I’ve always found using pictures, diagrams and models an effective way of describing and communicating ideas. I was fortunate enough to be visiting Minsk, Belarus recently and it struck me how useful pictures and diagrams really are. Being in a foreign country, with a completely different language and even a different alphabet means that it’s difficult to find a frame of reference.
However, pictures transcend language.
Take the example below. Even if you can’t speak Russian, I’d hazard a guess you can make an educated assumption about what this sign is trying to convey:
What does this mean for those of us that work as Business Analysts, or those of us that work on projects? Well, I think it reaffirms the need to use diagrams, models and rich-pictures in our requirement artifacts. There are so many reasons why this is the case, but two of particular relevance are listed below:
1. Well drawn diagrams add precision: Chances are not everyone on your project speaks English as their first language. Pictures and models transcend this, and help to add precision to requirements and project documentation, irrespective of the language spoken.
2. Common notations save thousands of words: Where a common understanding of a modelling notation exists, it’s possible to draw a diagram that contains a huge amount of detail on a single page. This is a way of saving hundreds (or even thousands) of words. Take the example above — if every possible scenario of “slippery floor” or “slippery surface” or “you might slip” are written down, it would take pages and pages…. but because we all have an understanding of the symbol, it can be conveyed without words at all.
So — next time you’re in a foreign country, look out for the pictures to guide you. And more importantly, remember to include diagrams, models and rich pictures in your requirements and project documents.
Спасибо (Thank you) for reading this article 🙂
I hope you have found this article interesting. Do you use models/pictures in your project documentation? What tips do you have? I’d love to hear from you — please add a comment below.
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