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New Post 6/2/2008 6:35 AM
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User is offline Amitesh
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Is DFD better choice for Batch-oriented system for analysis 

Hi All,

 

I am working on a project which is heavily dependent on batch jobs, i.e. background jobs that populates database, use the data populated by some other job to do next steps and further .... One of the senior member in my office feels that DFDs would be a better option for understanding and analyzing such a system. I have been working on designing the DFDs since last week. Even today, I'm not comfortable with the DFDs that I'm coming up with. Moreover whatever knowledge that I've got from the various sites, I feel that my efforts are a total waste. Process identification, workflow diagrams, sequence diagrams etc seems to be the need for this project. My understanding says that DFDs best suites the 'User-intersactive systems'.

 

Please help me make a better judgment and suggest the team for better options. If I am wrong let me know that as well. Also, help me understand where my thinking is going bizarre.

Looking forward to a quick responce. Its Urgent

Thanks in advance

~ Amitesh K.

 
New Post 6/2/2008 8:44 AM
User is offline Tony Markos
493 posts
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Re: Is DFD better choice for Batch-oriented system for analysis 

Amitesh:

Data flow diagrams are technology independent: batch processing, web middle-tier, whatever.   Whenever the system needs to be conceptually viewed as as series of input-process-outputs, then Data Flow Diagrams are what you want to use.   This is especially true for larger scale efforts.    As data inputs and outputs define a process, I really don't see the applicability of  process definition techniques that don't focus on data flows.

Problem with DFD's:  There construction often requires the very strong negotiating skills and a very "thick skin" (i.e., high tolerance for personal rejection).

Tony

 

 
New Post 6/3/2008 12:59 AM
User is offline Craig Brown
560 posts
www.betterprojects.net
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Re: Is DFD better choice for Batch-oriented system for analysis 
Modified By Craig Brown  on 6/3/2008 2:05:40 AM)
I concur with Tony.

However, I am not sure about the thick skin comments.  Why would peope have a problem with a DFD?

In my view one of the strengths of a DFD is that it highlights data dead ends.  If nobody is using it, what value does it add, and can we stop collecting it?

Another benefit is that it is easy to apply a 'top down' approach to this analysis.  You can start by asking management, then users, and eventually db admins about what is flowing where (and why.)  As you go through this process you get yourself educated in the business perspective first, and then are well informed to pass judgment on the data transactions later.

Of course a word of warning; business stakeholders to data are not just the process workers.  There are a lot of legal, regulatory and other stakeholders.  The upside of identifying these groups is that often un-identified stakeholders are uncovered and your project will avoid problems later on.
 
Craig
 
 
New Post 6/3/2008 7:29 AM
User is offline Tony Markos
493 posts
5th Level Poster


Re: Is DFD better choice for Batch-oriented system for analysis 

Craig:

Properly used, data flow diagrams get to the essential "as-is" very quickly.   Problems in doing such (that necessitate the need for a thick skin):

1.)  Knowledge of essential procedure is often turf, and people will defend their turf to the death.   As I am currently using dfd's for business process re-engineering that will result in alot of outsourcing, I see this often.   The issue also exists in "regular" software projects.

2.)   Many times, the those who are charged with knowing the essential "as-is" in their scope of responsibility really don't  have anywheres near the comprehensive, integrated understanding that they need to.   Anything, such as dfds, that can highlight  these problems is going to be resisted.

3.)  Creating and verifying an as-is is negotiating with all concered largely the way things will be.  Again, turf considerations come into play.

4.)  Don't discount that, properly using dfds requires an often radical approach to requirements elicitation that others, including management do not understand.    Often, for example, management does not understand the concept of delaying consideration of implementation detail until the appropriate time, becase they have never been such focused themselves.  There are books written about the problems of introducing significant change in an organization.  

Tony

 
New Post 6/4/2008 3:32 AM
User is offline Craig Brown
560 posts
www.betterprojects.net
4th Level Poster




Re: Is DFD better choice for Batch-oriented system for analysis 

Hey Tony

I recognise the problems you are talking about.  I don't think they are specific to DFDs.  No matter what modelling set you use in these circumstances resistance and obfuscation abound.

 
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