Re: Complexity, Languaging & Design LO1099

Dickover - Melvin E. (
Mon, 8 May 1995 11:41:48 -0400 (EDT)

Replying to L01092-- More info on IDEF0 modeling language. Readers answer
a standing list of questions in their review. These include: Is it
correct? Is something missing? Are these the words you would use? Is
there something about the diagram that makes you uncomfortable, even if
you can't verbalize it? What stops you from concurring with this diagram?
The effect of these questions is to elicit both conscious and
subconscious, intuitive knowledge about the readers' perceptions of the

Authors use their judgement in incorporating everyone's comments, getting
readers who are at odds together to work out differences. Most conflicting
commennts are resolved without face-to-face meetings. The meaning of the
words (labels on diagram boxes or arrows) are a subject of conflict at the
begining. As the modeling details boxes on diagrams at one level at the
next level down, the meaning of the words are clarified and stablize. One
reason for this is that language is not so good at expressing complex webs
of system dependencies, but when words are attached to visual
representations of those dependencies, their meaning becomes associated
with something more tangible and more likely to be the same in different
people's minds. The group knows (subconsciously) the meanings are the
same, because the disagreements stop and the communication gets much

IDEF0 is a method. It can be done with paper or you can use computer
programs to support drawing, etc. At least two books and many reports
explain IDEF0. I can get exact references and post later, if desired.

Mel (