Cross References in a Baseline

Cross References in a Baseline

The easiest description of a baseline is, a snapshot of how the database/items were at a particular point in time. There are both items and cross references in a baseline. The more cross references you have the larger the files will be. This means that if you do have many Baselines, you could find significant space being used on the server.

Are Baselines Taking Up a Lot of Server Space?

In our latest release of Cradle 7.4, cross references are separated from the other files when a baseline is closed. The cross references in each one are now placed in separate uniquely identified folders. Each folder has an alphanumerical identity, dependent on the length of the name for the baseline. This is twice the length of the baseline name.

The Baseline Folders
The Baseline Folders containing the Cross Reference folders.

Inside each of these folders are 4 files containing the cross references and their attributes. The files will be different sizes depending on the number of cross references that existed at the time the baseline was taken.

Baselines Cross Reference Folders
Baselines Cross Reference Folders

Folder Maintenance.

As these are individual baselines, a user can then zip these folders and remove them from the Baseline folder. Taking the four older folders, they total approximately 232KB on disk. If a user zips each folder it comes to 3KB each. If zipped into 1 file it comes to 9KB and so a saving of over 220KB.

Baselined Cross Reference Folder Zipped
Baselined Cross Reference Folders after zipping

Most databases are much later than this and so the space saving could be much larger. The user could also move the zipped files to a different server if required and so saving more space.

The only downside to doing this, is that if a user wishes to use Baseline Mode to see the cross references in a baseline, they will not instantly be there. Therefore, should the cross references be required in the future, just unzip the file into the original folder. Once the file is unzipped, a user can set the Baseline Mode and they will see the old cross references.

Related Articles

For a longer more in depth description of Baselines and Configuration Management click here.

 

Lifecycle Workflows

Item Progression

Lifecycle workflows allow users to progress items through a defined lifecycle.  This process can set the item’s owner or an attribute in the item to a specific value. A workflow is a defined set of steps through which an item can progress. The stages could describe an items design, production or any other flow that matches your process.

Definition

The lifecycle of an item is described by the combination of stage steps and review steps. The review step specifies the review’s composition, its rules for making a decision, and the actions to be performed if the review approves item(s) or rejects item(s). The stage step will progress the item through the set of stages that represent its lifecycle. You can set the item’s stage to any of the values in the workflow’s stage category. The category must:

  • Be a single value picklist
  • Have a picklist of values defined
  • Have a default value defined
  • Be mandatory
    example implementation steps found in item lifecycle workflows
    Advancement

    Workflows are part of the project schema and managed through Project Setup

Operation

Whist review steps are triggered as an item reaches different stages in the review process (submitted, reviewed, registered and so on) stage steps are triggered by a User issuing an Advance command. This is available on the toolbar or the Configuration Management option on the context menu.

Screenshot showing item advancing through steps
Item being advanced through steps

Display

Advance operations for items can be displayed in different forms making available different attributes that are related to the particular phases of their lifecycle.

Lifecycle workflows were introduced in Cradle 7.4, if you’ve not yet upgraded, download now!

Why do I get a ‘Item Not Completed’ message?

Item Stuck in a Change Task

When using the Cradle Configuration Management System (CMS) you may come across the ‘Item Not Completed‘ message.

Item Not Completed Dialog
Item Not Completed Dialog

This happens when a Draft item associated with a Change Task gets deleted. As a result, the lack of the deleted Draft item, means the Change Task cannot be completed and the item cannot be added to a new baseline.

If you have an item stuck in a Change Task, fear not, there is a solution!

Resolving the ‘Item Not Completed’ Warning

To resolve the issue where an item is ‘stuck’ in a Change Task, perform the following steps:

  1. Open Project Setup and make sure the ‘Disable copying of baseline items‘ option is unchecked.

    Image of Project Setup with Disable Copying of Baselined Items Option Highlighted
    Disable Copying of Baselined Items in Project Setup
  2. In a query select the item shown in the ‘Item Not Completed‘ dialog. From the right-click context menu select ‘Copy‘ and create a new Draft of the ‘stuck’ item.
  3. Submit, Review, Register the newly created Draft item as necessary until it is in a Baseline, then close the Baseline.
  4. The ‘Item Not Completed‘ message should no longer show and it should now be possible to Complete the Change Task.
  5. If required, re-enable the ‘Disable copying of baseline items‘ option in Project Setup which was disabled in step 1.

 

Configuration Management in Web Access

Performing CM Tasks in Web Access

Most Configuration Management tasks are achieved using WorkBench but Configuration Management in Web Access is also available. For instance you can submit and review information in Web Access as well as unsubmitting items. These CM tasks are available in the Web AccessConfiguration Management” sidebar:

CM Sidebar in Web Access
Configuration Management in Web Access

You can submit items by query or you can submit them individually. Providing there are reviewers for the information, any user can submit information for approval.

Items can also be unsubmitted which cancels their review. This does depend on:

  • The ownership of the items
  • The current user’s privileges
  • The status of the item in the database
  • Whether any reviewers have started to review the item

Once items have been submitted for review, they can also be reviewed in Web Access.

If you have the TEAM_APPROVE privilege you can review information on behalf of a team member, therefore preventing reviews being held up due to team absences,

Configuration Management in Web Access
Review Dialog

In conclusion, if you are remotely working, with access to Cradle only via a browser,  it is possible to review and approve or reject items. This can have great benefits to time-scales, it alleviates waiting for reviews to complete and negates having to manage an email ping-pong.

A Reviewer Specific UI in Web Access

Continue reading “Configuration Management in Web Access”

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

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

Can you export individual baselines?

We are sometimes asked if it is possible to export the contents of individual baselines. Most commonly for baselines that have been closed in the past. The short answer is yes, and here’s how:

  1. Select the Review tab, then ‘Set Mode’ and choose the baseline to be exported
  2. Select the Project tab, then  ‘Export’ and specify the type(s) of information to export and set the owner to ‘Project’
  3. Specify an output filename and any other options needed, and select ‘Export’

Note: You should NOT try to import information into old baselines. This is because:

  • You could easily create inconsistencies in baseline histories that could also prevent the Configuration Management System (CMS) from working correctly
  • It breaks the principles of good CM and your formal CM process
Exporting Baselines
Exporting Baselines

For more information on exporting information from Cradle, this help article may help you.

Custom Workflow for Configuration Management

Complex Configuration Management ?

If you find the defaults give you too many reviewers for your  Configuration Management Process, then create a new custom Workflow in Cradle.

The number of reviewers, the steps on accept or reject, steps based on the owner can all be altered in the Project Schema. Each item type can have a different process flow or they can follow the built in defaults.

Configuration Management Workflow Setup
Workflow Setup