It comes as no surprise that being organized is the key to success in project management and that means creating a functional specification. Whether you are building one model you are going to use for analysis or two or three, organization is key. A critical aspect of organization will be defining those elements that you are going to use in the model or share across models. Taking the time to define the key resources, variables, attributes and other elements will allow you to potentially create one master database to test your models, saving you time and helping to keep your analysis organized as well. Members of the Arena Consulting Team have employed this technique with great success, using one master database structure and two very different models for a client to test out potential design ideas.
Proof of Concept Models
- Test out ideas in smaller proof of concept models. Sometimes the ideas we have aren’t going to work and if you weave “test” logic into your model then you may have a hard time untangling that test logic. So test out ideas in separate models if possible or save copies of the model before you begin to make changes you are unsure about.
- Build your model in a modular fashion, and test as you go. For example, if you are building a model of an entire assembly facility, then build out the first section of logic first and then test that it is working. This will help you validate and verify the model more easily and save you time.
- Document your models! While we all like to think we will remember everything, the truth is we won’t and you had better take notes and document your model as you build it. This is especially important if you are working with others or if you will hand off the model to an end user.