Today, I took my six-year-old to his first (ever) t-ball practice. On the way home, he talked at great length about what had happened, how he caught one ball in the air, and how he needed to practice batting so that next time he could hit it over the pitcher's head and make a fielder dive for the ball. You can't help but smile at that sort of excitement; even though there's a long way from t-ball to the Red Sox (well, most of the time…this season's a bit of an exception…), his energy was infectious. And this got me thinking about the excitement I've witnessed at my company around APEX.
Earlier in the day, I was in a meeting about a tool I've built in APEX, and someone mentioned–entirely in passing–how we have a field in Oracle which can only be edited upon creation of an order. Unfortunately, this field is for noting why we were unable to meet the customer's requested date–important information, which you rarely know when putting the order into the system. So, we have a process where people copy the failure-to-request data out of an Oracle report into Excel, and then go through and (manually) classify each line that's not already classified. While this is very important information, it is not fed back into the database; they just try to keep this Excel file up-to-date. After picking my jaw up off the floor, I suggested that we build a tool in APEX which would allow them to classify the order lines and store the classification in the database–which should be a very simple tool to build, really. The customer was clearly surprised; he hadn't even considered replacing the Excel file. But he quickly realized the potential, and became very excited about the idea.
I could, of course, list of many other examples where someone has had their first introduction to APEX, seen what it can do, and gotten excited about its potential. And, of course, there was my initial excitement which drove our bringing APEX into the company in the first place. It's very easy to be excited about something new; the challenge, of course, is maintaining that excitement. Personally, I find that it helps to constantly explore the boundaries of what's possible and what isn't; I often ask customers for their “blue sky” visions so that I can try to figure out how to get them there. This helps me keep the sense of newness, and thus the excitement, around what I'm doing in APEX.
What tricks do you use to keep your energy level high, or your customers excited about APEX's potential?