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Time Aware Modeling

Getting to know Time Aware Modeling

Introducing Time Aware Modeling

The Time Aware Modeling feature allows analysts, architects and others to create incremental versions of their models by providing tools that facilitate the migration of elements, diagrams and Packages through the dimension of time allowing multiple transitions or versions to be created. The baseline ('As-is', current state) models remain unaffected and any number of target ('To-Be', future state) models can be constructed for the purpose of visualization and analysis. It is particularly useful when a number of future options need to be represented and compared effectively allowing 'what-if' analysis to be conducted. Time is one of the most important dimensions in architecture as it is the substrate upon which all changes occur. Architects are aware of its importance and have traditionally created models with duplicated elements; time aware modeling allows the existing elements, diagrams and Packages to be cloned.

An example of a Time Aware Modeling diagram in Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect

Where to find Time Aware Modeling

Clone Package Structure as New Version

Ribbon: Design > Package > Manage > Clone Structure as New Version

Browser window Context Menu: Clone Structure as New Version

Clone Diagram as New Version

Ribbon: Design > Diagram > Manage > Clone as New Version

Clone Element as New Version

Ribbon: Design > Element > Manage > Clone Element as New Version

Diagram Context Menu: Clone Element as New Version

Usage of Time Aware Modeling

Time Aware Modeling can be applied in a wide range of situations from business to technology models. Specifically showing how the entities represented by the model change over time. The baseline ('As-Is', current state) models can be left unaffected while any number of target ('To-Be', future state) models can be constructed to reflect the possible evolution of the baseline models over time. There is a wide range of situations where an analyst or architect will find this tool useful; for example:

  • Architects use models to document the current state and then move on to the more challenging and rewarding task of defining what the future state will look like, often in a series of transitions
  • When new customers are acquired, a Business Analyst is often challenged with describing how a base product should be configured for different customer groups, resulting in different versions of the same product
  • Business Strategists typically prescribe what a Capability model will look like for the organization of the future, resulting in at least two versions of the Capability model
  • During Mergers and Acquisitions, Business Architects are tasked with describing the possible states of the enterprise after the takeover is complete
  • Engineers are required to develop better or more efficient solutions to meet the challenges of the future, so define newer and better versions of the solution
  • Testers need to be aware of different versions of a product when designing and running Test Cases
  • Infrastructure engineers need to define future environments in response to performance or security concerns creating multiple versions of servers, devices and even whole facilities

All of these situations require that time is incorporated into the models so that it can be reasoned about and made explicit. Enterprise Architect's Time Aware modeling facilities can be used in all these situations to ensure that time is included as a first class citizen in the models. Time is not measured or modeled in absolute or relative terms but by representing any number of future states or differences in the form of versions.

Options for Time Aware Modeling

The Time Aware Modeling features allow a modeler to clone Packages, diagrams and elements. Most models are not trivial and Enterprise Architect provides a wide range of tools that will assist in the visualization of the models and how they change over time. The Traceability window will be particularly useful for viewing the connection between elements in the time aware models and other parts of the repository. A very useful feature is the ability to apply a filter to a diagram based on version, thus obscuring elements that are not part of a particular version.

Using the version filtering to trace Time Aware Modeling dependencies, in Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect.

Learn more about Time Aware Modeling

Time Aware Models