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Old 07-11-2019, 03:53 PM   #16
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Re: building a database from scratch

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Originally Posted by Mark_ View Post
Oddly, this is one piece I often don't do. Rather, I prefer sitting with a few employees to see HOW they fill out the form (order for fields) rather than see what manager expect them to use. It has often been very entertaining to see the first field on a form filled in last (and finding out it isn't actually USED anyplace else) and be told "Its just how we do it".
Always with the employees, never the manager except for long enough to be polite

In my experience, managers seldom know what’s really required...

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Old 07-11-2019, 07:23 PM   #17
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Re: building a database from scratch

To be brutally honest, at the managerial level, they don't CARE what is really required (at a level beneath them). They care about being able to deliver an (answer, report, diagram, whatever) to their boss. As long as they can do that and stay within budget, they are going to stay (as we sometimes say from the trenches) "fat, dumb, and happy." Oh, 'scuse me - my cynicism crept out...

But seriously, regarding that you watch employees fill out a paper form IS a good idea - but not for the obvious reason. What you need to do while watching is to ask the employee, "How could this form be improved?" And then, if it doesn't diminish the quality of the data capture but does provide some facet of improvement, get permission to implement the improvement. In government offices where I worked, it was often the case that paper forms were generated because of someone's flat-file thought process. Paper IS, after all, the ultimate flat file. But Access allowed me to implement ways for people to look up something (say, via combo box) rather than having to write something in from frail memory.

Therefore, during evaluation, it should normally be OK to watch for opportunities to do someone a favor by making their job easier.
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Old 07-12-2019, 06:18 AM   #18
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Re: building a database from scratch

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Originally Posted by The_Doc_Man View Post
To be brutally honest, at the managerial level, they don't CARE what is really required (at a level beneath them). They care about being able to deliver an (answer, report, diagram, whatever) to their boss. As long as they can do that and stay within budget, they are going to stay (as we sometimes say from the trenches) "fat, dumb, and happy." Oh, 'scuse me - my cynicism crept out...

But seriously, regarding that you watch employees fill out a paper form IS a good idea - but not for the obvious reason. What you need to do while watching is to ask the employee, "How could this form be improved?" And then, if it doesn't diminish the quality of the data capture but does provide some facet of improvement, get permission to implement the improvement. In government offices where I worked, it was often the case that paper forms were generated because of someone's flat-file thought process. Paper IS, after all, the ultimate flat file. But Access allowed me to implement ways for people to look up something (say, via combo box) rather than having to write something in from frail memory.

Therefore, during evaluation, it should normally be OK to watch for opportunities to do someone a favor by making their job easier.
Absolutely right! I've also noticed through my long and lustreless career that managers are often appointed from the jobs that they are now overseeing because they were useless doing those jobs themselves and it's cheaper in the UK to promote than it is to fire them sadly. I personally know 3 managers within 5 miles of where I live that can neither read or write to save their lives and their titles all include 'Manager'. Quite laughable really and very sad that this still goes on.

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Old 07-12-2019, 06:53 PM   #19
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Re: building a database from scratch

Adrianscotter, you are describing something called "The Peter Principle" which is found in private industry but is MOST commonly found in government: "A person will rise to his own level of incompetence."

The USA Civil Service rules make it darned difficult to dump a schlump but it is relatively easy to sideline someone into a dead-end track. So when you get a mid-level person who is given some duty that requires a manager but is not technically challenging, you know they were about to "screw the pooch" in their former position and got put on the fast track to nowhere. They make a career of being shuffled around from one niche to another, never quite learning enough to overcome their uselessness at that level. Sad, in a way, but not unknown.
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Old 07-12-2019, 07:01 PM   #20
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Re: building a database from scratch

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Originally Posted by The_Doc_Man View Post
Adrianscotter, you are describing something called "The Peter Principle" which is found in private industry but is MOST commonly found in government: "A person will rise to his own level of incompetence."

The USA Civil Service rules make it darned difficult to dump a schlump but it is relatively easy to sideline someone into a dead-end track. So when you get a mid-level person who is given some duty that requires a manager but is not technically challenging, you know they were about to "screw the pooch" in their former position and got put on the fast track to nowhere. They make a career of being shuffled around from one niche to another, never quite learning enough to overcome their uselessness at that level. Sad, in a way, but not unknown.
It seems the US and the UK are quite similar in this respect. Be safe TDM, Barry looks like he’s going to side swipe you.
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Old 07-13-2019, 06:57 AM   #21
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Re: building a database from scratch

Wrong forum for this discussion, but as storms go, Barry is so ill-formed that he won't be able to reach a massively destructive status. Isolated heavy rain, spot flooding, but nothing major. As of the time I am filing this, he is right at landfall and there is a debate on whether Barry was ever a hurricane. I'll get some rain. I'll have to police the yard of fallen twigs and small leaf clusters. My back will ache from all that pickup. And then it will be over. Been there, done that, wore out the T-shirt.
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Old 07-22-2019, 09:46 PM   #22
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Re: building a database from scratch

And finally -
There are a number of items that I include in every app. Some of them are static, meaning that they never change and others are generally customized for each app. For example, I use the same menu table and form for all apps. I just add different graphics and maybe different colors if the client has a preference for form color. I also keep what I call a table of tables mini-app. It is two tables, a form with a subform and two reports. The theory behind this is that EVERY app needs some number of lookup tables and some apps need lots of them. So rather than reinvent the wheel, I standardized on how to handle simple lookup lists so that i didn't have to take on the maintenance task personally but could turn it over to an admin user (I don't like letting people just add codes on the fly. They are usually too sloppy and they end up creating dups caused by poor spelling). Most of the tables, I allow the user admin to maintain but some must be under programmer control (me) because code needs to be written to process certain things. Security. Most apps require some small security so I have a standard set of forms and functions I can just add into an app. Sometimes reporting requires a lot of options so I have a report manager that is modified slightly for each project but the concept remains the same.

As you develop more apps, you'll come up with your own toolbox. There really is no benefit to recreating the wheel for every new application. My table of tables has existed as a concept since the early 80's. I first created it in COBOL with an IMS/DB database. Now of course, it is done with Access forms, VBA, and either ACE or linked ODBC tables.


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