Little and Often
Would you spend weeks on your budget submission spreadsheet or your college thesis without once saving it?
The same should apply to making developments and setting revision tags. Anaplan recommends that during the development cycle, you set revision tags at least once per day. We also advise testing the revision tags against a dummy model if possible.
The recommended procedure is as follows:
After a successful sync to your production model, create a dummy model using the ‘Create from Revision’ feature. This will create a small test model with no production list items.
At the end of each day (as a minimum), set a revision tag and attempt to synchronize the test model to this revision tag. The whole process should only take a couple of minutes.
Repeat step 2 until you are ready to promote the changes to your production model.
Why Do We Recommend This?
There are a very small number of cases where combinations of structural changes cause a synchronization error (99 percent of synchronizations are successful). The Anaplan team is actively working to provide a resolution within the product, but in most cases, splitting changes between revision tags allows the synchronization to complete. In order to understand the issue when a synchronization fails, our support team needs to analyze the structural changes between the revisions.
Setting revision tags frequently provides the following benefits:
The number of changes between revisions is reduced, resulting in easier and faster issue diagnosis.
It provides an early warning of any problems so that someone can investigate them before they become critical.
The last successful revision tag allows you to promote some, if not most, of the changes if appropriate.
In some cases, a synchronization may fail initially, but when applying the changes in sequence the synchronization completes. Using the example from above:
Synchronizations to the test model for R1, R2, and R3 were all successful, but R3 fails when trying to synchronize to production.
Since the test model successfully synchronized from R2 and then R3, you can repeat this process for the production model.
The new comparison report provides clear visibility of the changes between revision tags.
“Back to the Future”
Imagine this scenario:
You are in the middle of making changes in your development model and have been doing so for the last few weeks. The changes are not complete and are not ready to synchronize. However, you just received a request for an urgent fix from the user community that is critical for the forthcoming monthly submission. What do you do?
What you don’t want to do is take the model out of deployed mode! You also don’t want to lose all the development work you have been doing.
Don’t worry! Following the procedure below will ensure you can apply the hotfix quickly and keep your development work.
The following diagram illustrates the procedure:
It’s a two-stage process:
Roll the development model back to a version that doesn’t contain any changes (is the same as production), and apply the hotfix to that version.
Add a new revision tag to the development model as a temporary placeholder. (Note the History ID of the last structural change as you'll need it later.)
On the development model, use History to restore to a point where development and production were identical (before any changes were made in development).
Apply the hotfix.
Save a new revision of the development model.
Sync the development model with the production model.
Production now has its hotfix.
Restore the changes to development and apply the hotfix.
On the development model, use the History ID from Stage 1 – Step 1 to restore to the version containing all of the development work (minus the hotfix).
Reapply the hotfix to this version of development.
Create a new revision of the development model.
Development is now back to where it was, with the hotfix now applied.
When your development work is complete, you can promote the new version to production using ALM best practice.
The procedure is documented here:
Assume the following Non-Composite list, ragged hierarchy, needs to be set to Production Data.
We need to refer to the ultimate parent to define the logic calculation. In the example, we have assumed that children of Parent 1 and Parent 3 need to return the 'logic 1' value from the constants module below, and those under Parent 2 return 'logic 2,' and we apportion the results based on the initial data of the children.
Data / IF PARENT(ITEM('Non-Composite List')) = 'Non-Composite List'.'Parent 1' THEN Data[SELECT: 'Non-Composite List'.'Parent 1'] ELSE IF PARENT(ITEM('Non-Composite List')) = 'Non-Composite List'.'Parent 2' THEN Data[SELECT: 'Non-Composite List'.'Parent 2'] ELSE IF PARENT(ITEM('Non-Composite List')) = 'Non-Composite List'.'Parent 3' OR PARENT(ITEM('Non-Composite List')) = 'Non-Composite List'.'Child 3.1' THEN Data[SELECT: 'Non-Composite List'.'Parent 3'] ELSE 0
Select Proportion * IF PARENT(ITEM('Non-Composite List')) = 'Non-Composite List'.'Parent 1' OR PARENT(ITEM('Non-Composite List')) = 'Non-Composite List'.'Parent 3' OR PARENT(ITEM('Non-Composite List')) = 'Non-Composite List'.'Child 3.1' THEN Parent Logic Constants.'Logic 1' ELSE IF PARENT(ITEM('Non-Composite List')) = 'Non-Composite List'.'Parent 2' THEN Parent Logic Constants.'Logic 2' ELSE 0
These “hard references” will prevent the list from being set as a production list.
Create a Parents Only list (this could be imported from the Non-Composite list). As we don't need the sub-level parents, we do not need to include 'Child 3.1,' even though it is technically a parent.
To calculate the proportion calculation without the SELECT, a couple of intermediate modules are needed:
Parent Mapping module
This module maps the Non-Composite parents to the Parents Only list. Due to the different levels in the hierarchy, we need to check for sub levels and use the parent of Child 3.1. In this example, the mapping is automatic because the items in the Parents Only list have the same name as those in the Non-Composite list. The mapping could be a manual entry if needed.
The formula and “applies to” are:
Non Composite Parent: PARENT(ITEM('Non-Composite List')) Applies to: Non-Composite List
Parent of Non Composite Parent: PARENT(Non-Composite Parent) Applies to: Non-Composite List
Parent to Map: IF ISNOTBLANK(PARENT(Parent of Non Composite Parent)) THEN Parent of Non Composite Parent ELSE Non Composite Parent Applies to: Non-Composite List
Parents Only List FINDITEM(Parents Only List, NAME(Parent to Map)) Applies to: Parents Only List
Parents Only subtotals
An intermediary module is needed to hold the subtotals.
Parent Logic Calc.Data[SUM: Parent Mapping.Parents Only List]
Parent Logic? Module
We now define the logic for the parents in a separate module.
Add Boolean line items for each of the “logic” types.
Then you can refer to the logic above in the calculations.
Data / Parents Only Subtotals.Calculation[LOOKUP: Parent Mapping.Parents Only List]
Lookup Proportion * IF Parent Logic?.'Logic 1?'[LOOKUP: Parent Mapping.Parents Only List] THEN Parent Logic Constants.'Logic 1' ELSE IF Parent Logic?.'Logic 2?'[LOOKUP: Parent Mapping.Parents Only List] THEN Parent Logic Constants.'Logic 2' ELSE 0
The list can now be set as a production list as there are no “hard references”. Also, the formulas are smaller, simpler and now more flexible should the logic need to change. If Parent 3 needs to use Logic 2, it is a simple change to the checkbox.
Making sure that production data lists are correctly marked within a model is a key step to setting up and using ALM . This guide will provide a solution to how someone can make revisions to their model to allow for the tagging of a list as a production data list. Please note: this solution doesn’t work if there are hard-coded references on non-composite summary items. For more information on working with production lists and ragged hierarchies, please visit Production lists and ragged hierarchies logic.
The issue arises as a model administrator needs to tag a production data list, but there are hard-coded references in the model that won’t allow the person to do so. When this occurs and the model administrator tries to tag it as a production list, they will get a warning similar to this:
See Formula Protection for more details.
To fix this issue, all direct formula references to production data lists need to be changed to be indirect references to lists using either LOOKUPs or Boolean formatted conditional logic. Below, you will find a step-by-step guide to replacing these formulas.
Identify formulas with hard-coded references
There is now an easy way to identify all of the formulas which are hard-coded to production data lists.
Check the 'Referenced in Formula' column in the General Lists section.
This will show the line items where the list is used. Check the respective formula for hard-coded references. If there are no hard-coded references, then it is OK to check the list as a production data list. This is the recommended approach, as just setting the lists without prior checking may lead to a rollback error being generated, which could be time-consuming for large models (as well as frustrating).
It is possible to just export the General Lists grid to help where there are multiple references for the same list and then use formulas and filters to identify all offenders in the same effort. This option will save significant amounts of time if there are many line items that would need to be changed.
You are looking for direct references on the list members:
[SELECT: List Name.list member]
ITEM(List Name) =List Name.List member
The following constructs are valid, but not recommended, as any changes to the names or codes could change the result of calculations:
IF CODE(ITEM(List Name))=
IF NAME(ITEM(List Name))=
After following those steps, you should have a list of all of the line items that need to be changed in the model in order for production data list to be open to being checked. Please note: There may still be list properties that have hard-coded references to items. You will need to take note of these as well, but as per D.I.S.C.O., (Best practice for Module design) we recommend that List Properties are replaced with Line Items in System Modules.
Replacing model formulas:
The next step is to replace these formulas within the model. For this, there are two recommended options.
The first option (Option 1 below) is to replace your SELECT statements with a LOOKUP formula that is referencing a list drop-down. Use this option when there are 1:1 mappings between list items and your formula logic. For example, if you were building out a P&L variance report and needed to select from a specific revenue account, you might use this option.
The second option (Option 2 below) for replacing these formulas is to build a logic module that allows you to use Booleans to select list items and reference these Boolean fields in your formulas. Use this option when there is more complex modeling logic than a 1:1 mapping. For example, you might use this option if you are building a variance report by region and you have different logic for all items under Region 1 (ex: budget – actual) than the items under Region 2 (ex: budget – forecast).
(Option 1) Add List Selections module to be used in LOOKUPs for 1:1 mappings:
From here you should make a module called List Selections, with no lists applied to it and a line item for each list item reference that you previously used in the formulas that will be changed. Each of these line items will be formatted as the list that you are selecting to be production data.
Afterward, you should have a module that looks similar to this: An easy and effective way to stay organized is to partition and group your line items of similar list formats into the same sections with a section header line item formatted as No Data and a style of "Heading 1."
After the line items have been created, the model administrator should use the list drop-downs to select the appropriate items which are being referenced. As new line items are created in a standard mode model, the model administrator will need to open the deployed model downstream to reselect or copy and paste the list formatted values in this module since this is considered production data.
Remove hard-coding and replace with LOOKUPs:
Once you have created the List Selections module with all of the correct line items, you will begin replacing old formulas, which you’ve identified in Excel, with new references.
For formulas where there is a SELECT statement, you will replace the entire SELECT section of the formula with a LOOKUP to the correct line item in the list selections.
Old Formula = Full PL.Amount[SELECT: Accounts.Product Sales] New Formula = Full PL.Amount[LOOKUP: List Selections.Select Product Sales]
For formulas where there is an IF ITEM (List Name) = List Name Item, you will replace the second section of the formula after the ‘=’ to directly reference the correct line item in the list selections.
Old Formula = If ITEM(Accounts) = Accounts.Product Sales THEN Full PL.Amount ELSE 0 New Formula = IF ITEM(Accounts) = List Selections.Select Product Sales THEN Full PL.Amount ELSE 0
(Option 2) Modeling for complex logic and many to many relationship:
In the event that you are building more complex modeling logic in your model, you should start by building Boolean references that you can use in your formulas. To accomplish this, you will create a new module with Boolean line items for each logic type that you need. Sticking with the same example as above, if you need to build a variance report where you have different logic depending on the region, start by creating a module by region that has different line items for each different logic that you need similar to the view below:
Once you have the Boolean module set up, you can then change your hard-coded formulas to reference these Boolean formatted line items to write your logic. The formula may look similar to this:
IF Region Logic.Logic 1 THEN logic1 ELSE IF Region Logic.Logic 2 THEN logic2 ELSE IF Region Logic.Logic 3 THEN logic3 ELSE 0
Here is a screenshot of what the end result may look like:
This method can be used across many different use cases and will provide a more efficient way of writing complex formulas while avoiding hard-coding for production data lists.
Selecting production data list:
After all of the hard-coded formulas have been changed in the model, you can navigate back to the Settings tab, and open General Lists. In the Production Data column, check the box for the list that you want to set as a production data list.
Repeat for each list in the model that needs to be a production data list:
For each list in the model that you need to make a production data list, you can repeat the steps throughout this process to successfully remove all hard-coded list references.