Visual Modeling Concepts

The BA Guide | Jeremy Aschenbrenner
A free video tutorial from The BA Guide | Jeremy Aschenbrenner
Business Analyst Trainer and Coach | Best Selling Instructor
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Lecture description

As you've heard before, a picture is worth a thousand words. Visual modeling is the best way to take complex details and put them together in a way that is easy to understand. This lecture will go over some of the basic concepts and the benefits of visual modeling.

**This lecture contains (as a resource) the slide deck for this section. Feel free to download and utilize for your notes.**

Learn more from the full course

Business Analysis Modeling Skills & Techniques

Learn to create Process Flowcharts, User Stories, Use Cases, SWOT, RACI Matrices, Org Charts, User Stories, and more!

06:15:43 of on-demand video • Updated April 2021

  • Create EIGHT different visual models including Process Flowcharts, Use Cases, SWOT Analysis, RACI Matrix, Org Charts, Scoring Matrix, Stakeholder Maps, and more!
  • Understand how visual modeling can help in daily requirement activities.
  • Ability to read and create important business and technical visual models.
  • Utilize visual modeling to make requirements come alive.
  • Ability to choose the best visual model to aid in various situations.
  • Increase your project success by giving your stakeholders a clearer understanding of your vision.
  • Confidently explain and demonstrate the uses of visual models in an interview.
English Hey, Everyone! Welcome to Visual Modeling Concepts. In this lecture, we're going to talk about the basics of Visual Modeling. And give you an understanding of what I mean, when I say Visual Modeling. And the benefits of using visual models, within the analyzing requirements. So first off, what is Visual Modeling? Well, the actual definition is a graphical representation using a modeling language, that takes something complex and makes it easier to understand. Overall, that definition is pretty complex or a little bit overly confusing. So let's go ahead and break that down. So the first thing is, visual modeling is a graphical representation. Pictures are a lot easier to understand than a block of text. And so modeling, what it does is, it takes that block of text and it breaks it up. It could break it up into a full picture format. It could break it up into smaller words, that kind of flow through in like a process flow. It could break it up into a matrix, which is basically like, imagine Excel spreadsheet with different cells in rows and columns. And so a graphical representation is a way to be able to display it rather than just displaying text. The next thing is, using a modeling language. What we're going to talk about in the next lecture, is the different modeling techniques that can be utilized. Well, over time, different languages have been created and evolved to meet different needs. And usually, it comes from different professions or industries. And so the different languages are out there. We're not going to talk too much about the languages. We're not going to worry about that, in this particular course. Because we're staying at a higher level. I just want to give you the concepts of what those different modeling languages are or what the different modeling techniques are. We're not going to dive into the specifics, of the particular modeling languages. But the different graphical representations can use different modeling languages. And what it does is, it takes something complex and makes it easier to understand. So take something that would be really long and convoluted, if you wrote it out. But when you put it into a picture, into a model. A visual model. It kind of speaks for itself and it helps to break that down and make it easier to understand. The example that I want to, kind of share right now. So you can start to picture if you're not thinking about what a visual model is; is an organizational chart. Just about everybody has seen an Org Chart, which shows that, the different levels. And I'm talking about a Hierarchal Org Chart, where the President or CEO is at the top of the Org Chart. And you work through and say. Okay, who reports up to that President? or CEO? and you have that layer of Executive Management. And then under each Executive Manager, you have split off into a couple of managers. Maybe they are, VP's, or managers of departments. and that breaks down into your employees. Well, think about that Org Chart. And for a big corporation, where it's got all these different layers and all these different departments and who all rolls up where. Well, now think about that Org Chart, in a text form. I think that you had to explain that in text. To say, you know, so-and-so is the President and so-and-so is the Vice President, reporting up to the President, and other Vice Presidents of these departments. We take a long time to try to explain that, in text. But, a model of an organizational chart shows that very easily and it's very intuitive, as to what it shows. So that's just one example, to kind of get you thinking about. Okay, that's what the model is. And we'll go into a lot of different models and a lot of different techniques, that are utilized. So what are the benefits of Visual Modeling? We've talked about a few of them already. You can easily understand complex information. So it takes that complex information, that thing will take a lot of tax, a lot of explaining. And it puts it in a way, that makes it a lot easier. You also see this a lot, which isn't a model. But it's something that's done like that, is charts or graphs. It's taking complex information and putting it into a format, that's easy to understand. So think about modeling that way, as well. Another thing, that's great about modeling, is it gets stakeholders involved. So, a lot of times, these models are being driven, as you're, as you're gathering requirements. And as you're working through it and you know this modeling can be done. You could be doing a process flow, with sticky notes, on a whiteboard, as part of an elicitation technique. So you're getting your stakeholders engaged, in creating this. As well as, you're sending that to them for their approval and validation, as well. So you're getting them involved in the different modeling techniques. Where, if you had explained it all in text. You probably would have to take that internally. And the other thing is, that you can receive requirements efficiently. It's a good way, not only to explain requirements after the fact. But it's a good way to understand requirements, upfront. So instead of, eliciting all of the details, and just trying to write it all down in text. You're able to do like I said. You can have posted notes or something where you're kind of creating a process flow or creating a model, right on a whiteboard. And it helps to make sure that you can elicit those requirements quicker. You're also able to identify the underlying problem. So the modeling technique; you're able to understand pieces that you're missing. Where it wouldn't have been as easy to understand, that you are missing specific requirements or are specific flow. If you would not have modeled it out, to be able to ask that question. Next, you can analyze what-if scenarios. So you're able to say, okay, we've got the model done. And now, we can run through different what-if scenarios. What happens if this happens? And you can walk through your model, to make sure that, that's acceptable. And then you've got a requirement, that accounts for that. Seniors walk through different what-ifs scenarios. And finally, it helps you identify and remove irrelevant information. So a lot of times, as you're working through your eliciting and analyzing requirements. You're getting a lot of details. And the modeling helps you to, just break it down to. Okay, what's really important? and what's kind of the fluff for the irrelevant details? that can be removed, from the particular requirements. So one thing, I want to clarify right away is, you're thinking, well, we just talked about requirements elicitation before and now we are requirements analyzing, analysis. Why are you talking about elicitation again? Well, you have to think about; there, the phases aren't like hard-set. You don't do elicitation and then do analysis and then do specification. You're trying to kind of work through it, in those phases, as much as you can. But you're going to do a elicitation and then you're going to be doing analysis. As you know, as part of those requirements, doing more elicitations. So, don't think of the elicitation analysis and specification as completely separate waterfall phases or stages. Really, think of it as, kind of moving and molding phases, that are able to be utilized as you need them. But I digress, I just want to make sure that, that was clear. And so, those are the benefits of Visual Modeling. So what usually gets modeled? Well, there are usually two things that get modeled. Number one, is the current state the as is. You'll hear that a lot. Let's document the, as is processes. And that's how you're able to understand, what is being done today. And that helps us to identify the problems or solutions to those particular processes. As well as, it helps you identify what are the key pieces and steps to those processes. So then you can ensure that, that's in a solution. And then finally, you're modeling the future state. So that, the to be processed and that's really saying, okay, how do we want this to work? And then what you do, is you take that as is process, and that to be processed. And you do, what's called Gap Analysis. And you understand, what is it going to take for us to get from the AS-IS to the TO-BE. And, a lot of that, are your requirements. That you're creating and that you're eliciting and documenting to be able to understand how you get there. So that's all about the Visual Modeling Concepts. I hope that helps you to frame a reference and a base of understanding. In further lectures, we will go through some of the different modeling techniques, that you can utilize.