Thursday, September 5, 2013

The CRM Field Guide… Guide

You might not know it, because I’ve been silent on the matter, but I am a contributing author to The CRM Field Guide.  Specifically, I authored Chapter 24: Rapid Development Best Practices.  The intent of the chapter is to introduce people with backgrounds similar to mine to the practices I have developed over the years to produce code for CRM 2011, well, rapidly.  However, before I delve into some of the meat and value of the book or my chapter, I’d like to journal my experience of writing for the book.

It’s been stated before that the project was long-running, with several starts and stops along the way.  To the credit of Donna Edwards, Julie Yack, and Joy Garscadden, wrangling so many MVP authors was not a minor task.  As MVPs, we are all actively engaged in the Dynamics CRM community, while working day jobs.  These responsibilities conjointly leave precious little time for most other endeavors, family notwithstanding.

I was brought into the project later, and given the opportunity to write about my passion: development.  Because my exposure to CRM 2011 was light at the time, from a technical standpoint, and because many other authors covered a great deal of the technical components (solutions, customization strategies, etc.), I decided to focus on the tools and processes I use to handle development projects from start to end—evolved from my experience with CRM 4.

Deadlines were short, and yet I somehow ended up producing the single largest chapter, as measured in raw word counts.  It was amazing to write professionally, and the passion carried me quickly through my task.  To be a published author, for the first time, had been a dream as strong as my passion to become a professional software developer.  Marrying both experiences together is my crowning achievement.

However, I remain dissatisfied with my content—deserved or not.  It has received high praises from reviewers and developers who are introducing themselves to Dynamics CRM, yet I feel as though it could be better.  Perhaps, sometime soon, I’ll produce something stronger and (in my eyes) worthy of my audience.  Apart from this private embarrassment, I have been biding my time in writing up anything because many other authors have continued to do it on my behalf.  (Thanks!)

So why break the silence?  Because Jerry Weinstock, of “Jerry Weinstock” fame, has produced a Training Curriculum addendum, for the following roles:

  • CRM Admin
  • Power User
  • Business Analyst
  • IT Support
  • Developer
  • New User

He has expertly fleshed out approximately 10 to 15 chapters from the book that serve as reference material for each role, and stands as a fantastic appendix to a fantastically dense and useful book!  This curriculum is affectionately referred to (by me) as The CRM Field Guide Guide, and will help each role focus on their specific area of expertise or interest.

Jerry’s efforts will hopefully illustrate that the versatility of the book’s expansive content suites many purposes, and articulates its value in the library of any organization that works with Dynamics CRM.  Thank you, Jerry, for adding value to an immensely valuable resource.

Where can you obtain it?  Well, because the curriculum is only useful in the context of the book, it’s available as downloadable content (DLC) for all who purchase The CRM Field Guide, either in hard or digital copies.  To celebrate this addition, I will provide a discount code for the digital copy of the book to the first 10 people who tweet a mention of the book (, and include me (@crmentropy) on it.  Look out for a Private Message from me!