How to Analyze a DFD to Expose Missing Data Elements

Watch the full-length video for FREE at
This KnowledgeKnugget is part of the 18 lecture eCourse “Data Flow Diagrams Simply Put!”. View the full course overview and outline at
Prefer reading? Try the ebook version at .

DESCRIPTION (lectures 15 – 16)

Early detection and avoidance of data discrepancies, inconsistencies, and conflicts greatly reduces the risk of IT project overruns and failures. These lectures present a technique for ensuring that individual processes on a Data Flow Diagram get all of the data they need and no more, which leads to leaner, more stable IT applications that are reactive to the ever-evolving business environment.

Lectures 15 – 16 answer questions like:
1. How can I use a DFD to find missing data?
2. What questions do I need to ask?
3. What are the risks of skipping this step?

TRANSCRIPT (excerpt)
Hello, I’m Tom Hathaway. I’m wearing my BA hat to symbolize that anyone in an organization might do business analysis, whether or not they have the job title “Business Analyst”, so let’s talk business analysis. This KnowledgeKnugget™ introduces a technique for using a Data Flow Diagram (DFD) to find missing data elements. It explains what questions to ask and what risks this technique mitigates. This simple technique will help you when you are the one wearing the BA hat.

If you invest the time to create a data flow diagram (DFD), make sure that you are getting the most out of it. You can use the diagram to identify potentially missing data elements, redundant data, and possible data conflicts. We would like to introduce a technique called ‘Horizontal Balancing’ or the ‘Preservation of Data’ law. The technique can be very useful for identifying data discrepancies, inconsistencies, and conflicts which are three major contributors to IT project overruns and failures.

Based on the rules governing DFDs, a process has to transform data, meaning the data it produces has to be different than the data it consumes. Logic dictates that the data coming out of a process can only come from two possible sources: either it comes directly via an incoming data flow OR the process creates it using the data it receives.

A data flow can come from a data store, another process, or an external entity. Processes need algorithms or business rules to create data. For example, the simple process Determine Age contains the algorithm Age = Current Year (from today’s date) – Birth Year (from the Employee’s Date of Birth). Algorithms and business rules in turn need data (getting the Birth Year requires an Employee ID to select the appropriate employee) which has to either come into the process from an incoming data flow or itself be created by a different algorithm or business rule. In the end, you should account for every data element the process creates and every data element it needs to create the output.


This KK is part of an eCourse. If you take the full course, 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

The Virtual Training System: Redefining the Concept of Training

The majority of companies and employers have the responsibility of training their staff members or personnel to ensure that their companies procedures as well as features can relocate efficiently and also productively. Educating employees to manage interior office scenarios might not be also complex. Yet, it’s a completely various matter, when it comes to training people for taking care of difficult circumstances like calamities or wars.

Why Your Meetings Are Not Getting The Results You Want

Do your meetings begin with a program that all obtains nicely checked off factor by point – yet end up not achieving the main results you would certainly wished for? The function of meetings is usually to pass some type of adjustment or to make certain vital details is associated. Both functions call for alert staff member harmonic with the leadership, and also responsive to brand-new information. Yet commonly this is not the situation, because leaders have not resolved the needs of the team prior to checking off the factors in the agenda …

How to Be More Productive in 2016

2016 is below, and also it’s time to obtain focused on our pet resting business growth plan. The plan starts by determining as well as removing our performance time sucks to ensure that we can achieve fantastic things in the new year. Listed below our 7 suggestions on just how to be a lot more effective in 2016.

Fun at Work Day: How to Have Fun and Still Be Productive

How to have a good time at job while improving your performance as well as job values. These 3 pointers ought to have you laughing between conferences.

How To Focus on Performance Using a Little Neuroscience

Lack of focus in the workplace can set you back organisations dear. Once distracted, it can take twenty minutes to get the best mindset back to complete a task; and also error rates climb too. So an aggravating Facebook message or Tweet using the brain might be having even more severe consequences than we thought of. Inattentiveness can lead to an unsuccessful environment, where inspiration degrees are lowered and also interaction levels reduced; and also this can also spread out extremely conveniently throughout an organisation. So exactly how can we keep the focus? Neuroscience is assisting us recognize the trouble to ensure that we can develop new approaches …

You May Also Like