Decoding the DLP part one- your first 90 days

The Dynamics Learning Portal is a great resource. But how can you get the most out of it?

This is the first in an occasional series of tip and tricks and tidbits to help you, and your team, get the most from the DLP.

This first post will be my recommendations for a Learning Plan take for someone in their first 90 days of being a Dynamics professional.

You’ll notice I didn’t call out a developer or an architect or a user or any particular role. That is because I feel there is a particular set of skills, knowledge and awareness that each participant needs to have. Regardless of role.

You can find the custom Learning Plan here, and add it to your DLP profile.

(There are several pre-configured Learning Plans already available and they are great, this is just my take for this particular scenario.)

The Learning Plan is in sections, and each section has learning resources I selected. For the most part, each item is less than 6 months old (at the time of this writing).

I loosely placed the sections in the order to be followed. However, if you can get a workshop on your schedule, go for it. Then come back and backfill any gaps. Within each section I also ordered things based on my suggested path for you to complete.

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First, let’s go over some basic DLP Learning Plan functionality.

Each section can expand and collapse. If you’d like to re-order, or remove, any item from the Learning Plan once you’ve added it to your profile, that’s easy to do. From the Learning Plan, you can see your progress for each asset. You can also add learning time to your calendar.

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From the workshops section, and any workshop/live event you can see two links. You might see a Register Me link, and you should always see the Invite Me link.

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The Register Me link will appear if there is a currently scheduled delivery that you might be able to attend. Some events are in person, some are online. If your selected workshop is not currently on the schedule, or the scheduled delivery doesn’t work for you at this time, click Invite Me. That gives the team insight to course demand and gets you notified when the course does get scheduled.

So, this First 90 Days Learning Plan shows at nearly 60 hours of time needed to complete. And that’s a lot. However, as I go thru the sections in more detail, you’ll see some of those items coming off for many of you. I think a more practical estimate is around 40 hours of time, not including any labs you may take from online courses.

The first section is the Demo Series. It clocks in at over 4 hours. I put this at the top so it was easy to find, but don’t expect you to watch every minute of it. This is a great reference for you to go back to, even after 90 days. It will help by showing you some of the possible.

Next we have Topic Pages. Easy peasy. The first three are role focused, and even if you’re not a presales resource, you should know what presales cares about and so on. Then there’s Power BI and LinkedIn Sales Navigator. Both are great additions, and common additions, to many Dynamics projects. I have never seen Dynamics exist on its own, there’s ALWAYS something more. You need to learn a little about some of the more.

From there we see Blitz. Blitz is an event put on by product resources, the folks designing and making the actual application. CDS (Common Data Service) is here. And it’s great foundational knowledge.

And now we see E-Learning. This is where you’ll spend some time. Here’s a quick matrix of the portions of the course you need in your first 90 days. By all means, watch all of the modules. But, for the purposes of our first 90 days, here’s my suggestions.

Course

Modules in first 90 days

Introduction to Microsoft Dyn365

all

Learning LinkedIn Sales Navigator

all

Microsoft Social Engagement

all

Sales Management in Microsoft Dyn365

0, 1, 2, 3, 6

Customization for Dyn365

0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8

Configuration for Dyn365

0,1,2,5,6,7,

PowerApps and Flow

all

For workshops we have two in this Learning Plan. Dynamics 365 University for Sales Professionals is a good foundational course. If you an make this happen, you’ll not need several of the e-learnings above. As far as the Extensible Platform course, you need a little bit of foundational knowledge before you’ll get a ton out of it. Consider that one your stretch goal.

And now Assessments. You’ll notice none of this has talked about, or targeted any exams. That’s not the goal. However, I know many individuals are motivated by testing their knowledge, even if just for themselves. So, here’s the assessments that most closely represent the knowledge here. The reality is that if you are in your first 90 days, you will not likely do well on the assessments. However, you will continue to build the knowledge needed to pass the assessments soon.

Finally, we have the specialization section. Not everyone needs an intro to Field Service, or Talent, or Project Service Automation. But if you have an interest or a need, these are a good starting point for you.

If you do not have access to the Dynamics Learning Portal, contact your organization’s partner rep or manager.


My omni-channel customer service travel experience

I’m currently on the road, gone for most of the month of October. And truth be told, I’m actually CURRENTLY delayed and stuck in Nashville. I’m heading to Sydney, and with the fires around San Francisco, there is a bit of uncertainty about making it in time before my class tarts Monday morning.

But, let’s go back to my story.

All the travel from my month was booked online, no surprise there. It was the experience I expected, and included a couple of hours to find a good seat to go from Sydney to Munich.

Since I left home, some of the plans have changed and I have had to edit/cancel the reservations; and interact with representatives of the providers.

I needed to cancel an itinerary with Iceland Air (Amsterdam to Reykjavík to Denver). I was able to determine that the fare I had booked would be somewhat refundable, but might have had some penalties/fees. I was not able to cancel automatically from the site, I had a choice to call in or use Facebook Messenger. I went the Facebook Messenger route. I’ve pasted the entire conversation below. It took just over one hour from start to finish.

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I also wound up needing to cancel my Sydney to Munich (Sydney to Jakarta to Singapore to Munich). That I booked via Expedia on Garuda Indonesia Air. I was not able to locate my itinerary via the airline direct; but I was able to find that my booked fare class was cancellable, but with unknown penalties. Same exercise with Expedia, reservation easily found, but zero info about the fare class, cancel options, or really anything beyond this is your reservation. No cancel options online, you must call customer service. In their favor, the call was fairly quick, the flights cancelled easily after a quick confirmation of penalties. The ticket was cancelled and all refunded except for a penalty of around $98.

Most of this month-long journey I’m staying at Marriot properties. They have a mobile app that I’ve used before for check-ins. But once checked in you can still use the app for great things. I will find out in Sydney if it’s a different experience based on location, assuming I get to Sydney. In the app you have options for things like more towels or toiletries and wake-up calls. There’s also a chat option. I used that a ton in Nashville at the Gaylord/Opryland hotel. It was awesome. Here’s a sample of the interactions.

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And now my current experience; trying to fly Nashville to San Francisco to Sydney. My original itinerary had me out of Nashville around 5pm, and arriving in San Francisco with a two-hour connection. I got the message below yesterday, more than 24 hours before my scheduled flight (I got it both in text and email).

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That’s good service and prompted me to change to an earlier flight from Nashville to San Francisco, hoping some padding in the day would help.

The delays started right after I arrived at the airport. The delays are not United’s fault, I get it. But it is their job to keep me informed. That is not happening.

I have not received a single text or email regarding the flight.

When I log in to the site, this is what I see:

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Notice the arrows. On the right is a message telling me that I’m delayed; and that I’m booked on my flight and the next one as a buffer. Sounds like good service. Notice that I’m hovering over the “View updated reservation details”. In the bottom left, you can see it will direct me back to the United home page. I am now a delayed and confused (loyal) customer. Now we have bad service. So now I have to call to find out when I’m going where. Agent at the premier desk swears I’m not double-booked. We chat and decide the best path is to stay on the itinerary I have, there are not many options for getting to Sydney this is my best bet.

Now here at the airport, the gate agent brings out a snack cart for those of us waiting for the delayed flight. Super good service. The delay is not United’s fault, but they are doing what they can to make it a bit more palatable. I tweet about it. United replies.

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Did they just ask for my flight number? Not that it’s a secret, but don’t they have that already? My reply is a let-me-google-that-for-you link. Sure enough, it comes right up with my delayed flight.

And ironically, I just got a flight delay notice for the later flight to San Francisco. The one I’m not on.


Best marketing email of the year! We’re the Spork People from Ignite

What is the goal of a marketing email? To get my attention? To make me remember? To show interest in your company? To buy something from you?

We’re the Spork People from Ignite

The subject line is awesome. It made me remember who they are, exactly who they are. (truth be told, it also made me feel a tiny bit guilty that I took the sporks and didn’t really know about their products; but now I know!)

The email text was also pretty clever. I remember them!

Trying to eat a steak with a spork is possible, but it’s a real challenge. Sure, your SPorganizer sporks have a serrated knife edge, but it’s going to take you a long time to cut into the meat. Just like eating a steak with a spork is a challenge, managing your SharePoint environment without SPorganizer is possible, but it’s a tedious undertaking. Check out the SPorganizer datasheet to learn more about how this product can streamline your SharePoint environment. We are also hosting a webinar on Wednesday, October 12th to demonstrate and discuss how SPorganizer can benefit any SharePoint environment, I’d love if you could join us.

Here's some info, click here for a datasheet and if you’re interested join my webinar. Says what it needs to say, respects my time, leaves it up to me to take the next step.

And in this case my next step is this blog post. What a great job!

Happy to offer a shoutout to Cate Godley and the team at DocAuto!  Keep up the good work.

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Are you ready for #CRMUGSummit?

As we get into the last few days before we meet in Tampa, I’ve made a list helpful hints and tips to help get the most out of your time at CRMUG Summit.

  1. Minimize distractions back at the office. Work extra hard now to avoid the trap of trying to work AND attend the conference. If you find yourself replying to emails three times in every session you attend, you aren’t really going to get much out of the session. If you have to keep up with the folks back at work, set aside time and plan for a session to spend working in a quiet corner instead of being partially engaged in several sessions.
  2. To ease the stress of leaving behind people at the office that would rather be at the conference with you, get their questions to take with you. What are their burning questions or concerns? Make sure you find the answers and resources to take back with you. Share the schedule with them in advance and then set up a lunch-and-learn the week you return and share your new knowledge and skills.
  3. Dress for comfort. Now, I will say no jammies for sure. But also, not a suit. Good shoes are the best thing you can bring. Promise.
  4. Stash some good snacks in your bag. You may find yourself in a great discussion and miss a conference meal or break. So grab some granola bars, some durable candy, whatever helps you make it to the meal later on. And drink water. You will be walking more than you plan, avoid dehydration.
  5. Every speaker, planner, expert is approachable, so approach them. Raise your hand in the session. Wait after the talk to ask your question. Find them at lunch and sit at the same table. Go to the medics’ station. They are there to share their knowledge. So let them.
  6. Plan your sessions in advance, mostly. Be open to last minute choices.
  7. Get yourself a fresh CRM trial before you go so you can immediately try that new cool thing you learned. Ok, get at least THREE new free trials. I suggest one that is bare, one that specializes (like sales or service) and one with a solution like Field Service or Project Service in it. Different things work different ways with added customizations or data.
  8. Take notes. Doesn’t matter if you’re a pen and paper person (me too!), if you like to scribble on your tablet or if you type it all organized. Take notes. I promise you won’t remember it all the next day.
  9. There will be booze. Don’t be THAT person that acts a fool and gets everyone to pull out their cameras and you find yourself rather embarrassed.
  10. Make friends, make memories.

 

See you there!


What not to do at a conference booth

I’m at Ignite this week. So are more than 20,000 other techies.

Folks are walking around with the swag, and people are of course looking for the good stuff.

Someone walks past the booth with a light saber coming out of their backpack. One of my friends wants one. I go ask the guy where did he get it. He pulls out the swag, shows me the logo and points to the other side of the expo hall.

I’m off.

It takes a few minutes, but I find them. No swag in sight. But a group of 5 or 6 booth folks in a circle chatting to each other.

I ask if they have any more light sabers.

Nope.

I attempt to engage in a conversation. I walked all the way over, so I should learn about these folks and what they do. No?

Me: Well, it seems they were a great hit at the conference

Booth folks: (nodding and shrugs)

Me: I mean I had never even heard of you before and now here I am, at your booth, asking you questions.

Booth folks: Yea.

Me: I don’t even know what you guys do, but your swag got me over here.

Booth folks: Yea.

I was wearing my speaker shirt. With the MVP logo on it. Even if you didn’t know ME, I was fairly obviously identified as an influencer at this conference.

I walked away, still not knowing what that company does.

They really really couldn’t even swing at the slow pitch softball I pitched.

Booth space at these conferences is not cheap. Sending that many people to a conference, not cheap. Paying 6 or more people to be at the expo hall for 5 days, not cheap. Light sabers, not cheap. Do you not want some kind of return on that?


Where are all the high paying jobs?

They are all over the place! Turns out there are tons of them, over 500 of them sitting empty in my Congressional district alone. The average salary for these skilled professionals? Over $100,000! But with all of this opportunity out there, it brings our attention to a big gap in how we are educating our future professionals. Of the 51 high schools in my Congressional district, only eight of them offer computer science. Eight.

This problem is not unique to Colorado Springs. This problem is not unique to Colorado. It is a national issue. Nationwide there sits empty nearly 250,000 jobs. A quarter of a million high paying jobs just waiting for a qualified employee.

Your call to action is actually quite simple.

Ask your representative to support more funding for computer science education.

Some links for you.

Here is some info and a study on the national issue.

Here’s where you can find your representative to tell them what you need. Their job is to serve the needs of their constituents. That’s YOU!

Here's a fun video with stats.  Can you find me!?


The first year of a debilitating diagnosis

It’s been one year since I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. Time flies when you’re having fun?

In that year I have cried a lot. Had a few pity parties. Gotten angry. Learned tons about auto-immune disorders (or are they conditions?). Took more steroids in that one year than the rest of my whole life combined.  I’ve tried a few meds and started on one that is comparable to low-dose chemo. I’m pretty sure every single day had pain, I don’t remember a pain free day. There were varying degrees of pain. Some days annoying. Some days debilitating.

In that year I have also…

· Spoken at several conferences all over the world

· Had a bear try to get into my house

· Watched a herd of elephants play in a big pile of mud for hours

· Appeared on a career panel for impressionable young minds

· And cursed

· Twice

· Spent the day with my son in NYC

· Celebrated 14 years married to Mr. Right

· Got in a car accident

· Watched my brother-in-law get married

· Watched my son dance with his grandmother(s)

· Found a gas station gravy tap

· Hosted my girlfriends on a wonderful weekend in Breckenridge

· Discovered I am the fox whisperer

· Spent the first Christmas in 20 years without my daughter (I guess it was time for us both to grow up?)

· Had to explain to non-native English speakers way too many inappropriate things in Cards Against Humanity

· Found grey hair in my eyebrows (seriously, eyebrows?!)

· Captured someone’s marriage proposal with pictures

· Spoke to members of Congress about things that are important to me (and you)

· Purchased an acre of land for our next home

· Did not see Star Wars

· Caught a ball at an NBA game

· Celebrated New Year’s on a boat in the Caribbean under the stars

· Said goodbye to an old friend, INETA

· Smuggled gummi bears into the US Capitol Senate reception room

· Went to Spain

· And Turkey

· And Poland

· And Slovakia

· And Hungary

· And Hawaii

· And Africa

· And Holland

· And Belgium

· And UK

· Too many trips to Seattle to count

So, life goes on. And will continue to do so.


What makes a successful meeting on “The Hill”?

I have been fortunate enough to be invited to join a group of small business owners as we meet in Washington DC with Act|The App Association. It’s an annual event, this year in April. The days go so fast, but it’s so worth it. I have been several times, and will continue to return as long as I’m invited. A meeting can be deemed successful based on many different aspects. For me, if I feel that I was heard, it was a good meeting. Even if we didn’t agree or become besties.

Day one is for arriving and exploring DC on your own, then meeting the group for dinner.

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Day two is heads down learn learn learn. Learn about what issues are most current and where we might be able to have some influence. What matters to me and my business? Big topics for us this year include funding for STEM education, government access to data and encryption.

So, day three. Lots of meetings. Lots. Learn something from each meeting. Leave a memory and a story. Here’s the rundown of my day three this year.

Started my day with The Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. To talk about encryption and privacy. Just a small little meeting to start my day, get off to an easy start. Nobigdeal. No, wait, this is a big deal. A huge deal. There are active cases likely to go to SCOTUS very soon. There’s new legislation proposed that will overreach and impact every single person that makes software. Not to mention endanger the data and protection of our data as citizens. The meeting was great. They asked questions. Lots and lots of questions. They had their lists of arguments and asked for our counter-arguments. It was not at all confrontational, despite every other sentence starting with “not to be devil’s advocate, but…” I honestly felt heard. I feel that I likely had an impact.

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I was in a great great mood. I headed to my next meeting, at Congressman Doug Lamborn’s office. It’s easy to say that that Doug and I disagree on most things. But, he is my elected representative and I needed to go and be heard. We had a brief chat with a staffer. The meeting was unremarkable. I had the staffer take my picture at Doug’s desk.

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After a quick lunch it was back to the Senate side.

We were supposed to meet with a familiar face at Senator Michael Bennet’s office. We arrived and the senator was in the hallway posing for photos with a group of students. The staffer met us in the hall and we just started chatting as the senator rushed off to a vote. No big deal. Senator Bennet’s office is always receptive and welcoming. A hallway meeting in DC is still a meeting. Turns out I was wrong. It wasn’t a hallway meeting with a senior staffer. It was a walking West Wing style meeting. Walking fast, talking about important issues. Down to the tunnels, on the restricted little train to the Capitol. Yes, there was a vote happening. But we’re going to the reception room to chat with the senator when he finishes the vote. The reception room was this big ornate space, full of other people having there squeezed in meetings. Lots of familiar faces all around. The senator finished his vote and we found a place to stand and chat. He knew about me. He knew about my work with schools. He knew the things that mattered to me. He was either well-briefed or totally stalks my blog and social media.

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Next up was Senator Cory Gardner’s office. Last time I was in DC, I emailed and asked to meet directly with the Senator, not a staffer. They said the Senator was busy but so and so would love to meet with you. I said I was busy too, and was getting on an airplane, the least he could do was meet with me. So last year, I met directly with the senator. He was new to office, had his temporary office in the basement of a Senate building. This year I met with a senior staffer and had a good chat about data privacy and STEM education. Was non-remarkable but just fine.

Last up was Congressman Raul Labrador from Idaho. The staff member we were scheduled to meet had a last minute conflict and we met instead with a senior staffer. I didn’t know much about things in Idaho, other than I’ve been there and it’s almost as pretty as Colorado and I have a few friends that live in Boise. So, when you don’t know what to talk about, try something you might have in common. Education! We all want our kids to be well-educated. Right? Well, the Congressman from Idaho feels very strongly that education is a state issue, not a federal issue. I can see that point, but the reality is that we have currently federal involvement in education and the Department of Education isn’t getting dissolved any time soon. That meeting was not very productive and felt like the longest meeting of the day. Don’t get me wrong, they were totally polite. We were welcome to be there. They gave us Cliff Bars (they are made in Idaho)!

The “we” I reference is different for every meeting. The other civilians like me join together for the meetings and for most of the meetings ACT|The App Association sends along a staff member (they are our saving grace if we forget a point, have a hard time saying what needs to be said, great moral support).

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Denver Dev Day Call for Speakers ends Sunday

Here’s the call for speakers below.  I would personally love to see new speakers sign up.

Denver Dev Day is back! Lucky you, speaker call has been extended. We have new opportunities for you to contribute. Let’s start with the three type of presentations available to a speaker who wants to speak at Denver Dev Day:
Regular session (60 minutes)

This typical teaching session is an hour. It gives speakers the opportunity to introduce and go deep in a topic. From level 100 to 300, technical and soft-skill sessions are welcome.

Lightning talk (10 minutes)

A lightning talk is short and focused. In 10 short minutes, speakers get the chance to introduce a topic or show off a quick solution. No fluff, and a great starting place for new speakers.

Roundtable (45 minutes)

The Roundtable is new at Denver Dev Day. Subject matter experts host an in-depth technical discussion and open question-and-answer session in an open door forum.


Where do you sign up?

Right here: Speaker Sign Up

When is Denver Dev Day?

Friday, June 24th. This is our sixth Denver Dev Day, and the past two have been on Friday. We have had a resounding success targeting a weekday. As a result, we’re sticking to our Friday event plan.

What type of topics?

Denver Dev Day is a developer-focused event without a specific theme (like web) or technology (like Microsoft). This means, if it’s interesting to developers, we want your topic submitted.

When is speaker call closed?

Sunday, May 7.

Submit your session at Speaker Sign Up by the end of this month. The Denver Dev Day leadership team will tease through submissions, making selections the second week of May.

Who do I contact or will be my point of contact?

Do you have questions? Do you need information? Everything you need to know for a successful session will be sent to you after selection. Need answers now? Julie Yack ([email protected])

Must I be a professional speaker?

The only requirement to present a session is that you know the content of the talk. If you are a regular speaker or this will be your first session, you’re welcome at Denver Dev Day.


Executive- check! Legislative- check! Judicial- NEXT WEEK!

I am a big government nerd (not a fan of ginormous government, but a big fan of government). Very fascinated by the government, the political aspects of it. Love the logic and reasoning that in a perfect world prevails. I have the Constitution on my phone and reference it more often that you might think, especially during our crazy current political climate.

Legislative branch- For several years now I have been honored to offer my voice on Capitol Hill. Offering my views and influence on STEM education, technology policy and more. I have met with staffers, council, policy writers and sitting Senators and Congressmen (and one Congresswoman).

Executive branch- I have also been invited to The White House to do the same with the science and technology policy folks. I met my first sitting president in 1992 during George HW Bush’s re-election bid. I have shaken hands with President Obama in 2012 and got to personally grill him with my questions at a town hall in 2009.

Judicial branch- Next week after spending a day on The Hill hoping to be heard, I plan to stop by The Supreme Court to hear oral arguments. I intend to attend the consolidated argument taking on criminalization of refusal to consent to warrantless field sobriety tests. Three cases have been combined based on their similarities to one another. Thanks to the ACLU for providing this quick summary:

Whether states may criminalize a driver’s refusal to consent to a warrantless blood, breath or urine test for alcohol after a drunk driving arrest.

In 2013, the Supreme Court held in Missouri v. McNeely that the Fourth Amendment bars warrantless blood tests in drunk driving cases absent exigent circumstances beyond the normal dissipation of alcohol in the blood. The issue in this case is whether a state can criminally prosecute a driver for exercising his Fourth Amendment right to refuse consent. The ACLU argues in an amicus brief that the assertion of a constitutional right can never be a crime, and that the government cannot avoid this basic rule by treating the issuance of a driver’s license as a blanket consent to all future blood, breath, or urine testing without a warrant.

Watch for a follow-up after my visit.