Based in Sydney Australia Olena is a Microsoft MVP, developer and architect. She has vast experience in software development, D365 CE and Power Platform. She is a community speaker and organiser of multiple user groups.
Tell us about yourself (experience, background, industries, community service, else)
Started as a .Net developer, I’ve been working in IT for 20 years. Have worked with all versions of D365 CE and portals. As a part of my role, I do hands-on development, integration and architecture. I also do no-code development where required. Tried multiple times to give up “coding” for more manager type of roles but was always coming back. Started working as an independent consultant last October then launched a company with my partner in January. My favourite industry is higher education. Most of my projects are free community activities. I organise BizApps Women NSW, #PowerLabs and Microsoft 365 Pro-Low-No-Code Devs user groups. Also, I’m in the committee for Dynamics 365 UG NSW.
For the success of a D365 project, what are a few things (practices or steps) you do when kick-starting a new project?
Making sure this project is not set to failure from the beginning, and I’ve got a real power to make things happen by putting my effort and knowledge into it.
What delivery methodology you have found useful in projects?
Some people would say “it depends”. This is how I would like to answer too. But the truth is I am a true SCRUM believer. I had the opportunity to work with the most fantastic coach for SCRUM for Dynamics 365, Neil Benson, in one of the most successful implementations in my entire professional career.
What is one thing that can make a project successful or vice versa?
For me, the success of a project from the beginning of a project is very much predefined by a desire of key stakeholders and other key parties involved for the project to succeed.
If people were forced to a change and they don’t believe this is the best way to go the rest of it is just a waste of their and your time. It’s tough to be a part of something which is doomed from the beginning. Unfortunately, it happened to my team and me before, and it’s a very traumatic experience.
Give me two (or more) tips that will enhance the performance of my applications?
Don’t overthink or overcomplicate things, use the latest frameworks and SDKs which are up-to-date with security and performance updates. Make sure you understand the pros and cons of different approaches. Don’t have a solution, have more than one, understand the benefits of each.
Tell us two things (or more) which will improve the quality of deliveries?
Having a good team. Staying connected with a business and getting constant feedback.
In the context of D365 implementation, what does architecture means to you?
In terms of a SCRUM delivery architecture is not something predefined and one of. For me, it means it should be reviewed regularly to check if thigs we developed earlier make sense still.
What few things you consider when you are architecting or designing a solution?
Costs, licencing, maintenance and support. Scalability to a degree. I am not against “temporary” solutions, everything is temporary, but you should be aware of the price your customer is going to pay in the future.
Tell us anything that you consider is/are the best practice(s) and everyone should follow?
There is no such thing as common sense so I can’t answer this question properly.
Share a tip of yours to boost productivity as a dev, consultant or architect?
Stay focused. Find a balance of a customer-facing and quiet time to concentrate. Both sides are crucial for a good consultant. Listen and hear.
Tell us about a canvas app that you have built or seen which was awesome?
The most amazing ones are those built by end-users. Because they help them to solve their day to day problems.
Have you seen an impressive AI application recently, preconfigured or custom which you want to mention?
I believe that the most amazing applications are still in the future. We have to make sure it’s inclusive in all possible ways.
How you analyse and build security in projects? Any tips?
Not leaving to the very end of a project?
While doing configurations, do you follow some rules or practices?
There are too many of them.
Managed or Unmanaged?
Should I say “it depends” again “? Managed – for boxed products and unmanaged – for service projects and framework type of products. It may change or even it WILL change in the future, but for me it still the rule I follow.
Early bound or late bound?
Don’t like early bound. I know it’s a bad answer, wrong even.
LINQ, FetchXML or QueryExpression?
Can I keep them all?
Realtime vs batch?
Expectation vs reality. Batches aren’t ideal, but in some cases, we may not even have API available to integrate with. It’s not like we choose. For some areas like IoT, banking, blockchain etc you don’t even think “batches”. It depends.
No code/ low code or hardcore development?
Smart code. Saying you are pro-code or pro-nocode means you are too lazy to think of the best in each case solution. You have to learn about all possibilities and consider all options.
Generally for integration which technology and pattern is your choice?
My choice is to provide my customer with the decision-making matrix, so they know their options.
Any open-source, community development, toolbox plugin that you want someone to develop?
I want to develop a per-component backup restore for the portal packages available via Portal Record Mover in XrmToolBox. But I can’t find a time to do it, unfortunately.
If you have all the resources to improve one thing in D365 what that would be?
What is one thing in model apps you consider people are not utilising its full potential?
Not sure. It depends on the client.
If you are selling D365 just by one feature, what that feature is?
It plays nicely with Office 365.
What would you advise a girl starting in IT and working with Power Platform?
“If you don’t ask questions you look like you know stuff, if you ask questions you actually know it. Don’t look smart, be smart. It’s scary to be the only girl in a room but if it’s what you like to do then be brave and follow your dream. We all hope for a better more diverse, more inclusive world. Be a part of a good change. I love Power Platform because it allows people with no dev background to start building apps and solve business problems. It can be a great way to fall in love with technologies.”
What advice will you give your younger self who is already working as a D365 professional?
I’ve done well by choosing it as your career path don’t worry about stopping being a hands-on person; it will never happen.
What are a few things you do to be efficient in working?
If I can’t move faster to achieve my goals, I simply move. People don’t get the concept of time. They worry about something too late to learn or do. If you start today tomorrow, you will be much further than you were yesterday, regardless of speed.
What is the best way to keep up with technological advancements and changes?
Try to keep learning fun, do more hands-on stuff. Don’t believe in everything you see/watch/hear in social media sites. Take small steps but learn regularly.
Let’s Connect 🙂