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whiteboard modeling

 
Stefan Bell
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Can somebody explain whiteboard modeling? I believe it is designing on a whiteboard and then taking a digital picture of it? Does this only happen in small shops? Do you then put it in a software tool (Rose, XDE) or is that the model, if so what happens with refactoring and such?

Thanks...
 
Lasse Koskela
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Originally posted by Stefan Bell:
Can somebody explain whiteboard modeling? I believe it is designing on a whiteboard and then taking a digital picture of it?

Whiteboard modeling is just that -- modeling on a whiteboard. It might involve taking a digital photograph of the outcome for extended memory or formal documentation purposes, but that's not really part of the modeling itself anymore.


Originally posted by Stefan Bell:
Does this only happen in small shops?

Would you call a 100,000-employee Fortune 500 company "small"? How about another 70,000-employee Fortune 500 company? I'm employed by one and working for the other right now, and we are doing whiteboard modeling every now and then. Then again, we're also doing pen-and-paper modeling and we do use a CASE tool for drawing pretty, perfectly rectangular, colored boxes as well -- every now and then.

Originally posted by Stefan Bell:
Do you then put it in a software tool (Rose, XDE) or is that the model, if so what happens with refactoring and such?

As I said, we do use a CASE tool. However, we only maintain a domain model in electronic form. Drawing full-blown class diagrams (let alone sequence or collaboration diagrams) of each and every class in the system would be overkill and would slow us down significantly. If you're worried that a refactoring would require you to redraw a bunch of class diagrams, you should seriously evaluate whether you're modeling on a too detailed level.
 
Stan James
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Whiteboarding implies several things ... a group of people collaborating and drawing, informal diagrams that don't use every last decoration in the UML, and transient artifacts. (The digital camera makes them less transient, but still we're not painstakingly entering them into The Official Rose Model for perpetuity.) Whiteboarding is kind of a code word for a focused, short, informal interactive design session. Having a bunch of smart people in a room jumping up and contributing to the drawing is one of the very best parts of my job.

I had almost the same experience putting the findings of a meeting into the Wiki on a projector the other day. Sure beat going back to my desk to write up the minutes and distribute them via Notes. Anybody else make that a regular part of their routine?
 
Stefan Bell
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Originally posted by Lasse Koskela:

As I said, we do use a CASE tool. However, we only maintain a domain model in electronic form. Drawing full-blown class diagrams (let alone sequence or collaboration diagrams) of each and every class in the system would be overkill and would slow us down significantly. If you're worried that a refactoring would require you to redraw a bunch of class diagrams, you should seriously evaluate whether you're modeling on a too detailed level.


We reuse a lot of classes, objects and so forth so the model lets us know if a change is going to occur what the repurcussions may be throughout the application. I am not worried about redrawing diagrams and such, mainly if something changes what all will be affected and by using XDE (soon going to RSA) it gives us an indication.
 
Scott Ambler
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Check out http://www.agilemodeling.com/essays/whiteboardModeling.htm

I've worked on very large projects, and small projects too, and on every single one of them I've modeled on whiteboards. Yes, I'll also use other modeling tools such as TogetherCC or Argo or ERWin or Popkin's Software Architect but I'll always use whiteboards.

I think you'd be hard pressed to find any organization that doesn't have whiteboards available to their IT staff for doing modeling. I was at OOPSLA last week on an MDA panel and I asked the audience point blank who was using whiteboards for sketching on their projects and it looked as if about 95% of the people raised their hands. Later on another panelist asked if people where using modeling tools, and only about half the people raised their hands. It tells me that a lot of people don't realize that whiteboards are modeling tools, and not only that they're the most common modeling tools. Sketches, IMHO, are models.

Use the right tool for the job.

- Scott
 
Don't get me started about those stupid light bulbs.
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