Fixing models with Model Expert

Exploring and fixing your model using a snapshot meta-model.

 

 
For even a small package, getting a big picture can be hard. You could open each diagram … but there might be 10s or 100s.
Instead, let Model Expert do the work.
 
Model Expert looks at all the elements in this package...
...and all their connectors...
...and all their attributes
...and putting it all into one diagram.
 
There is a lot of useful information here.
- These are the Element types in the package and outside it.
- The number of elements of each type
- The connectors used between types
- plus Attributes for each type and how consistently they are used
 
The snapshot reveals issues with some of the elements in this package. e.g.
  • Modellers are not using the EA attributes consistently - especially the 'Alias'
  • 'Status' not used all the time for 'Ports'
  • 'Name' hardly ever used 
  • Why do we have 2 Requirements in this package?
  • With strange connections...
 
We can use this diagram to fix some obvious problems
It's simple with Model Expert.
 
How to find these 'Realization' connectors ?
Model Expert finds the elements involved and creates a new diagram to show the connectors
Making it easy to do some fixing.
 
These two requirements should not be here.
Model Expert creates a new diagram showing all the elements of that type in this package.
Then we can use EA features to find and move or delete them.
 
What about fixing all those components, with their missing attributes ?
First find them all, then edit all the elements in your favourite editor.
 
(eaXL - part of eaDocX - opens all the elements in a diagram in an Excel worksheet so it's quick and easy to edit them.
 
The Snapshot meta-model shows
  • what element types we have in a package
  • how they are connected
  • and which attributes they use
So we can fix modelling problems:
  • Bad elements
  • Bad connectors
  • Missing attributes
 

Add a Model Expert to your team

For more information, or to take a free 30-day trial, visit
 

Exploring the Model Expert Dashboard

As EA models get larger it's more difficult to understand the big picture.
What's happening in this package?
What kinds of models have been created?
 
The Model Expert Dashboard helps you see the big picture, 
spot potential problems, 
and start to fix them.
 

Choose a package and open Model Expert 'Package Dashboard'.

The dashboard gives a 1-page view across a single EA package.
It looks for all the elements, connectors and diagrams in the package.
Even if the package is very large.
Then shows some key measures to help understand what's happening.
 
Let's look at the key parts of the dashboard:.
 
First the element types.
We can drill down to find out more.
The detailed view shows which elements have the most connectors, and which are in the most diagrams.
Click an element to find it in the project browser
 
Now let's look at the diagrams in this package.
Which has the most elements?
Just click to open it and take a look.
 
There's an overall measure of Package Complexity. It's based on the number of different element and connector types in this package.
 
There's also a Word Cloud of the terms used in this package. Model Expert scans through the names and notes of elements, attributes, methods... and scenarios, and shows which are the most commonly used terms.
Drill down to explore further.
 
More key measures...
Duplicates can be hard to find and fix ...unless you have a Model Expert.
All the duplicates, sorted by type and name. With this list, fixing the duplicates is now easy.
Model Expert creates a diagram showing all the duplicates.
Now it's simple to just connect to the correct 'master' element..
 
Empty diagrams may be a sign that there's a problem. Just click to find and open them.
We can see at a glance the top 5 elements and diagrams for this package.
Click a diagram to open it. And the same with the top 5 elements.
 
To see more, explore the meta-model of the package.
 

Add a Model Expert to your team.

For more information, and a free 30-day trial, visit www.eadocx.com/modelexpert
 

Video - The Modeller Experience

EA lets modellers model in all kinds of ways ...

In this video, for example, there are three process diagrams, all using the same modelling language, but looking very different. So which is right?

We need a quick way to see what's happening in our models, to find inconsistencies, fix them, and stop them happening again.

With Model Expert help, modellers can get it right first time. Here's an example of what a modeller will see, using Model Expert.

 

Open the package as usual and add a diagram.

The modeller doesn't know which kind of diagram to use but Model Expert knows what's allowed and is ready to provide Help.

The help can include links to your existing sources of knowledge, and it can also include your own in-line customised help, saved in your EA model, dynamically generated, and provided just when the modeller needs it. It can also include 'best practice' examples from your EA model.

In this example, to create a new process diagram:

  • When the modeller is doing it right, Model Expert doesn't interrupt.
  • If the modeller chooses the wrong option then Model Expert applies rules, presenting the user with a dynamically generated simplified properties form in real time. For some element types:
    • it prompts with a limited set of options for allowed stereotypes
    • and lots of pop-up help
    • and one attribute is marked as mandatory
  • For other element types, where less detail is required, the modeller is just presented with a choice of the permitted stereotypes.
  • If an element type is chosen from the MDG but which is not allowed in this diagram type, Model Expert instead provides a list of the element types which are allowed. The modeller can then choose the right one.
  • Where the modeller can’t create new but must pick from an existing set of elements, then Model Expert displays the list of approved elements, otherwise the modeller can create a new one.
  • Model Expert also knows which connector types are allowed and provides help, right where the modeller needs it, all pulled in real-time from the rules saved in this EA model. All the time, Model Expert is teaching the modeller the ‘right’ way.
  • Once the diagram is finished – time for a final check Model Expert has applied the rules, highlighted errors, and calculated a numerical score of quality for this diagram. Now the modeller can make changes to this copy of the diagram, save the changes and run a final check.
  • Now the model is good and the modeller has improved too.

Add a Model Expert to your team.

To download a free 30 day trial, visit https://www.eadocx.com/web-downloads/model-expert-trial

 

Making a Reference Model

Reference Models help EA modellers produce accurate diagrams quickly, no matter how much experience they've got.

With Model Expert you can easily create a Reference Model for your team by finding some modelling you're happy with, and then use that style.

(We could create an MDG from scratch, but that requires lots of specialized skills, and doesn't give the modeller much help.)

Instead, we'll get Model Expert to do the hard work. How?

In more detail:

1. Choose an existing part of the model to use as 'best practice'
  • Here is a part of the model which we would like all the other modellers to use as a pattern
  • It is a process model, using a simple sub-set of BPMN 2.0, but with some additions.
  • There are some basic process diagrams; really simple BPMN, which most people will be able to do correctly, with different diagram examples showing what's allowed.
  • There are some Tagged Values on Activities, to capture some data we need.
  • And there's another kind of diagram to link BPMN and Archimate ideas.
  • We want our modellers to create only these two kinds of diagram, and give them as much help as possible to get them right
 
2. Create an initial Reference Model
  • Select your 'best practice' package then right click > Model Expert > Analyze and create Reference Model.
  • First, Model Expert creates a meta-model including all the element and connector types, attributes and TVs in the package.
  • Then it converts it to a Reference  Model which also includes the different diagram types that it has found.
 
3. Refine the Reference Model
  • What has Model Expert created?
  • First, all the different element types and stereotypes, which are saved in your EA model, as simple classes.
  • And a diagram showing all the connectors which modellers are allowed to create.
  • And finally, some suggestions for the kinds of diagrams which you might want to use, based on an analysis of all the diagrams in your 'best practice' model.
  • In this example, Model Expert makes three suggestions, and draws a diagram to show what each type of diagram could contain.
  • Diagram types #1, #2, #3
  • Diagram #3 looks like a subset of diagram #1, so we can remove that from the Reference Model.
  • Now we can use the Model Expert user interface to make our refinements.
 
  • Firstly, give the new Reference Model a useful name and description.
  • Delete any diagram types we don't need and refine the details of the diagram types which we are going to use:
  • Give each one a useful name, and some notes for user guidance.
 
4. Create a custom MDG
  • We MAY choose to also create a custom MDG, just for our new Reference Model.
  • This gives these diagram types the correct toolboxes.
  • (Don't forget to load the new MDG.)
 
5. Test the new Reference Model
  • The Reference Model appears to the user as just another model type.
  • Create a new package and diagram.
  • The text we added into the Reference Model appears as help for the modeller and the diagram toolbox has all the element types and connectors we specified in the Reference Model.
  • All ready for the modellers to start work. 
 
 
Discover more ways that Model Expert can improve your Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect model quality at https://www.eadocx.com/modelexpert