Context Model

The Context Model describes the business's universe. It identifies the organizations and pesons that have a relationship with the enterprise. It also identifies the things that support those relationships.

I like to produce the Context Model on a whiteboard in a group workshop acting as facilitator. Any work product produced by a group is superior to work products produced in head-to-head interviews between the data architect/analyst and the business person.

If you must work head-to-head, you win by producing a context model with as many people as possible. The hard ones to get to are the executives and senior managers. 95% Of them don't see underlings as necessary. Remind these people that if there are changes coming that only they know, it better be in the study.

CASE Tools are cool and all, but Context Models should be done freehand, whether you're at the fron of the room or across the desk. You start by drawing a bubble in the middle of the whiteboard or sheet of paper. Now write the name of the business in the bubble.

Now, you ask the group or business person with what types of organizations or people does the business interact ? You draw a bubble for each organization type (supplier) or person type

Now, you ask what business objects support the relationship. Add business object name to model. Add some more. When the business people go quiet, you're done.

Now, you can put your Context Model into your CASE Tool. You're off and running.

The process continues as you drill-down by taking a deeper look into each of the business relationships.

Now, you go out and find copies of all those documents and screen snapshots and organize them into a spiffy binder.