When you show business people class diagrams or data models, you’re not really talking business. Class diagrams and data models are design artifacts that inevitably focus on how knowledge about real-world things is to be represented (and manipulated) as data in machines.
If we want business people to talk business to us, we must talk business back. That means talking about their words, concepts and meanings. To do that you need to develop business vocabulary in a structured way – i.e., develop a concept model.
Practitioners are slowly starting to ‘get’ this. Examples:
- IIBA’s recently released Business Analysis Body of Knowledge (BABOK) version 3 devotes a new section to concept models.
- A solid standard exists for concept models – OMG’s Semantics of Business Vocabulary and Business Rules (SBVR). Version 1.3 of the standard, comprehensively reorganized – but not changed – is due out this week.
- Proven methodologies support concept modeling.