5 Ways to make Data Modeling Fun


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This was presented at the Rocky Mountain Oracle Users Group Training Days 2013 in Denver Colorado.

Most people think data modeling booooorrring, right? But for a few of us, it is kind of fun. While data architects the world over will all agree that data modeling is a critical success factor to any well engineered database or data warehouse system, many struggle with how to get their organizations to support their efforts. What if you could make data modeling sessions more engaging for the business folks (your customers!)? If you could, the end result would be better data models. Using some common children’s games and other concepts (and creative license on the themes) this session will show you how to make data modeling fun. Be prepared to rethink how you develop data models.

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5 Ways to make Data Modeling Fun

  1. 1. Five Ways to MakeData Modeling Fun Kent Graziano Data Warrior LLC
  2. 2. Bio Kent Graziano ● Oracle ACE Director (BI/DW) ● Data Architecture and Data Warehouse Specialist ● 30+ years in IT ● 20+ years of Oracle-related work ● 15+ years of data warehousing experience ● Co-Author of ● The Business of Data Vault Modeling ● The Data Model Resource Book (1st Edition) ● Co-Chair BI/DW SIG for ODTUG ● Past-President of Oracle Development Tools User Group and Rocky Mountain Oracle User Group © Data Warrior LLC #RMOUG
  3. 3. The 5 Ways Word Search Silly Sentences Jeopardy Data Model Haiku Data Model Telephone © Data Warrior LLC #RMOUG
  4. 4. Introduction A correct data model has value ● Master Data ● BI and Analytics ● Common Vocabulary Building one is tedious Few people really want to spend time reviewing one There must be a better way! © Data Warrior LLC #RMOUG
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  6. 6. Approach Put up a large version of a data model on the wall List of words to find on the model diagram. ● From data model reports Take turns going up to the diagram to highlight or circle the words on their list Form teams, keep score ● Time limit © Data Warrior LLC #RMOUG
  7. 7. Find These Words Eval Commission Job Salary Department Country ID Region Postal Code Start Date End Date Job Employee © Data Warrior LLC
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  9. 9. Rationale Familiarize people with the diagram ● How to read it Review main concepts Confirm entity names © Data Warrior LLC #RMOUG
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  11. 11. Approach Idea from National Geographic Kids magazine Sentences with missing words ● Nouns ● Verbs ● Adverbs Start with relationship sentences ● Mess them up – use the wrong verbs Ask users to validate and correct © Data Warrior LLC #RMOUG
  12. 12. Rationale Relationship names are important ● Represent real business rules Relationships naming is hard Makes people really thing about them © Data Warrior LLC #RMOUG
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  14. 14. Approach The Game: ● Contestants select a category ● “I’ll take Ex-presidents for $500” ● They get an “answer” ● They say what the answer represents by asking a question Use entity definitions as the answers. Users have to guess the entity name with a question. © Data Warrior LLC #RMOUG
  15. 15. Rationale See if people can link the definitions to the entities Do they even remember the definitions they wrote or approved? Fun way to review and get signoff on the definitions © Data Warrior LLC #RMOUG
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  17. 17. Approach Create a poem to express ● Entity definition ● Attribute definition ● Relationship Haiku pattern ● 5 syllables ● 7 syllables ● 5 syllables Use any poetic form you like © Data Warrior LLC #RMOUG
  18. 18. My poor example
  19. 19. Rationale Using a specific form requires thought Forces people to really examine the words they are using May have to use different word so must understand the actual meaning For Haiku – must be succinct © Data Warrior LLC #RMOUG
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  21. 21. Approach Split the room into two teams 1st person on each team reads (to themselves) a definition Whisper it to the next person and they to the next Last person writes it down Compare the results from the two teams © Data Warrior LLC #RMOUG
  22. 22. Rationale Many people think JAD sessions and review sessions are of little value People take bad or no notes ● “I’ll remember” No one wants to be the scribe ● That may be the most important role! © Data Warrior LLC #RMOUG
  23. 23. Audience? Technical Team ● Word Search ● Data Model Telephone Subject Mater Experts ● Silly Sentences ● Data Model Telephone © Data Warrior LLC #RMOUG
  24. 24. Audience? Business End Users ● Word Search ● Silly Sentences ● Jeopardy ● Data Model Telephone Modelers ● Silly Sentences ● Haiku ● Data Model Telephone © Data Warrior LLC #RMOUG
  25. 25. Conclusion Lots of options Try any or all of these Make up your own Can we make data modeling more fun? ● Yes we can! © Data Warrior LLC #RMOUG
  26. 26. Want better data models?http://www.amazon.com/Check-Doing-Design-Reviews-ebook/dp/B008RG9L5E/
  27. 27. Hold for Kscope13 slide
  28. 28. Contact Information Kent GrazianoThe Oracle Data Warrior Data Warrior LLC Kent.graziano@att.net Visit my blog athttp://kentgraziano.com #RMOUG