User stories as a key project management tool

One of the first challenges in software development is gathering clear requirements and keeping them unchanged during the implementation. Requirements documents can be lengthy and too technical.

At Crust, we implemented user stories as part of our project management and business analysis process and we acknowledged that this is a powerful way of defining the required functionalities from a user’s point of view. They reflect what a particular user needs and what value is gained from using ‘plain English’ without technicalities and implementation details.

A typical user story template looks like this:

As a [role], I want to [requirement] so that [benefit].

The role describes who is going to benefit from the feature. We want it to be more specific than “the user” so consequently, the first step in the process is to successfully identify all types of users involved as end consumers. In our case, these are usually, but not limited to, “CRM admins” with administrator privileges and “CRM users” with restricted access.

The requirement part briefly describes what the user wants to accomplish. The story shouldn’t be specified in too much detail and it has to reveal the perspective of the user who will benefit from the function, not the developer who will be coding it. We also try to avoid using technical terminology (e.g. we might write “I want to remember my login details” instead of “I want to store my login credentials into a cookie”.)

The benefit states why the user wants this feature and what value it brings. This part helps product owners to better prioritize the requirement and gives the development team more freedom to find innovative ways of implementation to solve the objective. If the benefit can’t be articulated, it might be a good sign the feature is not necessary.

I recommend checking out INVEST technique to validate if you’re writing efficient user stories:

  • Independent – can the story stand alone by itself?
  • Negotiable – can this story be changed or removed without impact to everything else?
  • Valuable – does this story brings value to the end-user?
  • Estimable – can you estimate the size of the story?
  • Small – is it small enough?
  • Testable – can this story be tested and verified?

From our experience, this approach empowers product discussions along with the product development team and external stakeholders. Writing user stories often saves us time as it helps us to define high-level CRM requirements without necessarily going into too many details too early. It gives us cross-team clarity on what matters most to the user – what do we need to build, for whom exactly, why and what’s the priority.

User stories are easy to define and understand so they became a standard way to summarize the functionality by both technical and non-technical team members. Instead of confusing specifications with complex terminology, we provide our clients with a requirements list that they can understand and with which they can identify. If you want to encourage the participation of non-technical team members, why not give user stories a try?

Cross-Application and Federated Automation with Crust Corredor

5 August 2019
Cork, Ireland

Crust Technology has announced the impending release of Crust Corredor, its new backend technology for cross-application and federated workflow automation.

The original philosophical intent behind Crust was for the platform to be a seamless three way marriage between identity, communication and business logicsays Niall McCarthy, CEO of Crust Technology.While Crust’s flexible and scalable micro-service architecture helps make it the ideal private cloud technological alternative to Salesforce’s centralised public cloud, Corredor delivers on our philosophical intent”.

What is Corredor?

Corredor is a trigger-based automation plugin designed specifically for the Crust platform. Corredor adds more safety, resilience, consistency and flexibility to the existing front-end javascript automation engine that ships with Crust CRM and Crust Compose by default. Extending your key CRM and Service Cloud workflows across your entire Crust deployment and beyond is about to become a reality.

Automations Across Crust CRM and Crust Compose Applications

Corredor will enable customers to build automations and CRM workflows across any Crust Compose-based component or namespace, reducing duplication of effort and maximising synergies between your Crust applications.

Federated Automation Across Instances of the Crust Platform

Via Crust API’s it will be possible to generate automation actions across different instances of the Crust platform, opening up a world of opportunity for efficient third party collaboration. With Corredor, your organisation can share native Crust data anonymously and securely, decouple critical records-based systems gradually and smoothly, or simply deploy multiple free-standing systems with tight data inter-relationships.

System and Messaging Triggers (Coming Soon!)

Corredor will soon extend to all parts of the core Crust platform, delivering automation capabilities for both the Crust System and Crust Messaging services, thereby ensuring the marriage of identity, communication and business logic is complete.

Version Control with Git Integration (Coming Soon!)

To help protect your organisation and deliver clear version control over your automations, HTTP support for Git-based repositories will be included with Corredor. The truly flexible enterprise needs to be able to examine, re-use, evolve and even roll back its business logic easily and safely. Combined with Crust Compose’s unlimited namespace feature, Corredor delivers the complete business logic automation solution.

In line with Crust Technology’s open source policy, all software code for Crust Corredor will be contributed to the Corteza project at https://www.cortezaproject.org where it will be freely available to users on a permanent basis.

Crust Corredor will be released in early September 2019. For Proof-of-Concept trials please contacts Crust at sales@crust.tech.

10 Reasons why Crust CRM is the True Salesforce Alternative

Many CRM applications claim to be an alternative to Salesforce, the cloud-only market leader, but very few can actually justify this claim. Crust CRM has been designed to be superior in many ways to Salesforce whilst delivering a competitive feature set. If you’re looking for a Salesforce alternative, here’s why Crust CRM should be the top of your list. Read more

Crust Technology Announces “Crust Service Cloud”

16 July 2019
Cork, Ireland

Crust, the most advanced open source CRM in the world and the No. 1 private cloud alternative to Salesforce, has announced the upcoming release of Crust Service Cloud.

Crust Service Cloud will deliver the following feature set:

  • Agent console with 360 degree view of any customer
  • Advanced Case Management with integrated omni-channel communications
  • Attachments Management
  • Products Module
  • Service Level Agreement (SLA) Tracking and Monitoring
  • Knowledge Base
  • Integrated Response Templates
  • Dashboards
  • Escalation Automation
  • Scripts Module
  • Self-service Portal
  • Integration with the Corteza Application Ecosystem
  • Skills module for intelligently and automatically assigning tasks to the most appropriate staff member
  • Complete integration with Crust CRM and Crust Messaging
  • Mobile ready

Read more

Customer Identity and Access Management with Crust

With Crust CRM, customer engagement is secure and seamless. Of course, having an Identity and Access Management specialist investing in your business helps – Crust is part owned by DAASI International, Europe’s leading open source IAM consultancy. Balancing customer security with convenience is an important design goal in Crust which been expertly implemented by DAASI International and the Crust team.

Here are some of the key features for enterprises: Read more

High Trust “Customer Scale” Messaging with Crust

Every business needs an effective and secure messaging system. However, that system should also be able to scale to customer populations, bringing your automated processes, workflows and your team itself into a closer and richer collaboration with your customers than ever before.

Crust Enterprise Messaging is a self-hosted or private cloud enterprise messaging system with a comparable feature set to Slack corporate messaging. It provides a important communication layer for Crust CRM, but exists as a standalone offering too. Read more

The Best Customer Service Experience is Built on Crust

Building a great customer service platform is no easy task. Mapping customer experience and user journeys is complex and ever-changing. Ensuring your technology keeps up requires a platform sufficiently flexible and extensible – but it can’t be a headache to maintain either. Unifying identity, customer records, communications and interactions, marketing requirements, processing queries and complaints and delivering varied customer engagement applications securely requires the right tools at your disposal.

As the world’s most advanced open source CRM and the No. 1 secure private cloud alternative to Salesforce, Crust delivers a unified approach to co-ordinating and simplifying the customer user experience for both your organisation and its customers. Read more

Why choose Crust and Corteza? Because Customer and User Trust are Sacred.

I’ve been asked a good number of times over the last few days why Crust Technology decided to donate all its software intellectual property to the Commons Conservancy Foundation and created Corteza “The Digital Work Platform for Humanity”. Why give away what many tech businesses consider to be the crown jewel in their commercial portfolio?

Read more

7 reasons why Crust CRM is Reshaping the Open Source CRM Landscape

Crust CRM, the open source Salesforce alternative, looks to market leaders such as Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics when ensuring we build a competitive feature set. We also have an innovative approach of our own, centered on marrying identity, communication and business logic, which underpins our platform architecture and guarantees maximum flexibility and extensibility. Read more

CIB and Crust Technology announce partnership to create the LibreOffice Online “Corteza” distribution

Munich, Germany
20 June 2019

CIB and Crust Technology today announced a partnership to create the LibreOffice Online “Corteza” distribution, a free production grade release of the LibreOffice Online software. All software development will be carried out within The Document Foundation, the custodian of the LibreOffice project, while packages will also be made available via Corteza, the Digital Work Platform for Humanity and upstream distribution of Crust.

As one of the principal long-term contributors to LibreOffice, CIB were the obvious choice of partner for this projectsays Niall McCarthy, CEO of Crust Technology.We’re excited to play our part in building a top class LibreOffice Online integration for the completely free and independent Corteza project by helping with various user interface and user experience improvements within LibreOffice Online and by providing the necessary storage and identity infrastructure within Corteza”.

We’re very excited about this opportunity, with the vast functionality and potential oFreef LibreOffice Online being delivered in Cortezaremarks Thorsten Behrens, head of the LibreOffice team at CIB.software took its time, but this marriage of LibreOffice and Corteza certainly delivers on a bright future for private Digital Work platforms. We are proud to enable users to make use of Open Formats, giving them full control over their content and data”.

The LibreOffice Online “Corteza” distribution is targeted for release at the beginning of September 2019. At the same time a version for enterprises of “LibreOffice Online powered by CIB” will be made available for the commercial Crust platform.

Read more