The Importance of Simplicity

Posted by Bernie Thibeault on 03.26.20
Bernie Thibeault

This blog is the first part of the series: Dynamics 365 and CDS Design Best Practices Blog Series. We will cover in brief detail:

  • The Importance of Simplicity
  • Agreeing on Common Guidelines
  • Designing for the User not the Manager
  • Value Based Design
  • Sweating the Small Stuff

Importance of Simplicity

Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform provide a robust suite of capabilities and standard guidelines that provide a great starting point for any organization. When the platform does not meet the needs of your users, don't just jump right into change. It is important to ask questions before diving into customization's, such as:

  • Can the ask be delivered with standard, out-of-the-box functionality?
  • Do we need more information from business users before we start to build?
  • Does this customization meet our agreed upon principles for custom design?

Equally important, and often overlooked, is deciding what to remove from a solution. The standard application may provide an overload of functionality, data or complexity which will lead to users filling in the minimum and likely poor data quality.

Agreeing on Common Guidelines

Often times, project teams consist of many different individuals that approach problems or customization's in different ways. This might lead to completely different solutions to the same problem.

Spending time to agree upon development, user experience, and governance guidelines will create a common baseline across the project and business user team. This will lead to sensibility in your custom solutions and less confusion for end users.

These guidelines could be as simple as "Stick to standard functionality wherever possible, and get approval on customizations that are not standard."

Designing for the User, not the Manager

There is a balance that needs to be struck between the End User and the Manager. If the balance of a solution is more in favor of the manager at the expense of end user experience, you should consider reworking that solution. A simple question to ask yourself in any use case is:

  • Is this going to enhance the user's efficiency AND manager's insight?
    • If yes, you are on the right track.

Value-Based Design

When it comes to approaching the design of your solution, make sure to take into account that value may be measured or thought of differently by role, but the end goal is always the same. Users should get value from logging into the system because it will be telling them something they don't know or solving one of their problems.

It is important that any solution or customization component takes another step in the right direction towards operational excellence.

Sweating the Small Stuff!

No change to the solution or business process should be overlooked. Even small changes to the solution can be monumental successes or catastrophic disasters.

Not to mention, small wins will build trust with your business users for when larger customization's are needed.

 

In Summary

The above summarizes a concept that sometimes gets overlooked in software development and customization: MVP, or Minimum Viable Product. Following the approaches outlined above will help you deliver that MVP to your business users or customers, and you will be surprised how effective they may find it.

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