Requirements Gathering: An Application – Part 2

In the previous post, we considered a 2-part framework for requirements gathering:

  1. Functional Requirement – Identifying the Who, What, and Why (As a [fill-in-the-blank], I need to [fill-in-the-blank], so that [fill-in-the-blank])
  2. Non-Functional Requirements – Evaluating the additional considerations around the requirement (Availability, Compliance, Data retention, Performance, Privacy, Security, Scalability, etc)

This got me thinking – could I build an app to facilitate requirements gathering in this format?

As a [Solution Architect], I need to [Capture complete requirements], So that [I can create complete solutions]

I wanted an app structuring requirements entry so that the users would be guided to consider all of the requirement’s functional and non-functional elements. This seemed like a convenient use-case to try to build a PowerApp.

The Napkin Sketch


The SharePoint List

I started by creating a SharePoint list with columns for the functional and non-functional data points I wanted to capture. Then, to my surprise, I saw that there is a PowerApps “Create an app” button in the banner. That’s right – SharePoint lists come with a PowerApps Easy Button!!! (I understand this functionality has been around for a couple years, but it was new to me.)

I was impressed by how well the default app creation worked – it created a browse screen, detail screen, and edit screen with most of the functionality I wanted (though not necessarily captured in my initial napkin sketch).

The PowerApp

As my first PowerApp building experience, I wanted to play with the tool. The “Who” and “What” displayed on the Browse screen by default, but I also wanted to include the “Why”. I wanted to model the As a [fill-in-the-blank], I need to [fill-in-the-blank], so that [fill-in-the-blank] formula. I wanted sort the items by the ID number instead of the “Who” value. After some experimenting, my app now looks like this:

The Improved(?) PowerApp

Your eyes do not deceive you – after 1 hour of experimentation I was able to take a default app and make it less aesthetically appealing than when I started!

The Next Steps

I was really impressed with how simple it was to build a basic PowerApp. If i spent more time on this, I’d like to make the search functional, create validations for personas so that the “Who” field isn’t free text, maybe make the app more beautiful. However, the big takeaway is that I do now have a functional prototype. With minimal effort I could now give this to other solution architects for testing and feedback and see if this is a useful tool.

As the kids on YouTube say, let me know what you think in the comments!

Additional reading
PowerApps with a SharePoint List – Learn PowerApps Tutorial
Microsoft Power Platform: Learning Resources
Power Apps

Requirements Gathering: An Application – Part 1

The Microsoft Dynamics 365 learning paths are a great resource for expanding product knowledge and enhancing skills. While following the learning path for the solution architect Exam MB-700, I appreciated its emphasis on Who, What, and Why in requirements gathering:

Who, What, & Why

An easy trap during requirements gathering is to jump straight from a need to its system solution. Focusing on Who, What, and Why helps capture the complete functional requirement so that the solution will also be complete. This type of requirement gathering can be written in a formula: As a [fill-in-the-blank], I need to [fill-in-the-blank], so that [fill-in-the-blank].

Some examples of this functional requirement formula from the learning path:

Non-Functional Requirements

Who, What, and Why frame the functional requirements, non-functional requirements should also be considered. Non-functional requirements are elements outside of the direct need that will influence the performance or acceptability of the solution. Some types of non-functional requirement considerations are Availability, Compliance, Data retention/residency, Privacy, Security.

Some examples of non-functional requirements from the learning path:

An Application?

I like this framing of Who, What, and Why in a functional requirement, along with its non-functional elements. Again, capturing complete requirements is an important first step to building complete solutions. Thinking about this made me wonder – can I build an application to help gather requirements in this format?

Stay tuned for Part 2!

Enable Saved Views

As regular readers know, Saved Views enhance the Finance and Operation experience, empowering users to save sets of personalizations and navigate forms more efficiently.

In earlier versions, this preview feature had to be enabled through SQL code – starting in Platform update 33, Saved views can now be activated in the Feature management workspace.

Go to Feature Management Workspace

If you do not see the Saved views feature, click Check for updates. Depending on how far in the future you are, you may also need to toggle from the “New” tab to the “Not enabled” tab.

Hello readers in the future. How is it there?

Select Saved Views Feature

Click “Enable now” at bottom right.

Saved Views Feature Will Now Be Enabled

A green check mark and enabled date will now display next to the feature.

When activating the Saved views feature, also consider enabling the Grouping in grids and New grid control features.

Additional Reading
Saved Views
Grouping In Grids
New Grid Control

Resource Roundup: Virtual Meetings

There is so much good content on the internet *insert shocked emoji*. Resource Roundup is a series to organize links, ideas, and advice around a specific topic.


We’re Working From Home. We’re using Teams. Virtual meetings are more and more a part of the modern workplace. Here are some resources with suggestions on how to make them more effective.


Resource Roundup – Virtual Meetings


Project Management Institute

The Seven Secrets of Successful Virtual Meetings

Leave it to the makers of PMBOK® to provide a nice 2×2 grid about how to best meet across time and space. In all seriousness, I think this is an important insight. Technology makes it so easy to have a virtual meeting – but the first question should be is a virtual meeting appropriate to the common objective, especially considering the time and place constraints of the participants.


Harvard Business Review

How to Run a Great Virtual Meeting

I like this article because it highlights that a key to making meetings great happens before and after the meeting itself. Setting a clear agenda and getting alignment before the meeting helps clear roadblocks to the real, necessary conversation that needs to take place during a meeting. Water-cooler talk after a meeting is an important part of processing its contents. Because virtual meetings don’t have physical water-coolers, it can be valuable to formalize water-cooler time as the ending structure of a virtual meeting.


Matt Wade

9 Things You Need to Stop Doing During Online Meetings

A solid list of virtual meeting “don’t”s. The don’t I most enthusiastically agree with is “Don’t ask open-ended questions to everyone”. Addressing questions to specific people is better for virtual calls because 1) It increases engagement and 2) It avoids the awkward virtual meeting pause where nobody responds, then multiple people respond, then nobody’s quite sure who should start talking and who should stop talking. These are two social problems where virtual meeting technology is still lacking behind face-to-face meeting technology.

Matt has also created a fantastic guide to MS Teams etiquette. I embrace his effort to try to formalize best-practice social conventions for the new online communications technology.


Joel Leichty

5 TIPS FOR IMPROVING YOUR WORK FROM HOME VIDEO CALLS

Turning on your video camera during virtual meetings helps create connection with others, and also helps you monitor your own focus. I appreciate this article for highlighting that we shouldn’t be afraid to turn on our cameras at home just because we’re not dressed for the office. “Work From Home official video dress code is ‘Casual But Not Pajamas’.”, with an encouragement to bathe in the morning is a pretty good mantra.

After bathing, good lighting and an elevated the camera angle are simple things that go a long way to improving the video experience.

Additional Reading
Matt Wade – jumpto365
Joel Leichty
Project Management Institute

Resource Roundup: Microsoft Teams Advanced Tips

There is so much good content on the internet *insert shocked emoji*. Resource Roundup is a series to organize links, ideas, and advice around a specific topic.


Following-up on yesterday’s Microsoft Teams Resources, here are some advanced tips for Teams.

Shortcuts

As regular readers will know, I’m a big fan of shortcuts. They are also useful in Microsoft Teams. Below is a helpful hotkey list put together by cheatkeys.com


Live Captions

When you click the ellipsis during a meeting, you may notice a new (preview) feature called “Turn on live captions”. Clicking this provides automated captions at the bottom of the screen. These captions are only available in English, and will only be privately visible to you (ie not visible to every one else in the meeting).

Machine generated alternative text:
a 
O 
Help 
4 
00:39 
@ Show device settings 
Show meeting notes 
(D Show meeting details 
Enter full screen 
Z. Start video with blur 
Invite peo 
Tum on live captions (preview) 
O Start recording 
Tum off incoming video
Machine generated alternative text:
a 
O 
Help 
4 
00:39 
@ Show device settings 
Show meeting notes 
(D Show meeting details 
Enter full screen 
Z. Start video with blur 
Invite peo 
Tum on live captions (preview) 
O Start recording 
Tum off incoming video

Teams Windows Application vs Web Application

If you are reading this, you probably have the Teams windows application (and you might even have the Teams ios or android application). But you can also access teams in any web browser by going to teams.microsoft.com.

One current advantage of using the web application is that you can have multiple instances of Teams open in multiple tabs (or on multiple monitors). Doing so allows you to use chat or access files while following a screen sharing meeting at the same time.


Augmented Reality

Harnessing the power of the Snap Camera, you can throw a little augmented reality into your Teams video calls. Full details on how to set it all up for Teams can be found here.

The Snap Camera comes from Snapchat, and basically adds an augmented reality filter to your computer’s camera then makes it appear to other applications that your camera plus the AR filter is a new camera that can be selected. To be honest, I found most of the filters to be rather juvenile.

Pizza in Microwave

This is actually a very useful filter, especially since my wife no longer lets me put my camera in the microwave following the incident.

Palm Tree Background

If I wanted a palm tree in my video background, I would just paint a palm tree on my back office wall.

Tie on Head

If I wanted to impress people with a tie on my head during video calls, I would just tie a tie on my head during my video calls.

Let me know when Snap Camera rolls out the Clean-Shaven-Face filter. Then we can start talking about Augmented Reality as a business essential.

Resource Roundup: Microsoft Teams

There is so much good content on the internet *insert shocked emoji*. Resource Roundup is a series to organize links, ideas, and advice around a specific topic.


With the recent uptick in working from home, Microsoft Teams has also seen increased adoption. More than 12 million daily active users have been added to Microsoft Teams in the last month. Keeping that in mind, below are some Microsoft Teams resources that have popped up in my feed recently and I’ve found helpful.


Resource Roundup – Microsoft Teams Resources


Joanne Klein & Ali Fadavinia

5 THINGS EVERY MICROSOFT TEAMS MEETING NEWBIE SHOULD KNOW

The most basic functionality of Teams is setting and attending meetings. This is the most clear, concise tutorial I’ve seen explaining Teams meetings. If you’ve never used MS Teams before, I’d recommend starting here.


Darrell as a Service

How to create a Microsoft Team – Things to consider before you do

Beyond meetings, the ability to create “Teams” or groups for collaborative communication is where MS Teams shines in comparison to its predecessor communications platforms. This video is part of a great series about the functional mechanics of setting up a Team, as well as the practical questions one should ask themselves when thinking about creating a new team.


Teams on Air

Tips and tricks to become a Microsoft Teams power user

Even though there is a bar at the top of the Teams application encouraging users to type a command, it wasn’t until watching this video that I finally understood what commands were or how they could be used to increase efficiency in Teams.


Additional reading
Joanne C. Klein
Modern Workplace Scenarios
Learn about teams and channels
Use commands in teams
Teams On Air