What do you use to produce your FDD reports?

I'm guessing Excel would be used by a lot of people but what about the parking lot feature diagrams? What do people use to produce them? Visio?

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Jeff De Luca's picture

Here's how I did them manually

It's a non-trivial program to generate these. Before I had one I generated them by hand drawing them using something like Visio or Powerpoint or OpenOffice.org Draw etc.

Here's a simple drawing (click it to enlarge it) to show you how to draw these by hand and then simply resize one drawing element to reflect the percentage complete progress bar.

Draw a Parking Lot

First some terminology. A Parking Lot is simply a graphical representation of a Business Activity within the Features List (FBS). Thus, in this context, a Parking Lot and a Business Activity are the same thing.

1. Draw the main box first. This box is white at first. This is the box you fill with light blue when any feature within this parking lot (Business Activity) is in progress. This is the box you fill with Green when it is complete. This is the box you fill with red if there is a serious problem with this Business Activity or it is late. (note: this is the box you enter text for the name of the Business Activity, number of features in it and the percentage complete as text)

2. Draw this box next. This box is white and contains text which the the Month and Year target completion date for this Business Activity. This box you fill with green when the Business Activity is complete. Otherwise, this box remains white.

3. Draw this box next. This box is white and represents the percentage left to complete of the precentage complete progress bar. e.g. if this parking lot is 75% complete, the green box (box 4 described below) will be 75% of the way across and this box (box 3) will be the white area for the remaining 25% of the width.

4. Draw this box last. This box is green. It lays directly on top of box 3. This box is drawn the first time a feature within this Business Activity goes "in progress" (note: this is the event where you fill box 1 light blue as described in step 1 above). The width of this box is sized to match the percentage complete for this Business Activity. Thus, you take the percent complete numbers from the Weekly Summary Report and use the number for this Business Activity to set the width of this box for this Parking Lot. Some tools (such as Powerpoint) let you set the width as a percentage which makes this easy. For other drawing tools, simply get the width of box 3 and then do the simple math to calculate the width of box 4 that matches the percentage complete this week.

For example, if box 3 (and 2 and 1 of course) are 100 pixels wide and this week this Business Activity is 44% complete, then set the size of box 4 for this parking lot to 44 pixels.

When the Business Activity is complete (100%) I delete box 4 and then fill box 1, 2 and 3 with Green.

Draw ONE of these parking lots first to the size that works for your project. Then, group the elements and clone it for the rest of the parking lots.


New Tool almost ready for testing

After attending a Borland seminar where Jeff De Luca was a guest speaker I went searching for FDD tools to capture data and, in particular, display the parking lots.

I was quite surprised that I couldn't find anything so I have started knocking together a little utility that will display and print a parking lot.

It is at the point where it is reading an XML file and displaying the Feature Set details/colors etc on screen. Still to do:
- Subject Area information
- Printing
- Scaling
I hope to get most of this done tonight.

If you would like to try this out let me know. I will probably release the Delphi source for this at some stage too.