Categories, categories, categories!
@MattMitchell - Do you provide that in poster form or PDF format....?
@Cam - i concur with the above advice, categories are key. Next thing, naming conventions.
All my aspects are preceded by the course e.g. KS1, KS2, KS3, iGCSE, IB
then subject, then type of grade e.g. effort, attainment, comment, target, exam etc.
One thing i find a pain is if the aspect name is really long (40 allowed), the column heading gets truncated (1st 25 chars), so although having a good unique name is really useful, it's a pain making the column heading meaningful as well. So it's worth abbreviating things as best as possible. This will then be the default for templates etc. Also, leave some 2 chars spare if you will resuse columns in a template and you want it to say eff1, eff2, rather than sims adding the ~2 to a column.
Why my predecessor thought it was necessary to write 'Physical Education' i will never understand! Having the word attainment rather than att is a pain in the long term when it takes up 10 chars. Shortening it and adding a note would be better.
Think carefully about gradesets as it's not possible to reallocate aspects to new ones once things are going.
I've formulated a paragraph about naming aspects and templates 5 times now and can't get something that sounds right and covers all bases, but just consider that there are issues you get when adding, editing and manipulating aspects, reports, templates etc it can be a pain and there are ways to manage it. Just don't forget about the end user and what they see on their 'my marksheet' screen and actually within a marksheet. Once you've set up the almost perfect system your edits should be minimal and the end user needs to be happy with their tool for day to day use.
I sometimes use aspects without resultsets if i want to build up a history of data but not for analysis just for reference. otherwise i agree with Matt, resultsets are key even for one off uses. Then you can absolutely reference that piece of data and know what you are getting, and someone going in and editing an old grade doesn't affect your stats.
As with the other thread we were in, avoid user defined groups as much as possible. I occasionally use them for the odd extra class - self taught german, esl help, so they can get a report from a specific non-timetabled teacher but that's all.
Dont be afraid to stop and start things over again, and if you have the time, create your own categories and go through all your existing stuff and categorise it. It will pay dividends in the long run.
I quite often spend time creating huge marksheets with all the columns in for a key stage or particular task, where possible within the 198ish (?) column limit [i know it reduces everytime we get more additional student info columns.] It's easier to take a master template and delete columns than create them in a hurry. Then again, i do have vbscripts that will go through a template and bulk change the resultset for me, so it's easier to clone and reuse.
It's a pain, but i've been in the habit of using data entry columns and then making them read only manually so that i always have the option to edit the data myself if i want to. Dont use that type of column often.
Sorry this is a bit higgledy, i didn't have the time to do poster layout like Matt! I guess it would have helped if i'd kept notes on my processes and then i'd be able to refer to them and all the mistakes that have been made along the way...;)