Modeling Myopia

Speaker: Per Hammarström (SAAB AB, Sweden)
Venue: Linköping

Modeling has since the early nineties been promoted as an enabler for designing and analyzing complex systems under development. It has been attributed almost magical properties from some of its proponents, touted as a silver bullet to slash development time and cost. However, as with most other methods and tools, it has proved to require quite a lot of learning and hard work to achieve the desired effect. A set of pitfalls have been identified based on experience from multiple companies and projects in different industries. Collectively we label these pitfalls modeling myopia.

In the presentation, we discuss how modeling myopia can affect both individual modelers and the development organization as a whole. The aspects of myopia that we will examine in more detail are:

  • Partial blindness to particular system properties or technology not well supported by the modeling language and/or method
  • Tribalism. Promoters of different tools/languages arguing endlessly on where and how to model, and thereby loosing focus on the system under development
  • Cargo cult. Modeling is performed as a ritual without adding any value. Blindness to progress as an effect
  • Compound eyes. The model becomes a massive gridlock of conflicting interests losing sight of the system.
  • Acute nearsightedness. Focusing detail, because it is possible, thus losing the big picture
  • The community of practice trap. The organisation selects the skilled modeler for technical leadership instead of skilled systems engineers.