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