My Go To Diagrams

Written documentation is the least effective form of communication to create a shared understanding. Often stakeholders see things differently than developers do. Stakeholders sometimes see challenges and requirements differently between one another.

Using diagrams when implementing Dynamics 365 or the Power Platform helps create a shared understanding of requirements and vision for your solution.

Some of the key reasons why diagrams work:

  • Diagrams help visualize a system and promote a deeper understanding of the requirements.
  • They act as visual templates to guide when configuring your Solution.
  • They help to understand complex parts of the system, exposing opportunities for simplification.

Ideally, you want to co-create diagrams with your team. Keep your diagram as lightweight and collaborative as possible. Down the track, you will know more and will be able to fine tune them.

Use Case Diagram (UML)

A Use Case diagram is a graphical representation of the interactions between an actor and a system. A use case is a great technique for quickly identifying, clarifying, and organizing core system requirements.

I typically create a Use Case Diagram in the following situations:
  • Initial meetings with stakeholders to get a quick understanding of the requirements
  • First workshops to validate requirements (and making sure I didn't miss anything obvious).

Conceptual Diagram

The Conceptual Diagram describes, at a high level, what are the main functionalities of the solution. The colouring helps me group functionalities of the same category.
The Conceptual Diagram is a constantly evolving diagram, that we tweak along with the build and the lifecycle of the system.

Conceptual Diagrams help me explain how I understood the solution to others. I use Conceptual Diagram in the following context:
  • As a start of most of my workshops to explain and remind what is the solution about and show, on the diagram, what will be the workshop about. Ex: If my workshop is about the Enquiry Process, I will highlight the Enquiry and related concepts on the diagram.
  • As a tool to get a shared understanding and stimulate the generation of ideas.
  • To describe the solution to my team, as it helps me structure my thoughts and narratives when I explain the system.

Entity Relationship Diagram

An Entity Relationship Diagram (ERD) is a type of diagram that illustrates how Dynamics 365 Entities (or "Tables) such as Contacts, Companies or Cases relate to each other within the solution.

ERD helps to understand how the data is structured and how your Dynamics 365 Entity model will be designed.

User Journey Map (simplified)

When presenting solution ideas, I often prepare a slide with the scenario I am about to demo. The diagram below is a sample diagram that I use to formulate a story and set the context before discussing requirements in a workshop. 

By starting my presentation with such a diagram, I set the scene and the context of the scenario before opening and showing Dynamics 365. 

Your audience might not be as comfortable as you are with the Dynamics 365 User Interface, so such diagram will help them follow your demo.