Giving ‘interpretation’ by the viewer of the model an equal importance!
In continuation with Part 1, I would like to start this with a statement by Bottaci and Jones:
‘We, presumably, all have a reasonably good common-sense notion of what a model is.
In general, one might say that it is an artifact constructed to represent something.’
‘A model is constructed for a specific purpose and the design of the model will consequently reflect that purpose.’
-Formal Specification Using Z, a Modelling Approach, Leonardo Bottaci and John Jones, ITP,1995
Examples of models are many.
There are static and dynamic models. They are constructed using different things.
For instance an architect may use a model to describe a proposed building and hopefully impress a client who will pay for it.
The architect may also use a mathematical model to show the sway of the building in a gale wind.
A mining industry models the iron ore mountain by using some material to represent the shape of the ore body as the extraction of ore progresses.
A plant is modeled using miniature of the equipment to represent the process facility and explain the flow of material.
Charts, diagrams, formulae are all certain type of models. Each one of them serves a purpose.
About constructing a good model the authors say:
‘The modeling process starts with the subject we wish to model. The purpose of our model will dictate which aspects of the subject are required in the model and which can be ignored.
This process of selecting relevant aspects is known as abstraction.
To abstract is to select what is relevant and to ignore what is irrelevant. Through abstraction we can arrive at a model that suits our purpose and typically one that is much simpler and more manageable than the corresponding subject.’
Importantly, the authors say:
‘Interpretation is the inverse process to abstraction.’
‘Clearly, abstraction and interpretation must be consistent with each other.’
Thus the important features of a good model are said to be Abstraction, Interpretability, Validity, Consistency and Simplicity.
The managers who view a model probably must be able to interpret the model and understand what the model represents. They should be able to visualize fulfillment of their purpose by adoption of the model.
Any business model which has features mentioned above might certainly be understood by the managers and if it is not understood, the cause may be in any of the above features, not only in the interpretation by the one who views it.
The requirement in addition to other steps may be to review the abstraction and make the required headway in facilitating the managers’ understanding.
A note in favor of the business managers!