agileBase update April 2022 – workshop review

Firstly, a big thanks to those who came to our first agileBase workshop last week. We really appreciate the time you took and the energy you put into the afternoon.

I hope you got a lot out of it – we certainly did, it’s really useful to see what works and what needs more work, for both agileBase the platform and the process of running a workshop itself – we will be doing more events of one sort and another.

We realise not everyone was able to make it, particularly for those particularly far away from our office in Bristol, we’ll be running another event closer to you soon.

Some of the things we took away from that afternoon are:

Chasers

Email chasers are one reasonably new feature that many people are very keen to try out, as there are benefits in automating many communications processes. We gave a brief overview and will be talking to you individually to help get your particular cases working.

The Cards interface

(also described as T-cards, Kanban cards or a Trello style interface)

Many also thought this new feature will be useful and there was some great feedback about how to improve the functionality, which we’ve scheduled to develop further, particularly to allow vertical grouping/sorting of cards within a column.

The cards interface is currently a paid add-on, though following discussions, as of next year’s price review, the functionality will become part of the base agileBase platform, available to everyone above the ‘team’ (the smallest scope package) at no extra cost.

BI Reporting

Many customers are starting to do more with external reporting, particularly using the Power BI tool. We’re happy to help anyone who wants to set this up.

Learner Progression

Our big idea that we introduced during the day was ‘learner progression’. Our ambition is to be able to support many more people on the path to becoming agileBase builders and architects – able to develop their own applications. We’re getting a better idea of which types of people and businesses this particularly benefits, and there was some helpful discussion on the day. We do believe in many organisations there’s a massive under-utilisation of skilled people, who can contribute a lot to their companies by taking on a role sometimes called ‘citizen developer’.

The company benefits by getting more from their existing staff, avoiding having to make new hires and the individual benefits by learning new skills and advancing their career.

On a wider scale, a societal benefit is that typically the people who take on these roles are a more diverse group than the pool of people who are traditional software developers.

This is a large undertaking for us, involving new features, training materials and programmes of training and personal support. For the reasons above, we do believe it’s the right way to go. Although we are a small team, we’re properly planning how to resource this and are scaling up through an increased use of contractors, consultants and delivery partners, as well as moving to to focus more of our time on this key project.

Communication

One way we can start is by providing increased visibility into the work we’re doing and allowing customers to talk more easily both to us and to each other.

To that end, we’re introducing a forum which will initially include channels for

  • customer support and potentially mutual support
  • live notifications of new features and fixes, in advance of being released
  • live notifications of documentation updates and expansions

We’re still figuring out some details but will send everyone an invite soon. Links to the forum will also be added from within agileBase.

New release

Since last week, a couple of fixes have been made, so a minor release of the agileBase platform is due. This will be released within the next couple of days and include

  • better calculation editing – the editing screen is larger and searching for a field to add by name has been made more intuitive
  • recent changes to tables and views can now be seen with a new ‘recent changes’ menu available in development mode

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