About this thread
Visual Paradigm supports a lot of different diagram types. This ranges from diagrams which are build upon official standards (think about the Use Case (UML), Business Process (BPMN) and even the Requirements diagram (SysML)) but also diagrams which were basically designed by Visual Paradigm themselves. For example the Textual Analysis (this is a really powerful tool to start a project by the way), The Brainstorm diagram (“sticky notes” in Visual Paradigm ), and there are several Grid based diagrams where Visual Paradigm basically used a commonly available grid in a new and interesting way.
Or what to think about existing diagram styles which Visual Paradigm severely enhanced? The Customer Journey Map comes to mind here.
Now… I think that the Visual Paradigm website does a really good job in displaying all the provided features. But it doesn’t always get into the detail of the individual diagrams. So I figured, why not showcase some diagrams individually and explore how they might enhance your workflow?
I feel the need for a small disclaimer, but if you had enough dry theory already you can safely skip to the first main header (you won’t miss anything important for following this thread).
I fully realize that the use of diagrams within the field of data analysis is driven by necessity and usually has little to do with personal preference. My purpose for this thread is simply to act as some kind of showcase to demonstrate some of the things Visual Paradigm can do. And not necessarily in the hands of a professional: the other reason I’m starting this thread is because it’s also a fun way for me to study some of these diagrams and learn more about them before sharing my findings.
And although I will definitely do my best I cannot rule out that some mistakes might happen (but if those do happen I will obviously admit to the mistake and correct it).
Also: some people sometimes wonder about me so let’s get some things out of the way: No, I do not work for Visual Paradigm. Yes, I am definitely a fan: I really enjoy working with Visual Paradigm in both a semi-professional way (= using UML / BPMN for my personal projects) as well as hobby based. I actually have downloaded several of the formal modeling specifications from the OMG group which I’m also studying (just for context). No, I don’t think Visual Paradigm is perfect. In fact, I even discovered quite a few flaws myself over the past the years. But I do think Visual Paradigm is one of the best modeling suites available and I seriously admire the dedication by the Visual Paradigm team towards their product.
And when I like something I tend to vent a little
But just so we’re clear: I share the same amount of enthusiasm for FreeBSD, NetBeans and the game of Minecraft. If you look up my nickname in combination with those then you’ll find me. Me “backing up” Visual Paradigm is only driven by one simple motivation: I seriously like the software as well as admire the company behind it. And when I like something, you get posts like these
Sorry for the long intro but several people asked about some of my reactions / responses towards Visual Paradigm so I figured I’d share.
Business rules diagram
I know, I know: the official name is Business Rule Grid. But I’m still tempted to call this a diagram because we also have the Matrix diagram (grid based) and Chart diagram (also grid based). On top of that: this will really come to live if you don’t start with setting up the grid, but instead focus on the rule elements themselves.
Adding a broader view
What makes this diagram stand out for me is its accessibility. But first off: what is a business rule exactly? Well, according to Wikipedia:
Take note: operations, definitions and constraints.
So how would we apply this? Very simple: just add the rule to the diagram(s) they apply to. For this very purpose I gave the rules a specific format so that they would stand out.
Examples of usage
Let’s take this Use case into consideration:
And also the follow up on “cool stuff” (quite the description, eh?):
So here we are, 2 diagrams describing different aspects of our system and both contain a business rule. So the interesting part here is that you can apply those rules in any way you want. Your different diagrams describe different parts of the system and by adding those rules you’re basically applying a layer “on top” of what you already have:
So here I added a new business grid, and also added some custom columns to determine some aspects which are important to this situation. Within the individual diagrams all you have is an extra element. One which could easily be disregarded if need be (using layers for example).
But if you then open up the business grid you get a solid overview which showcases new directions and new possible bottlenecks to address. I mean… all I did was adding some concerns. For example: when looking at the above diagram (I know it’s kind of crude) I’d immediately raise a question: how does the admin get a copy of the log?
It has no direct impact on the rest of the diagrams (it could have of course) but clearly showcases a possible concern which may need to be addressed.
And all thanks to a ‘simple’ grid diagram which basically only contains specific model elements listed across different diagrams.
Which also somewhat explains why I like this so much. The Business rule grid is a feature only available in the Professional feature (and up) and although you most likely won’t miss this if you use a lower tier license its value really becomes obvious once you started to use it.
Sure: this is a simple looking aspect. But things which look easy…
The Business rule grid is available in VP Professional and up.
See this VP webpage: “A business rule is a statement that describes a business policy or procedure. Business rule grid is an ideal tool for accommodating a large amount of business rules in a manageable manner.”.
2 out of 5. But it depends on how you approach this. If you start by creating a grid and then adding rules (also possible) then it might become more difficult. But if you apply these rules as individual model elements to your existing diagrams (or diagrams you’re working on) then the “business rule puzzle” can easily fall into place fully automatically.
It is not something I use very often myself, but when I do I can’t help but be a little amazed at the impact of something as simple as a mere grid diagram. I think that Business Rules are well in place within the Professional tier, even though I wouldn’t be easily able to afford them as an individual user myself.
But if you do decide to invest then I think you won’t be disappointed because of the ease of use and the easily gained results.
Diagram of the month for March: Business rule grid.
And there you have it!
Thanks for reading and hopefully until the next post in this thread! (approx. 4 weeks from now, give or take; one entry per month). I hope you enjoyed.