Show Me the Item to Review

Opening a Review Item

When you have items to review in Cradle you are presented with a list. Your review process is meant to be more than just a tick box exercise. You’ll want to see the item to review. Selecting an item from the list will give a summary of the current review status in the bottom of the dialog. Clicking the ‘View’ button will open the item in a form so its full details can be seen.

Shows how to open an item to review from a list of items
Open a Review Item

Approve or Reject

The next stage is to Approve or Reject the item. When the ‘Approve’ or ‘Reject’ buttons are pressed users are given an option to add a review comment. Your project can also be set to enforce comments, see Mandatory Comments in the project Miscellaneous section. If there are a number of reviewers, and possibly a review acceptance meeting, it is possible to change this decision up to the point that the item is Registered. That means there is no problem if you initially reject something, but after clarification need to alter your decision to approve, or visa-versa.

More Detailed Comments

Whilst each Cradle item is ideally fairly atomic, a requirement that  says ‘shall do this and this and this’, is much harder to verify or alter,  some can be quite complex. A single comment as a reason to reject an item may not be enough, it may also be that you would welcome further debate from the other reviewers. Discussions can be used to add annotations to an item and can build a conversation trail.

Using discussions to add complex review comments
Complex Review Comments as Discussions

Requirements Management for Windows and Doors?

Requirements Management Isn’t Just For The Big Players.

Your boss says “Don’t be ridiculous you don’t need, requirements management for windows and doors!”…

Your client has asked that the new Town-Lodge is fitted with UPVC doors, windows and fascias throughout. All fire regulations for a medium occupancy building must be adhered to. Locks must have master key and single key access. Glass must meet the company’s privacy specification.  And so on…..

Whether you are building a spacecraft with millions of parts with hundreds of engineers, or you’re a firm of three fitters running a building service, you have requirements to manage.

The HID (Hierarchy Diagram below) shows that a large number of interdependencies, even for the supply of simple items, quickly builds. Consequently the complexity of managing those requirements becomes more of a task. The requirements for windows and doors to a 20 room Town-Lodge involves glass specifications and safety constraints. These may differ depending on the location and size of the window/door. Planning, using a tool can simplify the traceability of any job.

HID showing how complex even a requirement for a few windows and doors can be complex
Even Windows and Doors Can Benefit from Requirements Management

Managing Change

The quotation has been accepted by the Town-Lodge. However, you were careful enough to note that the price was ‘subject to regulatory change’. When Ref 125-ere-2008 comes up for review and an amendment is raised, it is easy to trace what this impacts. Running a query on the Safety Regulations and showing the linked items, furthermore,  it can be seen these refer to the Emergency Access Windows. The trace shows these are linked to Customer Requirement CR6 and CR8. Finally it is a simple case of writing the email to the Town-Lodge and explaining regulatory change requires thicker glass and this will change the price for these two windows. Then await their approval.
Therefore, in answer to your boss, “I can see the future for a tool to give us requirements management for windows and doors – can we buy a copy of Cradle ?”

Running a query to find the impact of a change, requirements management for windows and doors is necessary
Finding the Impact of a Change

Validation and Acceptance

The Lodge has agreed that they will pay when the work has been completed satisfactorily. Prior to starting work you have agreed a set of acceptance criteria. There could be endless tweaks or subjective “I don’t think that’s finished” conversations unless clear acceptance criteria and associated validation techniques have been agreed.

Imagine you have a noise reduction requirement, “The noise reduction between the window open and window closed shall be 6dB”.

Record the pre-agreed acceptance method as a Cradle item, and link this to each of the requirements with noise acceptance criteria. (This requirement in turn is linked to the rooms that it affects)

  • Noise Reduction Measurement. A white noise generator shall be sited at 1m from the window. The position will be adjusted until a measurement of 80db or more is detected inside the room with the window open at a distance of 1m inside the room. A second reading shall be taken with the window shut and this shall be subtracted from the first reading.

Running, a query against the noise test will find all the rooms that this applies to. Now you can make your measurements and record your findings. You now have full traceability for each aspect of the product being delivered to The Lodge.

“Dear Boss, Submit the invoice, Cradle aided demonstration to The Lodge site manager that all our acceptance criteria had been met. I think we’ve proved a use for requirements management for windows and doors.”

Happy Saint George’s Day 2017

Wishing all our customers, suppliers and followers a Happy St. George’s day 2017 from 3SL.

UML Activity Diagram

In a UML model, the static representation of the system is a set of Class Diagrams (CD). Each class may have an associated Activity Diagram (ACD) to show the internal behaviour and/or algorithm for the class.

ACDs can also be drawn at any level in the UML model, to represent time sequenced behaviour at any level. The activities in the ACDs are intrinsically shareable, such that any given activity can appear on more than one ACD.

Depicting the legend of St George in an ACD
St. George as a UML Activity Diagram (ACD)

OK, we accept there may be a bit of poetic licence going on in this diagram, but it still shows how activity within a class can be represented. If you ever want a reminder of the legend of St. George it may be handy. For more information see the Cradle help section for ACD

National Tea Day – 21st April 2017

Support a Charity While You Have a Cuppa.

There are a number of ways you can get involved with National Tea Day least of all you can ensure you get a good brew on for elevenses. Maybe nip out at lunch time and get a packet of scones and share afternoon tea with your work colleagues. Ask for donations in a Tea Cup and pick a local charity!

There’s an awful lot of Tea drunk by engineers at 3SL towers…….

Large amounts of tea drunk at 3SL
3SL – Tea

Now the tricky bit, how on earth do we make this blog entry have something to do with Cradle? Ah! Multivalue Picklist Categories is how. If you have a set of premises that you manage, these can be set as items within Cradle. Each café could have a number of supplies that the café offers, and these could be recorded in a multiple value category.

If there was a shortage of Oolong, it would be simple to run a query to list each of the premises that need to be contacted. For further reading on categories, you could read ‘Multiple Value Categories’

Showing that multivalue categories can be used for everything, including tea
Multi Value Categories Representing Product Supplies



Configuration Management – Submit by Query

Too Many Items to Select and Submit?

At some points in a project’s lifecycle, a large number of items need to be submitted. These may be too numerous to ‘select‘ and ‘Submit‘, Cradle offers ‘Submit by Query‘ option. This allows submission of all the items (subject to access rights) that match a query to be moved to the review stage in the configuration management system.

Highlighting methods of submitting items for review
Submit Items

Check Before Submission

Using the ‘Show Items’ button allows the user to run a report that will detail which items the current settings will submit. In this way users can ensure that the correct items are going to be processed before creating all the approval records and changing the status of the items being submitted to that of ‘Under Review‘. For further information see the article  How to Submit Items for Review Based on a Query. Also see further information on Cradle’s Configuration Management System in this article.. Configuration Management features are also available in Web Access.


Depicts showing items that will be submitted by a query
Submit by Query – Show Items

Close Everything

WorkBench Cluttered?

Sometimes when you have been working away running queries, opening items, you just want to close everything. Start with a blank screen, clear mind, and start again.

So first go and have a cup of tea! Then either, open the Window menu, or use the Triangle pointing right arrow on the frame border menu. From there you have a couple of options, one to ‘Close All Tabs‘ The other to ‘Close Everything‘.

The first will close the tabs within the current pane, the second will return you to a clear WorkBench.

Annimation showing the Close Everything function in WorkBench
Close Everything


UK Coffee Week 10-16 April 2017

Supporting Others by Drinking Coffee

The UKCoffeeWeek website supports Project Waterfall which aims to bring clean water to coffee growing communities. Much of the coffee consumed round the world originates from some of the poorest communities. By drinking your coffee during UK Coffee week at one of the participating coffee shops you’ll be putting something back into the communities that helped create your drink.

Do Your Engineers Run on Tea of Coffee?

3SL, producers of the Cradle engineering tool, is based in the UK, traditionally a tea loving nation. However, there has been a marked shift to coffee drinking in all variants. Here at 3SL towers, we have a mix of Tea and Coffee drinkers. Both sides are adamant that their drink is the best….. Take a minute to answer our snap Twitter poll.


3SL on Social Media

Keeping In Touch

You can reach 3SL in a number of ways on social media. We want it to be as easy as possible to contact 3SL on social media, so we have a number of ways you can follow and stay up to date with what’s going on. These social media sites compliment the direct contact available through website blog and webinarsemail and phone for direct communication.


Our company page on Linked in is 3SL. To follow Requirements Mangement and Systems Engineering discussions along with more in depth 3SL or Cradle articles Join the “Cradle -RM/SE Tool from 3SL group.

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Follow @threesl on Twitter for hints tips and daily news.

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If you want to keep up to date via Facebook, we’re 3slcradle.

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You can view our 3SL Cradle instructional videos on our YouTube Channel.

screenshot of 3SL youtube channel
3SL Cradle YouTube


If you follow engineering topics in one of the Google+ communities, you can reach us via +3SLCradle.

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Want to chat or mention us? Please use #3SL for the company and #Cradle for product references. Mentioning #MBSE,  #Requirements, #SysML #SystemsEngineering will also help like-minded engineers find your articles. Search for more terms at

Item’s Edit History

Who Changed That? When? Why?

When working in large teams or over a long period an item’s edit history is very useful.

Each item type can have history turned on in the Project Schema via the Project Setup dialog. Users can choose what stage to enable history, Never, Always, Changing draft items that have a baselined instance, Named category matches specified value.

Right clicking on the item and selecting the History -> View Item History. The resulting dialog shows who changed the item on what date and what time. It also displays a comment (This can be made mandatory) entered at the time of editing. If an entry is selected in this list, full details are shown in the lower half of the dialog. If there are a large number of changes, the filter at the top of the dialog can aid finding a relevant change.

Dialog showing an item's edit history
Item’s Edit History

Item History in a Web Browser

Web Access allows you to see an item’s history too. This functionality is in our shipped web UIs. It can be added to your own custom UIs, see the ‘history’ template information.

Web Access showing an item's history
Item History in Web Access

April 2017 Newsletter

Spring is Here

Since our last update spring has sprung. Once you have got used to losing that valuable extra hour sleep, as day light saving kicked in, it’s traditionally time to think out with the old and in with the new.

Consider a spring clean, remove all those stacks of dusty files full of project requirements version 1 to version 9.

Why Are You Keeping Them?

Will you really be able to find what you are looking for without a way of searching? Consider whether you can sensibly access the details of those designs sitting rolled up in mailing tubes. Do you have the means to edit them electronically any more. Does anyone know where the file is kept?

A New Way Forward

Convert projects you want to keep by inputting them into Cradle. Either by loading the documents through Document Loader or scanning old paper copies. Once scanned they could be stored as an image in an appropriate item type, or stored as a file reference within the Cradle item or an external URL within a form.  Now you have a way of searching through your project data, following the links between items and possibly retiring items / standards / tests that are not longer applicable.

Create A Published Copy

For those poor souls with no copy of Cradle that they may need access to, you can publish a copy to your Intranet, or print a full report through Document Publisher (Just don’t be tempted to print it out hard copy as that’ll defeat the object of the spring clean!).

PS: We’re quite happy for those of you in the Southern hemisphere to have an Autumn Tidy instead !

Cradle Around the Globe

Great to see out Brazilian Partner OPENCADD hosting a MBSE event for the Automotive sector. Well done all.

Social Media


Anyone looked into the mystery of a @verified  Verified Twitter Twitter account, we’d be interested to hear? We note that there are a mixture of verified and non-verified users amongst our customers. We can assure you that @threesl  Follow us on Twitter, is our genuine account, even if Twitter will take a bit more convincing. If you’re not a Tweeter, on LinkedIn or Facebook, you can reach us on Google if you sign in with Google+ Follow us on Google+

YouTube Learning

Thanks for those who responded last month to requests for new ‘How Tos’ for our Subscribe to our YouTube channel YouTube channel.  If you didn’t get a chance to reply, here’s the link again ’How To’ ideas.

“Faster and Better Performance”

No, it’s not an advert for a new sports car or for the latest 2017 regulation changes that may ‘increase performance’ in F1 races. You can even put your screwdriver and spanners away. These tweaks to Cradle will help ensure it is in tip top condition and you won’t need an oily rag to do them.

1. Check the time between clients and the server. In the ‘Help’ tab, select ‘About WorkBench’ and ‘Resources’. Look for the ‘average roundtrip time’ line. If the CDS is in your local network, it should be <2 msec. If you connect over a VPN, it should be <25 msec. If longer, you may have a network problem.

2. Consider turning off the user preference ‘Refresh items when modifying links’. In the ‘Home’ tab, click ‘Preferences’, then ‘UI Control’.

3. Consider turning off ‘indicate linked items in trees’ in the same group of preferences.

4. Consider enabling caching of top-level items in Project sidebar, reduces time to find top-level items, in UI Control -> Sidebar preferences.

5. Note that when links are created, modified or deleted, the change histories are updated for items at both ends of the link.

6. Changes to links to/from items could raise alerts to be sent as and possibly sent to large numbers of users.

7. Run the cross reference and item integrity checks in the ‘Project’ tab to find and fix any problems. Issues can arise from ‘unvalidated’ imports of data or links.

8. Ensure that message compression and server-side processing are both active. Look in ‘CDS Settings’ in the preferences for any user. Checkboxes may be greyed out (can only be set on the server), but its set/not set value is accurate.

9. Large numbers of unread alerts will slow Cradle down at login and logout. Check options in the ‘Alerts’ section of the schema, from ‘Project Setup’ in the ‘Project’ tab. Use ‘Delete alerts’ in this tab to remove current user’s alerts.

10. Read the performance section in the System Administration manual

Hints of the Month

Here are some links to helpful topics since our last newsletter, they should improve your Cradle experience:

Whether it’s Daylight Saving or Cross border timezones, you can set your preferences within Cradle described in this Set Display Time Zone.

IT department worried about a downloaded copy of Cradle? Worry no more and check out Digital Certificates in Cradle.

If you import data from other sources in CSV or TSV or from Excel, you may have wondered what the difference is between the different import options. What will get overwritten, what will remain? You can read an overview and example in this blog article.

You can read Hints & Tips on New Cradle-7.2 Features in the 3SL Blog.