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Jaime L贸pez
Jaime L贸pez

Posted on • Originally published at intranetfromthetrenches.substack.com

Dive into the Mind of Lead Power Platform Developer, David Wyatt

This is the beginning of a new part I want to add to Intranet from the Trenches. It's all about talking to people who know a lot about Microsoft 365 and how it's used in things like intranets, websites, automations, and simple apps.

For our very first guest, I've picked David Wyatt, someone who really helps the community by sharing a lot of information in his articles. He often discusses how to make the most of Power Automate and explains it in a very detailed way. David also shares his personal stories, so we can get to know him better.

Interviewing David Wyatt

Here are some articles I'd like to point out:

You can stay updated with more of David Wyatt's insightful and inspiring articles by following him on Dev.to. You can connect him in LinkedIn too, David Wyatt's LinkedIn profile.

The questions are organized into three parts. Firstly, delve into technical queries on Power Automate, empowering you with valuable insights. Next, where personal questions offer a deeper understanding of David. Lastly, gain valuable insights into David's future vision for Power Automate, offering you a unique perspective and potential inspiration.

Let's embark on this enjoyable experience. Feel open to share your comments at the conclusion of this article, and let's keep the discussion alive.


What sparked your interest in Power Automate, and how did you first get started with it?

I tell everyone that one of my biggest strengths is that I'm lazy. If I have to do something more than twice then I want to make it shorter/easier. I loved VBA at first as I was able to not only simplify but fully automate lots of my work (at one point 25% of my week). One day I spotted the Flow icon in my M365 app draw and after a few clicks I found out how powerful and easy to use it was. I loved it. After that it became my go to lazy tool 馃槑 VBA was great but was limited to Excel, Outlook, IE and Explorer, plus always needed me to kick it off. Power Automate could do almost everything (especially with Office Scripts) VBA and fixed all my limitations.

Power Automate has a wide range of connectors. Could you share your favorite connector and how it's been instrumental in your work?

There are so many great connectors, and I am a big proponent of custom connector鈥檚, I would recommend that if you are not using a Microsoft connector try making your own instead of using a standard/premium one. You get to learn loads about the API, trim off all the unnecessary actions and get exactly what you want. But if I had to go with my favorite non custom then it would be the SharePoint, with the HTTP action in particular. No matter what you think, you can do so much with SharePoint, and the HTTP connector is very powerful (you also get a lot of the benefits of custom connectors without the authentication hassle).

Can you provide some tips or best practices for those who are just starting to use Power Automate?

My 2 top tips for new developers are:

  • Plan your flow first, sketch it out or use Visio/Whimsical. It doesn't have to be detailed, just key logic. Don鈥檛 just build as then you often end up going down the wrong path. Flows are like a route, so just like if you were going somewhere you should plan your journey
  • Learn by doing, don't just read how to do it, find something you want to automate (there is so much you can do personally or for your job) and do it. That way you not only learn real world techniques, but you get a valuable automation at the end. I often used this positive feedback loop to then reinvest saved time into learning and automating more.

From a best practice side, less is more, keep you flow鈥檚 as small as possible. I always say "why use 2 actions when 1 expression will do". And remember, conditions should not be for branching (they should merge into one path after).

Learning is a continuous process in the tech industry. What resources, courses, or books have you found most valuable in your journey to become a Power Automate expert?

Certainly the pace of new features rolling out in the Power Platform is crazy, even Microsoft can't keep up with promoting/sharing with internal teams. For me I have 2 great resources (and they are kind of obvious).

LinkedIn is great, if I haven't spotted a new feature sneakily rolled out I know someone in the community would have. My feed is full of great resources and insightful opinions on the platform. There are lots of Groups I follow too (just search for Power Platform, the more. Members the better). There are so many great resources, but my top ones are The Weekly Round Up (best articles from the week), Reza Dorrani (Latest features), Daniel Christian (Cool techniques). And for anything AI, I always go to Balagopal Madhusoodhanan, he's ahead of the curve, which is impressive with how fast AI is moving at the moment.

My second is Microsoft Learn, shout out to Microsoft, their documentation is second to none. It's a great place to look stuff up, and if you have 15 mins spare to learn something new with the learning modules. The learning modules are proper bite size and a great way to learn not only Power Automate, but the wider Power Platform and Azure services. Everything Microsoft is getting more entangled, so learning beyond Power Automate is key.

Also quick tip, don't use Copilot when starting out, at the moment it's a barrier to learning, do it yourself first!

Could you describe a memorable project or achievement related to Power Automate that you're particularly proud of?

There are quite a few but probably my favorite and most proud of was my first big solution, I used to gather orders from stores for equipment and signage. all of these orders had to be approved and. then sent to the relevant vendor/provider. I built a couple of flows that would grab the email order, send for approval, then send to the vendor, and update the store when the vendor replied. By the end of the year it was handling millions of dollars of orders and worked perfectly. In around 20 hours I had built/tested/deployed something that was saving me 5-10 hrs a week. At the time I had only built one other flow before, so had almost zero experience but I was able to build something that added massive value and is still running today 4 years later.

Mentorship and collaboration are often keys to success. Have you had any mentors or colleagues who significantly influenced your expertise in Power Automate?

I was probably the first person in my organization that started using Power Automate so I never really had a mentor. My learning style is very much 'try, try, try', so I prefer to learn on my own (I always tell people, 'my flow always fails on the first run'). On the flip side I have mentored lots of people, I find it very rewarding, and another great way to learn. I have lost count of the times I was teaching someone and they figured something out that was a way better solution than my technique. Anyone can become an expert in Power Automate, they often just need the confidence to try, that's where a good mentor comes in to help support you. I would recommend anyone new finding a mentor, and everyone becoming a mentor if they can, your best flow may last a few years, but someone you helped develop will last a lifetime.

As a Power Automate expert, where do you see the future of automation heading, and what potential innovations are you excited about?

Microsoft's focus has definitely been on Power Automate Desktop rather than cloud. And I suspect that is where most of the innovation will come. I personally use Blue Prism for my desktop RPA so this doesn't excite me. As Power Automate Cloud is built on top of Logic Apps you can kind of see the future by looking there. I'm hoping (super fingers crossed) code snippets and script files will be added. Leveraging the power of JavaScript/Typescript or Python/C# will take Power Automate to the next level and allow Citizen developers to create their own function apps (I use Office Scripts far too much at the moment to try and fill the gap).

Another thing I'm excited about is the CLI tool, currently focused on Power Apps. I think there will be聽 Power Automate features rolled out soon. For admins this will be super cool and make our lives a lot easier.

What advice do you have for individuals who aspire to become proficient in Power Automate or other automation tools?

My best advice is to build build build. Every week you need to build something, it doesn't have to be big, and if you run out of useful things to build for fun/learn (I even built a game). With the pace of change in Power Platform you cant stop learning.

Also as I said, everything Microsoft is blurring the lines between its products, so expand your learning to Office Scripts, Power Apps, Virtual Agents, Power BI, SharePoint, Forms, Graph API, Logic Apps, etc., as that knowledge will allow you to build better automations.


I express my gratitude to David for willingly answering these questions and offering his valuable perspective while sharing his experiences with us.

To stay informed about more of David Wyatt's insightful and inspiring articles, consider following him on Dev.to. Additionally, you can connect with him on LinkedIn through David Wyatt's LinkedIn profile.

Stay connected for an upcoming post in 7 days. Look forward to a new interview at the end of the next month.

Top comments (4)

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michaeltharrington profile image
Michael Tharrington

Great interview, Jaime! Really appreciate ya sharing this with us. 馃檶

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jaloplo profile image
Jaime L贸pez

Thanks for your words 馃槈

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balagmadhu profile image
Bala Madhusoodhanan

what a great start to the series @jaloplo

@wyattdave : Love the story of you transitioning to IT. You have been inspiring me with all the articles and keep doing that !!

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jaloplo profile image
Jaime L贸pez

@balagmadhu, I like to learn from the best people and @wyattdave is one of them!!!! Who knows, you can be another one for the next editions ;)

Thanks to David for bringing me this opportunity to know a bit more about him.