Discussions in Cradle

What is a Discussion?

A discussion is a hierarchy of comments for an item. The discussions in Cradle concept is similar to email threads:

  • Every item can have arbitrarily many, arbitrarily large, discussions
  • Each discussion has a hierarchy of 1 or more comments
  • Each discussion can have a decision

People can contribute to a discussion.

The discussions mechanism is very powerful. We suggest it can be used:

  • To record discussions as part of formulating requirements and other items in the database
  • As a change proposal system
  • As an informal CM system

Contents of a Discussion

A discussion contains:

  1. A decision Рthis applies to the entire discussion  containing a status with a value of Open, Agreed, Rejected or Suspended, a reason which is a short summary of why the decision was reached, the Cradle username of the person who recorded the decision and the date and time that the decision was made
  2. A hierarchy of comments, each comment containing a subject, a block of text that constitutes the comment, the Cradle username of the person who created the comment and the date and time that the comment was created

Creating Discussions

When created your new discussion, its decision is set to Open. You can respond to a comment by adding a new comment that is then attached to the existing comment. The same user or another user could respond to either of these comments. Therefore creating a hierarchy of comments.

Please note that comments cannot be changed once committed.

Discussions dialog showing multiple comments
Discussions Dialog in WorkBench

Querying and Reporting on Discussions

Discussions can be reported and included in documents. You can also search the database for items based on their discussions, for example:

  • Discussions where you have made a comment
  • Discussions where comments have been made in the past week
  • Where you need to make a decision on a discussion

For further information on discussions in Cradle’s WorkBench click here. If you would like to see how to work with discussions in Web Access click here.

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