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Webinar – How to improve model quality and consistency

This webinar from the EA Global Summit 2020 provides hints and tips for managing models as they grow - and in particular, as more and more people are involved in the modelling.

Model Quality Management

The challenge of maintaining model quality and consistency grows exponentially as our models and modelling teams grow. This presentation offers an approach to find and fix problems, and help your team model right the first time.

This webinar describes how Model Expert helps to

  • understand what is in your model
  • understand how you can fix it, and
  • understand how you can stop it from going wrong in the future.

Assumptions:

  1. That the models, to be interesting, contain all kinds of different stuff – probably multiple projects. Including data modelling, process modelling, architecture, requirements management and more.
  2. The people doing the model will be at different levels. Some will be very advanced and very clever, some would be just getting started.

We all know that

  1. the more people use EA, the more information goes in there;
  2. the more information in the model, the more useful the model;
  3. the more useful the model, the more people want to use it.

So, it’s a virtuous circle.

We need standards.

Advantages and disadvantages of MDGs.

They are a brilliant solution for what they were designed to do – implement modelling languages which are very stable and very well documented. All the Object Modelling Group (OMG) standards are implemented by Sparx in EA with MDGs.

But they’re not designed to implement how you do your modelling, and how I do my modeling. That wasn’t really what they were designed for. And they aren’t designed to help modelers to build better models, or to coach people, which is what’s needed to be successful in expanding our use of EA.

We need to be flexible, we need to be fast-moving and be able to change how we do things quite quickly. But we also need to provide more help to our modelers. Not just saying “here’s a quick linker”, “here’s a set of things in a toolbox”. It’s more coaching them, encouraging them.

This is where Model Expert originally came from.

1. Discovering what is in the model.

Everybody should know what exactly is in their model. What’s the structure of it? What types and stereotypes? Connectors? Diagram types? What fields in EA are you using? What tag values are you using? Everybody should know that. Sometimes we call that the metamodel.

2. Finding out what the matter is and fixing it.

Use the built-in tools to easily navigate to problem areas and fix them.

3. Guided modelling

How do we stop new EA teams from making the same mistakes again? Provide guidance to them exactly where and when they need it, and stopping them from doing the wrong thing.

Modelling with Model Expert - A systematic approach

Demonstration of the tool in action…

Firstly, the package dashboard – containing

  • Summary of the elements, diagrams, connectors and people that are involved in this package.
  • Drill down for details – look at the different kinds of diagrams and see how many kinds of elements they have, and how many element types.
  • Number of packages.
  • Word Cloud.
  • Diagrams that have the largest amount of content/most complexity.
  • Which elements appear in the most diagrams and have the most connectors?
  • Metrics – how many duplicates have I got in this part of the model? (same name, same type and same stereotype). And empty diagrams
  • Complexity measure. For this we draw a metamodel diagram.

Create a snapshot metamodel.

  • Shows classes of element types and how they are connected (or not).
  • Shows completeness – which attributes and tagged values have been used and how often.
  • Number of connections shown by thickness of lines

(Alternative – use SQL to interrogate the model.)

Model Expert helps to find instances that are highlighted in metamodel. It draws a diagram of occurrences – then use EA functions to fix.

Navigate to highlighted areas: Specialize > Model Expert > Show the occurrences

Alternative way of doing things: build the ideas that are in the heads of the people who know how to model, and put that knowledge into one or more reference models. Each reference model is just a regular class diagram. Which means:

  1. It can be imported and exported.
  2. We can make it into an XMI.
  3. I can send it to you, you can send it to me…
  4. I can have as many of these in my system as I want. So could have basic and advanced BPMN reference models, SysML and a requirements reference model, and a user stories model. All kinds.
  5. I can have multiple versions of the same thing – helping to evolve my model in a controlled way

To create a reference model, use Model Expert to analyze some existing modelling, then edit and save it.

The Model Manager Experience

  1. Select a package – Specialize, Model Expert, Manage with defined Reference Model.
  2. Make sure read/write access for modeller.
  3. Set Reference Model to Hard or Soft mode – for strict application of rules or just to give advice but modelling outside the standard is allowed.

The Modeller Experience

  1. Open EA. Add a diagram to a managed package (so Model Expert is in charge of everything that goes on.)
  2. Presented with a list of allowed diagram types with added help links to intranet/SharePoint etc. Example diagrams, permitted contents.
  3. Model Expert provides toolbox with permitted elements and connectors.
  4. Modeller adds content – if OK then no interruption to their modelling. If disallowed content, pop-up help appears to suggest valid choices. In real time.

Checking an existing diagram or model

  • Look at element and connector types, attributes, tagged values. Run custom scripts. Compare with a reference model.
  • Model Expert produces a copy diagram with highlighted problems and a numeric value of quality.
  • Or it produces a Relationship matrix with highlighted violations of the reference model permitted relationships. All colour coded to show different connector types.  Note you can add extra information about source and target elements, and sort and filter what’s shown.
  • Correct problems in the matrix view – change directions, change relationship types, add/remove relationships.

Q&A

Some features are free… which?

Two versions available: Standard (free) and Premium. Dashboard and Metamodel features are included in both versions – check the Pricing page for a full list of features. Note that all features are free for 30 days.

How does Model Expert work with MDGs?

If you have already have a custom MDG we can pull information out of that because when you’re building a reference model you start with some modeling you’ve already done, no matter whether it’s in the context of an MDG or not.

Anyone who needs to share the knowledge in their models – whether through documents or web viewers... Model Expert will help to make sure that you have really well structured models.

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Compare pricing and features

The Standard edition of Model Expert is completely free – and it comes with 30 days of all the Premium features too. Find out what’s included…

Compare Pricing

Download Model Expert

Register and download now – FREE. Discover how Model Expert can improve your model quality. Add a Model Expert to your team.

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