Now that you have a basic understanding of the components of the data warehouse, let's look at how you can take that data and manipulate it to get useful customized reports. Reports are great for making all elements of your project more visible. You can also easily identify trends. For example, look at Figure 16-10.
As you can see, there is a dotted line that is traveling from the lower part of the graph (the closed scenarios). Currently, the closed scenarios are 56 percent completed. If we were to estimate, you can see that the project will extend well past October 28. In fact, if you add more dates to the right of the graphic and used a rule, you could predict when the project would be completed at the current rate.
The whole point of creating a report is to not only identify trends but also look at the past. For example, historical data can provide details that help in the process of estimation. Finally, reports provide a way of making better decisions. Your knowledge and the effectiveness of your project management approach are only as good as the data you are receiving.
When designing a custom report, you must consider what tools you will use to build the report and what the report will actually contain. If you need ad hoc reporting, then perhaps an Excel pivot table might be appropriate. You may want to compare the data you would like to get out of Team System with the project data you are used to getting. If Team System isn't collecting what you need, you may want to customize work items and create separate tables for storing the data, then integrate both into a report. The approach you will take will depend on your needs, your environment, and your circumstances.