InfoPath in the Real World – Commitments

This is my second post about real-world implementations of InfoPath. Again, I’m sticking close to home. Microsoft have certain processes around employee commitments. At the start of the year, we have meetings with our managers to come up with various commitments and ways to measure whether we’re achieving them. Half-way through the year, we have meetings to discuss whether we’re on track, whether any of the commitments should change (if there were changes in company goals or something) and make sure we’re working on the things that we should be. At the end of the year, we have to decide whether we’ve underachieved, achieved or exceeded our commitments.

This whole process is handled using an InfoPath form. For each commitment, there are various fields, such as a title, execution plan, status and whether it’s aligned to a manager’s commitment (to ensure that individual goals support team goals).

The form has some basic information auto-filled in. So my name, title, manager’s name and so on are all included on the form without me having to type a thing. This is done using the data connection capabilities of InfoPath.

Then there are repeating sections for the commitments. Different people might create different numbers of commitments so the form must be flexible. So each person can add as many commitments as they feel necessary by clicking to add a new section with all the appropriate fields. The data connection capabilities allow for the form to reference commitments set by the person’s manager and consume that information in the form.

There is the option to attach supporting documents. There is even a help panel giving instructions on how to fill out the form properly.

When you’re done, the user can choose to save the form as a draft or request approval. Either of these options will save the form to the server so that it can be accessed by the person or their manager. Clicking to request feedback will save the form and email the manager with an automated message informing them that the form is ready.

The form is incredibly easy to use and both the user and their manager can be sure they’re seeing the correct view of the latest version.

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