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Re Beta 1.0.3 (DB version 2.2.3) Build Apr 26 2018 15:55:31

 

A tick-box ‘Show associated’ appears in the Filter block on a number of screens. I fully understand this is a beta; I can understand what ‘Show associated’ does, but I’m not sure if it is needed (as much / at all), and if it is needed, its placing on the screen and its nomenclature.

 

The data in DLN builds the database by associating, say, equipment, operators and documents with a project or image set. In pretty much every case, as it is a normalised database, one operator or document can be associated with multiple projects.

 

What is in question here is the view ‘from the project’ side – and from the project perspective, the question of how many, and how, the higher-level objects are associated with, say, a project.

 

‘Show associated’ appears when the operator is given the opportunity to link higher-level objects with, say, a project.

 

In the current beta, the left-hand pane displays a list of items that can be associated, and the right-hand pane displays a list of those have (already) been associated. Items can be added to and removed the associated list, and the corresponding entry appears/disappears in both right and left hand panes; the list on the left shows those that have not already been associated.

 

The current system effectively operates a default mechanism to allow one of each type of entry to be associated with the project; ticking the ‘Show associated’ box populates the left-hand list with all possibilities, not just those which have already been associated.

 

First two points:

 

  1. The ‘Show associated’ tick box is in the Filter pane at the top of the display, which otherwise filters the right-hand list – it would (if/when still needed) be more intuitive if ‘Show associated’ was above the left-hand pane which it influences, alongside the title of the left-hand list.

  2. The tick box’s name ‘Show associated’ would be more meaningful as ‘Show already associated’ (if/when still needed).

 

Looking deeper though, I would question the need for ‘Show associated’ in many cases. Taking a few examples:

  • Linking a Document to a Project – this, when established, is a direct, unqualified link. There would be no sense in linking the same document to the same project more than once, so having ‘Show associated’ on that screen is not needed. In this case, ‘Show associated’ isn’t needed.

  • Linking Equipment to an Image Set - this, when established, is a direct, unqualified link. In this case though it is possible that multiples of the same item are used. The equipment list will probably be significantly ‘longer’ and only ‘shrink’ a little when an item is associated,  so having ‘Show associated’ on that screen is of minimal benefit. If helpful validation was to be offered, then when an item is being associated, quickly check if it has already been associated and pop-up a quick message to ask the operator to confirm they wish to associate a second instance.

  • Linking a Stakeholder to a Project – this establishes a qualified link as a role must be selected at the time the stakeholder is linked to the project. The default only allows a Stakeholder to be associated once; if a second role needs to be documented, the ‘Show associated’ needs to be ticked so that the stakeholder can be selected a second time and a second association recorded. However, there are no checks that a pre-existing role isn’t being duplicated, so by ticking ‘Show associated’ it is possible to accidentally assign a meaningless duplicate role. In this case, some safeguard is needed but ‘Show associated’ isn’t really the most appropriate – I would suggest the Stakeholder list is always left fully populated (i.e. no ‘Show associated’), and when an association is being created the pop-up linkage details screen either automatically limits the list of roles to those ‘… NOT IN …’ the existing, or quickly check before saving that it isn’t a duplication.

 

So, 
 

       3.  I would query the appropriateness or need for ‘Show associated’ as the data model is refined.

 

Just to repeat, these are suggestions which could only be made after the valuable first beta; and I fully appreciate workflow and data model will evolve. ‘Show associated’ allowed testing to progress and these comments to be made!

 

Dave

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