Case Method: Function and Process Modelling

Case Method: Function and Process Modelling

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Overview

Case Method: Function and Process Modelling by Richard Barker, C. J. Longman, Cliff Longman

business functions and a wealth of realistic examples illustrating function and process modelling in practice. It provides clear guidelines for when to use each technique and a comprehensive glossary of all important terms.

Features

  • Easy-to-learn techniques for modelling key business functions, processes, and events.
  • A wealth of realistic examples illustrating function and process modelling in practice.
  • Clear guidelines for when to use each technique.
  • A comprehensive glossary of all important terms.


Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780201565256
Publisher: Addison Wesley Professional
Publication date: 06/15/1992
Pages: 316
Product dimensions: 7.65(w) x 9.58(h) x 1.18(d)

Read an Excerpt

PREFACE: This, the third book in the series, was in many ways the hardest to write, the main reason being that Cliff and I only write books in our spare time and we don't have much of that these days. Our main occupation of designing methods and software is more than a part-time job. In fact, it is more than a full-time job! Another reason is that the material covered is so wide. In retrospect, we could possibly have split it between two volumes but we wanted to cover the ground in one relatively comprehensive book. With the added distractions of frequent business trips abroad, house moves and serious illness in both families, maintaining continuity of example and style has been difficult. We hope that the end result is coherent and that the joins are not too obvious.

Over the years, we have found that information systems departments have been predominantly driven by either data analysis or systems analysis. In our experience both are needed: people must be kept focused on what the business really does need to achieve. We have endeavored to balance the concepts of data, function and business direction as each, on its own, is incomplete and of uncertain relevance. We have also encountered the classic 'battle of the methods' between dataflow zealots and event-modelling zealots. Each technique is relevant, useful and appropriate in some circumstances. We have written Chapter 15, "When to Use What," on this specific issue, to help you determine when to use each technique.

Life is not static and we will need to refine these techniques continually, replacing some, adding others. The advent of object modelling has been beneficial to the implementation of graphical and othersoftware solutions, but understanding its role when modelling businesses and systems has been slower to develop. We have not covered this topic in this volume, but hope to return to it in the future.

Major technological changes will come with the exploitation of massively parallel processors, powerful miniaturized workstations, cellular-telephone-based networks, highly generic flexible CASE tools, generators for portable applications, flexible integrated application packages, and the convergence of structured data, free-format text, analogue data and multi-media technology. New approaches and techniques will be needed, creating opportunities to model businesses and systems in innovative ways. These technologies are associated with perhaps the fastest peaceful economic, political and social changes the world has seen. the only certainty in this environment is the certainty of change. A key goal for us is, therefore, to develop accurate, useful ways of thinking about the world and elegant modelling techniques to enable decision makers to have informed clarity of thought before committing to change.

Many of these new techniques will impinge on how people work together, relate to their environment, and establish cultural models to help in their business or private lives. This is a realm fraught with difficulty, inevitable given the conflicting goals, attitudes and approaches of diverse groups and individuals. These issues must be addressed as organizations become more cosmopolitan and many traditional boundaries weaken. My personal goal is to seek a balance between the conservation and ecological needs of the planet and the formidable forces of global business and politics.

Acknowledgments

I would especially like to thank Cliff for contributing the lion's share of the original text in this book and his wife Jeanette who helped with this initial writing. I would like to thank Barbara, who took these first drafts and edited them, added to them, and produced the pictures and the desktop-publishing files. I would like to thank our colleagues and customers for their encouragement and our families for their tolerance. We would also like to thank Synergix, the company whose activities we modelled for the realtime aircraft refuelling example in Chapter 13.

We hope you will find the book useful and would welcome constructive criticism and suggestions for this and any other topic associated with building the best systems we can for the businesses we support.

Richard Barker
September 1992



0201565250P04062001

Table of Contents

(Most chapters conclude with a Summary.)
Introduction.

Objectives of Function and Process Modelling.
Generic Models.
Complexity.
The Key Issues.
Benefits of Function Modelling.
How to Use This Book.

A Simple Example.
The Example.
System Implementation.
So What Have We Found?

Basic Conventions and Definitions.
Business Objective.
Business Function.
Function Modelling Rules.
Information Modelling.
Event.
Elementary Business Function.
Summary of Concepts.
Function Decomposition.

Identifying Business Functions.
Identifying Business Functions.
A Word of Warning.

The Function Hierarchy.
Constructing a Function Hierarchy.
Testing a Hierarchy.
Quality of the Model.
Presentation.

Introduction Function Dependency.
The Second Example.
Function Hierarchy.
Deriving a Systems Development Strategy.

Function Dependency Diagrams.
Function Dependency.
Key Result.
Detailed Function Dependency Diagram.
Using Function Dependency Diagrams.
Identifying and Modelling Dependencies.
How to Read a Function Dependency Diagram.
Quality Checking the Diagram.
Feedback.

Related Concepts.
Common Business Function.
Function Detail and Frequencies.
Functions by Role.
Functions by Business Unit.
Functions by Geographic Location.
Mechanisms.
How Functions Use Entities, Attributes and Relationships.
Finding Volumetric Information.
Object-Oriented Analysis.
Use of CASE Tools.
System Design.

Detailed Function Definition.
Introduction.
Elementary Business Function.
Function Logic.
When to Do It.
Simplifying Function Logic.
Detailed Function Logic.

Logical System Design.
Introduction.
System Design.
Presentation.
Increasing the Scope of a System.
Maintaining Elementary Functions.
Producing an Initial System Structure.
Making It Relevant.
Revisiting the Techniques.
Alternative Approaches.

Dataflow Diagrams.
Two Uses of Dataflow Diagrams.
Datastore.
Dataflow.
Constructing a Dataflow Diagram.
Quality Checks.

Realtime Modelling.
Introduction.
State Transition Diagrams.
State.
Transition-A Process Trigger.
Extending the Example.
How to Construct a State Transition Diagram.
Quality Checking a State Transition Diagram.
A Familiar Example for computer Users.

Realtime Modelling-Conventions and Complex Example.
Advanced Conventions.
Representation.
Syntax.
Quality Matrix.
More about Events.
A Complex Example.

Physical System Design.
Introduction.
Choosing the Right Approach.
Aims of Physical System Design.
So Where Should We Focus Our Efforts?
The Computer Application.
Designing Paper Forms.
Summary So Far.
Physical Design from State Diagrams.
Physical Design from Dataflow Diagrams.

When to Use What.
Fastpath System Development.
Reverse Engineering.

Quality and Completeness Checks.
Presentation to Senior Management.
Appendices.
Process Normalization.
Valid Constructs.
Detailed Definitions.
Use of CASE Tools.
Atlantis Island Flights-Full Hierarchy.
On the Road Garages-Full Hierarchy.
Generic Patterns.
Meta Model.
Other Modelling Conventions.

Preface

This, the third book in the series, was in many ways the hardest to write, the main reason being that Cliff and I only write books in our spare time and we don't have much of that these days. Our main occupation of designing methods and software is more than a part-time job. In fact, it is more than a full-time job! Another reason is that the material covered is so wide. In retrospect, we could possibly have split it between two volumes but we wanted to cover the ground in one relatively comprehensive book. With the added distractions of frequent business trips abroad, house moves and serious illness in both families, maintaining continuity of example and style has been difficult. We hope that the end result is coherent and that the joins are not too obvious.

Over the years, we have found that information systems departments have been predominantly driven by either data analysis or systems analysis. In our experience both are needed: people must be kept focused on what the business really does need to achieve. We have endeavored to balance the concepts of data, function and business direction as each, on its own, is incomplete and of uncertain relevance. We have also encountered the classic 'battle of the methods' between dataflow zealots and event-modelling zealots. Each technique is relevant, useful and appropriate in some circumstances. We have written Chapter 15, "When to Use What," on this specific issue, to help you determine when to use each technique.

Life is not static and we will need to refine these techniques continually, replacing some, adding others. The advent of object modelling has been beneficial to the implementation of graphical and other softwaresolutions, but understanding its role when modelling businesses and systems has been slower to develop. We have not covered this topic in this volume, but hope to return to it in the future.

Major technological changes will come with the exploitation of massively parallel processors, powerful miniaturized workstations, cellular-telephone-based networks, highly generic flexible CASE tools, generators for portable applications, flexible integrated application packages, and the convergence of structured data, free-format text, analogue data and multi-media technology. New approaches and techniques will be needed, creating opportunities to model businesses and systems in innovative ways. These technologies are associated with perhaps the fastest peaceful economic, political and social changes the world has seen. the only certainty in this environment is the certainty of change. A key goal for us is, therefore, to develop accurate, useful ways of thinking about the world and elegant modelling techniques to enable decision makers to have informed clarity of thought before committing to change.

Many of these new techniques will impinge on how people work together, relate to their environment, and establish cultural models to help in their business or private lives. This is a realm fraught with difficulty, inevitable given the conflicting goals, attitudes and approaches of diverse groups and individuals. These issues must be addressed as organizations become more cosmopolitan and many traditional boundaries weaken. My personal goal is to seek a balance between the conservation and ecological needs of the planet and the formidable forces of global business and politics.

Acknowledgments

I would especially like to thank Cliff for contributing the lion's share of the original text in this book and his wife Jeanette who helped with this initial writing. I would like to thank Barbara, who took these first drafts and edited them, added to them, and produced the pictures and the desktop-publishing files. I would like to thank our colleagues and customers for their encouragement and our families for their tolerance. We would also like to thank Synergix, the company whose activities we modelled for the realtime aircraft refuelling example in Chapter 13.

We hope you will find the book useful and would welcome constructive criticism and suggestions for this and any other topic associated with building the best systems we can for the businesses we support.

Richard Barker
September 1992



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