Context – where are we ?

Part of the Knowledge Curation series.

I’m occasionally asked “What’s the most re-usable bit of a model – where should I start?“.

It’s a fair question, and answer #1 is always The Glossary.

But answer #2 is a variation: it’s the overview of a project.

Sounds like an obscure piece of information: after all, surely the goals for that project, or it’s stakeholders are more interesting. But everyone who looks at the goals or the stakeholders would also benefit from a ‘project summary in one paragraph’. Or in 3 paragraphs. Or in one pretty diagram (not a model diagram – a diagram from the PowerPoint introduction presentation).

In turns out that these simple introductions get read, and re-used, time after time. Sure, they aren’t part of the formal deliverables from the project, but think how you’d introduce a new person to the project- you’d give them the ‘5 minute introduction’.

And for sure EVERY document you create about the project will have this ‘5 minute introduction’ right at the front, which is why I think it’s so useful.

I tend to have a range of ‘context’ information:

  1. Project/Program in one paragraph (no diagrams)
  2. …in 3 paragraphs
  3. …in one diagram

..and I might use (1) and (3) together, or (2) and (3).

No rocket science, but then much of knowledge curation is applied common sense.


About the Author Ian Mitchell

Ian Mitchell is a business analyst and software developer. He's been using UML since before it was UML, and has managed teams of BAs all over the place. He also teaches UML and BPMN, and writes the eaDocX document generator for the Sparx EA tool.

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