The process of collaborative creation; of drawing and deliberating and rationalizing potential paths together until we reach an agreed upon “best way forward” provides the real value in visual modeling.
“The chief virtue that language can have is clearness, and nothing detracts from it so much as the use of unfamiliar words.” – Hippocrates
Apparently, even back in Hippocrates’ day (approximately 450 BC), business professionals had a tendency to confuse their stakeholders with acronyms, jargon, and odd colloquialisms. In business communication, first and foremost in importance is achieving mutual understanding. Some may be able to follow jargon or sophisticated phraseology, but one stands a far better chance of ensuring understanding with clear, simple, common language. Some things never change!
Communication using only words – whether verbal or written – leaves much to the imagination. Which is part of the appeal when it comes to reading for pleasure. Unlike a great book, most of us don’t read business documents such as a requirements specification for enjoyment. And unlike the book, there can be significant repercussions when one reader’s interpretation of the content varies widely from another’s. So, how can we improve the precision and clarity of documentation without getting too long?
Poor grammar and spelling that cause a requirements model to be inaccurate, or difficult to understand and use, are serious because they negatively affect the documentation’s ability to serve its purpose. An otherwise solid, easy to understand document with some errors in grammar and spelling, is not as serious. In either case, poor grammar and spelling should be included in the offending analyst’s professional development plan, and improvement should be encouraged and expected.
My employer, Jabian Consulting, produces a semi-annual publication of our consultants’ latest thinking on today’s most important business and technology issues. The Spring, 2014 issue just came out today, and it’s really good (and I’d say that even if I didn’t work there!)! You […]