When Extensive Planning Of A FileMaker Solution Is Not An Option

From Dwayne Wright PMP, PMI-ACP, CSM
Certified FileMaker Developer

WEB: www.dwaynewright.com
EMAIL: info@dwaynewright.com
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This has to be one of the more ... odd ... titles I have had for a discussion. However, there are times that you do not get the opportunity to do much planning before designing. There are times where you cannot get the necessary data you need to build the best database you can. This is normally the case when the people that want the database but they really don't know what they want (except that they want it cheap, they want it useful and they want it yesterday). Some of you may be laughing because you know it's true.

So here is where I use my golden term for such situations ... the term is ... are you ready ... prototype.

Everybody likes a prototype because it's not supposed to work. It has a low commitment level because we are just dangling our toes in the water. You have to tell the people that are wanting your services that the prototype is a throw away database ... except for those rare cases where it's just what they wanted. You caution them that a lot of time / money might be wasted because the prototype may uncover previously unknown business needs and require redesign. You place a nice red symbol on all the layouts that says prototype, just so they remember.

A prototype is easier for most people to understand than an Entity Relationship Diagram, Flow Charts and just about anything else you can produce. In many cases, you can create a prototype faster and easier than those other proven database planning tools.

A prototype can also have active feedback. Like our online article database, you can have a feedback button. This button can record information about the user, the computer system the user is using, they situation the database was in when they clicked the feedback button and more. This can be done with scripting, Get functions and Design functions. The feedback can also be used to provide online help and printed documentation.

The prototype can be a useful tool in getting started and I have some prototypes ... that have been in use for years ( grin ).

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