As a developer, programmer, business systems analyst, ERP implementations guy and consultant, I’ve adopted some simple, fundamental rules to go by on projects. Some examples are:
If adding data to your database means you have to change code underlying a form or report, then you’re not storing your data correctly.
Example… storing project types in checkboxes… let’s say you want to store a new sort of project type in your infocenter and your boss tells you to add checkboxes for the 12 different types on a custom tab called “revenue types” or something like that. Deltek Vision allows you to do that easily with a few clicks right? That’s what it’s all about, easily customizing the application.
However, what about when you want to search on those fields? If you do an
advanced search from the Project infocenter, then you have to know the names of all the checkbox fields to search on them. What’s more, they won’t appear in any kind of rational order. They appear in alphabetical order with all the other fields in the project infocenter! Here, you’ve just violated another simple rule I go by…
Don’t torture your users.
When making major changes to your applications infrastructure it’s important to have some simple rules like this to go by, which you can apply to every single project, change or modification to keep your employees/users happy, and keep the data relevant and accurate. Here are a few more of those rules:
Store the data in the right place.
In the example above where someone decides to make a checkbox for every project type, or some other “attribute” of some infocenter, the correct place to store that data would be in a custom grid, with a lookup or drop down storing the actual values. This allows for:
1. multiple values for one project
2. ease of use, for searches etc.
3. does not require a change to underlying configurations, code, or report if the list of values changes
If it’s not relatively simple and mostly elegant, you probably need to find another way.
That last one sounds odd to some, but it really is true. Remember that book “everything I know I learned in Kindergarten”? That book was a bit hit for a reason.
p.s. my wife is quite crafty… here are some easter chicks for your enjoyment!