QAD Configurator Basics > Analysis of Sales Configuration Rules > Feature Relationships
  
Feature Relationships
A simple example of a sales configuration rule could state the following:
IF variable A = option 1
THEN variable B = option 2
AND variable C = option 3
You could have another rule attached to the same item stating the following:
IF variable C = option 3
AND variable D = option 4
THEN variable E = option 5
This relationship shows that variable E can be dependent on the options chosen for all of variables A, C, and D. So, the questionnaire presents questions relating to variables A, C, and D before the question relating to variable E.
The following table shows a development of this example, where the variables are identified by the letters A to G, and the options are represented by numbers. Each row in the table shows the relationship between different variables specified by a particular rule that has been attached to the item. The column on the right shows the relationship in graphic form.

Feature Relationships
 
Rule
Description
Graphical Relation
Proposition
Conclusion
A = 1
B = 2
C = 3
Questions B and C depend on the answer to question A, so answer question A first.
C = 3
D = 4
E = 5
Question E depends on answers to questions C and D, so answer questions C and D first.
E = 5
G = E + F
Question G depends on answers to questions E and F. (Question E itself depends on question D.)
G = 6
D = 4
Question D depends on the answer to question G, so answer question G before you can answer question D.
When you run the Analyzer for this configurable item, the Analyzer does the following:
Examines the relationships between the features that have been specified by the rules
Builds a question tree that shows all the dependent links between the features

Question Tree Diagram 1
The top row of the diagram shows that variables A, D, and F are independent questions that can be answered without reference to any other features. However, the final rule in the table specifies that variable D depends dependent on the answer to question G; the diagram shows that this creates a cyclical loop.
When the Analyzer finds a cyclical loop, it reports the fact in the Analyzer Report. The Analyzer also turns off the field that indicates Configurable Item Analyzed in Configurable Item Maintenance. It is impossible to use the configurable item in the questionnaire until the loop has been resolved. To complete the analysis, the Analyzer skips the relationship that caused the cyclical loop (in this example, the dependence of D on G) and continues the analysis process.
You resolve the cyclical loop by removing the rule that creates the dependence of D on G. Then the question tree is the same as in the previous example, but without the lowest level D and its loop back to the top level.
This question tree would correspond to the following list of questions in the questionnaire:
 
Question
A
.B
.C
D
..E
F
...G
Independent questions are not indented in the list of questions. The independent questions in this list are A, D, and F (as in the question tree). The amount of the indentation shows successive levels of dependence.
The question tree and the question list are dynamic, and change each time a question is answered. In the current example, the following diagram shows the question tree after question A has been answered.

Question Tree Diagram 2
Because question A has been answered, questions B and C now become independent questions, along with D and F. Questions E and G move up a level, but are still not independent because of their relationships with C, D, and F.
This question tree is represented in the question list as follows:
 
Question
B
C
D
.E
F
..G
This example shows that there are two ways that questions can become independent and therefore, ready for answering:
Genuinely independent questions that were never dependent on other questions
Questions that are dependent on other questions that have been answered already, so that the result of the dependent relationship can now be established
In the previous question list, questions D and F are in the first category, while questions B and C are in the second category.