Over the past four years, I have helped over 700 customers to start building their QuickBase applications. I’ve seen many people build successful solutions and as with any business process application, the #1 thing that makes the difference between success and failure is clearly defining your solution before jumping in head first.
Below are some tips to help you get off on the right foot. These tips apply to everyone from new application managers to the seasoned QuickBase Hero who is ready to roll out his or her 20th application. They even help if you are just evaluating software or checking out one of the 150+ templates in our application library.
Step 1: Identify your problem.
What problem are you trying to solve? Are you missing your project deadlines and need better visibility across your team? Is your sales forecast about as accurate as asking the magic 8 ball? Get to the root of your problem(s) and this will help you determine the core of your application. Create a few, very simple, easy to understand problem statements. This will help keep you focused as you move on to the next steps.
Step 2: Scope out the challenge.
What are the most essential pieces of information that the application needs to solve your problem(s)? Of course you could include everyone’s birthday and their mother’s maiden name in your application, but is it essential? Only keeping essential information in the application keeps the end user as happy as the management team.
Step 3: Draw a “map” of your application.
As I work with new application managers, a visual blueprint or “map” of their application is the single most valuable thing I can give them. I like to keep the map very simple and easy to read: simple boxes for each table and arrows for relationships (Learn more about how to map an app). Create something you can take to your management team that they will be able to understand without having a lick of QuickBase knowledge. Test the structure by following your workflow through the relationships on the map. Once you have the table/relationship structure the way you want, plan out your fields.
Step 4: Get an end user’s perspective.
Look at your application structure and evaluate it from the end user’s perspective. Get an end user involved! See what information could be taken out or moved to a different table to maximize time spent on data entry. Take into account your end users personality and how they currently solve the problems you’ve outlined to refine, revise, and simplify.
Now you are ready to dive in with building your application. With your map in hand, creating your new QuickBase application becomes a connect-the-dots process. There will always be revisions to your application as you go along, so don’t worry about making it perfect from the get-go. That’s the beauty of having an application you are building yourself!
In the end, having a map that focuses on solving your specific problems is setting yourself up for success and will make your app building process with QuickBase or any other customizable business software smooth sailing.
Posted in Team Productivity