As generative AI starts to become more pervasive in our everyday lives, and usage increases, our understanding of how to get the most out of these tools will naturally improve. After all, the answers or output we receive will only ever be as good as the questions we ask!
Most of us are perhaps familiar with saving, templatizing, or standardizing on code libraries or programming patterns in general and to fit or comply with their organization’s development governance. Let’s start with my perspective from the Microsoft side of things, with GitHub and the Power Platform. In the last few months alone, they have announced and released many “Copilots”. These are extensions or plugins that leverage AI or Gen AI to assist in creating solutions, including aspects around ALM, Testing, Documentation and Solution Review.
These tools, despite being innovative and powerful, also pose the same challenges as the technology in general. I was recently speaking at a Conference when a client came up to me to share their experiences. They commented on how the Power Automate Copilot failed to create a simple approval workflow for them. However, when we tried to recreate their observation on the spot, it worked. They were happy and took the result with them. On a deeper look, it was a case of “how to ask”.
There are many articles and blogs on the “how” for Gen AI but what this reminded me of since the request was “straight forward” as they put it, is remembering exactly which ask yielded what was considered to be successful and could this, perhaps, be something that can be re-used in the same manner as Code, Components and Templates? Many of the tools give us the ability to save what we asked for along with the results but they do not go out of their way, exactly, to remind us of this. It is, like many things in our profession, a PRACTICE that needs to be repeated until it is automatic, but more than just reflex.
I always save the prompts I create for the Copilots in Power Platform and GitHub. I store them in an easy to search and consume list. This list could also be a Gen AI style prompt to find the best ones. In my case, when I have some very useful ones that are not tied to an NDA or client work, I will share it with the community in resources such as https://aka.ms/powerplatformprompts. This is one of many resources that effectively allows us to “pay it forward” as things our colleagues or we ourselves might go back and reference. In the case of the client who talked to me at the conference, I neglected to mention that I did already ask the Copilot in a very similar way, so that on-the-spot discussion was actually accelerated when I simply scrolled down to the prompt and copy/pasted it into the input box with a minor modification.
Again, I am not here to promote or teach how to create the ultimate prompt, but just to remind that we should save the best things we do and this is just another thing that is most worthy of that practice.