The Problem with Modelling or Modelling Problems –Session in JISC CETIS Conference 2009

The focus of the modelling world is now shifting from a purely technical perspective to a more holistic approach. Due to increased interest in modelling; the necessity of using comprehensive modelling tools has become fashionable now. The session answered the question: Why modelling?And suggested different ways of modelling

  1. Modelling problems in all situations –SSM (Soft Systems Methodology)/SODA techniques
  2. Modelling complex situations , dynamic systems modelling
  3. Enterprise architecture route to modelling
  4. Modelling organisations as systems –VSM(Viable System Model)

Certain issues have been identified such as

  1. We’re using a number of blueprinting approaches to simplify the work, but do they do their job?
  2. We need a model to be shared between IT and business people and sometimes we prefer to use a flow chart as it satisfies the purpose instead of complex modelling languages such as UML, BPMN, Archimate’’
  3. Models can be quite difficult to use/ or do not give a precise answer to many of our problems
  4. How can we choose an appropriate model for our project? Once we’ve chosen, can we use it as a basic model and re use in future?
  5. We can draw ‘’as-is’’ and ‘’to-be’’ scenarios for considering the institutional priorities/capabilities.

Certain Key findings for the above listed issues were

  1. A model for whole organisation doesn’t exist. Once universities realise that the Enterprise Architecture approach is beneficial, it then becomes necessary to use the skills of an Enterprise Architect. However most institutions do not have access to such a person.
  2. It’s important to first identify the level of abstraction required, who is it for, why are we doing it, etc and then to identify the different ways in which people communicate using the modelling world. Only then can the decision be made on how to proceed.

It was a very good session in the JISC CETIS Conference headed by Oleg Liber. I felt it’s a good theme to look in to the future and explore the different ways of Modelling.

The general outcomes were

  1. Need to manage complexity and sheer volume of information
  2. Trying out a number of methodologies like SSM.
  3. Increased interest in process modelling

Finally,Model is the thing which will be used in between to understand Business and Code. Model is nothing but a description of a domain. It can be a System Domain like UI/Service etc… or can be a Business Domain like Finance/HR etc… (Eric Rosh ‘s SOA blog)

One thought on “The Problem with Modelling or Modelling Problems –Session in JISC CETIS Conference 2009

  1. One line that appealed to me from the session was that “models act as a communication device between people in different areas”.

    The area I’m looking at this from is that of supporting JISC Programmes and part of that – for me – is making it easier to identify what projects are doing and, from there, see the connections between projects across different programmes. At the moment we have the CRM/SLRM (Relationship Management), Workforce Development and Curriculum Design & Delivery programmes. It’s quite easy to spot that there are overlapping themes and processes at work in all.

    But how do you get the picture of what it is projects are doing? Well…without having to pore over reams of bids, project plans, work package documents, etc…?

    Modelling could give us a means of being able to represent the people, processes and supporting technology and how these relate to one another in the world of the project.

    But then do we always have to head down the complex path of formal modelling languages and tools, etc? Sure, it’ll be suitable for some but certainly not all I wouldn’t have thought. But does this more casual approach to modelling get dismissed in favour of the more technical/high-brow flavour of BPMN, SSM, VSM, Archimate, etc…?

    I’d like to see both avenues explored.

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