Content Modelling Workshop (J Gollner TC World 2013)


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A short workshop on Content Modelling delivered at TC World / Tekom 2013 in Wiesbaden, Germany. This workshop digs into some of the fundamental concepts and techniques that need to be weighed when framing an effective approach Content Modelling. Essentially introduces the influences, including a sojourn at MIT where I encountered the Object Process Methodology, that led to a "Content Modelling Technique".

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  • It was interesting to see the different modelling systems compared in the in this context. Encyclopedic and comprehensive. Well done.
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Content Modelling Workshop (J Gollner TC World 2013)

  1. 1. Content Modelling Copyright © Joe Gollner 2013 Joe Gollner Gnostyx Research Inc. @joegollner
  2. 2. Workshop Topics Core Concepts & Terminology Perspectives on Content Modelling Content Modelling Technique The Three Key Sides to Content Modelling Content Types Content Composition Content Processes
  3. 3. Core Concepts & Terminology
  4. 4. Core Concepts: Content & Information Content Is what we plan, design, create, reuse & manage so that we can deliver effective information products Content is potential information (an asset) Information Is the meaningful organization of data communicated in a specific context with the purpose of influencing others Information is a transaction (an action) Information transactions contain content
  5. 5. Related Definitions Publishing The process of transforming content assets into information products that can be effectively transacted Documents Documents are the persistent form of information transactions that have been exchanged as part of a business process. Documents are a fact of life & can take many forms.
  6. 6. Building Blocks in the Content Lifecycle Content Acquisition Creation Content Acquisition Content Delivery Content Management Content Engagement Content Delivery Publishing Content Engagement Use Content Management Control
  7. 7. Content Strategy A strategy is a plan of action directed towards achieving a long-term goal through the coordination, integration and application of the resources and capabilities available to an enterprise Content Acquisition Content Delivery Content Strategy Content Management Content Engagement A Content Strategy seeks to make content a strategic asset that can be leveraged by state-of-the-art technology to achieve concrete business goals. This strategy will set out a plan of balanced investments to improve how content is acquired, delivered, engaged and managed. A Content Strategy also, and perhaps primarily, determines what content is needed & why.
  8. 8. Questions Surrounding the Content Lifecycle • Content is only usefully understood as part of its lifecycle Content Acquisition Content Delivery • Where it comes from? Content Strategy • Where it goes? • Who is responsible for it? • Why is it created in the first place? Content Management Content Engagement • How is it published? • How many different information products will it support? • How are the published information products used?
  9. 9. The Role of Content Architecture Content Acquisition Content Strategy Content Model A detailed model of the content and its lifecycle Identifies: · Content Types · Content Composition · Content Process Steps Establishes the point of reference for all content solution implementation activities Content Delivery Content Management Content Architecture Content Engagement Content Solution
  10. 10. Perspectives on Content Modelling
  11. 11. Content Archeology Identifying & studying content “in the wild” & following the paths inside Often a major revelation for content owners Rahel Bailie
  12. 12. Understanding the Content Inside Developing a model of what happens behind the page in order to design a content architecture that will govern a content management solution Cleve Gibbon Applying the all-important discipline of abstraction in order to establish more general technical solutions
  13. 13. Unified Modeling Language (UML 2.0) UML is a standardized modeling language for designing software applications Object Management Group (OMG) Use Case Diagrams Models the interaction between users and the software application System perspectice
  14. 14. Unified Modeling Language (UML 2.0) Class Diagrams Used to model the static structure of a system Models the classes in a system, including their attributes, methods, and relationships Can be applied to the content resources within a system and their attributes and relationships • • • Type Hierarchies Composition Other relationships
  15. 15. Business Process Model & Notation (BPMN) BPMN 2.0 is from the Object Management Group (OMG) as a tool for understanding, graphically, business procedures Jackie Damrau & Joe Gollner – Business Process Workshop (2013)
  16. 16. Case Study: A Breakdown in Modeling Large-scale software project $225 million Content & document handling processes Modeling Approach UML & full suite of Enterprise software design tools International specialists brought onboard to assist in planning Substantial budget set aside for stakeholder engagement Result Communication breakdown. Models not understood at all.
  17. 17. Modelling Content Structures Microstar Near & Far Document Type Definition (DTD) Visual Modeller Very popular & dearly missed Simple enough to show executives Only addressed content structure
  18. 18. Looking for a Better Answer
  19. 19. Object Process Methodology (OPM) Designed as a unification & rationalization of UML providing an integrated, single view of complex systems Prof Dov Dori Israel Institute of Technology & MIT
  20. 20. OPM Modeling Notation Object Process Object States 1 2 Relationships Agent Link Effect Link Integrated modeling notation designed for complex systems Establishes Objects and Processes as the two fundamental building blocks Processes change Objects Exhibits Single modeling view - Inheritance - Composition - Process flow
  21. 21. The Search Continued Alternatives were unsatisfying in being either: Too complex to use with executive & business stakeholders Too oriented towards software design • UML / OPM Too superficial to facilitate a rigorous understanding of content & content processes for the purposes of automation • Flowcharting / BPMN Too limited in only representing content structures but not processing events • Near & Far / Visual tools for modelling XML Schemas
  22. 22. Content Modelling Technique
  23. 23. The Search for a Content Modelling Technique A Content Modelling Technique could be constructed from: Object Process Methodology (OPM) • Basic framework where objects & processes are treated as peers IDEF0 Function Modelling • General principles for representing manufacturing processes Object Modeling Technique (OMT) • Visually elegant precursor to UML A strict discipline could be applied to limit the visual complexity of diagrams while addressing the needs of content modelling
  24. 24. Drawing on Multiple Sources: IDEF0 IDEF0 – Function Modelling ICAM Definition for Function Modelling ICAM – Integration Computer-Aided Manufacturing
  25. 25. Object Modeling Technique (OMT) OMT Modelling technique developed in 1991 by a team led by James Rumbaugh (a later contributor to UML)
  26. 26. Content Modelling Technique - Notation Content Modelling Technique (CMT) A modeling technique that provides a systematic and disciplined way to represent content objects and processes in the context of business goals and responsibilities assumed by organizations or individuals (actors). Object Objects are “things” that can be used, consumed, produced or called upon to provide a service. Process Processes act upon “objects” in order to change their state. Processes may use, consume, produce objects or depend upon the services from objects. Order Start Inheritance Composition Choice Details Actors assume responsibility for outcomes. Actors can call upon processes, objects & other actors. Annotation Choice Actor One or more Zero or more End Flow One Zero or one Relationship Cardinality Three Building Blocks: - Objects - Processes - Actors What’s New: Actors - Elevation of OPM Agent link - Analogous to the UML Actor - Actors are people or organizations who are responsible for outcomes
  27. 27. CMT Objects Object Object “Thing” that can be acted upon • Object Attributes Examples: • Document Artifact • Information Resource • Content Asset Can exhibit Attributes States can be changed by processes Can be used in the sense of an object in O-O analysis & design to encapsulate behaviour
  28. 28. CMT Processes Process Process Activity that can act upon, and change the state of, objects Can be manual or automated or a combination Can be broken down into discrete process steps Must always have at least one object as an input Must always have at least one object as an output Process steps are connected by object transfers
  29. 29. CMT Actors Actor Actor Nexus of responsibility • • Individual Organization Responsible for a process & its outcomes “Owns” objects Can play one or more roles in a process • Examples: • Creator • Approver
  30. 30. CMT Inheritance Inheritance Establish a type hierarchy classification scheme exhibiting “is-a” relationships Inheritance • • A Taxonomy Child types are said to be specializations of the more general types Examples • Content Type specialization • A test is a specialized form of a task • Actor Type specialization • Business Analyst & Technical Analyst are types of Analyst task test Analyst Business Analyst Technical Analyst
  31. 31. CMT Composition Composition Composition Establishes the make-up of an entity Hierarchical classification scheme based on the breakdown of an entity into its constituent parts A “Part-ology” Document Examples Content Object decomposition Approval Process decomposition Review Testing Sign-off Front Matter Body Rear Matter
  32. 32. CMT Relationships Cardinality One or more Represents key cases Avoids over-specification • • e.g., Min 1 Max 4 These are constraints that can, and should, be specified separately (implementation detail) Organization Zero or more One Zero or one Relationship Cardinality Order Choice How entities will appear Process Flow Start End Flow Movement of objects through process steps
  33. 33. CMT in Action: A Simple Example Establish Project Requirements Project Team Customer Identify Needs Business Needs Document Document Requirements Use Case • • • • Testing Team Draft Requirements Specification Test Case System Constraint Requirements Validation Prototyping Technical Proof of Concept Baseline Requirements Specification Usability Testing Different types of Actors shown: Customer, Project Team, Testing Team Content objects connect each process Decomposition shown for an object, a process & an actor Different cardinalities are shown: optional, optional but repeatable, mandatory, mandatory and repeatable
  34. 34. Selective Views of a CMT Model Actors Flow of Responsibility Process Customer Identify Needs Project Team Document Requirements Testing Team Requirements Validation Business process model Object Business Needs Document State Transition model Draft Requirements Specification Baseline Requirements Specification
  35. 35. Drilling Down into the Details Establish Project Requirements Project Team Customer Business Needs Document Identify Needs Test Setup Draft Requirements Specification Document Requirements Use Case Task Setup Testing Team Task Steps Test Steps Test Case Task Result Test Result Baseline Requirements Specification Requirements Validation System Constraint Identify Uncertainties Prototyping Plan Experiments Technical Proof of Concept Conduct Experiments Usability Testing Document Results
  36. 36. Reflections on Content Modelling Technique Content Modelling Technique Has been fashioned from numerous modelling precedents Has been consciously tailored to align with common features of content objects and processes Has been stripped of as much visual detail as possible so that CMT models can be used to communicate with executive and business stakeholders Has been designed to emphasize three relationship types • • • Content type hierarchies Content composition Content processing
  37. 37. Content Types
  38. 38. Modelling Content Types Identify atomic types Establish familial relationships between types What types are specialized examples of more general types (facilitates processing) Selective View of a DITA Task Specialized as a Test taskbody testSetup unitOfMeasure uomSpan uomVelocity uomVoltage fps mph stepsection testBody Units of Measure Taxonomy task test step testStep mps kmph
  39. 39. Content Composition
  40. 40. Modelling Content Composition Content assets are typically described in terms of what they contain What they are made up of Published information products (documents) are likewise composed of content assets assembled in a specific order & processed in a specific way note Specialized DITA Step cmd testDataRef choices itemgroup step testStep stepresult testResult choicetable stepxml substeps info
  41. 41. Content Processing
  42. 42. Modelling Content Processes Processes can be broken down to as low a level of detail as is necessary Processes will encompass business events (approvals), tasks performed by people (writing), and automated steps (validations, transformations, transmittals,…) Understanding the processes will ultimately determine what level of detail must be modelled in the content assets
  43. 43. Modelling Processes in Content Environments Prime Contractor Solution Implementation Project Plan Project Coordinate SubContractor Projects SubContractor Content processes frequently cross organizational boundaries - Suppliers Provides a form of organizational encapsulation Integrate Solution Initiate Solution Support Solution In this example, one actor (Prime) is responsible for the project while other actors (Subs) are a mechanism for performing a specific sub-process
  44. 44. Summary Content Modelling Technique (CMT) offers A simplified modelling notation that has been tailored to modelling content & content processes • Supports the all important engagement of non-technical stakeholders Focuses on modelling three forms of relationship that are critical to understanding content & content processes • • • Content type hierarchies Content composition Content processing Retains sufficient theoretical rigour to facilitate the construction of content models precise enough to facilitate the application of efficient & effective automation
  45. 45. Questions & Comments
  46. 46. Making Connections Joe Gollner Gnostyx Research Inc. Twitter: @joegollner Blog: The Content Philosopher