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Knowledge Spiral Method

Knowledge Spiral is the agile methodology that is embedded in SCooP model life-cycle that is used to drive the transformation of Enterprise Knowledge into Business Applications. The methodology is based in a six-step cycle, that is repeated continuously, closing the distance between the solution and the real business needs.

 Step1 – Comprehension of the Problem

The business problem is born in the business side, the experts on the problem are the people of the business. Their knowledge is usually a mixture of tacit and explicit knowledge, and the uncertainty areas are frequently hidden. We use a Process-Centric approach to decompose the business scenario into processes, sub processes, concepts and specification requirements that will be the key to:

  • Understand the business problem
  • Extract knowledge, making it explicit, and identify uncertainties and risks
  • Get an agreement on comprehension with business specialists. This agreement is not a functional analysis, but a description of the business needs and intentions.

 Steps2 and 3 – Modeling

Formal models are the transformation of that agreement of comprehension into the standard ontologies in SCooP. The main ontologies are:

    • Business Semantic, that contains concepts, attributes, relations, taxonomies, and other definitions about the business semantics. Templates are supported to provide classes with standard functions.
    • Human Interfaces, that will describe the different aspects of the interrelation of humans with business objects. This includes navigation trees, role and security aspects, screens and dialogs, panels and dashboards.
    • Business Process Management Diagrams (BPM), which depicts formal workflows for the business problem. Workflows are associated to business objects, making use of their metadata and functions, and also with human interfaces.
    • Reporting and Dashboards. A SCooP embedded Report and Dashboard generator is used to define information outputs and to link that outputs to the Human Interface
    • Mobile Apps description, that are done using adapted BPMN diagrams.
    • Models are created in two layers of complexity:
    • Functional modeling, that is done by consultants and functional modelers, working together with end-users / domain experts.
    • Technical modeling, which covers the technical-savvy issues of a system, such as systems integration, algorithms, optimization, technical business rules, etc. Modelers with technical background work on this part of the models.

Technical modeling is usually done in the second round of the spiral, not on the first one. Technical and functional models are maintained synchronized by SCooP, using Model to Model Transformations.

 Step4 – Ration and Go Live

Generation of the Business Application. The system is generated as a number of files containing system specifications and metadata, in the form of DSLs. The package generated is moved to the production environment, and the solution is instantiated. This takes minutes. Go Live!

 Step5 and 6 – Validation

Validation is the comparison of the solution that has been generated with the business needs and expectations. Here we check that the transference of knowledge between users and modelers has been good, and that the practical representation of the ideas is workable, and satisfies everybody.

The validation covers two aspects:

A) Technical fitness. The technical components are validated (systems interfaces, business rules, etc)

B) Business fitness. Business specialists check the system using cases of use, representing their expected business situations. In the first round of the spiral a large amount of new knowledge is created, as long as the experts start emitting their opinions about the system, and make their minds, approaching their expectations with a solution that they can touch and work with. The information gathered here usually refines the agreement of comprehension, adding new details to it, allowing a deeper understanding of the problem. Each new round will produce a better detailed picture of the solution. Three rounds is usually the goal in common solutions.

 Read more about how this applies to B2T Industry Solutions