Requirements Gathering: An Application – Part 2

In the previous post, we considered a 2-part framework for requirements gathering:

  1. Functional Requirement – Identifying the Who, What, and Why (As a [fill-in-the-blank], I need to [fill-in-the-blank], so that [fill-in-the-blank])
  2. Non-Functional Requirements – Evaluating the additional considerations around the requirement (Availability, Compliance, Data retention, Performance, Privacy, Security, Scalability, etc)

This got me thinking – could I build an app to facilitate requirements gathering in this format?

As a [Solution Architect], I need to [Capture complete requirements], So that [I can create complete solutions]

I wanted an app structuring requirements entry so that the users would be guided to consider all of the requirement’s functional and non-functional elements. This seemed like a convenient use-case to try to build a PowerApp.

The Napkin Sketch


The SharePoint List

I started by creating a SharePoint list with columns for the functional and non-functional data points I wanted to capture. Then, to my surprise, I saw that there is a PowerApps “Create an app” button in the banner. That’s right – SharePoint lists come with a PowerApps Easy Button!!! (I understand this functionality has been around for a couple years, but it was new to me.)

I was impressed by how well the default app creation worked – it created a browse screen, detail screen, and edit screen with most of the functionality I wanted (though not necessarily captured in my initial napkin sketch).

The PowerApp

As my first PowerApp building experience, I wanted to play with the tool. The “Who” and “What” displayed on the Browse screen by default, but I also wanted to include the “Why”. I wanted to model the As a [fill-in-the-blank], I need to [fill-in-the-blank], so that [fill-in-the-blank] formula. I wanted sort the items by the ID number instead of the “Who” value. After some experimenting, my app now looks like this:

The Improved(?) PowerApp

Your eyes do not deceive you – after 1 hour of experimentation I was able to take a default app and make it less aesthetically appealing than when I started!

The Next Steps

I was really impressed with how simple it was to build a basic PowerApp. If i spent more time on this, I’d like to make the search functional, create validations for personas so that the “Who” field isn’t free text, maybe make the app more beautiful. However, the big takeaway is that I do now have a functional prototype. With minimal effort I could now give this to other solution architects for testing and feedback and see if this is a useful tool.

As the kids on YouTube say, let me know what you think in the comments!

Additional reading
PowerApps with a SharePoint List – Learn PowerApps Tutorial
Microsoft Power Platform: Learning Resources
Power Apps

Requirements Gathering: An Application – Part 1

The Microsoft Dynamics 365 learning paths are a great resource for expanding product knowledge and enhancing skills. While following the learning path for the solution architect Exam MB-700, I appreciated its emphasis on Who, What, and Why in requirements gathering:

Who, What, & Why

An easy trap during requirements gathering is to jump straight from a need to its system solution. Focusing on Who, What, and Why helps capture the complete functional requirement so that the solution will also be complete. This type of requirement gathering can be written in a formula: As a [fill-in-the-blank], I need to [fill-in-the-blank], so that [fill-in-the-blank].

Some examples of this functional requirement formula from the learning path:

Non-Functional Requirements

Who, What, and Why frame the functional requirements, non-functional requirements should also be considered. Non-functional requirements are elements outside of the direct need that will influence the performance or acceptability of the solution. Some types of non-functional requirement considerations are Availability, Compliance, Data retention/residency, Privacy, Security.

Some examples of non-functional requirements from the learning path:

An Application?

I like this framing of Who, What, and Why in a functional requirement, along with its non-functional elements. Again, capturing complete requirements is an important first step to building complete solutions. Thinking about this made me wonder – can I build an application to help gather requirements in this format?

Stay tuned for Part 2!

Enable Saved Views

As regular readers know, Saved Views enhance the Finance and Operation experience, empowering users to save sets of personalizations and navigate forms more efficiently.

In earlier versions, this preview feature had to be enabled through SQL code – starting in Platform update 33, Saved views can now be activated in the Feature management workspace.

Go to Feature Management Workspace

If you do not see the Saved views feature, click Check for updates. Depending on how far in the future you are, you may also need to toggle from the “New” tab to the “Not enabled” tab.

Hello readers in the future. How is it there?

Select Saved Views Feature

Click “Enable now” at bottom right.

Saved Views Feature Will Now Be Enabled

A green check mark and enabled date will now display next to the feature.

When activating the Saved views feature, also consider enabling the Grouping in grids and New grid control features.

Additional Reading
Saved Views
Grouping In Grids
New Grid Control

Where’s the Action? – (Alt+Q) Action Search in D365

Hotkey Highlight – Alt+Q

We’ve previously covered Navigation search (Ctrl+/) as a way to quickly find and access different forms across D365. Action search is a way to quickly find and access different menu buttons within a single D365 form. This can be particularly helpful if the user is looking for a menu item button, but unsure which tab it is located on.


The Action Pane

Let’s start by quickly reviewing the elements of the action pane (the area at the top of a D365 form). The action pane contains menu buttons, organized into tabs, and groups.

Action search can be activated by clicking the magnifying glass next to the options tab, or pressing Alt+Q.


Action Search (in Action)

Typing in action search returns similarly named menu buttons. The returned results display the menu button name, as well as its associated tab and group. This works for menu buttons across all tabs on the form. If buttons are hidden through a personalization or saved view, they will also be hidden in the action search results.


Room for Search Optimization

Action search is handy functionality for users searching for a button, but unsure of it’s location in the action pane. However, the ordering of the search results can still be improved. In the screenshot below, you can see that the top action search result for “hour journal” does return the button for creating an hour journal (the hour button in the journal group), but instead the top results are taken by hour costprice and hour salesprice. I am hopeful that the action search and navigation search results will improve in future releases.


Want to share this action-packed post on social media? Go ahead, make my day.

Additional reading
Action Search
Navigation Search
100 Best Action Movies Of All Time

D365 Platform Update 33 Preview: It Publishes Default Saved Views?

The preview release of Platform update 33 for Finance and Operations is now available (general availability is scheduled for March). This is part of a series highlighting features in the new platform update.


Published Views!!!

A quick refresher: saved views enable users to save sets of personalizations on a given form. Forms have a standard “classic” view. When personalizations are made, an asterisk identifies that the classic view has changed, providing the user with the option to save the new view.

In manage my views, users have the option of reordering, renaming, and setting the desired default from their personally available views. Additionally, the publish button in manage my views allows users to share their views with the larger organization by role and legal entity.

(The ability to publish views is limited to system administrators and those with the “Saved views administrator” role)


Publish as Default View

Platform Update 33 extends the publish view functionality, the publish as default view toggle enables a published view to be the first view a user sees when accessing a form – instead of the form opening in “Classic view” and the user having to select the desired view or configure the default individually.

In the example below, I have a “Simple view” for the project form where infrequently used buttons and fields are hidden. I would rather users be direct here first, with the option to view the full “Classic view” information if necessary, so I have published the “Simple view” as the default.


Managing Published Views

All views are visible in the personalization form. Clicking the publish button on a published, unpublished, or personal view allows management of access and presentation of the view.


I would be grateful if you take a screenshot of this post and share it on social media. You’ll be publishing a view – saved from my published, saved view on saved view publishing.

One can only hope that will lead to more views.

Additional Reading
What’s New Platform Update 33
Saved Views
Saved View Feature Details

D365 Platform Update 33 Preview: It Does The Math!

The preview release of Platform update 33 for Finance and Operations is now available (general availability is scheduled for March). This is part of a series highlighting features in the new platform update.


It Does The Math!!!

The ability to calculate inside of cells (instead of on external calculators) was a handy feature in AX2012 that we were sad to lose in the great D365 migration to the cloud.

Well put your 10-keys back in your deskdrawers because D365 does the math again!

When entering data into numeric cells, start your entry with the equals sign (=) and let D365 handle the rest.

1+1 = 2

(2×3) + (4×5) = 26


It Even Does The Advanced Math!!!

Dynamics recognizes pi, e, factorials, logarithms and trig functions. A complete list of the supported math expressions can be found here.

5! (5x4x3x2x1) = 120

Cos(pi) + ln(e) = 2


The supported math expressions don’t include imaginary numbers (remember i ?). Fortunately, accountants have been handling imaginary numbers on their own for centuries.

additional reading
What’s New Platform Update 33
Grid Capabilities
Supported Math Symbols

Hotkey Highlight – Win+H

Cortana Dictation – Win+H

This shortcut is admittedly more style than substance, but…

If you are using a PC with Windows 10, you can use Cortana’s speech recognition to dictate instead of type your D365 inputs. More information on how to set up speech recognition in Windows 10 is available here.

  • Win+H will activate the speech recognition bar visible at the top of the screen.
  • Saying “Stop dictation” will remove you from dictation mode.

Cortana Dictation Power User Tip

The Win+H shortcut can be used in conjunction with the Ctrl+/ Navigation Search shortcut to access any D365 form or workspace with minimal keyboard entry. It can also be used with the Ctrl+F Browser Search shortcut to quickly identify objects on a given page.

Demonstration

Hotkey Highlights (and Happy Holidays) – Tips for Efficient Journal Entry

Not sure what to get that special D365 accountant in your life? Waited till the last minute and now you don’t have time to buy a gift? Show your appreciation by passing along this list of journal entry tips. Better yet, send a link to our whole series on shortcuts.

#D365Blogs: the gifts that keeps on giving – even during the holidays.

These example screenshots will be from the general ledger journal form, but are applicable across journal types in D365.

Alt+N – Create a new journal

Alt+N can create a new journal header, and also create new journal lines once the journal lines are opened.

Alt+Down – Open dropdown to select journal name

Once the new journal is created, Alt and the down arrow can be used to open the Journal name dropdown. From there, the up/down arrows can be used to toggle between available journal names and Enter can be used to select the highlighted journal name.

Tab / Shift+Tab – Toggle cell selection Right / Left

Similar to Excel, Tab and Shift+Tab can be used to move the cell selection right and left. The allows a user to update the description field without using the mouse for selection.

Using Shift+Tab, the user can move the selection to the left so that the journal batch number is highlighted. Pressing enter while the journal batch number is highlighted will have the same effect as clicking the link, allowing the user to open the journal lines without clicking their mouse.

Once inside the journal lines, Tab can be used to move horizontally across the cells. Through Personalizations, users can control which of these cells are included or skipped when tabbing.

Selecting Accounts and Financial Dimensions

Keep in mind when selecting accounts and financial dimensions that the field acts as a “begins with” filter on both the Value and the Description fields.

An asterisk can be used as a wildcard search character to override the “begins with” filter. In the example above, “*recei” can be used as a search to return all accounts containing the word “Receivables”

Alt+Shift + Right/Left – Toggle Tabs Right/Left

When it is necessary to update more values that simply what is on the list page, Alt+Shift+ the right and left arrow keys can be used to toggle across the journal’s tabs.

Alt+Delete – Delete

Everyone makes mistakes. That’s why there’s a delete button on the journal lines and header. Alt+Delete can erase that mistake without even the shake of a mouse.

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“Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.”

Hotkey Highlight – Ctrl+Shift+E

Export to Excel – Ctrl+Shift+E

While some D365 data has Open in Excel functionality, allowing users to interact with the data through the Excel Data Connector add-in, every list page in D365 can be exported to excel, creating a static download of the data.

Ctrl+Shift+E gets you that excel export in fewer clicks. As a bonus, this shortcut places the selection on the Download button in the following screen, so you can use the Enter button to execute the download.

Ctrl+Shift+E…Enter for a mouse-free excel export of your data.

Export Selected Rows

Only want to export a few selected rows to Excel? Check the desired rows prior to clicking Export to Excel and only those rows will be included in your data.

Export to Excel Power User Tip

The D365 platform now supports exporting up to one million rows of data to excel. With this great power, exercise great responsibility.

Export progress dialog

Need to export more than a million rows? You should probably look into using a different tool. Excel itself can only handle 1,048,576 rows🙂

Hotkey Highlight – Ctrl+Shift+P

Enter Personalization Mode – Ctrl+Shift+P

On any D365 screen, you can you can enter personalization mode though right-click, select personalize, and then selecting personalize this form. If the options tab is visible, you can also click “Personalize this form” in the Personalize group.

Ctrl+Shift+P is simply a faster way to access the Personalization mode. This can be especially useful when making personalization adjustments for saved views.

Personalization Power User Tips

D365 actually has a full suite of Personalization shortcuts. If you use personalizations frequently, it could be highly beneficial to become acquainted with these. One of my favorite personalization hotkeys is when trying to move the position of a column, I find it much easier to use the arrow keys to move and enter button to set the column than to attempt the adjustment by dragging it with the mouse.

Confirm these shortcuts through the link, as I think this is an experience that will continue to improve.