How DFDs Combat Scope Creep and Mitigate Project Risks

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This KnowledgeKnugget is part of the 18 lectures eCourse “Data Flow Diagrams Simply Put!”. Take this self-paced online course at

Prefer reading? Try the ebook version at .


Project resources are limited and the one wearing the BA hat has to decide how to get the best requirements in the allotted time. Understanding how people use existing technology to do their job is a critical prerequisite to defining changes. This KnowledgeKnugget™ explains why drawing and using a Data Flow Diagram (DFD) might be the best decision you can make.

In this 9 minute KnowledgeKnugget™, recognized business analysis expert, Tom Hathaway, summarizes the results of the 18 lecture eCourse “Data Flow Diagrams Simply Put!” If you are responsible for eliciting the requirements for an IT application or for improving manual procedures, the Data Flow Diagram might just be your best ally. It helps you and the business community visualize the process, current problems, and potential solutions.

This KnowledgeKnugget™ addresses questions like:
1. Why should I draw a Data Flow Diagram?
2. What does a fully balanced DFD look like?
3. What value does a DFD fragment provide?

This KK is part of an eCourse. If you take the full course (view description and outline at you will learn the answers to these questions:
• What is a Data Flow Diagram (DFD) and what does it do for you?
• What is the difference between a Rigorous Physical Process Model and a Context-Level DFD?
• What symbols can you use on each type of diagram?
• What is the business value of exploding or levelling a DFD?
• What is a simple approach for drilling down into a process?
• How can you show the internal processes and flows that produce the results?
• What does balancing a Data Flow Diagram mean and what is the business value?
• What is the most efficient approach to balancing a DFD?
• What business value do detailed process specifications offer?
• How can you express detailed specifications for processes and data?
• What is “metadata” and why do you need it?
• What does a fully balanced DFD look like?
• What value does a DFD fragment provide?

If you are tasked with defining the user requirements for an IT Solution, find more business analysis training in the Business Analysis Learning Store at

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