The Analysis Progress - Increasing Speed
Analysis progressWith the tools of today's technology (laptops, projectors, computer networks and not least, the Internet), the analysis process can take place literally anywhere.
Actually, most processes are able to. For all practical meanings, we are more mobile: some parts of the analysis may take place at the business office, and other parts at the analyst's office. They can communicate on the net at any time, collaborating outside of formal meetings. No doubt, this is increasing performance in the analysis progress, as well as saving time, and thereby costs. For instance, sometimes I do vital parts of a project at my home office, but my tools repository (Oracle), resides on the server park at the office.
(Sidebar: The invention of home offices is perfect for employers: We, the employees, work both day and night, and on top of it, we love it: Crazy world).
OK, back to business: While we may have inherited a sketch of an E-R model from the strategy phase of the project, now is the time to start asking the difficult questions. We will be probing that sketch, and stressing both the model and the business representatives (yes, I am now talking on behalf of the system analyst; since you are still reading this, most likely you are also one).
The difference between an experienced and an un-experienced analyst makes the world of a difference here. While an un-experienced analyst will try to fit the business’ points of view into the E-R model, the experienced analyst will start to doubt those points of view, remembering her experience from two years back, in a similar situation.
This phase in the project is namely not about making nice models; it is about making models that work, and making models that will work also if the business perspective changes, somewhere in time. And it will. It always does.
Building flexibility into a model is really quite simple: Follow the rules for the five Normal Forms (do at least 3NF!), and you have already answered and solved a lot of vital questions, securing flexibility. If you want an in-depth study of the five Normal Forms, go to my eBooks page.
The sooner we can ask, and collect answers, to questions about the business, the faster the analysis progress will be. Again, as one analyst to another, I must emphasize the importance of delivering results to your customer as fast as you can, without compromising quality; of course, it is the best way of making repetitive business too, as well as marketing.
In the next keynotes, we will look at some classic analysis and ER modeling traps and errors.
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