Report Specification

June 2, 2012

If a user is to request a report be designed, some questions must be asked by the designer in order to proceed.   The following list of questions can be used as a starting point for discussions when specifying a report:

  1. What is the purpose of the report?
  2. What skill level will be required to read the report?
  3. In what format(s) will the reports be generated?
  4. Who will the receipient(s) be receiving the report?
  5. What is the frequency of the report?
  6. If the report is stored in a repository, how long is the retention time of the report?
  7. What or where is the data source(s) of the report?
  8. What fields or columns will be used?
  9. What type of report will it be?  Columnar, Tabular, CrossTab, Detail, Summary, Charts, Labels, Form Letter, etc.
  10. What is the general content of the report?  Titles, Report Header, Page Header, Report Footer, Page Footer, Detail section, Subreports?
  11. What is the report orientation (Portrait, Landscape)?
  12. What page size should be used?  Margins?
  13. Are there any predefined templates to use?
  14. Are there any predefined style sheets to use?
  15. Are there any groupings for the report?  Contents of group header?  Contents of group footer?  Multigrouping?  Running Totals?
  16. Are there any paging requirements?  New page for groups?
  17. Is there any filtering?
  18. How is the data to be sorted?
  19. Is there any special requirements to emphasis the content of the report with fonts, color, shading, etc.?
  20. Will there be any user prompted parameters to control the content of the report?
  21. Are there any calculations to be performed?
  22. What data is to be summarized?
  23. Will there be any hyperlinks on the report?  Drilldowns?
  24. Will the report include a document map?
  25. Is there any security or permission considerations?

This list is far from complete, but it will give you a good start on the discussions that need to occur when specifying a report.

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