Author Topic: UML vs BPMN for detailed design documentation  (Read 7107 times)

Paolo F Cantoni

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Re: UML vs BPMN for detailed design documentation
« Reply #15 on: November 06, 2015, 11:15:59 am »
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One of the things that contributes to the failure of architecture in a organisation is constantly introducing the business users to new methodologies or practices.  It creates a type of exhaustion.

So it's counter productive to show a UML activity diagram and explain how they work when you're showing nothing more than a flow chart with different notation.  Pretty much everyone you'll come across already knows the notation for a flow chart.

EA does flow charts - draw a flow chart.
Ahh...  Now there's a profound statement... (Not taking the p..s...  I REALLY mean it!)

We've taken the view that we need a normative model which is properly specified (using some of the ideas I've been "rabbiting on about" around here) and a communicative model which is used to provide a simpler view of some aspects of the normative model.  There are reference back to the normative model so that the communicative model doesn't get "too far out of whack" with the normative model.

The business craves (illusory) simplicity.  In fact, the Einsteinian dictum applies:  "Keep things as simple as possible, but no simpler.".  
In the past, I've observed:
"A picture is worth a thousand words, until it has more than 6 shapes and 12 lines - after which ALL bets are off!"
"Executives can handle direct data query until they need to join two tables"
We (as Architects) have to find ways to get around this semantic impedance problem.

We are looking into ways to manage the process of creating compatible and simplified diagrams which track the evolution of the normative model.  Wish us luck!  ;D

Paolo
« Last Edit: November 06, 2015, 11:17:03 am by PaoloFCantoni »
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Glassboy

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Re: UML vs BPMN for detailed design documentation
« Reply #16 on: November 06, 2015, 12:15:34 pm »
I think the mistake is in thinking that other people need to see our normative model.

What if our tooling could take our beautiful normative models and render them as something else.  i.e. you draw an activity diagram but import a flow chart into your PowerPoint.

Paolo F Cantoni

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Re: UML vs BPMN for detailed design documentation
« Reply #17 on: November 06, 2015, 03:01:28 pm »
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I think the mistake is in thinking that other people need to see our normative model.

What if our tooling could take our beautiful normative models and render them as something else.  i.e. you draw an activity diagram but import a flow chart into your PowerPoint.
Yes, that's the conclusion I've come to.  Hence what we're going to be experimenting with.

We can build a self-consistent normative model (at varying levels of detail and scope), but providing our communicative model is consistent with that, we can use it to better communicate with non-modellers.

In addition, I believe if we can show that the traceability is there, business people will be more receptive since they will know that (like Google Earth) the closer you get to the ground what you see will still be consistent with what you are seeing from 10 Km up.

Paolo
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Glassboy

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Re: UML vs BPMN for detailed design documentation
« Reply #18 on: November 09, 2015, 08:26:06 am »
As I general rule I like to only show people the "moving parts" they interact with.  On occasions I have run sessions with two different groups of business users to explain how one set of moving parts interacts with another.

Screwtape

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Re: UML vs BPMN for detailed design documentation
« Reply #19 on: January 13, 2016, 02:47:46 am »
What I particularly like about using BPMN in EA, is to be able to do the high level process, which you can give to execs and users, and drill down to the minutiae, which the developers need.

I've built a script which also writes the "Steps" part of a use-case directly from a BPMN diagram (unless you have very complex processes), which I hope to publish at some point, since you can't do enough complexity in the scenarios within EA.
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Glassboy

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Re: UML vs BPMN for detailed design documentation
« Reply #20 on: January 13, 2016, 08:10:32 am »
What I particularly like about using BPMN in EA, is to be able to do the high level process, which you can give to execs and users, and drill down to the minutiae, which the developers need.

I worked on a project that was implementing a piece of legislation.  We understood the desired outcome and the hard dates involved but we had no idea of the numbers of affected citizens.  It was obvious that existing processes in the extant system would be affected but not replaced.  A previous project had failed catastrophically because the needed business processes weren't all well understood.

We started a journey with Sparx EA and BPMN that went from the high-level processes to very specific detail of individual processes.  This was then exported out to an Intranet and used by the staff to perform a "mantronic" process where demand was very low, and the developers used it to code the new high demand processes into the system.

It was nice to be able to answer questions from management by pointing at the appropriate layer and saying "that".