Modeling Efficiencies Using The Kalido Approach

I took my first Kalido training class in October of 1997 and I’ve been involved with Kalido ever since.  Because I’ve used Kalido for so long, it’s often easy for me to forget all of the things people had to do manually prior to Kalido coming around.  I recently saw a book by Oracle ACE Kent Graziano called “A Check List for Doing Data Model Design Reviews” on Amazon, so I grabbed a copy.

Kent’s comprehensive check list includes 34 Logical Model items and 37 Physical Model Items to review.  Now, I consider Kalido BIM models to be conceptual models.  However, for the purposes of this exercise, the steps Kent listed for Logical Items align fairly well to our Conceptual version.

First, Kent recommends printing the ERD and all entity and attribute detail reports.  Certainly you can still do that, but I find that doing it directly in Kalido BIM works equally as well.  Normally the leader projects on a screen and everyone reviews the information projected, making changes as agreed.  Alternatively, you can send or checkout the model to each participant and they can review it by themselves on their local laptop.  (Kalido BIM is free for model display, so anyone can download the software directly from the Kalido website and use it in the meeting).

Besides saving paper and ink, using the modeler directly allows review by any column order, and also allows filtering if focus needs to be brought to any one area (e.g. all Classes with Product in the name, or all Subtypes, etc.):

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Most of the 34 Logical review check list items apply to Kalido, although sometimes in a different flavor.  For instance, one of the first items on the list is to run a validation on the model for completeness.  Kalido monitors the model in real-time and provides immediate feedback for items that will likely prevent the model from deploying.  You can see the errors and warnings on the right hand pane of the modeler, and optionally you can also turn on the “Display Errors on Diagram” option to see errors highlighted in red on the diagram side as well:

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A few of the Logical check list items are probably overkill for a Kalido model.  For example, the requirement for each entity to have at least one unique identifier (Kalido calls these Naming Schemes) is obviated by the fact that for each entity Kalido automatically creates and requires at least one name and default identifier.  If someone went out of their way to delete the identifier for an object that was created by default, Kalido would highlight that on the error pane.  This means the first checklist rule would catch all of these, rare though they might be:

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Where the real power of Kalido to reduce work comes in is on the Physical Items side.  Of the 37 Physical Items listed, while a few would migrate to BIM, most do not apply.  This is because the conceptual model drives almost everything on the physical side, and while there are some options on how it gets “physicalized” in the end, many of these are in the model itself (e.g. Custom CBE vs. Generic CBE) and some are options in the operational environment.

An example of a physical rule that would go away is “Are any new standards or abbreviations indicated?”  That is because we already had that question on the logical side, and if we had answered yes, those would have moved into the BIM Name and Label management area:

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This is the place where a friendly name “Product” would get translated into the company standard abbreviation in a column name (e.g. PRD).  This then happens automatically in the physical layer, although modelers can certainly review it.

At least one question did not apply at all because Kalido BIM is not a general modeling tool:  “Is this an OLTP system or Data Warehouse?”  Kalido BIM creates models specifically for Data Warehouses, Data Marts, and Master Data Management systems, and it is not meant for creating general OLTP models.

One of the items in the Logical view was around making sure that each item had a definition.  Kalido BIM makes this easy to check since you can sort on Definition:

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For companies where definitions are required (and it is certainly a Best Practice in Kalido to use them), any that are missing can be easily seen and then immediately filled in before deploying the model.

Final count?  I’d say that of the 37 Physical Items in Kent’s checklist, I’d keep 6 and 31 go away.  Not bad!

What kind of checklists do you use in your model reviews?  Are there things we should be doing in BIM to make your review sessions go more smoothly?  Let us know!

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