Complexity Aware Modelling II

State Machine with DELETED stateThink of a state machine with a lot of states, and a special ‘deleted’ state, that can be reached directly from everywhere. Additionally the thing has an ‘undelete’ functionality, that jumps out of the ‘deleted’ state back into the state before it was deleted. If faced with such a state machine, the majority of people say things like: “oh, so many states” or “it’s so big”. In contrast, someone aware of the concept of complexity would say sth like “oh, what a nasty undelete function” or “without the undelete it would be much cheaper to implement”.

Complexity aware people are able to recognize complexity, and regard it over things like size. Why? Because, we’re in the software world. Surely, in the physical world this might be different. Speaking from experience, an analyst can proof very beneficial, if she is able to address complexity issues early in analysis. Then of course ‘addressing’ complexity can lead to anything: accepting it, postponing it, checking it, ignoring it or whatsoever. Important is, the earlier you do it the more options you have.

For detecting complexity in software analysis, modelling is an essential tool, since by definition modelling is about structure (and not about languages, in the first place, as one might think by some of the literature). In the end it’s about having an eye for structure, i.e. to say things like: “ok, mind maps look quite intuitive, but in the end it’s just a taxonomy”.

Thus creating models in analysis should always go along with awareness of their complexity issues.

Have fun
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PS
notice that this is about complexity of business logic, and that technical complexity is a different issue. See therefore Part I

PPS
of course balancing business and technical complexities is far from trivial, and is the actual mission of design, as nicely described by Bertrand Meyer here

About modelpractice

Modeling Theory and Abstraction Awareness in strive for scientific rigour and relevance to information systems engineering.
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3 Responses to Complexity Aware Modelling II

  1. TY says:

    hmmm, it sounds not very hard sentences but…

    For “modelling is about structure…In the end it’ s about having an eye for structure,”
    This seems in line with some of my thoughts: perhaps we have spent too much effort in the languages (relatively); sometimes even made ones feel that the main task for models and modeling is to estabilish and use languages.

    But, for “Thus creating models in analysis should always go along with awareness of their complexity issues.”
    What ever is its significance or meanings for our operations to models and its use?

  2. hmmm, good point – have to think about this …

  3. Hi TY,

    “What ever is its significance or meanings for our operations to models and its use?”
    Finally wrote an extra posting on this.

    |=

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