The Boat Method: Using Follow Ups to Move Questions From One Existing Process to Another


Written by Reina Gallion

Last published at: May 8th, 2018

As a lot of you know, every question that you create on a form has an underlying "field code". For instance, you may have two different processes that you created from scratch--your "Spring" and "Fall" processes, perhaps. While you may have the same exact questions (i.e. Amount Requested, Geographic Areas Served, etc.), unless you copied the "Spring" process to create the "Fall" Process (or vice versa), their "field codes" will not align. This leaves our reporting and merge template tools thinking that Amount Requested in "Spring" is different than Amount Requested in "Fall", when we actually want them to be the same when trying to report on them. 

 With that out of the way and a basic understanding of "field codes" in the system established, we can move onto the meat and potatoes of this post, what I like to call "The Boat" (for reasons that will hopefully become apparent by the end!).

Problem: Your Spring Process went great. Applicants were happy, your life was easy, and your board was pleased with how you handled the whole thing. Now Fall is approaching and you need to get the process ready--so, like the great GLM admistrator that you are, you copy the Spring Process so the field codes line up, rename the new process "Fall", and go through to make sure that you make any changes that need to be made for the Fall cycle (dates mentioned in instructions, Fall specific information, etc.). Great job! You're ready to turn the process on and have applicants begin their applications. 

Everything is going well until about half way through the cycle your board decides they want to start tracking very, very important information during the Fall that they weren't previously--the applicant's favorite color--and they want to retroactively enter it into applications in the Spring process as well. Not a big deal you think, and you add the new question to the Spring process and begin going into the older applications to enter the data. The issue arises when you think about how to get that question, "Favorite Color" (and its field code!) to the Fall process. You can't copy the process again as the Fall process is already in full swing. So how can you get "Favorite Color" and it's field code to the Fall process? 

Solution: I give you..."The Boat". If you think of the Spring and Fall processes as ports on opposites sides of the ocean (bear with me here), and the "Favorite Color" question as cargo that needs to be delivered from one to the other, what's the best way to move cargo across water? If we forget for a moment that planes exist, the answer is simple: a boat. 

"The Boat" can also be useful when you have a lot of different processes that don't necessarily have the same types of questions and so aren't all copied from a "Master" process. It can also be used as sort of a "Question Bank" in this scenario that would allow you to hold a bunch of questions and their field codes that you could easily share to any process. The possibilities are endless! (Well, not really, but there's a decent amount of them!)

If you have any questions on the "Boat" or would like to utilize it in your system, please contact our support team at