Expert – But Not Expert!

Expectations!  How often do we find ourselves at odds with our client’s expectations of our knowledge, or capabilities?  If you’ve been in the industry long enough to form your own practice, you are comfortable with your level of expertise and can offer some very valuable service and value to your clients.  But as is the case in most instances, the client will expect much more of you than the services you have agreed to perform.  After all, you are the expert, and expert has an all-inclusive nuance to it, that both opens doors and gets us into trouble at the same time.

I am a PeopleSoft consultant with a long accounting background, but my expertise is within a limited number of all the modules that are possibly involved in any particular implementation.  Do I know how PeopleSoft works?  Absolutely, in fact, in many cases, my experience will help me move into unfamiliar territory and figure out the software implications long in advance of client needs.  We all should be looking to be comfortable with our area of expertise to be able to answer questions on the fringe of our knowledge.

Clients don’t see us in quite the same light.  We are the guides who take them into uncharted territory.  Each client gives us virtually unlimited confidence that we will lead them to a better future.  Sure, we’ve been interviewed, expressed our limitations, reassured them of our qualifications, provided them with recommendations from our biggest successes, references from our closest colleagues, and given our confidence in handling the task at hand.  But once the work begins, even controlling scope along the way, our ‘expert’ status will lead each of us to the edges of our knowledge.

Consulting is a career that involves non-stop learning and the need to push ourselves to the edge regularly.  We must constantly be honest about our limitations and monitor the expectations of the client. Perception is key!

Ever Wonder Why?

As you  go to work each day, do you find yourself wondering if the client is the right one for you?  No matter who the client is, we find resources that we work well with and others that are a complete quandary.  However, no matter which you’re working with, you formulate a plan to help that particular individual understand the tasks at hand and give them the tools to keep the timeline successful.

We’ve all spent a lot of time learning and perfecting our ability to jump into any situation and move the project to completion.  Sometimes we are working well within our skill sets, and other times we aren’t even close, but on we go, giving it our best shot.

So what’s your motivation to keep doing things that are way out of most people’s comfort zone?  I know darn well that the money is what gets us started, but it takes a lot more than that to continue past the first couple years. After that you’re either in it for life, or actively working on your exit plan.

We really help people and companies to become more efficient.  Every trick we learn at some point is to be passed on to someone else.  Face it, we work very hard to work ourselves out of work with every client.  And yet, we look for another client when we’re done to start the process all over again.  We learn every single day and still feel there’s so much more we  don’t know.  We’re experts who never feel that we’ve reached that state.  More! Better! Faster! Every improvement can be improved upon.  If it isn’t broken, find a way to tinker with it.

Why do you do what you do?  Always have a ready answer because others are inspired by your drive.

I’ve got a dream
And, every night, I said to myself,
Yeah, I said I gotta share it,
Share the dream with somebody else.
We could make a beautiful day,


Did a client interview today. It was one of the marathon type, where you have different session with four separate individuals. I love those because it gives you the chance to quickly gauge your listening and evaluation skills in rapid fire succession. Even though I’m the one being interviewed, I still treat it as though I’m trying to illicit critical project information.
The client wants to find out my skill level and whether I’ll get along with their team.  I want to learn as much about their team and system as I can.  Their questions and mine definately don’t match, but it becomes a give-some-get-some sort of game that can be a lot of fun.  I understand the anxiety that many people have when it comes to interviews, but if you assume you are also the interviewer, the perspective changes
Anyway, the part I enjoyed the most was the role playing. Your given a situation and then you have to problem solve based upon different scenarios. We don’t spend enough time doing that with each other when its not critical. It would be fun to set up this type of role play exercise at the breakout session during conferences we all attend. Tables of 4 to five each with unique scenarios. No right answers, but an exercise in sharing and growing.
Vast vision must improve our sight
Perhaps at last we’ll see and end
To our own endless blight
And the beginning of the free
Climb to tranquility
Finding it’s real worth
Conceiving the heavens
Florishing on earth

Best Wishes

Thank each and every one of you for reading my posts and linking to my site.  This business we are in is about people, helping people.  Never lose that focus and think that the software is our purpose.  We offer software solutions to people who need our expertise to improve their business processes.  We help them do their work better than they did before.  We show up, we learn, we implement, we teach, we leave.  And once gone, each organization should continue to act as though we are still there because we have left behind experts that can do what we did.

Merry Christmas!  Happy Hanukkah!  What ever your celebration at this time of year, hold those closest to you even closer and share love!  Then new year is almost upon us.  Begin writing down your goals for 2017 and make it your most prosperous yet.  Learn and grow, helping someone else every step of the way.


Everybody knows, it always shows
Wasting time’s an aggravation
Got no time for confrontation
You want to take a lot
By love by law or stealth
Time’s the only real wealth you have got


Business Request and Approval (Pt 2)

As promised, the Business Request and Functionality has been reviewed and a start to finish procedure was created.  I’m still finding a couple of bugs in the security setup hindering my approval of the new fields created.  Those will continue to be worked through.  but in the meantime, here’s the text version of the required steps.  Anyone interested in the .doc I created, can request that.  I’d love to collaborate and find ways to add even more depth of knowledge to the process.

There’s a new functionality in version 9.2 that will probably replace more than a few customizations, and even reduce some manual business process outside of PeopleSoft. The Business Request and Approval process now provides a way for users to request and get actionable approval on SetID configurable fields. Think about a delivered method of adding new ChartFields requested directly from the end-user, but approved and validated by those who oversee configuration design. Finally, a workflow enabled system to automate the ghastly task of being made aware of and documenting all changes to ChartFields. Not only that, but just about any configurable value defined at the SetID level can now be added to the control.

ChartFields cannot be created unless proper authorization is obtained.  You can request additions or modifications to field values and submit them for approval.  Upon final approval, the process saves the new field value and commits changes to the corresponding base tables.  It also provides an audit trail of the setup and approval of these values.  We need to perform some high-level steps to do configuration and use the Business Request and Approval process.

  • Setup Business Request Functionality

Business Request Setup:

Navigation: Set Up Financials/Supply Chain > Common Definitions > Business Request Configuration > Business Request Setup – Business Request Setup tab.

Enable each field that you want to use in the request-approval process.  There are 13 delivered fields on the Business Request Setup tab.  These fields cannot be deleted using this page.  However, new values can be added.  Use the checkboxes in the Enable column to turn on/off the functionality to request changes.

Core Table Fields:

Navigation: Set Up Financials/Supply Chain > Common Definitions > Business Request Configuration > Business Request Setup – Core Table Fields.

Each field that we include on the Business Request Setup tab, has a defined set of fields used by the core table. For many SetID related fields, we are used to seeing, Effective Date, Effective Status, Description, and Short Description.  Our Core Table Fields tab allows us to set all included values from the core table for each field on the Business Request Setup page.

  • Setup Business Request Templates

Navigation: Set Up Financials/Supply Chain > Common Definitions > Business Request Configuration > Business Request Template > Business Request Template

Create or update a template for each field for which you want to create business requests for approval of new values or updates to existing values.  You can copy a template for a given field to another SetID as well.  The Business Request Template page is SetID-driven and contains not only the core information that is copied from the Business Request Setup – Core Table Fields page when creating a new template, but also includes the business justification, trees and questions that you need to set up the process.

  • Complete the Field Approval Transaction Registry and Configuration:
  1. Navigation: Enterprise Components > Approvals > Approvals > Transaction Registry– Use the Register Transactions page (EOAW_TXN) to manage the integration between General Ledger and the Approval Framework (AF) by process ID, which is delivered with system data.. This initiates the request-approval process for fields enabled on the Business Request Setup page.
  2. Navigation: Enterprise Components > Approvals > Approvals > Transaction Configuration – Use the Configure Transactions page (EOAW_TXN_NOTIFY) to manage the details of the integration between General Ledger and the Approval Framework (AF) by process ID, which is delivered with system data.
  • Create and Modify Notification Template Definitions

Navigation: PeopleTools > Workflow > Notifications > Generic Templates > Generic Template Definition

Create or modify field values using the Business Request and Approval notification template to notify field value creation or modification in the request and approval workflow.  PeopleSoft delivers the following events configured for the FieldRequestApproval process ID to be used by the Business Request Approval transactions: Route for Approval, On Final Approval, On Final Denial, Push Back, Hold Step, On Reassign, and On Terminate.

  1. Navigation: PeopleTools > Security > Permissions and Roles > Roles. – List the users that are to be approvers for a given role that is accessed by a User List Definition within the Approval Framework
  2. Define approval user lists for use in the AF approval process – Navigation: Enterprise Components > Approvals > Approvals > User List Setup > User List Definition.
  3. Define the stages, paths and steps of the Business Request approval definition process – Navigation: Enterprise Components > Approvals > Approvals > Approval Process Setup > Setup Process Definitions.
  4. Define field and monetary criteria to be used in the Business Request approval process – Navigation: Enterprise Components > Approvals > Approvals > Approval Process Setup > Setup Process Definitions. Click the Definition Criteria link.
  5. Define Business Request approval path details, such as time-related escalation options and reassignment – Navigation: Enterprise Components > Approvals > Approvals > Approval Process Setup. Click the Details link within the Paths group box of the Setup Process Definitions page.
  6. Define Business Request approval step details, such as approvers and approver requirements – Enterprise Components > Approval > Approvals > Approval Process Setup. Click the Details icon within the Steps group box of the Setup Process Definitions page.
  • Define a Business Request for approval.

Use the ChartField Request component to create a new ChartField Request or update an existing one.  Navigation: Set Up Financials/Supply Chain >Common Definitions > Design ChartFields> Define Values >ChartField Request.

ChartField Request Page: The fields on this page vary based on the ChartField that you select for the request.  For an approved Add request or an Update request, you can click the field value link located beneath the Field Name to access the ChartField definition entry page for that value.

Core Information: Fields under the Core Information group box are copied over from the corresponding business request template.

Business Justification: Fields in the Business Justification group box are derived from the corresponding Business Request Template.  The Attachments link is also included in this group box.

Long Description Page: Use the Long Description page to enter more details regarding the ChartField Request.

ChartField Attribute Values Page: Use the ChartField Attribute Values page to attach ChartField Attributes and Attribute values for the Business Request, if applicable.  Click the Attributes link, if applicable, on the ChartField Request page to view details or add attributes and values.

Acct / Alt-Acct Mapping: Click the Account / Alt-Account Mapping link when available on the ChartField Request page to view details of the Alternate Accounts that are mapped to the requested account and vice versa or modify mappings.

Request Attachments Page: Click the Attachments link on the ChartField Request page.

Select the ‘Request action’ – ‘Submit for Approval and click on ‘GO’ (as in screenshot).  Request is submitted and unique Request id is generated.  Request status shows ‘Pending approval’

Approval Flow Page: Click the View Approval Flow link from the ChartField Request page.  Use the Approval Flow page to review or modify the approval flow.

Multiple Approvers link: Click the Multiple Approvers link to view the names of the approvers.  If there is only one approver or reviewer in a step, the user’s name appears as the link.  The status appears for each step of the approval process path.  Once the approvals are received from the first step, the statuses change accordingly for the next step in the path.

Start New Path: Click to start a new approval path and select to insert reviewers or approvers.

Save Approval Flow Changes: This button appears only after changes are made to the Approval Flow page, such as adding adhoc approvers.

Click the plus buttons within an existing path to add adhoc approvers to the approval path.  A minus sign appears in the upper right corner of the adhoc approver to easily remove, if needed.

  • Process Business Request Approval:

Use the Manage Business Request Approval component to handle the mass business request approval functionality and the Request Approval Attachments page to view and add attachments.  Access the Approval Flow page from the Manage Business Request Approval page.  View or modify the approval flow (add adhoc approvers, for example).

Navigation: Set Up Financials/Supply Chain > Common Definitions > Business Request Configuration > select Business Request Approval.

  • Business Request Inquiry:

Review existing business requests, their current status, as well as view associated attachments, and approval flow: Use the Business Request Inquiry page to review details and statuses of existing business requests.

Navigation: Set Up Financials/Supply Chain > Common Definitions > Business Request Configuration > Business Request Inquiry