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Create useful models using the Sparx EA Tool

Advice for the new modeller #3 - Producing useful outputs with your new EA tool.

Concentrate on the outputs, not the modelling process

When you’re struggling to make sense of a new tool, it’s easy to get lost in the internals. You want to make your diagrams look JUST perfect.

But look up from your diagram – how are you helping the project?

You are probably creating some deliverables: a requirements specification, a design, or some process maps. Can you create those using the tool? If you have to copy/paste them into a Word document, that’s maybe OK to start with, but it doesn’t scale. You need an efficient, accurate and engaging way to get your ideas from the diagram into the heads of those who need to see it.

How can other people can get value from what you are doing?

  • Publish your work so that others can see it in the way they want.

If that’s email+Word, then create Word documents. If it’s Confluence or SharePoint, find out how to publish into those environments. If it’s Jira, then look for an interface into that. You chose your modelling tool for your own reasons – don’t expect others to share those reasons

  • If they are expecting a document, and you give them online web access, that might seem like a smarter way to work, but now you have an additional task to change the way they do things. Fitting-in with them is the best way. Time later to change how they do things
  • Be explicit about which of time, quality or cost you are improving. And just because you are creating a higher-quality document – if it comes at the expense of more time and more money – that might not please your managers. So look at all three.
  • Don’t promise ‘improvements tomorrow’.

Managers get all kinds of suggestions for brilliant ideas/dreams on how they can spend time+money today, for some benefit in the future. Don’t be one of those dreamers. Think through the problem end-to-end, from the initial workshops, through to the deliverable document/website.

  • Be clear on how you’ll make things better right from the start. (‘Start’ here is from the point where you figure out how to do it, not from the point where you start learning). So your idea to use a modelling tool arrives in front of your manager with a costed, planned way to make things better, not a distant dream of a vaguely brighter future.

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