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4 things to consider for a smooth FME Project take-off

As a follow-up to my post earlier this year about a Project Wrap-Up checklist, I have put together a short list of things that are important to do or consider BEFORE you start an FME project.  We’ll call it the FME Project Start-Up Checklist.  (Creative, eh?)

While we can’t predict everything, and there are often changes along the way, there are some things we can consider doing to make sure we have our ducks in a row as much as possible before starting an FME project, big or small.  Following the suggestions in this list will increase your chances of a successful project, and reduce the chances of getting thrown off track.

 Understand the project scope and objectives.

  • Who is the project for?  What are the drivers?  What are the time constraints?
  • Who will be consuming the data and what are their needs and expectations?
  • What will determine whether or not the project is a success?

Gather and get to know your data.

  • Make a list of all the data you might need for your workflow, and start gathering it.
  • Get any database access accounts you might need, or any other missing information.
  • Use FME Data inspector to visualize the data, so that you see what FME sees.  Spend some time with the data to get to become familiar with it.  Look for:
    • Quantity of the data – how much data is there, and how heavy is it?
    •  Data structure and organization
    • Quality and “Cleanliness” of the data (Remember: garbage in, garbage out!)

Strategize: Evaluate your options and make a plan.

  • Map out the most important elements of your workflow.  I like to use a diagramming software like Microsoft Visio or Lucidchart (web-based).
  • When will the workspace need to be run, and how often?  Desktop or Server?  Will you need to chain multiple workspaces together or build a Parent and Child architecture, or is it a fairly simple workspace?
  • Are there any red flags?  Where do you see potential problems?  Start thinking about how to solve these and have a plan B.

Build a project file structure and naming conventions to stay organized. 

  • Create folders and a file sharing structure that make sense for your project and stick with it. 
  • Pre-determined naming conventions for files as well as for Published and Private parameters will help keep you organized and efficient.
  • Here is an example from the FME Desktop Basic Training Manual:

Need help getting started on FME projects and adhering to best practices?  Contact me!

By Allison Hughes

GIS Consultant

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