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New Post 12/19/2008 12:56 AM
User is offline Roy
6 posts
10th Level Poster


Re: Engaging business users in functional analysis tools 

K and Tony... thanks for your comments. Some good food for thought!

Tony, I was slightly confused by your last sentence i.e. the earlier para seemed to suggest that you had had success in using DFDs with a wider user community (but were sceptical about achieving the same with Use cases)... did I read that right? 

Roy

 
New Post 12/19/2008 3:46 AM
User is offline KJ
243 posts
6th Level Poster


Re: Engaging business users in functional analysis tools 
Modified By KJ  on 12/19/2008 5:48:48 AM)

Roy and Tony,

I agree with Tony, use cases are disjointed; especially use cases that pertain to a system only.  Users can’t readily see the relationship and process flow. Its for this reason that users need to see the process flow (BPMN or UML activity diagrams) that identifies activities that will be automated. Now we know that not all processes/functions in a DFD are automated; however, when DFDs are presented, the user gets the ‘big’ picture, because “primitive” functions are always shown within the context if the larger DFD. Unfortunately, when Use Cases are presented to users, they are not presented within the context of a process and the user gets lost (sometimes very lost).   A use case is NOT the diagram of stick figures and bubbles. So, always present use cases with context (BPMN or UML Activity Diagrams)

Now whether a Use Case is a DFD without a STORE, is debatable. A use case consists of a narrative. For example.

1.       The storeman (actor) inspects the Goods in the receiving dock.

2.       The storeman records all the delivered items on the advanced shipment notice. Etc.

We know that the storeman performs an inspect activity and a recording activity. The latter might be a later system function (eg. Scanning of barcodes, entry into screen etc).

The underlined items later become the data.  At some point in time, the Analyst will include these items into an entity relationship diagram or a class diagram in very much the same way that the DFD STORE is analysed and later presented in an ER diagram.

Hope this helps.

warm regards,

K

 

 
New Post 12/19/2008 5:51 AM
User is offline Tony Markos
493 posts
5th Level Poster


Re: Engaging business users in functional analysis tools 

Roy:

That is right.   Things like "Extends" and, God forbid, unlabled interfaces really hinder effective walkthroughs with end-users.    I doubt that those that create artifacts such as use cases and activity diagrams really have walkthorughs in the forfrount of their minds.   It often seems like the prospect of having through go through multiple iterations really scares most BA's.

But analysis is the process of starting from an initial hazy, flawed understanding of the as-is and, through multiple iterations, arriving at a concrete understanding.  I often need to do 3 or 4 walkthroughs of my DFDs with users.   If I present anything "techie", like an "extend", or anything mysterious, like a bunch of unlabeled interface arrows, in my walkthroughs my ability to sell myself for subsequent walkthoughs is going to be greatly hampered!

Tony

 
New Post 12/19/2008 9:14 AM
User is offline Tony Markos
493 posts
5th Level Poster


Re: Engaging business users in functional analysis tools 

K:

With activity diagrams and BPMN we have unlabled interfaces.   One problem with such is that, when one is performing a large-scale analysis, the result is a ton of unlabled interfaces.  So many that no one can figure the darn thing out.  It is like a house-of-cards that falls down under its own weight. 

I am currently working with such BPMN legacy diagrams.  Even the orginators can not remember how the things flow - because they did not identify what flows.

Also, the explicit labling of data flow interfaces is the only true lithmus test of completedness for a functional diagram.  Unlabled interfaces leave much open to interpretation (i.e., guessing), as to not only what the diagram means but if it is complete.

Tony

 
New Post 12/22/2008 2:19 AM
User is offline Roy
6 posts
10th Level Poster


Re: Engaging business users in functional analysis tools 

Hi All

The feedback so far suggests that there are significant issues in getting Business users to buy in to Use Cases or BPMN diagrams. I wonder if this is because these tools have been used in isolation i.e. without the support of other methods that could make the overall analysis more accessible / understandable? 

My goal is to form an optimum 'Business Requirements Documentation' set that works well with Users as well as IT. I believe 2 principles emerge so far i.e.

a) the need for a 'tool box' of analysis tools that are selectively used depending on the type of project e.g. different methods for say web front-end development or periodic accounting process or MI data warehouse.

b) the BRD would typically comprise of more than one analysis method in order to provide clarity and detail suitable for all interested parties e.g. BRD could contain a Business Requirements List supported by Data Flow Diagrams, thus enabling say Senior Users to confirm the requirements list without needing to understand the detail within the DFDs.

Appreciate your comments on this strategy!

Roy

 
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