How we hacked a prototype before lunch

Ben Orozco
Nov 2, 2018 · 3 min read

We recently had a 3-day Design Sprint at Ecaresoft. The challenge was about tackling the prioritization of incoming bug fixes, feature requests, technical support, etc… (psst… want to learn what a Design Sprint is? check this out: https://designsprintkit.withgoogle.com)

Naturally, there are already existing solutions in this particular space, like ZenDesk, Jira, FreshDesk, etc. Without entering into many details, we already use some solutions internally at Ecaresoft. Therefore we didn’t want to simplify the whole design sprint output as simply deciding to use new tools, we could do better.

Fast forward to the last part of the design sprint, it consists on throwing out a prototype of the ideas gathered in the prior days. We narrowed the solution components into 3 mini-teams:

  • Design: Mockup
  • Algorithm: Prioritization
  • Technology: Proof of Concept

We took the tech side of things and started to research about existing tools to get the job done. We didn’t want to just use existing solutions and stitch ’em together (with Zapier, for example), but we also didn’t wanted to throw many lines of code for a simple prototype. We considered falling back to Airtable or Coda.io, but the use case was too complex for these tools.

Meet Retool

Retool is a new startup tackling the challenge of creating simple “internal” apps with few clicks and even fewer lines of code (or none), a concept know as “visual programming”. Literally its founders want it to be the Visual Basic of Web 2.0!

When we show Retool to people, they often think “oh! it’s visual basic for the web!”. And in many ways — it is! Maybe that’s something you think is great — maybe not — David Hsu, Founder

Retool supports different data storages (databases, api’s, etc…), so we quickly set up a schema-less Firebase db for our app with some sample data:

Using Retool GUI we quickly put together a form to submit a “Triage issue” and tested a pseudo-priorization algorithm:

http://recordit.co/crj7YjvjKn

Retool has several integrations, including a Slack webhook, which we used to send a notification to our #Customer-Care channel every time a new Triage was submitted:

https://docs.tryretool.com/docs/slack-integration

Eventually we also showed the list of issues in a grid, with the ability to sort it by score:

Conclusion

As mentioned, this is still a prototype, but it helped us big time to figure out how the information flow would occur in the real world. We don’t know if we will use Retool for the final product yet, but certainly it proved itself by getting the job done.

References

The Backlog by Ecaresoft

Sharing our journey: from software development to company culture and productivity hacks.

Thanks to Ana Paula Macias

Ben Orozco

Written by

Healthtech Hacker — Full Stack Dev — Open Source & Crypto Enthusiast — CTO 🌳 @HealthTreeNet — Previously @ecaresoft & @Nimbo_X

The Backlog by Ecaresoft

Sharing our journey: from software development to company culture and productivity hacks.

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