FastTrack recommendations for success

I give the Microsoft FastTrack team and team producing the docs all credit for the following blogpost! We very often get information overload, and then there is great to get a more compressed summary of what is important to consider in D365 projects. Here is the text from an email that is sent out to customers that is on their D365 journey. All is public information and contains valuable links to the process and documentation. As I find the value of the information/tips in the email as great, I choose to share it with the community, as not all is connected as users into the LCS projects. (PS! The original fast-track email you get have MUCH better formatting than what I’m able to present)

Enjoy 🙂

FastTrack for Finance and Operations Apps Congratulations you will be soon starting the Design and Develop phase!

Dear XXXXX team, The FastTrack team understands that you will be completing the Analysis phase in 2 weeks (we rely on the milestone dates in your Lifecycle Services (LCS) project).
You will be soon starting the Design and Develop phase, which will last until XX-YYY-2022. We, FastTrack team, want to provide guidance and recommended practices for the typical activities at this stage of implementation.

Action required:

  • In project onboarding, you noted that you will have a high number of users. It is important to assess what is the right environment Tier and complete performance testing. For more info, see Selecting the correct Tier.
  • Please update milestone dates in LCS to reflect the real project timeline. We understand that in the beginning of the project it is difficult to predict specific dates. However, we ask you to update those dates to the best of your current estimation. This is important as multiple Microsoft teams rely on these dates.

We would love to hear your feedback about this email! Please use this user survey to share your thoughts with us.

Application lifecycle management (ALM)

  • Define and document the ALM processes for your project and define the branching strategy. Watch TechTalk for detailed guidance.
  • Understand the process of applying updates.
  • Use Azure DevOps for version control to enable traceability and multi-developer scenarios.
  • Make sure all customizations are safely added to source control.
  • Use the Azure DevOps build pipeline to automate builds. Learn more .
  • Have a single deployable package that combines all non-Microsoft code. For self-service topology, this is a hard requirement and during 2020 it will become a hard requirement for standard topology. For more info, see All-in-one deployable packages.
  • Regularly run the customization analysis report (CAR) to identify where custom code should be improved in line with best practices.
  • Keep your environments on the same version.
  • Be aware of the process to turn on maintenance mode in Sandbox and Production environments.

It is important for the project team to define and document the application lifecycle management processes. Here’s an example (graph below) and TechTalk for detailed guidance.

Data management

  • Have a dedicated Golden configuration environment and good governance of changes to it.
  • Understand all available tools for data management operations to be able to select the appropriate method for all project needs. Watch TechTalk.
  • Start preparing master data early. It is common to uncover issues late in the journey, which impacts the go-live timeline.
  • Plan to run user acceptance testing (UAT) on final migrated data.
  • Bring data to Production only after it is validated in a non-Production environment.

There are various data management needs you could encounter in your implementation.

To accomplish these needs, there are several tools available.

The following resources provide you with further details about these tools:

Continuous updates

Microsoft releases 8 updates in a year.

All customers are required to have an update that is not older than 4 service updates. We strongly recommend following the monthly update cadence, however understanding the need for flexibility around business-critical activities we offer the ability to pause up to 3 consecutive updates.

For more info, see Configure service updates and Pause service updates.

Release notes

For each monthly release we publish release notes, which provide details about the changes included in the specific release. Learn more

Feature management

The Feature management workspace allows you to view a list of features that have been delivered in each monthly release and enable/disable those. Learn more. Watch TechTalk.

RSAT

The Regression suite automation tool (RSAT) enables users to record business tasks and convert them into a suite of automated tests. It significantly reduces the time and cost of user acceptance testing. Learn more. Watch TechTalk with demo. Watch TechTalk with setup guidance.

Release plans and Ideas portal

  • Be aware of the features that Microsoft is planning to release in the upcoming period.
  • Share identified gaps in the Ideas portal (or vote on ideas that already exist).

When you are doing the fit-gap analysis, in addition to knowing the current capabilities of Finance and Operations apps it is important to know what enhancements Microsoft is planning to release in the upcoming month, which can help you avoid some customizations or using ISV solutions.

Twice a year Microsoft publishes release plans where we share what are the different enhancements, we plan to release in the next half a year (wave 1 cycle is from April to September and wave 2 cycle is from September to April). Learn more

We listen to your needs and prioritize enhancements based on your feedback. Share your feedback and propose ideas for current product gaps in the Ideas portal. Learn more

Security

Role-based security

Finance and Operations apps use role-based security to assign access to components in the system. A user who is assigned to a security role has access to the set of privileges that is associated with that role.

For more information see “Plan and Implement security”(Microsoft Learn)

Performance strategy

  • Performance of the solution can be affected by various aspects: infrastructure, customizations, ISV code, system configurations, timing of batch jobs, and integrations.
  • It is important to include performance testing as part of Design and development phase and not only in Test phase itself. It will be too late if you do not plan it in advance.
  • Document the customer’s key business scenarios with expected performance metrics and success criteria.
  • Build performance test plan early: define scope, tools, environments, and acceptance criteria.

Here are some additional resources with detailed guidance:

LCS system monitoring

LCS provides various tools to help you monitor, diagnose, and analyze health of your environments. Learn more

Trace parser

Trace parser enables you to take traces and analyze performance. Learn more about how to take traces. Learn more about how to analyze traces Integrations

  • Define integration requirements early.
  • Understand integration patterns and tools, capabilities, and the limitations of each approach.
  • Plan for each integration, not only functional testing, but also load testing.
  • Test edge cases, not only the happy path.
  • Implement error handling and notifications to alert users in case of failure.
  • Don’t misuse OData for high volume import/export of data.

The following integration patterns and approaches are available:

For more information see “Connect to Finance and Operations Apps” (Microsoft Learn)

BI and Analytics

Finance and operations apps have various business intelligence and reporting tools available: