The Human Side of Data Modelling

Engaging Stakeholders and Other Mere Mortals

Interest in Data Modelling, especially Concept Modelling (Conceptual Data Modelling) has increased dramatically in recent years. That’s great news, but our modelling can still be improved. When it’s done well, Concept Modelling is a powerful enabler of communication among different stakeholders including senior leaders, subject matter experts, business analysts, solution architects, and others. Unfortunately, the communication often gets lost – in the clouds, in the weeds, or somewhere off to the side. Sometimes the modeller has drifted too quickly into abstraction, sometimes the modeller has taken the famous “deep dive for detail,” but the outcome is the same – confusion, frustration, and detachment. The result – inaccurate, incomplete, or unappreciated models.
It doesn’t have to be this way! Drawing on over 40 years of successful modelling, this session describes core techniques, backed by practical examples, for helping people appreciate, use, and possibly even want to build data models.
Topics include:

  • Unclear on the concept – how to think about concept modelling
  • “Role induction” for clients – skip the “tutorial” on data modeling and Just Do It!
  • Get a sense of direction – guidelines for data model graphics
  • “Scripts” for extending the model – the value of consistency
  • “Plays well with others” – make data modelling vital for analysis and design.


[On April 5th, Alec will run a half day workshop on Concept Modelling, check the conference schedule for details.]