Most projects start from, or use, information in external documents. Typically such documents will contain user requirements, business requirements, Governmental or industry standards or operational concepts.
Sometimes, it is enough to include a simple reference to the document from the information that is being created by the project. Often, however, the project needs to be able to link to individual sections, paragraphs, table rows or table cells in the external documents. In such cases, the document must be split into its individual elements and each element loaded into its own, individual, item in a Cradle database. Once loaded, these items can be modified in a controlled way or, most often, the items are linked to other information created by the project, to provide traceability and to demonstrate compliance. In Cradle, documents that are treated in this way are called source documents.
The most common examples of source documents are customer requests for quotations (RFQs) and invitations to tender (ITTs). A project will load these documents so that it can create responses to all relevant sections in each of them, and then demonstrate that these responses collectively satisfy the needs of the ITT.
When doing this, it is important for the supplier to demonstrate to the customer:
In an alternative scenario, a customer and supplier may work in partnership where the supplier assists the customer to develop their requirements for the system to be designed, and then the same or another supplier designs and builds the system. In this case, the external documents are loaded into Cradle and the resulting database items are modified to reflect the expertise and advice of the supplier, all such changes being fully tracked and recorded.
In this scenario, it is important for the supplier to demonstrate to the customer:
The Cradle-6.7 release includes extensions to the traceability facilities for source documents that will be of enormous benefit in all situations such as these.
Cradle allows any number of source documents to be loaded into a database using the Document Loader tool.
Loading a source document into Cradle has several effects:
Document Loader allows multiple versions of each source document to be loaded, when it will also:
New coverage features have been added that are all intended to provide greater insight into the coverage of a source document, that is, to show how the items currently in the database correspond to the source document from which they were originally captured.
These new features are:
To access these new features:
to display the External Document Coverage dialog:
In the simplest case, simply select OK in the dialog and the selected source document version will be opened in Word, with highlighting to show the parts of the source document that have been captured into Cradle:
so that anything shown with background highlighting has been captured into the database. In this example, the list of tables has not been captured, but sections 1, 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 2 and 2.1 can all be seen to have been captured into the database.
As a visual aid, this is very helpful. It is a simple matter to either display this to the customer or to print it and send it to the customer as proof of their question “Which parts of our documents have been loaded?” in the previous section.
If you select the Show items captured from original document checkbox in the External Document Coverage dialog and select OK, then in the Word session, in addition to showing which parts of the document have been captured, Cradle also shows precisely which item in the database contains each part of the document:
In this example, section 1.2 System Overview, can be seen to have been captured into the database item UR-4 System Overview.
As a visual aid, this is very helpful. It is a simple matter to either display this to the customer or to print it and send it to the customer as proof of their questions “Which parts of our documents have been loaded?” and “Which item in your database corresponds to each element of our document?” in the previous section.
As previously discussed, in general no changes are made to the items loaded from source documents. Your customers may want to see evidence that once their data has been loaded from their documents (which they trust because they wrote them) into your Cradle database (which they do not trust because it is not under their control), that their data has not been changed in any way.
The new source document coverage features can solve this problem as well.
If a change is made to one of the captured items, for example to the item UR-4 System Overview:
Then if you select the Compare original document against current database items checkbox in the External Document Coverage dialog and select OK, then in the Word session Cradle will compare the text that is in the original source document (a copy of which exists in the database) and the content of the database item that contains that text, for every part of the document that has been captured:
So in this example, the Word session shows that the original source document text for section 1.2 has been changed in the Cradle database item that corresponds to this paragraph.
As a commercial aid, the importance of this facility cannot be over-emphasised. This is VERY important! This one feature can save you and your customer hours of compliance work, by proving that the starting point for all of your traceability and compliance to their RFQ or ITT is valid.
That is, this feature proves that the information that you loaded from the RFQ or ITT has not been changed and therefore everything that follows in your work is based on completely accurate information.
So this feature addresses the question “How can we be assured that your response to our ITT is accurate, that you have not changed any of our commercial and technical requirements?” in the previous section.
This proof can be presented in an even more convincing format. If you select both checkboxes in the External Document Coverage dialog and select OK, then in the Word session, in addition to showing which parts of the document have been captured and the database items into which they have been captured, Cradle will also compare the text that is in the original source document (a copy of which exists in the database) and the content of the database item that contains that text, for every part of the document that has been captured:
This is the most powerful source document coverage view that Cradle can generate. As a commercial and technical aid, we believe that it will be invaluable and will save enormous amounts of time during compliance audits.
This view answers all of the customer’s most fundamental compliance questions:
By answering these fundamental questions quickly and easily, your customer will have complete confidence that the starting point for your RFQ or ITT responses are completely valid, meaning that your work, and all of the traceability, compliance and coverage tables and matrices that you will produce (also, directly from Cradle) are built on an accurate and solid foundation and are therefore worthy of detailed consideration.