One day Shelie McKelvey was chatting with a neighbor about a challenge she was having at her job in operations at Sprint, and the name Quickbase came up.
That was 15 years ago, and the rest (as they say) is history. McKelvey has used Quickbase nearly every day since then, turning to the platform for just about every use case imaginable: product management, process automation, compliance, operations, training, customer service, reporting and analytics… the list goes on.
At EMPOWER2018, Shelie shared some specific use cases from over the years in the aptly titled session, “How Quickbase Took Over My World (In A Good Way).”
We had some time after the conference to go in a bit more depth with her on her path with Quickbase, and what the future holds. Here’s what she had to say:
Fifteen years is incredible — thank you for being such a loyal customer! For those who are new to Quickbase, can you share what it was like 15 years ago?
Wow! It has been so long since I first started using Quickbase! The product has definitely evolved and widened its depth and breadth when it comes to low-code platforms. There weren’t any training classes, blogs or instructors that you could learn from when I started using Quickbase. It was very much a trial and error process. At the time, you had to learn by reading about the product and functionality online, learning from other Quickbase developers and then trial/error building.
How have you managed to evolve your Quickbase skills over time, as Quickbase itself has changed?
Some of the ways I have grown my skill set and knowledge include:
- If I am ever stuck or want someone to bounce ideas off of, I reach out to my buddy developer, Gil Spigelman. I think having a buddy developer, or mentor, is the most powerful way to learn how to apply your Quickbase knowledge. I am constantly looking at what other citizen developers have done, or how they have solved a problem, to find new and alternate ways of accomplishing a task or end objective.
- Taking all the classes I can get my hands on. Going to Quickbase University frequently to take all of the online courses and to see if any have been updated. If they have been updated, then I go back through it to see what new nuggets of information I can learn.
- Reviewing videos on YouTube that Quickbase experts have produced.
- Reading the release notes for each new release.
- Getting certified.
- Staying active as a Quickbase citizen developer. Even if I am not doing development, I am in the tool almost every day as an admin and user.
Did you ever consider using other tools? Why?
There was a time when we did an audit of the market to see if we needed to replace Quickbase as our tool of choice across many of our workstreams. But for what we needed and how we used Quickbase, there was no other single tool that could provide a complete solution like Quickbase. We considered Salesforce, Appian, Microsoft Project, etc. Nothing could provide the vast array of functionality, the quick speed of development, or the agility to make changes quickly as our processes matured as Quickbase.
What are some of your favorite features that you use with Quickbase that might not be obvious to everyone?
A couple of features that I would encourage other citizen developers to use, if they are not already, would include using connected tables, Quickbase Actions, Automations, formulas and notifications to help with process improvement. All of these have the potential to reduce manual data entry, reduce repetitive tasks, streamline processes, improve team communication and drive projects forward.
How has Quickbase (and knowing how to use it as well as you do!) impacted your own career path and the opportunities you’ve had at Sprint?
Knowing how to use Quickbase has been a valuable asset in my tool belt and has definitely helped with my career progression. With every new opportunity that I have taken on at Sprint, my portfolio of skill sets has grown and so has my knowledge and use of Quickbase. Very rarely have I accepted a new challenge at Sprint where I have not needed Quickbase. Every time I’ve started a new position, we have sat down as a team to evaluate our current work streams and processes to see if there is room for improvement. Without fail, there is a need for tools that can help us do a process faster, smarter, better and cheaper. That tool is usually Quickbase.
We usually end up extending the apps we develop to other teams at different points in our process to help get a complete ‘cradle to grave’ view of whatever it is that we are working on. So the app may start as a tool to help one team, but then quickly becomes recognized by other teams and they want to use it as well. So as the developer, you end up broadening your network of people and teams, increasing your visibility to other colleagues and leaders.
What are your recommendations for someone who is about to jump into Quickbase?
My recommendations for new Quickbase users would be to:
- Take the Quickbase University courses and never stop learning.
- Find a development buddy or a mentor. This is by far the single, most powerful way, for you to solidify your knowledge of Quickbase. Learning is doing.
- Don’t be afraid of failing – just try. And try again and again until you find the method that works for you.
- Use the Quickbase community to get help, new ideas, or for you to pass on your knowledge to someone else.
What’s next for you and Quickbase?
I am always looking for new challenges and opportunities, and I know I can always turn to Quickbase when looking for a solution. I think it is such an amazing and versatile tool which allows me to continue to grow my knowledge of the platform through all of its evolutions and releases.