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Recognizing Technical Debt in Microsoft Dynamics Implementations

Technical debt is not exclusive to the world of code development. Technical debt can occur in Microsoft Dynamics Implementations and may substantially impair the business value delivered to stakeholders.

Image of a figure carrying a block labelled with the word DebtIt has been almost two decades since Ward Cunningham first coined the term “Technical Debt” as a metaphor where development teams do things the quick and dirty way thereby accumulating complexity and costs in the long run. Think of technical debt the same way you would as financial debt. You use a credit card to purchase items that you cannot afford to pay for now. Over time the credit card debt can accumulate to the point where you cannot service the debt. The same is true for teams providing professional implementation services during the implementation of Dynamics projects. Teams put off what they should be doing early in the project, which compromises the delivery of business value later in the project.

What do Microsoft Dynamics implementation teams do to incur technical debt? I am sure you could come up with many more reasons, but here are just a few:

  • Teams push client training until the end of the project
  • Teams fail to make early attempts to understand the business requirements of stakeholders
  • Teams focus on software configuration and installation and ignore the solution components of business process, business policies, and business rules until forced to do so
  • Teams fail to review the organizational readiness of a company to implement a solution until confronted with reality of the situation

All the above can potentially contribute to implementation complexity and costs later in the project thereby significantly slowing the velocity of the team over multiple iterations. Have you ever talked to a Dynamics implementer at the end of a project that was so busy answering questions from non-trained stakeholders that they could not get to the work at hand? Pushing training to the end of an implementation can create interference during the project at a time when you need everything to come together efficiently.

Microsoft Dynamics implementation teams need to recognize that they could be creating technical debt by pushing off to tomorow, what they should be doing today.

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