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Formalisation Creates Models

I have been having some discussions lately about with various people around the globe on what constitutes a “model”.

Some of those with whom I have been in discussion hold the view that any concept or mental picture that a person holds in their head constitutes a model.  While this might be valid from a philosophical point of view, such models are of little or no value in the world of business analysis and modelling.

Many business people will have a mental “picture” of the business as it is now or as it should to be.  This will be a good starting point for discussion, evaluation and analysis but will be too nebulous to bring about effective business change.

The Integrated Modelling Method has a definition of what constitutes a model and what does not.  Basically a model, in whatever form (whether in words or pictures), must use standard conventions and apply rigorous standards.

Some people have argued that this is merely “formalisation”.  I would argue that anything that is NOT formalised is NOT a model.

Formalisation turns loose pictures and concepts into models.

At a philosophical level this rigour might not be called for, but in the world of business analysis and modelling informal models are, to quote a friend of mine, “about a much use as a chocolate teapot”!


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