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New Post 12/16/2008 1:44 PM
User is offline Tony Markos
493 posts
5th Level Poster


Re: Engaging business users in functional analysis tools 

Hi:

I have had IT managers with graduate degrees in IT tell me that they don't understand DFDs and that, therefore, they can not see how anyone else can.  But I always remember the time when I was DFDing recieving operations at a factory.    I approached a receiving dock worker  who wore torn blue jeans and a T shirt with holes in it and transmission fluid stains.   When I tried walking through a DFD with him, he interrupted me and said "Thats not things are done here, let me show you how."   He then grabbed my DFD and with a red pen made major revisions to it.  My thought:  So much for graduate degrees in IT.

Properly drawn, (i.e., no more that 5 to 7 bubbles per diagram, each having no more that 5 inputs/outputs total) data flow diagrams are easy for an end-user to  understand.  The real issue is often that DFDs require much more work on the analysts part and such "raising of the performance bar" is often resisted.   Solution:  A strong, fervent, lead-by-example champion.

Tony

 
New Post 12/18/2008 1:55 AM
User is offline Roy
6 posts
10th Level Poster


Re: Engaging business users in functional analysis tools 

Hi Tony,

Some good advice there thanks! I am a big fan of DFDs myself and agree they work well with users.

One of the challenges for me will be to ensure IT are in agreement & aligned to whatever 'improved' analysis the BAs produce. Our IT is a large Group-wide department and have a load of internal standards etc. Currently they appear to favour Use Cases for functional specifications. But if we were to adopt DFDs, I guess it would be difficult to match a UML approach with traditional SSADM methods.

Another aspect is whether UML diagrams area as easy for end users to understand as Process Maps & DFDs? I wouldn't have thought so....

Roy

 

 
New Post 12/18/2008 7:24 AM
User is offline KJ
243 posts
6th Level Poster


Re: Engaging business users in functional analysis tools 

Roy,

Greetings!

Users do handle UML Activity Diagrams very well.

DFDs do not translate well into Use cases and vice versa. Case in point: The DFD decomposes into a Function that can no longer be decomposed. Some make this "primitive" function a Use Case. Martin Fowler wrote and article about this once ( cant find it now)

Here is another. Borrowing from Arlow and Neustadt (2005) “UML2 and the unified process”, the reasons for not using DFDs and Use Cases are:
• Rather than focusing on the “goals” of the actors, we structure the items in an artificial way.
• The model describes the system as a set of nested functions (which is what DFDs are).
• Only the lowest levels of use cases are “primitive” enough for interesting specifications.

Getting the IT dept to switch to SSADM will be challenging. Many of the graduates that I have trained have never used DFDs; and you can be assured that some of your IT Gurus have never encountered a DFD diagram.

DFDs still have a lot of traction out there and users do find the concepts "intuitive". All the best!

warm regards,

K

 
New Post 12/18/2008 7:35 AM
User is offline KJ
243 posts
6th Level Poster


Re: Engaging business users in functional analysis tools 

Roy,

Here is that Fowler article(circa 1998).

http://www.martinfowler.com/distributedComputing/abuse.pdf

warm regards,

K

 
New Post 12/18/2008 9:08 AM
User is offline Tony Markos
493 posts
5th Level Poster


Re: Engaging business users in functional analysis tools 

Roy:

DFDs require a much more fervent analyst than do use cases.   Really, use cases are essentially DFD's without the data flows  (use case "extends" and such to the side, as they are implementation oriented).   And ask any DFDr about the utility of a DFD without the data flows and answer is not pretty.  

Are use cases easy to walk through with end users?   Try explaining the interrelationships on a use case to a typical end user.   I have walked through data flow diagrams with all kinds of non-IT people.

Problem:  I doubt if a large group will buy into DFDs.

Tony

 

 
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