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Howard Podeswa
Howard Podeswa

Why I Do This

I was at a talk yesterday by American artist Lawrence Weiner. He spent half the time saying there was nothing he had to say about his art; the next half saying it.  I enjoyed it thoroughly.  Something he had to say really stuck with me: that art is all about creating a logical structure for viewing the world.  It helped me understand why I make my living doing two things that seem so disparate: visual art (painting) and Business Analysis.  There are many things I love about BA but the part I have the most passion for is visual modeling.  Perhaps it’s because of what Weiner pointed out: like art, it’s about creating a logical structure that communicates a way of seeing the world (or a part of it).  The types of models I am most interested in are referred to as logical models: the name itself gives away the connection to Weiner’s art objects.

I have never been much interested in the physical world – the world of gadgets and mechanical things; it’s always been the logical structures that underlie the real world (RW) that most interest me.  What I love about logical visual modeling is that it strips away those pesky physical details to focus on logical structures.  It turns out that this is a great boon to the BA.  If we focus on physical details there is very little common language between a business person and a  software developer. But if we talk model-talk (for example, using a visual language like the UML), well then we can have a nice discussion: we get each other.  

I’ve always been attracted to pursuits where you can get complex results but you only have to remember a few basic elements. Maybe it’s because I’ve always had a lousy memory.  As a developer, I was a retro fan of Assembler. I’ve never lost my fascination for how its small set of basic instructions could be used to construct the most complex systems.  As a BA, I feel the same about the UML diagrams – especially class diagrams. Give me a few basic concepts modeling elements (generalization, association, ...) and I can model the most complex business system.  How cool is that?  

Howard Podeswa
His most recent book, The Business Analyst's Handbook may be purchased on,  and

This entry was published on Mar 13, 2009 / Howard Podeswa. Posted in Class Diagram, Business Analysis, Domain Modeling, Career as a Business Systems Analyst. Bookmark the Permalink or E-mail it to a friend.
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