Product Update: Under the Hood

In the latest update to CaseComplete 2011, we included a few subtle improvements that you might not have noticed. First, there is a change to the way we save package files. Now, when you add a package to your project, it will be saved in its own file by default and you’ll be presented with this:

organize requirements into packages

You could always do this, but the default behavior was to store the package in the same file as its parent. You had to take an extra step to save it in its own file.

We did this since most of our users are now using shared projects as they collaborate with their teammates. The benefit of having each package in its own file is that it can be checked-out independently, allowing team members to work on different parts of the project without getting in each other’s way.

Activity Diagram File Names

The ability to generate activity diagrams automatically from use cases is a popular feature. When you saved the project, however, you were prompted for a diagram file name. That felt a little cumbersome so we tried to improve the usability by generating the file name for you. The file name will start with the name of use case that owns the activity diagram followed by ActivityDiagram. For example, if you were to generate an activity diagram for a use case named Place Local Call, file name would be PlaceLocalCallActivityDiagram.ndx.

Choose Your Actor Shape

When dragging and dropping actors from the Project Browser onto a diagram, you’ll now see a menu of available actor shapes like this:
Custom actor shapes

We’ve had this feature tucked away for awhile, but it wasn’t easy to discover. If you’d rather not see the menu, you can tweak the way this works under the File / Options / Diagrams menu.

Fewer Templates, More Power

Sometimes when you are creating reports, you may not know all the values needed for that report until you generate the report. We’ve added report parameters for Word and Excel reports to handle just that situation.

requirements template parametersWhen you include parameters with your report, you’ll be prompted to enter the values for those parameters when you generate the report. This makes it easy to include things like customer names and other information that changes each time a report is run. This also makes it easy to build flexible, reusable report templates that you don’t have to change all the time.

Here are some report parameters to help get you started.

IIBA Vendor Showcase

Last month we presented at an IIBA Vendor Showcase on Use Cases and User Stories. The webinar was an opportunity for vendors to demonstrate tools that support two sections of the BABOK: 9.26 Scenarios and Use Cases and 9.33 User Stories. Along with us were TechnoSolutions (makers of TopTeam Analyst) and Blueprint Systems.

If you missed it, you can watch a replay of the video. If you want to jump to the vendor presentations, fast forward to 6:30. The CaseComplete portion of the talk starts at about 34:45.

You can also grab a PDF version of the slides from the webinar.

Create Reports While You Sleep

One of the new features we’ve introduced with CaseComplete 2011 is command line report generation. This gives you the ability to set up scheduled tasks to generate one or more reports automatically.

Command line reports can run automatically and unattended. This can be handy when you have a number of reports you need created on a regular basis, or have a large report that takes a long time to generate. You can set up a shortcut or a scheduled job that takes care of it for you. It will even report any problems with the report on the Windows event log.

Learn how to set up your first command line report.

A Call for Early Adopters:

cloud based requirementsWhat if you could get feedback on your requirements sooner? What if your stakeholders could comment on your requirements in real-time? What if they could review your latest changes from their computer, smartphone, or iPad?

For awhile, we’ve been bouncing around ideas for a product that does these things. It’s an interesting problem since the typical review cycle for a large batch of requirements goes something like this:

  1. Send requirements out for review.
  2. Convince your stakeholders to read them and request their feedback.
  3. Incorporate changes from each stakeholder.
  4. Repeat until everybody is satisfied.

It’s a process that is as expensive as it is time consuming. Our hypothesis is that the many of the social tools (pardon the buzzword, but it fits) we have at our disposal today could make this process cheaper, faster, and less painful.

We now have something to show you. It’s far from being done (we’re just getting started) but if you’d like to sign up for the preview release, we’d love to hear what you think.


Free Webinar: Shared Projects

Do you work as part of a team that manages requirements with CaseComplete? On May 13th, we’re teaching a free one-hour webinar – CaseComplete 201: Shared Projects.

In this webinar, you’ll learn the best ways to set up, organize, and collaborate effectively using Shared Projects – a set of features that give you version-controlled, check-in/check-out access to your requirements.

Everyone who attends will receive a Quick Reference Guide describing the most common steps for working with a Shared Project.

When: May 13th at 11am – 12noon CDT


The topics we’ll cover:

  • Understanding Shared Projects
    • What is a Shared Project?
    • Why do you need a Shared Project?
    • When would you use a Shared Project?
    • How CaseComplete handles version control
  • Setting up your Shared Project
    • Shared Project versus Local Project
    • Packages and Files
    • When and how to organize model components into packages
    • How packages are related to check out and check in
  • Working with your Shared Project
    • Checking out a package
    • What happens when someone else checks out a package
    • Check-out status
    • Getting the latest update
    • Checking in a package

CaseComplete 2011 Updates

We finished some useful features and couldn’t wait to get them out, so we released an updated version of 2011 (version 6.0.4126 to be exact). There were no file format changes since the initial 2011 release, so it’s safe to take this update if other members of your team are still running the original 2011 or 2010 R2 releases. Here are the highlights:

Actor Shapes

ActorShapesWhen dropping actors from the Project Browser onto a diagram, you’ll see a menu of shapes to choose. You can tweak the way this works in File / Options / Diagrams.

Reporting Enhancements

We’ve added a number of features to reports:

  • Generate Word and Excel reports from the command line.
  • Declare variables in reports and pass values to those variables with report parameters.
  • New keywords $ShowOnce and $When have been added to the reporting engine.

Under the Hood

When you create a new package, it will be saved in its own file by default. This will relieve you of having to take the extra step to do this yourself.

When you generate an activity diagram from a use case we’ll automatically name the file for you, so you don’t have to.

You can get this latest version using Tools / Check For Updates or by downloading it.

Training: Managing Requirements with CaseComplete

On March 8-9, we’re running the next session of our web-based class Managing Requirements with CaseComplete.

The class will teach you how to gather, organize, and communicate a complete set of requirements using CaseComplete. We’ll cover an end-to-end process for discovering use cases, writing them effectively, adding other kinds of requirements, generating test cases, and communicating it all back to your stakeholders.

The class is taught over two days in web-based sessions of four hours each. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to ask questions and interact with our expert instructors.

Register for the class here. Class size is limited.

CaseComplete 2011 Now Available

We’ve just released a new version for you to try. This time around we focused on two major areas. First is the user interface itself. Since the beginning, a fast and productive UI has been what set CaseComplete apart. As we’ve added new features over the years, the UI grew cluttered, commands became harder to find, and a lot of great functionality was hidden behind context menus. Now, the best and most frequently used features in the tool are easier to discover and easier to invoke.

Next, we ripped out the existing licensing technology and rewrote it from the ground up. Licensing isn’t the sort of feature customers get excited about. If it works flawlessly, nobody is impressed. But if it’s less than flawless, customers will be sure to let you know. And you did. We were annoying too many customers and burning too many support hours with the technology we had in place. It was a big project, but we did it to ensure the long term health and happiness of both the product and our customers.

As always, you can download and try the latest version for free.

Check it out and let us know what you think in the comments below.

What’s New in CaseComplete 2011

2011 Beta Release

2011BetaFor the first time, we’re opening up our beta test to the public. If you’re interested in an early look at the next release of CaseComplete, you can get it here. The UI has had a major facelift and now includes a tool ribbon.

We’re also looking for usability test candidates. If you can spare 30 minutes we’d love to get your feedback. We’re conducting the tests over the next week or so. The ideal candidates will be folks who are already familiar with CaseComplete. If you’re interested, sign up here.