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Workflow Best Practice for Project Status Dropdown

  • 1.  Workflow Best Practice for Project Status Dropdown

    Posted 28 days ago

    I've been working on creating new functionality for my company's CRM and I've had a lot of great support from this community and Quickbase but it sounds like we're going to be completely re-building the way our current application runs in the near future so I'm trying to get ahead of things and was curious about best practice when creating a new workflow.

     

    Currently our CRM is a pretty standard series of tabs that allow the user to input information in any order, BUT what we'd like to do is have our app streamlined around a Project Status drop down. Depending on the project status, the user would then be able to enter in new information either via a new tab or Sectioned off page.

     

    So, For Example, if the project Status is "Qualified Lead" it'll have the user enter in some general information on the project but if the status is then put into "Activated Opportunity", then more options for information input should show up but also still contain the previous information so there isn't duplicate information which is a big problem for us currently. This also works in quote/layout request forms and a product form all that need to work within the workflow.

     

    Our current CRM is a series of tabs some that link to forms but I was thinking of just simply doing a show/hide of each tab depending upon the selection from the dropdown and the corresponding project status but I ran across some Show Form Rule issues.

     

    We don't want to build a new app from the ground up, but does anybody have any thoughts on what they think would be the best way to re-tool our current CRM? Happy to share some screenshots if it better explains what I'm trying to accomplish. I plan on watching some Webinars if I get some time this week to hopefully strengthen my understanding but happy for any advice in the meantime.



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    Peter Gacek
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  • 2.  RE: Workflow Best Practice for Project Status Dropdown

    Posted 23 days ago
    If your process is complex enough that you have multiple tabs / forms setup to allow for proper data entry, I would definitely suggest against switching this process to a show/hide setup with Form Rules. To me, controlling a process using Form Rules is entry-level development. You're getting started, your process isn't terribly robust, etc. Controlling your process using a combination of multiple forms for different Roles or functions (Add/Edit/View) is the next level up. Combining this with the use of buttons to allow the user to navigate to various forms within the same Table/Record would be the next logical progression. This allows for an even more complex business process, but can have its' drawbacks with regards to maintenance. 

    I would suggest looking really hard at your processes and see if there are natural breaks where you might be able to separate these into different Tables altogether. Using "Sales" as a general process, many companies can further break this down into Business Development, Customer Management, Accounting, etc. From your post, it sounds like you may want to consider breaking your setup into something like a Pre-close and Post-close structure that would then allow you to streamline each of those and make for a better user experience.

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    Blake Harrison
    bharrison@datablender.io
    DataBlender - Quickbase Solution Provider
    Atlanta GA
    404.800.1702 / http://datablender.io/
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  • 3.  RE: Workflow Best Practice for Project Status Dropdown

    Posted 22 days ago
    Blake,

    Thanks for your response, it definitely gives me some things to chew on. I would certainly consider myself entry-level when it comes to Quickbase as I've only been working with it for about two months in between my normal hours as a project manager for my company.

    I figured the show/hide setup with form rules was a rudimentary approach, which is what prompted me to seek out some advice here. I've  played with some buttons, roles, formulas but it's hard to wrap my brain around completely re-designing our current CRM as it wasn't built with a dynamic workflow in mind.

    So, I suppose instead of a drop down being enacted, I should work to create buttons to access forms within the same table. I think we have SOME natural breaks in our process where I can inject certain things, but like I said, the current app doesn't utilize much in the way of a workflow. We have yet to include any automations (which I know are going away) and I currently don't have access to pipelines although I'm not certain a solution lies in there as we're not really tying in any SaaS tools.. yet. 

    I'll go back through university and re-watch some app building process videos but do you have any suggestions on where I should focus my education next?

    Thanks again for the feedback!


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    Peter Gacek
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  • 4.  RE: Workflow Best Practice for Project Status Dropdown

    Posted 22 days ago
    I don't want to be the bearer of bad news, but, if you're that new to Quickbase, and you're working on an "in production" application, I would encourage you to reach out to a QSP - myself or someone else - that can at least help you plan any changes. Purchasing 5-10 hours of a professional developer's time will give you plenty of time for them to understand your application and make design suggestions that won't break your application. You'll probably even have time left over that you can use for consultations during the course of your build.

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    Blake Harrison
    bharrison@datablender.io
    DataBlender - Quickbase Solution Provider
    Atlanta GA
    404.800.1702 / http://datablender.io/
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  • 5.  RE: Workflow Best Practice for Project Status Dropdown

    Posted 22 days ago
    Blake -

    Regarding the idea of using different forms once you reach a certain complexity, versus form rules:

    I also like this approach, but have constantly fought one battle and wonder how you deal with it. The permanent 'Save' and 'Cancel' buttons on the top of the page (I know you can remove the ones on the bottom of the form), will always take you to the default form. So I struggle with what to do about that. If I have a user on an alternate form, and their muscle memory has them click one of those buttons, they will get lost. How do you combat this?

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    Mike Tamoush
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  • 6.  RE: Workflow Best Practice for Project Status Dropdown

    Posted 22 days ago
    I make them click 2 buttons. One button that will navigate to the View of the form I want them to use and a 2nd button for them to switch to Edit on that form. Typically, I disguise it as "Do X Action" for the View button and "Yes, I really want to Edit This" for the Edit button. Or something similar that would make sense in context. Many times, I will also put a message at the top of the form above the "Yes, I really Want to Edit This" with some type of warning message advising the user what they are about to do, etc.

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    Blake Harrison
    bharrison@datablender.io
    DataBlender - Quickbase Solution Provider
    Atlanta GA
    404.800.1702 / http://datablender.io/
    ------------------------------