Re: Data Flow and Process Description Charts - what are they?

Subject: Re: Data Flow and Process Description Charts - what are they?
From: "Anthony Markatos" <tonymar -at- hotmail -dot- com>
To: kweiner -at- positron -dot- qc -dot- ca, techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Date: Thu, 03 Feb 2000 11:05:59 PST

Kandis Weiner asks:

What I am wondering is if there are standards for data flow and process description charts, in terms of what symbols to use to mean what, or what information must be represented?

Can anybody point me in the direction of a website, or any other resource, for a description of these charts and their standards/requirements?

Tony Markatos responds:

By Data Flow Chart, they probably mean Data Flow Diagram (DFD) - my all-time favorite topic. There are numerous DFD techniques. Best bet is the Yourdon methodology. (Try 'Yourdon' in your search engine to find Ed Yourdon's web site.) Or get the defining book on DFD's: 'Structured Systems Analysis and Specification' Tom DeMarco, Yourdon Press, 1979.

Process Description Chart, Process Flow Chart, Process Model, Logical Flow Chart, Functional Model, Flow Chart, Operation Process Sheet, etc, etc. - a lot of confusion between these common "buzz" words. What one person calls a Process Model, another calls a Logical Flow Chart - or an Operation Process Sheet.

Karen, a system can include any combination of people, machines, and computers. And within a system, data and/or materials flow. There are three types of system diagramming techniques:

1.) Diagramming techniques whose primary purpose is to capture the flow of data. DFDs are an excellent example. (DFDs can also be used to capture the flow of materials, but their primary purpose is to capture data flows.)

2.) Diagramming techniques whose primary purpose is to capture the system's design (how the system was implemented). Logical Flow Charts are a common example (contain IF-THEN-GOTO logic).

3.) Diagramming techniques whose primary purpose is to capture the flow of materials within a system. Industrial Engineering tools like Operation Process Sheets are examples. (These tools can also be used to capture the flow of data, but their primary purpose is to capture the flow of materials.)

Tony Markatos
(tonymar -at- hotmail -dot- com)





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