Current Role: Principal Software Engineer, R&D
Experience: Mechanical engineer turned software developer and K2 LowCoder
Business Challenges: Document management and R&D workflow for product development
Integrations with K2: SharePoint 2010
Favorite K2 feature: The fact that K2 can be integrated into custom apps
Downtime Distraction: Playing golf. Rick has also recently kick started his old windsurfing hobby
Dream Concert: Elton John and Billy Joel together
Customer Rick Schoen rebuilds apps from the ground up using K2
Rick knows the satisfaction of seeing something from start to finish.
He and his wife are recent empty nesters after successfully sending their son and daughter off to prestigious universities — and both kids are on track to become engineers like their dad. Similarly, in his career Rick has found himself nurturing projects from beginning to end.
For instance, Rick and his team was given the task of rebuilding an R&D workflow app from the ground up. It was originally built on Visual Basic 6 with an Oracle backend. The team at Callaway Golf – a golf equipment manufacturer – decided it needed a refresh.
“We were looking for tools we could use to support the development effort. We realized that we had used K2 for a previous project and thought we could leverage it rather than having to develop custom workflow logic. We ended up writing a Windows Forms application in C#, integrated with K2 2003, to manage the product development tasks that need to be done in the R&D group.”
Tasks that need to be managed by R&D include requests to build prototype golf clubs and golf balls, tracking serial numbers, player testing, robot testing, collecting product physical properties, test results and tracking lab work. The first step was to figure out a way to simplify this process. Rick took the opportunity to improve the process rather than automating what already existed and wasn’t working as efficiently as desired.
“Rather than writing a workflow for each of the 25+ task types, we distilled the processes down to three types of workflows. When a requester submits a task, it goes to one of three processes: to a manager – who assigns it to a team member; to a resource group allowing self-assignment – where the first available person takes it; or to a resource group providing group assignment – allowing everyone in the group to work on the task. For each task type we can configure task managers, resource group members and which processes to use. Users can create multiple tasks and choose to have them run either serially or in parallel. We’ve received feedback stating that the new app is head and shoulders better than the previous one. It’s being used in our corporate headquarters as well as some of our international locations. The app is an integral part of the R&D product development process.”
The success wasn’t a surprise. Rick’s choice of K2 was validated by the positive results from a previous document management project:
“We inherited the project from a contractor the company had brought in to create a home grown document management system around SharePoint using Microsoft InfoPath forms. We started having trouble with InfoPath so we decided to rewrite that app using K2 and custom ASP.NET forms. We ended up with a pretty elegant system that’s still SharePoint-based and uses K2 for the workflow.”
In the new automation with K2, consumers of the process can copy documents to a draft document library, edit the draft document and send them for review using a K2 workflow. The documents are routed to approvers who can review the changes and provide comments which are stored in a SharePoint list. Once the approval process is complete, the documents are automatically copied to the secured document library. SmartObjects were used to faciliatate the SharePoint integration.
When asked how users have reacted to these apps, Rick said that he has been met with silence — and that’s the best compliment.
“The team that administers the app is my client, so the best testament to the app is that I don’t get any phone calls. Everyone uses it, it runs really well and we rarely have any issues. Kudos to the K2 development team for making a solid product. It just runs which makes my life so much easier.”
Really appreciate your feedback, Rick! Look forward to our continued partnership with Callaway Golf.
About Callaway Golf
Through an unwavering commitment to innovation, Callaway Golf Company (NYSE:ELY) creates products designed to make every golfer a better golfer. Callaway Golf Company manufactures and sells golf clubs and golf balls, and sells golf accessories under the Callaway Golf® and Odyssey® brands worldwide. For more information please visit www.callawaygolf.com.
Callaway Golf uses K2 to automate processes including document management workflow and R&D’s Task Management workflow.
Intrigued by Rick’s experience or work with K2? You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or connect with him on LinkedIn.
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