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As a developer, I will probably read Using CiviCRM several more times and keep it handy as a reference. (It provides good project management and software development advice in general.) If I follow my own advice, I'll read Chapter 2 (Planning Your CiviCRM Implementation) whenever I start a new nonprofit site.
The most useful `feature' of Using CiviCRM for a developer is the collection of use cases, i.e., practical examples and tutorials. I'd been down many of those roads before I read the book, so I'm not likely to repeat them, but I can see how they would have been useful before I learned the hard way how CiviCRM does things. When the time comes for me to learn some others, I'll know where to turn. I hope I take the time to practice with each one first. It should be well worth it.
As a consultant, I will recommend Using CiviCRM to clients as a planning tool for CRM in general. This book has given me the ability to explain to clients what needs are required and what they may be missing before any development starts.
I'm past the point where I could go through Using CiviCRM cover-to-cover like a text book to learn the ins and outs of CiviCRM. That said, I like a newbie's chances with that approach. It can't beat experience, but it walks you through the many steps of what/why/how an organization can utilize the power of CiviCRM.Lire la suite ›
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This book is now about 2 yrs old, but almost all the advice is still valid (Oct 2013)
I found the CiviCRM online documentation quite good, but without practical tips and useful opinions which are offered in this book. Just being aware of the best way to implement a feature (and why the alternatives are sub-optimal) makes the book a worthwhile investment.
HOWEVER, do NOT buy this book if you are looking to gain a deeper knowledge with customizing and extending CiviCRM. I was really hoping that there would be some sort of "tutorial" or guiding for customizing and extending. That simple doesn't exist in this book.
If you plan to use CiviCRM out of the box, then this will be a great book. If you are a developer, don't bother.
CiviCRM has its own online documentation, but that document, typical of open-source software documentation, is choppy, not always clear, and often seems written for someone who is already intimately familiar with the system. This book, on the other hand, is solid, comprehensive, and without "talking down" to the reader, pitches its explanations at those with not much familiarity. (That was certainly needed for me.)
Many technical books about software fall into one of two bins of narrowness of approach: either they focus on technical minutiae without creating an overall worldview to fit those details into. Or they focus on a small number of test scenarios with limited overlap to other usages. _Using CiviCRM_ seems to strike the right balance, with plenty of technical detail and test scenarios to be sure, but throughout there is an emphasis on a high-level understanding of the general capabilities of the system and how it can be mapped to many different organizational needs.
In a way, this book is not just a primer on CiviCRM itself; it is also a pretty good discussion of how to manage constituent relations for any nonprofit organization--and then, how CiviCRM can be incorporated into that management plan.
One of the hardest jobs for a user setting up a CiviCRM system is figuring out how to map the organization's use cases to the software. CiviCRM is a complex system with many dependencies among its components: decisions you make early on can have far-ranging impacts in unforeseen ways down the road. The best strategy for minimizing future surprises is to understand as thoroughly as possible the "CiviCRM Way" of doing things; and the best way to do that would be, in my opinion, to read this book from cover to cover before doing anything else.
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