In This Chapter
Identifying and interviewing your users
Setting the report's appearance, including graphics
Arbitrating conflicting demands
Nailing down the project's scope and schedule
Verifying necessary data in the database
Determining how the report will be viewed
Determining the best report type for the users' needs
With a great report-writing tool such as Crystal Reports, you might reasonably assume that creating a report is an easy task that doesn't require much thought or effort. That would be a bad assumption. Creating a high-quality report that truly meets users' needs requires considerable thought and effort even before you fire up Crystal Reports for the first time. You should put thought and effort into at least these ten things before you apply fingers to keyboard.
Identifying the users might seem obvious, but it's not as obvious as you might think. Sure, the person who asked you to create the report is probably someone who will use the report. But who else will benefit from using this report? Other people in your client's workgroup? Your client's manager? People in other workgroups or other departments? Perhaps even people in other companies? Identifying all the probable users is important.
After you identify all the people who could benefit from your report, find out what they need the report to tell them. What information should the report contain? How should the information be presented? ...