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Docu-centric, Model-centric

Let’s say that your org has been developing products using a Docu-Centric (DC) approach for many years. Let’s also say that the passage of time and the experience of industry peers have proven that a Model-Centric (MC) mode of development is superior. By superior, I mean that MC developed products are created more quickly and with higher quality than DC developed products.

Now, assume that your org is heavily invested in the old DC way – the DC mindset is woven into the fabric of the org. Of course, your bazillions of (probably ineffective) corpo processes are all written and continuously being “improved” to require boatloads of manually generated, heavyweight  documents that clearly and unassailably prove that you know what you’re doing (lol!) to internal and external auditors.

How would you move your org from a DC mindset to an MC mindset? Would you even risk trying to do it?

  1. Ray
    March 23, 2010 at 6:16 am

    Is the model easy to review?
    Is it independent of a certain piece of software?
    Does your customer accept it?
    Cam management understand it?
    Is there a direct mapping from requirements to models?
    How are the mapping maintained?

    These are just some of the questions that will be faced?

  2. March 23, 2010 at 9:22 am

    Almost all of those questions apply to the less flexible and rigid DC approach too.

    Any tool worth it’s salt allows easy browsing and *auto-generated* customizable docs of various parts of, or the whole, model. Thus, reviews can be easier than trying to swallow a 300 page doc in a review meeting. No?

    The top levels of the model *can* be independent of the lower level implementation details – if the modelers know what they’re doing. Same thing holds for strict formatted document writers.

    More and more customers seem to be demanding models. Better to do it before customers demand it and you scurry to train up on modeling while you’re trying to design the product at the same time. No?

    Mgmnt can’t understand docs or models :^) But, do they really need to?

    Requirements can be stored within the model as a part of the model itself – mapping is easier and less error prone within a tool than *manually* between physically separate docs. Reqs, architecture, design and test info all get integrated under one roof. The tool can better ensure that a change in a traceability link gets applied automatically to all other appropriate places in the model without falling through the cracks – No?

  3. Ray
    March 24, 2010 at 5:59 am

    Using modeling is a good idea but I got burned way back in the CASE revolution when we put our “designs” in CASE systems. It worked to a limited point. Even back then the tool makers were talking a similar game as now. The problem is when the tool manufacturer goes out of business gets sold or such then your design is locked in an orphaned tool. At the end of a project in order to update the documentation we were keeping alive a computer with an older O/S and the tool. Shortly after the project was finished the tool was never used.

    So what I saying unless the tool you are using can dump out its data base in an industry standard format that other tools can use you could be in archival tool revival business.

    • March 24, 2010 at 7:14 am

      Understood, but modeling technology has come a long way since the 80’s. There are inter-tool interoperability standards out now for UML/SysML that are designed to prevent the irretrievable model dilemma. Nevertheless, nothing in life is risk-free, but if you don’t try/explore new techniques out of fear, your competitors might kick your butt. If you do fail, at least you went down swinging and not wondering “what the hell happened”?

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