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BiLog: Understand User Requirements...Report Specifications Best Practice.

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Abstract

BiLog: Understand User Requirements...Report Specifications Best Practice.

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Read my mind.  Have you ever muttered those words when someone asks you where the milk is? or if there any cookies to go with that milk?   Don’t try to read your user’s mind when detailing a report specification.  Instead, work with your user to fully understand his report requirements, which you can then translate into a deliverable report specification. 

As noted in the last BiLog entries, we have been reviewing the best practices Of report specification development which include (1) Understand report capabilities  (2) Understand user requirements and (3) Detail requirements through the report specification.  

Today’s BiLog highlights the second best practice of understanding what the user requires for his report as highlighted in the diagram below.    Reviewing the report requirements with the user in detail - before the report is developed - will help to insure that the user receives the report he needs.
image   
Specific areas that you should review with the user include:

1.  Who will be accessing the report? 

2.  Where will the report be accessed from?  Inside or outside the application, from an application’s action, from the report list portlet or a link from a KPI?

3.  If the report is going to be accessed from an application, which application is it?  And should quick access links, like Browser View, Direct Print or Direct Print with Attachments be set? 

4.  Will the report require defined parameters, and if so, what are they and are they required?  Or will the report utilize the application’s record set?

5.  How is the report expected to be accessed?  On a set time?  (Once a week, month or quarter) or will it be accessed at irregular or unpredictable times.

6.  What should the report be called?  
 
7.  What size paper should the report be developed on?  Letter, Legal, A4 or unique?
 
8.  What is the page orientation?  Portrait or Landscape?

9.   What fields will be included in the report, and how will they display?   This includes detailing of the Header and Subheader sections, along with sorting and grouping details.

10.  Does the report include calculations and what are they?

11.  Does the report have unique requirements?   For example, including bar code fonts or displaying images from the database
 
12.  Will the report contain a graph?  A pie, line or bar chart and what will the graph display? 
image  

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 These are just a few of the questions you need to review with your users before creating a report specification for custom reports.   In the next BiLog, we’ll review how you can translate these user requirements into a detailed report specification.

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ibm11133949