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Moving Around in ClearQuest

[T.4.2] The first step is to log into the application, for which you must have a ClearQuest user account. When you reach the login screen, you must then select a database from the dropdown list. You'll have access only to those databases to which you are a subscriber. The administrator will control which databases you'll have access to and also help resolve any problems with your user account.

The ClearQuest main window appears once you open the application (Figure 4-3).

Figure 4-3

Figure 4-3 ClearQuest main window

The Public Queries folder in the Workspace contains all of the standard ClearQuest queries, charts, and reports, as well as any custom items created by your administrator. The beauty of ClearQuest for the common user is that you can drag and drop any query, chart, or report from the Public Queries folder over to your Personal Queries folder, and from there modify it to suit your own individual requirements. More about that in a minute.

Submitting Your Change Requests

The first action you might take in ClearQuest is to submit a change request. This creates a record in the user database that everyone on the team can view and track within the system. Within the Submit Defect form (Figure 4-4), you will describe the change request in detail and then attach any relevant code fragments and other supporting information that will help define the problem or suggestion and help the development team reach a quick and appropriate solution.

Figure 4-4

Figure 4-4 Submit Defect form

[S.4.1] Users can save frequently used field values as defaults so they won't have to reenter them each time they submit a change request. In addition, users can submit change requests directly into ClearQuest from Rational TeamTest, Purify, PureCoverage, Quantify, and VisualTest. Or, they can submit and modify change requests by e-mail. It all depends on your existing or planned development processes—the system is fairly flexible.

When you submit a new change request, you will be prompted to select a record type. If you know the record type of your change request (e.g., you know it's a defect, or maybe it's a new product enhancement coming from someone on the product management team), then make the appropriate selection. If you're not sure how to define your request off the top of your head, just click the arrow and choose from the defined record types within the database you're accessing.

By this point, you've probably noticed that ClearQuest uses forms for data entry and display. The Submit Defect form is your primary window for submitting change requests; the slightly less intuitive Record form is where you'll review your change request records. In general, the Record form includes more information than does the Submit Defect form because the Record form is where all of the entered information is posted and summarized, whereas the Submit Defect form is a simple input screen. Take heart, however; your administrator can designate one of the forms to be both the Submit Defect form and the Record form, which will simplify the process by making one form represent both. So, no worries.

[S.4.2] Attachments are an important part of helping a user or customer describe an issue or enhancement. In fact, when dealing with external customers, the attachments (screenshots, documentation, and so forth) can be the one factor that helps development resolve an issue. ClearQuest allows you to attach any file to a record—that's right, it supports any format. Your attachments are stored directly in the database, and you can attach as many as needed. (All attachments can be seen as icons on the Attachments window within the Submit Defect form.)

One other important feature: Although it's not required, you can add keywords and symptoms to help define your change request. You can also select them from a dynamic pick list. Adding keywords and symptoms will help you search for your request and related records later when creating reports or searching for patterns in your change requests.

The ClearQuest administrator can also create additional record types. For example, you might want to separate different record types, such as hardware defects from software defects and enhancement requests. Again, the application is flexible enough to allow you to set up your processes to suit your needs. You can also customize Record forms, including adding tabs and fields and defining associated behaviors.

One concern with any change management system is whether or not people will log in and use it. A great automation feature, and one that helps alleviate this concern, is the ability for your administrator to configure ClearQuest to automatically send e-mail to various team members when a change request is submitted or changed. To take advantage of automatic e-mail notification, all ClearQuest users must set up their e-mail options.

Moving Change Requests Through the Workflow

You work with change request records by moving them through various states. In each state, you can perform actions such as modifying a record or moving it to another state. The Actions menu lists the actions that you can perform on the record while it is in any given state, including assigning, modifying, and opening and resolving change requests.

Your ClearQuest administrator can restrict actions to specific user groups. For example, the administrator might allow everyone on a team to resolve a change request, but restrict the verify action to members of the quality assurance group.

Tracking Your Change Requests

ClearQuest queries make it easy for everyone on your team to track change request records as they move through your system. This is done primarily through personal queries and public queries.

Any queries, charts, and reports created by a user are stored in that user's Personal Queries folder. (See the next section for a discussion of charts and reports.) The ClearQuest Query Wizard will walk you through the process of building a custom query. It will prompt you on the fields you want to display, as well as all of the fields and corresponding values you want to use as query filters. To modify an existing query, first drag the query to your Personal Queries folder and then use the Edit Filter and Edit Display Field Wizards. (See Editing an Existing Query in Chapter 9, page 163.)

Certain ClearQuest packages also include ready-to-use queries that help you locate records by project or component, by assigned engineer, by level of severity, and so on. The ClearQuest Administrator can save queries to the Public Queries folder and can assign this privilege to other users. ClearQuest users with admin access can copy any of their personal queries into the Public Queries folder to make those queries available to anyone with access to the appropriate user database.

Gathering Project Metrics

[S.4.3, S.4.4] A change management solution is only as good as the data it generates to let you manage your development processes. Certain ClearQuest packages provide predefined charts and reports that you can run on Windows and on ClearQuest Web to view the status of your project at a glance. You can also create your own customized reports and charts.

ClearQuest charts display record data graphically. Distribution charts show the current status of data; trend and aging charts show historical information. ClearQuest also includes reports and report formats that you can use to create reports from ClearQuest data. You can also use Crystal Reports Professional Edition to create new report formats. You can save these formats in your Personal Queries folder and use them to format ClearQuest reports. Remember that the ClearQuest online help contains detailed information to assist you every step of the way.

Obviously, this section does not cover all of the capabilities of a standard ClearQuest installation. We're just attempting to jump-start the process and show you how easy it is to navigate through the basic features of ClearQuest. Please check your user manual if you have more specific questions.

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