Print Page   |   Contact Us   |   Sign In   |   Join
AEA Search
IRM UK | Advanced Data Modelling: Communication, Consistency, and Complexity
Tell a Friend About This EventTell a Friend

This intense, participative workshop provides approaches for many advanced data modelling situations, as well as techniques for improving communication between data modellers, business analysts, designer/developers, and subject matter experts.

10/17/2018 to 10/19/2018
When: 17 - 19 October 2018
Wednesday through Friday
Where: etc.venues Marble Arch
Garfield House
86 Edgware Rd
London W2 2EA
United Kingdom
Presenter: Alec Sharp
Contact: +44 (0)20 8866 8366

« Go to Upcoming Event List  

  IRM UK                                              

Advanced Data Modelling: Communication, Consistency, and Complexity

Use code AEA10 to receive 10% AEA member discount when registering!!

Register On-line:
17 - 19 October 2018, London

Seminar Fee 
£1,595 + VAT (£319) = £1,914


After gaining some practical experience, data modellers encounter situations such as the enforcement of complex business rules, handling recurring patterns, dealing with existing databases or packaged applications, and other issues not covered in introductory data modelling classes.  This intense, participative workshop provides approaches for many advanced data modelling situations, as well as techniques for improving communication between data modellers, business analysts, designer/developers, and subject matter experts.

There are experienced data modellers out there who somehow develop accurate and stable models that are actually used, often in non-typical or high-pressure situations. They get the job done without wasted effort, maintain the involvement and respect of the subject matter experts, and – worst of all! – make it look easy. Others modellers might have great technical skills, but fare poorly, maintaining tense relationships with content experts and developers who “just don’t get it,” and watching in dismay as their models are continually undone by “new” requirements.

What accounts for the difference? Magic? Luck? Better tools? No – it’s having a concrete set of frameworks, methods, techniques, scripts, heuristics, and other tools that they draw on to keep the process moving, with everyone engaged, even when complex, difficult situations are encountered.  And that’s what we’ll cover in this full, but fun, three-day workshop – specific, repeatable techniques that you can use to drive your data modelling skills to the next level.

Three main themes will be explored:

  • The technical side of data modelling – getting better at modelling difficult, complex situations
  • Developing and using data models in new ways, and in conjunction with other techniques
  • The human side of data modelling – improving processes and communication skills

Topics will be covered with a discussion of the issue, a review of techniques, guidelines and examples, a brief workshop exercise, and a group solution and debriefing. The emphasis is on maximizing the delivery of content while keeping everyone engaged – the workshop has recently been extensively redesigned to focus on the topics that data modelling professionals have continually rated as the most concrete and useful.

Learning Objectives


  • Understand “the four Ds of data modelling” – definition, dependency, demonstration, and detail
  • Be able to implement lists, trees, and networks with recursive relationships
  • Know how and when to use supertypes/subtypes (generalisation/specialisation) vs. roles vs. both
  • Combine subtyping and recursion, as appropriate, to model difficult rules
  • Recognise the “category vs. types vs. instances” problem, and model reference data properly
  • Model “vectors” (attibutes that repeat a fixed number of times) properly – entity or attribute?
  • Use multi-way associations, associations of associations, and relationship constraints to handle complex rules
  • Handle circular relationships and cyclic dependencies properly with advanced normal forms
  • Model history, corrections, and time-dependent business rules with “temporal data models”
  • Understand the connection between analytic data structures (star schema or dimensional models) and ER models
  • Rapidly develop a first-cut dimensional model from a well-structured ER model
  • Prepare and deliver a data model review presentation 

Course Outline

A quick recap – level-setting on terms, concepts, conventions, and structures
  • Conventions for the essential components: entities, relationships, attributes, and identifiers
  • Effective naming and definition
  • E-R Diagramming – symbol sets and their problems,  rules for readability and comprehension
  • Types of data models – contextual, conceptual, logical, and physical
  • Three types of data models before the physical database – contextual, conceptual, and logical
  • The four Ds of data modelling – definition, dependency, detail, and demonstration

Working with higher-level models

  • Contextual, conceptual, logical models – what they are, who they’re for, when we need them
  • Definitions for each type of model, and common sources of confusion
  • How the different kinds of data models relate to process, use case, and service models
  • Avoiding the “deep dive into detail” – a three-phase method for data modelling
  • How to start a large project with a contextual data model
  • Guidelines for staying at the conceptual level, and how to tell when you’ve gone too far

Modelling time, history, and time-dependent business rules

  • Historical vs. audit data, and when to show them on a data model
  • “Do you need history?” – how to tell when your client is misleading you
  • Four variations on capturing history in a data model
  • Modelling time – special considerations for recording past, present, and future values
  • Six questions you should always ask when a date range appears
  • Thanks, Sarbanes-Oxley! Why we need “as-of reporting” and how to model data corrections

Correctly handling attributes

  • The basic patterns – handling multi-valued, redundant, and constrained attributes
  • Granularity – dealing with non-atomic and semantically overloaded attributes
  • Dealing with reference data and the “classification vs. specification vs. instances” problem
  • Three attributes that always need a qualifier
  • Vector modelling – entity or attribute?

Modelling rules on relationships and associations 

  • Using multi-way associations to handle complex rules
  • “Use your words” – how assertions, scenarios, and other techniques will improve your modelling
  • Associative entities – circular relationships, shared parentage, and other issues
  • Alternatives for modelling constraints across relationships
  • Advanced normal forms – how to quickly recognize potential 4NF and 5NF issues
  • A simpler view – why the five normal forms could be reduced to three

Interesting structures – generalisation, recursion, and the two together

  • Generalisation (subtyping) – when to use it, and when not to
  • Generalisation with and without specification
  • Guidelines for using recursive relationships
  • Generalisation and recursion working hand-in-hand as a cure for literalism
  • Recognizing lists, trees, and networks, and modelling them with recursive relationships
  • Modelling difficult rules by combining generalisation (subtyping) and recursion
  • Staying clear on generalisation vs. roles, states, and aggregation

Bridging the “E-R vs. Dimensional” divide – the world’s shortest course on dimensional modelling

  • The perils of dimensional modelling without understanding the underlying E-R model
  • Spotting facts and dimensions – the relationship between dimensional models and E-R models
  • Saving time – building a first-cut dimensional model from an ER model

Better models through using data modelling in conjunction with other techniques

  • Things, events, services, use cases, and processes – how they fit together and synergize
  • The Weasel’s Guide to doing data modelling without anyone knowing it
  • Event analysis as a rapid way to gather requirements
  • Use Cases and Service Specifications, and their role in data modelling
  • Process Modelling, and the vital role data models play

Interesting approaches and uses

  • Developing a first-cut data model from business artifacts (forms, reports, screens, etc.)
  • Living with legacy – the role of reverse-engineering and data profiling
  • “Shock and dismay” – showing the business their current data model, and what it’s doing to them
  • Where and how data modelling fits into selecting and implementing packaged applications
  • The role of generic data models

Effectiveness skills for data modellers – communication, facilitation, presentation and consistency

  • Preparing and delivering a data model review presentation
  • Facilitation techniques specifically for the data modeller
  • “The Magical Number Seven” and what it has to do with modelling
  • Repeatable methods for discovering, assessing, and meeting new requirements
  • A consistent approach – “scripts” to use while building a data model
  • “Challenges” to use when validating a data model
  • “Future-proofing” – what you can do to improve the lifespan of your model
  • Seven techniques for “humanizing” data modelling and making data models more accessible

Who It's For

Specialist Data Modellers, Data Architects, and DBAs who wish to hone their skills. Also Business Analysts, Application Developers, and anyone else with substantial data modelling experience who needs additional skills.



Sr. Consultant, Clariteq Systems Consulting

Alec Sharp, a senior consultant with Clariteq Systems Consulting, has deep expertise in a rare combination of fields – business process analysis and redesign, strategy development, application requirements specification, and data modelling. His 35 years of hands-on consulting experience, practical approaches, and global reputation in model-driven methods have made him a sought-after resource in locations as diverse as Ireland, Illinois, and India.

He is also a popular conference speaker, mixing content and insight with irreverence and humor. Among his many top-rated presentations are “The Lost Art of Conceptual Modeling,” “Modelling Failure,” “Getting Traction for ‘Process’ – What the Experts Forget,” and “Mind the Gap! – Integrating Process, Data, and Requirements Modeling.”

Alec wrote the book on business process modeling – he is the author of “Workflow Modeling: Tools for Process Improvement and Application Development – second edition.” Popular with process improvement professionals, business analysts, and consultants, it is consistently a top-selling title on business process modeling, and is widely used as an MBA textbook. The completely rewritten second edition was published in 2009, and has a “5 star” rating. Alec was also the sole recipient of DAMA’s 2010 Professional Achievement Award, a global award for contributions to the Data Management field.

Alec’s popular workshops on Working With Business Processes, Data Modeling (introductory and advanced,) Requirements Modeling (with Use Cases and Business Services,) and Essentials of Facilitation and are conducted at many of the world’s best-known organizations. His classes are practical, energetic, and fun, with a most common participant comment being “best course I’ve ever taken.”

Register On-line:
17 - 19 October 2018, London

Seminar Fee 

£1,595 + VAT (£319) = £1,914

Sign In
Login with LinkedIn

Latest News
AEA Events

5/21/2019 » 5/22/2019
IRM UK | Working with Business Processes: Process Change in Agile Timeframes

5/23/2019 » 5/24/2019
IRM UK | Advanced Business Process Techniques

AEA London Chapter Event: Regional Payments Eco-system. What next in Payments?

6/3/2019 » 6/5/2019
IRM UK | Business Architecture Best Practices: Practical Methods to Enable Business Change

6/6/2019 » 6/7/2019
IRM UK | Digital Process Analysis/Design: Optimizing Customer Experience thru Digital Innovation


Join our AEA LinkedIn Group!

This website uses cookies to store information on your computer. Some of these cookies are used for visitor analysis, others are essential to making our site function properly and improve the user experience. By using this site, you consent to the placement of these cookies. Click Accept to consent and dismiss this message or Deny to leave this website. Read our Privacy Statement for more.