Let us take a look at Managed and Unmanaged Solutions.
Unmanaged and managed solutions
There are two types of Microsoft Dynamics CRM solutions: managed and unmanaged. Managed solutions require a clear depth of understanding of managed solutions. They are used by the Independent Software Vendors (ISV's) who sell a set of IP that is not expected to be changed or modified by the customer purchasing these solutions. They are positioned to be updated or upgraded only by the ISV that sells them.
This is an important point for customers (who purchase these solutions and then extend CRM) and for partners (who create solutions for customers that are designed to be given to the customer to maintain).
UNMANAGED solutions are the more historical, potentially more flexible and what I like to call more organic. Organically I can generally fix most issues found in unmanaged solutions whereas managed solutions I must go back to the ISV.
It is also worth mentioning the "System" Solution.
The system solution represents the solution components defined within Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Without any managed solutions or customizations, the system solution defines the default application behavior. Many of the components in the system solution are customizable and can be used in managed solutions or unmanaged customizations.
If you add customizations without using a unmanaged or managed solution you are modifying the system solution. If you create an unmanaged solution (so you can easily move your changes to other environments) you are merging your changes in with the system solution. Every component of an unmanaged solution is prefixed with the prefix you define in the publisher. Every component that you add to the system solution (without leveraging managed and unmanaged solutions) is prefixed with new_
The team doesn't let you add, without some indication that it was added. (smart team)
So some easy and hard questions to consider as we thinking about Managed and Unmanaged Solutions
1) How do you create a managed or unmanaged solution?
2) What is a CRM publisher?
3) What benefit does the publisher give the customizer?
4) What happens when you import an unmanaged solution?
5) Can you export a managed solution?
6) Who is the primary audience for managed solutions?
7) What are the disadvantages for the customer of using managed solutions?