Parameters Overhaul

Problem Statement

Users needed a robust system for limiting what data is visible to Spreadsheet users. They needed to reuse them, and update many at once for roll-forward (e.g. Current Year). They needed to ensure not all users can change them.

The entirely new parameter system includes:

  • Creating & managing parameters at the query level
  • Global parameters
  • Locking parameters
  • Unionizing parameters
  • Driving parameters from cell values
  • Multi-select parameters

This was a huge undertaking that took many months of discovery and a year of development. The process involved over a dozen different efforts, and in the end, is a simple, pared-down UX that users have said is intuitive and incredibly useful.

We started with creating an Assumption Matrix to find out which of our ideas were obvious, and which needed to be tested with real users.

After user calls, we got to work with ideation. Lots of sketching, whiteboarding, simple prototypes, and back-and-forth with users ensued.

We did remote whiteboarding, with multiple team-mates scribbling on the same drawing to get the ideas across.

The final result was a robust system that, while simple, is a solid MVP, covering well over 90% of the use cases and needs.

The final parameters undertaking involved over a dozen major efforts, and touched the software suite in three major different locations, while also being intuitive and obvious to the type of user we are helping.