Data Modeling Projects

"Conducting Data Modeling Project meetings - best practices"

Best practices in working with business user domain experts to gather information requirements which can lead to the design of databases to support their applications. Describes different methods (extended series of meetings, accelerated JAD session, interviews), when and how best to use them, and advanced preparations. Based on actual experiences and a comparative research project.

TIME: 2+ hours

WHERE: DAMA-MN, 2004; DAMA International Symposium, 2004.


Dr. Everest provides a synthesis of his experiences in gathering database design requirements through the process of conducting database design project meetings.

* Interviews vs. facilitated group sessions

* Picking the users to interview or invite to the table.

* preparations before the interviews or before the meetings

* accelerated (one meeting possibly over several days, e.g., JAD) vs. extended series of meetings

* Findings of an experiment which compared the two approaches to group sessions

* Lessons learned

* highlighting the best practices.

Reflecting on the lessons learned yields a set of best practices which should be considered by anyone attempting to lead a database design project. There are some definite DOs and DON'Ts. Come and see how his experiences fit with yours.

This presentation is largely based upon applied practical experience. The first hour will present some examples and conclusions for what works and best practices. The second hour will engage the attendees in questions and a discussion of their best practices. It should be most beneficial to anyone having the responsibility in their organization to conduct user sessions aimed at reaching a consensus for the design of a database. Some wisdom from Graeme Simsion, Dan Moody, and Terry Moriarty will also be incorporated into the presentation.

Part of this presentation is based upon the results of a unique opportunity to observe both approaches to conducting facilitated group sessions. One involved a five-day, JAD-like meeting, the other was a series of bi-weekly meetings spanning several months. The comparative study of the two was based on a doctoral dissertation supervised by Dr. Everest. It resulted in two published research articles in a forestry journal (The Compiler).