! 

Efficient Dependency Tracking with Azure DevOps

Managing dependencies in the fast-paced world of Dynamics 365 implementations is essential for a project’s successful completion. Dependencies are the links between various work items or tasks that rely on each other for completion. In this blog post, we’ll look at how Azure DevOps (ADO) can be used to efficiently track dependencies and identify them, giving teams working on complicated projects visibility and coordination. 

Determining the sequence in which actions must be accomplished is one of the main difficulties in tracking dependencies. Team conversations during backlog sessions frequently uncover dependencies as requirements are explored. These discussions aid in determining the connections between tasks and the priority order in which they should be completed. Teams may provide a clear roadmap for project execution by documenting these requirements inside Azure DevOps. 

Dependency tracking is made easier with capabilities that Azure DevOps provides. Teams can create connections between various work items, such as tasks, features, and epics, using the linking function. Teams can comprehend the interdependencies between distinct components by tying items together to create a visual representation of the project hierarchy. In order to accurately portray certain dependencies, other sorts of linkages, such as parent-child relationships or related tasks, can be used. 

Despite the fact that the linking feature offers a thorough perspective of the project hierarchy, team members may not always be aware of it, especially if they are not actively looking for it. Individuals can adopt additional strategies like highlighting dependencies within work item descriptions or using bold text to emphasize their precedence. These methods aid in highlighting important dependencies and increasing their visibility to the entire team. 

For successful Dynamics 365 implementations and project management, dependencies must be tracked. Azure DevOps provides teams with a comprehensive grasp of the project’s structure and interrelationships by offering robust tools and features to detect and track dependencies. Teams can increase cooperation and productivity and reduce hazards associated with unmanaged dependencies by leveraging tools like linking and using visual indicators. 

Teams may overcome the difficulties of managing dependencies using Azure DevOps, enabling more seamless coordination and effective project execution. Project teams may offer high-quality solutions with improved predictability and shorter time to market by leveraging these capabilities. 

Check out our podcasts on the same topic:

Our next two blogs will be discussing using 2 unique work items. Up first, Decisions! 

Organize Projects for Success using Epics and Features

In our second blog of this Azure DevOps series, we dive into discussing how to effectively prioritize and organize work items that are essential for success in project management. Epics and features are two words that are frequently used in this context. We will examine the distinctions between epics and features and go over when to use each one. 

An epic is a significant piece of work that symbolizes a project’s grand, overarching objective or goal. It provides the project with a strategic perspective and acts as the highest level of grouping. Epics are frequently used to specify key features or parts of a system. 

In contrast, features are more precise and detailed than epics. They stand for distinct capabilities or features that help achieve the goals described in the epics. User stories or tasks can be subdivided into features, which are subcomponents of epics. 

Together, epics and features offer a hierarchical structure for classifying work items. While features divide the work into smaller, more manageable parts, epics define the overall scope. As an illustration, if the epic is “Account Management,” one of its features might be “Account Creation.” Features enable more thorough planning, requirement identification, and work assignment. 

Using epics and features to build a hierarchy has various advantages. It facilitates structure and allows teams to maintain alignment and focus. It is simpler to recognize dependencies, prioritize activities, and allocate resources efficiently when relevant objects are grouped together. 

Additionally, the hierarchical structure permits concurrent work. Team members with a variety of skill sets can work on several features at the same time, increasing productivity and efficiency. Additionally, it makes it possible to adopt agile approaches like sprints, where work can be split up into small chunks, enabling better planning and progress monitoring. 

Tools for managing and organizing projects successfully include epics and features. Epics offer a high-level perspective and specify the main goals while features divide the work into distinct parts. Project teams may stay organized, prioritize activities, recognize dependencies, and guarantee efficient communication in the direction of project success by using this hierarchical structure. Project management procedures and results can be greatly enhanced by being aware of the distinctions between epics and features as well as when to employ each of them. 

Check out our podcast episode All About Azure DevOps, part 1 where we discuss this topic and more! Ep 23 – All About Azure DevOps, part 1 – Dynamics Hotdish

Come back next week for a deep dive on how to effectively write User Stories for development. 

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