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Where to start modelling

Faced with an empty model and a problem to solve, where should you start? Some advice for people with no modelling experience

Look for the pain

To start modelling any system, process or architecture, look for the pain points. Don’t model stuff just because you think it ‘might help’

  • If your project has an issue with duplication of effort, then make sure your modelling approach deals with overlaps and re-use of ideas.
  • If it’s managing changes, show how you can do that. Fast impact analysis, quick turnaround of new deliverables looks important.
  • If it’s encouraging your stakeholders to engage with the project, then  concise, customized documents or website access will be important.

Address these from the start, not as an afterthought. Thinking about these objectives will focus your modelling efforts, and you may end up doing less work than you thought.

This is why, when we use our ‘Model Driven Delivery‘ approach, we start by thinking about what the modeling process needs to deliver. And only once we’ve understood that do we go anywhere near the model.

This is hard, because when you first get a new modeling tool, it’s tempting to first get an idea of what it can do, by just playing around with it. This then leads to a bit more serious playing, and before you know where you are, you’re putting in some real work. But stop, and ask yourself some of the questions above, then maybe change what and how you do your modelling.

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