Want An Easier Way to Explain How Access Roles Work Within Dynamics CRM? Try Using Pictures

How many times have we sat wrestling with writing out requirements documents while wishing we could simply draw out what we’re trying to say instead? Why is it that sometimes drawing on a whiteboard sometimes just helps us get our points across quicker than writing them out?

Pictures can be more effective than words in helping us express our thoughts and ideas. For example, one of the things I’ve never been able to adequately convey using words alone is how Access Levels work when setting up security roles within Dynamics CRM.  Every time I try, my words fail me and I inevitably go the whiteboard (if I can).

Below is a description of how the Dynamics CRM security model works:

  • None: The easiest to understand: you cannot do it!
  • User: You can do it for records owned by either you or your team.  Both users and teams can own records in CRM.
  • Business UnitFrom User to Business Unit is a big jump, since it broadens out to include any record you own, plus any record owned by anybody else in your business unit. This is also the intersection between business units and security.
  • Parent-Child Business Unit: This one only matters if your business unit structure is complex enough to have parent and child business units. If it is, the jump from Business Unit to Parent-Child Business Unit extends your access level down to any BU that is a child of the one you are assigned to.
  • Organization: Also easy to understand, organization-level access means you can do it for any record owned by anybody in the organization (“tenant”).

Easy to understand, right?  Now let’s look at how a couple pictures can make those words really sink in.

  • None: The easiest to understand: you cannot do it!
  • User: You can do it for records owned by either you or your team.  Both users and teams can own records in CRM.
  • Business UnitFrom User to Business Unit is a big jump, since it broadens out to include any record you own, plus any record owned by anybody else in your business unit. This is also the intersection between business units and security.
  • Parent-Child Business Unit: This one only matters if your business unit structure is complex enough to have parent and child business units. If it is, the jump from Business Unit to Parent-Child Business Unit extends your access level down to any BU that is a child of the one you are assigned to.
  • Organization: Also easy to understand, organization-level access means you can do it for any record owned by anybody in the organization (“tenant”).

If I were at a white board, these are the pictures I would draw to show who can “see” a record as user’s access levels change. It took me less than 5 minutes to draw these photos using my iPad (it would have taken me at least 30 minutes to do this in VISIO in a way that I am happy with), and the 5 minute hand drawn pictures are a far more effective way to convey the message than a plain text “how to” guide.

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