How to Manage a Team for Microsoft Dynamics Projects | KTL Solutions

This month, continuing on the Microsoft Dynamics topic, I am going to go into the Microsoft Dynamics consultant and their role as an important part of the team. In this blog I’ll cover the topics of KTLs team roles, our approach, the real world, perfection, new technology, and being flexible.

The roles of the team and their importance

Each individual on the team

  • The Microsoft Dynamics Consultant – the project lead in this case. This will be the individual primarily responsible for the work effort. They will provide the technical level expertise on the product and service being provided to the client.
  • The Microsoft Dynamics Consultant Peer – a valued teammate, often called upon for support services on the project such as additional tasking or validation.
  • The account manager – provides support to the client between, or even during projects. Helps identify areas where we can help resolve pain points or provide new solutions.
  • The Project Manager – provides guidance and support regarding the schedule, budget and tasking. Operates as the client interface for all project related reporting and goals. Helps interpret the project objectives and clarify scope.
  • The team lead – this person typically plays the role of system architect, or designer. Their level of experience gives them the ability to offer greater perspective to the team on the project goal.
  • The client – this is definitely a member of the team. We need to gain their perspective on the wants and needs of their own employees.
  • The stakeholder(s) – this is anybody that benefits from the success of the project.

 

Why do we take a team approach at KTL?

Our goal is to build teams that can meet several key criteria:

  • Be a team player first and foremost.
  • Not sitting on project risks or issues, reporting them up the chain as appropriate.
  • Providing regular updates to the team.
  • Be able to hit the three key project management metrics, timeline, cost, and quality.
  • Know what has to be done to complete the project.
  • Planning and collaborating on the project from start to finish.
  • The ability to listen to what the client wants.
  • Be there for the team.

This is how we set our Microsoft Dynamics consultants apart from the rest, we seek out individuals that check those boxes.

Lone Wolf vs Team Player

“When the snows fall and the white winds blow, the lone wolf dies but the pack survives.”

George R. R. Martin.

Because we want to ensure end to end system checks on a project, KTLs consultants are encouraged to take the team player approach as opposed to being the lone wolf. The lone wolf tends to:

  • Have blinders on – may not be aware of new or changing events with technology or the workplace
  • Provide isolated solutions – many alternative methods come out of group brainstorming sessions the lone wolf tends to miss out on.
  • Be overwhelmed/overworked – taking on many tasks or even the whole project is not the best approach.

The Dynamics consultant in the real world

Microsoft is such a broad reaching company – (Visual) Basic to Bing, Encarta to Excel, that our dynamics consultants have to have a strong basis of cross platform knowledge and how to apply it to their projects. The dynamics product line has to be approached from a “big picture” point of view.

Although our consultants do have specialties within the organization, taking the team approach to a project allows our consultants to collaborate and gain knowledge and experience for other team members. There are frequent opportunities to share tasking, allowing for a more rapid closure, or to just put a second set of eyes on something.

Another benefit of the big picture approach is to eliminate work duplication. Sometimes in the operations of a project effort, there is overlap in functions or effort. The team approach allows this to be eliminated by having a clear delineation of tasks and efforts. It also adds a layer of quality, allowing for other members to test work completed by others.

Change is a big factor in the real world. A key aspect of a Dynamics consultant is to be flexible, accepting the changes that are beneficial to the current iteration of the project, and properly advise on those that should perhaps wait for the next phase. The Project Manager and the consultant should work in conjunction to keep the project moving forward.

Perfection and the Dynamics

Several weeks ago, KTL Solutions hosted an event for local companies and clients where we highlighted our organization and held a meet and greet with our consultants. Our President was asked what it takes to be a consultant at KTL. His response was, (I’m paraphrasing), perfection. It has been an ongoing push for our organization to strive for perfection. This covers everything from our communications to the level of effort within each project. We plan for this perfection, that way we can expect it when we conduct our business.

Keeping up with the times

Our Dynamics Consultants wear many hats, and provide services across the project, including systems architect, developer, troubleshooter, and even sometimes accountant. Due to this, we are highly engaged in the industry.

We stay on top of new trends and releases. This allows us to help our clients, allowing for future planning, and acting rather than reacting. We know what is next on the products and services we support. Often, in our weekly status meeting, one consultant will discuss a challenge they are running into and another will offer up a solution, be it an-add on or work around. It’s all part of knowing the world in which we work.

We see that successful projects start with us being engaged with our clients. It’s not just emails or phone calls, but being on location in their labs, manufacturing plants and offices. We see how they run their businesses and get better at offering solutions for them.

There is a reason it’s called Agile

I’ve written a bit about Agile and how it’s applied practically here at KTL. We are not 100% Agile, but we have adopted many of its best practices. We work iteratively on projects where it makes sense. This flexible view helps maintain a better environment for the inevitable change, (again as benefiting the project and client). On those projects where the Dynamics Consultant can’t be iterative, we still practice a flexible view. There may not be a release every two or three weeks, but we are still looking at the product or services lifecycle, and how the next iteration will be affected by our current actions.

Important things to remember

There is a reason KTL continues to expand products and services, it’s because our Dynamics Consultants go that extra mile, working as part of a team, aiming for perfection, keeping up with what’s on the horizon, and just remaining flexible to what is required. Being a team player is a key to success at KTL. Feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions about how a KTL Solutions Dynamics Consultant can help you.

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