Feature testing: Bulk user creation redux

Many of you will remember that the Allies team was getting feedback on earlier idea around bulk user creation. In that first attempt, we were considering a way to for CHT admins to add 1-5 users at a time.

After listening to both internal and external feedback, we’ve developed a Feature Release which has an interface allowing CHT admins to take achieve the following goals:

  • Creating up to 1,000s of users in a spreadsheet
  • Automatically create secure passwords, lookup parent IDs, use drop downs for things like gender in the spreadsheet
  • Upload the spreadsheet directly into the CHT Admin UI, after exporting to CSV
  • Error reporting to enable easily fixing rows that need fixes
  • Skips previously imported rows to allow long lived inventory of user information
  • Optionally leverage a per user token login sent via SMS to ensure passwords are never stored insecurely.

To get a better idea of what this looks like, here’s a video showing the creation of two users in a spreadsheet and then simple admin UI to bulk user create these two users. Note that this video will start in the middle of a larger demo, but the bulk upload part is only 3 minutes of the 12 min video:


Deployments that use bulk user creation can choose the depth of the object creation by importing a CSV that can:

  • Only creates new users, attaching to existing contacts and existing places
  • Create new users attached to new contacts which attach to existing places
  • Create new users attached to new contacts attached to new places, but the new place must still have an existing parent place specified

If you’re on CHT 3.15.0 now and are interested in trying out this Feature Release, please let us know! You can post a comment here or email me directly.


@mrjones, @oyierphil is interested in testing and deploying the bulk user creation feature.

That’s great news @antony !

@oyierphil - we’re working on 3.16.0 which will have this feature and corresponding docs, but if you want to test it today, we have Feature Release docs publicly available now.

Please let us know if you have any questions!

For those following along: this feature is now publicly available in 3.16.0. The documentation for this feature has been published as well.

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Hey all! The release of 3.16 now seems a good long while ago given that 3.17 has been released since then. However, we still feel it’s important to measure the impact of features that have been tested.

While trying to understand the impact of this feature, we spoke to a CHT administrator to compare it to the previous way of manually creating users. We learned that:

  • To bulk create 25 users, it took 3 tries within 30 minutes. The first file upload didn’t work as the formatting was incorrect. After revising and uploading the second time, users were created, with one error. The last upload was to fix that error.
  • Prior to this feature, creating 25 users manually would have taken at least one hour.
  • Using the old system, it would take the same amount of time to create the same amount of users. With this feature, the time to create new users becomes exponentially smaller with each file upload of new users due to the increased comfort level with working with the spreadsheet and not having to always repeat the setup process.