How to Improve Communication Between Support & Developer Teams

How to Improve Communication Between Support & Developer Teams

In some scenarios, there is a need for support agents to involve developer teams in resolving reported bugs and product issues.

These interactions often happen away from the organisation's case management system which can lead to confusion about what progress has been made. When development teams are located in a different office, or based offshore, communication challenges further increase.

This causes time to be wasted in chasing for updates and customer service will suffer if support teams can't readily provide updates. 

Using connected Microsoft apps and services, smarter processes can be quickly implemented to connect these workflows that will transform efficiency and increase visibility of the current status on bug fix tasks that are handled by dev teams.

Our clients use Microsoft Dynamics 365 to track service and support cases reported by their customers. In instances where issues need to be flagged with developer teams, these messages are typically communicated verbally or by email.

Often, this is because development teams use Azure DevOps / Visual Studio which hasn't been connected to Dynamics 365 so there isn't way to create a task directly from CRM. 

Consequently, after a support user reports an issue they don't have access to reporting or other on-demand information that tells them about the current status, or even which developer is working to resolve the bug. This limits the ability of support agents to proactively keep customers updated and drives a repetitive cycle where support teams continual request updates from dev teams.

A smarter solution is to harness the Microsoft Power Platform to connect Dynamics 365 and Azure DevOps and then utilise Microsoft Teams enabling both teams to streamline communications.

To demonstrate how this end-to-end process works, let's get started in Dynamics 365...

When a reported bug needs to be flagged with a development team for resolution, the Dynamics Case entity can be adapted to automate this notification.

For example, in this Case form the Status Reason has been set to 'With Development'.

Case Record in development

In this instance, Microsoft Flow is configured to automatically trigger a flow that creates a new bug issue in Azure DevOps from the support user.

By connecting Dynamics 365 with Azure DevOps, the automated flow will extract and apply data including:

  • Dynamics 365 case number & description
  • Dynamics 365 case owner
  • Unique identifier automatically allocated by Azure DevOps

The new item will be set as a 'to do' item in DevOps.

Crucially, by capturing the case ID it maintains a one-to-one link between these items in Dynamics 365 and Azure DevOps.

New requirements can initially be set as unassigned in DevOps enabling a team leader to triage and assign these items. Alternatively, routing rules can be applied to automatically allocate bug fix tasks to a specific developer user based on defined rules. 

Dev Ops Record

Once a developer begins work on an issue they'll update the status to reflect this is now in progress.

Within the Azure DevOps record, if the assigned developer requires further information, or needs clarification, they can make requests by referencing the support agent, or another user, in the comments section. This will send the named user an email asking them to respond.

Description

Also, any changes to the case description field in Dynamics 365 will automatically be accessible within Azure DevOps as part of an active flow.

At any stage, Microsoft Teams can be used by support and dev teams to quickly assess the status across each reported bug. Using filters this Azure DevOps powered-view can be quickly narrowed by case owners and assigned developers.

Within this real-time display, support agents are able to see at a glance how their developer colleagues are progressing reported bugs so they can keep customers updated and reduce time being wasted in making unnecessary chasers.

DevOps Board

Insight across all the bugs reported by support teams is also available through embedded Azure DevOps dashboards within Teams. These displays can include how many issues are unassigned, which users have reported the most bugs and which developers are working on the most bugs.

DevOps console

When a developer believes they have resolved the issue, they can post supporting comments on the DevOps record and either set the status as User Acceptance Testing (UAT), or drag the relevant item to the UAT column in the display board. 

This immediately notifies the case owner by email so they can update the customer and ask them to test the solution.

The email notification includes a direct link to the record in Azure DevOps. If the customer subsequently reports back that the proposed solution was unsuccessful, this detail can be quickly fed back to the responsible Dev user by clicking this link and posting comments.

DevOps email notification

Once the customer confirms that an issue has been resolved, the case owner can close this in Dynamics 365 which in turn automatically completes the bug item in Azure DevOps and sends a supporting email notification.

This is just one example to demonstrate how the Microsoft Power Platform and connected apps are helping organisations of all sizes achieve significant gains in productivity by implementing smarter, connected processes.

As the chart summarises below for this example, Dynamics 365 case management is connected with Azure DevOps through Microsoft Flow to create new dev tasks directly from case records. All teams then have visibility of referred issues via a unified bugs board which is accessible within Microsoft Teams.

Chart Summary

Please get in touch to find out more and to discuss how your business can use a similar solution to improve its communication and productivity.


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