If you have been attending the IIBA’s Building Business Capabilities Conference this week or just following the excitement on Twitter like I have (search #BBCcon), you have probably noticed that there has been a lot of discussion about modeling. For instance Elizabeth Larson gave a presentation on the Top Models for Complete Requirements Analysis and Francine Wolfe gave a presentation on What’s a State Model.
In my daily work as a business analyst, I’ve employed many modeling techniques however State Models (or Diagrams), is one that I’m less familiar with; this has motivated me to learn more about this technique.
As always, when familiarizing myself with a new Business Analysis technique, my first stop is the IIBA’s BABOK V2. The BABOK describes State Modeling as “a diagram that specifies a sequence of states that an object goes through during its lifetime and defines which events cause a transition between those states. The allowable behavior of the object is dependent on its current state.”
See below for an example of a State Model from the BABOK V2:
Advantages to using State Models are:
- They can help to uncover missing data and requirements
- They may help clarify confusing or conflicting requirements
- They provide a visual diagram or picture of what could otherwise be a complicated written description or list
- They can help identify missing processes
When using State Models, be aware that it is sometimes easy to include states that are not relevant, thus unintentionally expanding the project scope. Another point to be aware of is that the various states might have their own unique data associated with them, which you need to be aware of and document.
State Models can be particularly helpful to determine the life cycles such as the life cycle of a customer interaction, determining the impact of an event such as the reach of a marketing campaign or to determine impact how a programing change can affect an application.
Now that I’ve became more familiar with State Models, I will definitely be incorporating this tool into my go to ‘BA Tool Box’.
How have you incorporated State Models into your business analysis activities? Please share your examples and their outcomes!