Spotlight On the IFPUG Bulletin Board

By Steve Neuendorf, CFPS
Member, IFPUG Communications and Marketing Committee

For a very long time, the IFPUG Bulletin Board was the “hot center” for all things Function Point and many other measurement related topics. But, for a lot of reasons, none of which are a lack of interest in the subject, the old bulletin board, and all of its content went away. Even though the new Bulletin Board was there to take its place shortly after the old one was gone, the new bulletin board has only been slowly working its way back to its original number of subscribers and levels of activity. Filling the gap, several Function Point and Measurement groups have popped up on various social media sites, most notably LinkedIn, but also on Facebook and Twitter, and I would imagine in other places I am not aware of.

Still, the “official” IFPUG Function Point BB is the one on the IFPUG site. The Functional Sizing Standards Committee (FSSC), formerly Counting Practices Committee (CPC), still monitors the questions and provides answers as necessary, although there may be a time lag due to the time it takes to discuss in a global volunteer group.  And, as appropriate, these discussions can provide ideas for future iTips and uTips. The Non-Functional Sizing Standards Committee (NFSSC), as well as other IFPUG Committees, may also want to join the monitoring and providing of answers.

It is now easier than ever to get to and use the bulletin board (the menu link now says “Bulletin Board”).  The instructions for creating an account are clear and well documented. What we really need are compelling reasons to go there, like interesting and timely topics. If you had occasion to visit the old bulletin board, you may well remember, or maybe even participated in, many of the lively discussions. For most of these we ended up with an “official” answer, and can often see where the discussions influenced subsequent CPM releases. But, occasionally there were questions that went unresolved and unanswered. We all had the opportunity to see how variable our “common” practice, all defined by the same standard, really could be common.

The best way to get to the content is to create a link to the discussion area in your favorites. It should look like this: I have it on Chrome and in IE, and they seem to remember all of my particulars for logging in and going straight to My Dashboard.

  • My Dashboard: This is “command central” where you can see activity and navigate around the entire site. For most activity, like new discussions and comments, the description is a little cryptic “Steve replied to a discussion on . . .”, but, you can always go to My Discussions and see all of the activity where you have contributed, and other discussions in your Group(s), and recommended discussions, even those in other groups.
  • My Groups will show you the groups you have joined, and clicking those groups from there will give you an activity report, including the discussion topics where activity has occurred. This is very useful as a starting point to catch up and keep current on everything going on in your group(s).

Below the “My” menu, there are three useful content areas:

  • First is the Organizations link. This will take you to a listing of the Organizations that are current members of IFPUG and where they are located. You can do specific and general searches of this listing.
  • Next are Groups. You can see which groups you belong to and which groups are available. From here it is easy to identify which groups you are interested in, join those groups, and participate. (I did not see how to create a group).
  • Finally you can access the resources area from this sub menu. Resources are files and links that you may find useful. From the main area you can access those resources intended for everyone. Discussion groups also have resources available, and you can access those by selecting resources from within the discussion group.

And when it is time to go home, clicking the Home link takes you back to the Welcome Page, and you can go from there.

 Anyone interested in discussing Function Point Analysis related topics, and any others for that matter, is encouraged to start a thread on this new bulletin board. Please try to keep the continuation threads on topic. You can always start another thread to depart from the original topic, and it makes it much easier to follow the topics and understand when the discussion has reached a conclusion. And please keep your discussions polite, and show respect for others and their opinions.

The Bulletin Board recently added the option for a threaded view of discussions.  This can be switched per the user when on the webpage of the discussion.  If using the Threaded View, the replies to specific posts within the discussion will be indented directly underneath that post.  In the Classic View, they will see the discussion posts ordered by time only (newest first) and they would need to switch to the Threaded View to see replies ordered in reply sequence.

The current Bulletin Board needs a way to categorize discussions, for example, FP Questions; Certification Questions; SNAP Questions, etc., to keep them manageable. If you have ideas on how to do best this, please start a new thread on the Bulletin Board.

Thanks and Good Luck,