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The golden rule of Power Apps: Keep it simple

Made it with Microsoft Power Apps

At the end of 2019, we put out a call to Microsoft Power Apps fans everywhere to participate in our #MadeItWithPowerApps challenge. We wanted to hear the best advice real Power Apps users had to give to those looking to take the leap into low-code app development. The responses were great (our community rocks) and we’re excited to share some of our favorite tips and tricks with you.

All throughout the challenge, there was one tip we heard over and over and over again—it didn’t matter if users had a background in consulting, education, customer service, etc. So we’re dedicating an entire blog post to one piece of advice: When starting out with Power Apps, the simpler the better.

Assistant Systems Analyst and Power Apps developer, Rebecca Sackett, suggests trying something simple like recreating a paper process for your first app, or creating an app that displays information from Microsoft SharePoint or a spreadsheet because it’s easy to build and customize. By choosing a simple, well-defined task for an app to perform, that first build will be more manageable and eliminate any jitters you might have about getting started.

Similarly, Lori Valone, consultant and technology and tools architect, recommends keeping things simple by getting a really clear idea of the problem you’re trying to solve with the app itself. She suggests identifying a group of stakeholders to help quantify and define the problem.

“You don’t necessarily need to write a book of requirements, but you have to clearly understand what you need the app to do. Then you can plan your solution.” – Lori Valone, consultant and technology and tools architect 

That one simple act can make a world of difference.

Daniel Christian, enterprise architect, recommends keeping things simple by focusing on a small app for a small department.

“It’s even easier if it’s an existing app. Scenarios could include a third-party application or a homegrown application that really needs some tender, loving care right now.” – Daniel Christian, enterprise architect 

In these situations, you already have the requirements. Build a mobile version and you can take the app to the next level.
Power Apps MVP and consultant Shane Young breaks it down even more.

“Go find an Excel spreadsheet that a handful of people are using. They’re sharing information. They’re making multiple updates. It’s got inputs and outputs. This is your target for your first app.” – Shane Young, Power Apps MVP and consultant 

You can then ask the Excel group what they use the spreadsheet for, and how they use it to understand the business process you want to deliver in your app.

Shane notes that even when building the simplest apps, you can add a tremendous amount of business value without writing any code. “These poor people are still passing this spreadsheet around. Then you automate, and you become a star in their eyes.”

So to anyone out there just getting started—take it from users who’ve been there: no matter what you’re planning to build with Power Apps, if you remember one thing, it’s to start small. By keeping things simple from the get-go, you’ll be able to easily dive in and start exploring while still staying focused on your goal. Watch these videos for more great tips from real Power Apps users from the #MadeItWithPowerApps challenge.