User-EA: Model-driven design
The Benefits of Models

Models are a core pillar of USER-EA[TM]. Models not only promote better designs through the process of elaboration, but they also provide a focus for multi-disciplinary collaboration. Software-defined models using tools such as Casewise, Bizagi and Bizzdesign, and physical mock-ups (often referred to as “Model Office”) provide a focus for business users and various technical groups to come together to articulate requirements, review options and agree the proposed solution.

“The largest 3D map in the world at Eddleston, Scotland”

I was reminded of this by a piece in a recent edition of BBC’s “Countryfile”, which illustrated the point perfectly.
The piece focussed upon the largest 3D map in the world, re-discovered after being buried in the untended gardens of a luxury hotel in Eddelstone in Scotland.

This 3D map had been commissioned by the Polish-immigrant owner of the hotel, tired of repeated questions about the geography of Scotland by visiting guests. It was also intended as a sign of gratitude to his adopted homeland.

Before the 3D map (a “Model”) was lost for a few decades, it served as a guide for guests planning their journeys on a tour of Scotland beauty spots and tourist attractions, and is clearly the main purpose of a model: providing visibility of the proposed route (solution), identifying options and the trade-offs of each, and mitigating the risk of taking the wrong direction (solution option) and thereby containing costs and assisting planning.

More interestingly, re-discovery of the map has prompted activity which reinforces my initial statement; clearing away the weeds and foliage, and restoring eroded areas of the model has enlisted a small army of volunteers of all ages and from all sectors of the local community. Retired people, university students, Polish immigrants, representatives from tourism interests and many others are involved and there has been a number of donations from a variety of organisations.

“Models encourage collaboration”

This is a prime example of the opportunity afforded by a model as a focus for multi-disciplinary collaboration.

Our methodology USER-EA[TM] places architectural models at the heart of and core to the inception of the Solution Delivery Life Cycle (SDLC.) At the start of the design phases we use software defined models as a means of reviewing options and documenting those options and their attendant trade-offs. This is a method of documentation that is more relevant and useful than MS Word documents. The model (and hence the documentation) is maintained as the design evolves during the project.

USER-EA[TM] also uses a "Model Office" approach to show users the "art of the possible." Business users "don't know what they don't know" and have historically defined requirements in terms the systems they currently use. The USER-EA[TM] approach is to use modern technology in a working context to illustrate how desired business outcomes can be achieved in different but better ways by using "out-of-the-box" capabilities.

This theme of modes and how they can be leveraged to improve solution development will be continued in a number of regular updates. Please register on this site if you wish to receive these updates

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