There are some new change management options available in CRM 2011. With Managed Solutions, you can achieve a layered effect where one solution builds on the next and it is even possible to isolate and rollback individual solutions. This is particularly important for teams that have multiple simultaneous development projects proceeding at different rates/release dates. There is a good discussion of the implications of solutions as well as fundamentals of the entire CRM development spectrum in the new CRM Developer’s Training Kit. This is tricky stuff, so make sure you get it working in a “sandbox” before trying this in your main Dev branch.
I just attended the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference where I had the chance to talk to a number of ISVs and Microsoft engineers. There are a lot of cool products emerging around the CRM platform. There are two products that I am particularly keen to try out: NeuDesic’s Pulse and ADX Studios portals.
Pulse is a way to bring social-like conversations into CRM and SharePoint and looks like it would have fantastic application wherever team collaboration is going on.
ADX Studios (makers of the LINQ based SDK that Microsoft ships with CRM) has a number of ready-to-run public facing portals that have built-in claims based authentication to re-use Facebook, Google, and Live accounts.
Plugins, Workflows and Dialogs
Finally, I just came across this helpful CRM team blog post that outlines the best time to use a plugin vs workflow.