I have been looking at the topic of reporting from DOORS Next Generation this week. After all, what good is all that data if we can’t get information out of it. The scripting technology preview is good for working with small amounts of data for the immediate attention of the user, but some of those bigger questions are harder to answer in this way.Whenever you are trying to report on a number of different modules (or collections), across projects, or even across tools, Insight is the tool for the job. It does need some serious technical attention, but in the right hands, it can work wonders. My hands are not the right hands – at least not at the moment. I do, however, have some very talented colleagues who know exactly how to make Insight sing.
So, what is it, and why do we need it?
Insight trawls all your data in all the tools every night (or when you tell it to), and can then run some very sophisticated reports. Assessing the quality of requirements is simple enough through the scripting API – just check a few attributes are set, look for forbidden words, check for links, whatever is in your organization’s process. This is the sort of thing that we routinely do with DOORS DXL Scripts, and the options for doing the same in DOORS Next are similar, although we don’t have access to the history through the scripting API, so watch for that one.
With Insight we can analyze the information and look at trends. Once some data is built up, we can start to recognize projects that are on a good track, or on a bad track. This sort of information gives us proactive project management options. This does, of course, bring us perilously close to the topic of metrics. That is a hobby horse that I have avoided so far over here. Whenever you measure, you will find people trying to game the system, so metrics need to be very carefully chosen such that gaming the system gives the desired result. A topic for another time.