Designers Must Do the Modeling

by Asim K

In his article Designers Must Do the Modeling, which was published in IEEE Software , Volume 15 Issue 2, Brian Lawrence enunciates on the fact that designers for database, or any other project, must do the modeling. Lawrence defines the stepping stone as figuring out the customer’s problem rather than figuring out requirements for the project. In his logical breakdown, Lawrence cites ERD models as only an output of the requirements process which will dictate database  design later on in the process. He pursues this opinion with another, saying that producing the ERD diagram (or whichever type of diagram you may be working with) has the benefit of allowing ourselves to understand the customer’s problem better so we can design better solutions. Because the designers have to produce the requirements model, Lawrence embraces the not-so-popular opinion that the designers themselves are the owners of the model.  Citing a quote by Dwight Eisenhower, the author embraces the planning process over the actual plan. To further reinforce this statement, Lawrence says that managers must help persuade designers to understand that they must model requirements – no matter if the designers see it as their duty or not.
Similar to the statement of “Learning by Doing”, Brian Lawrence embraces a brilliant model in saying that it is during the planning phase that we learn the most, not in the implementation of the plan. Personally, I agree with this worldview because I have experienced the  same euphoria myself. When I was younger, around 11 or 12, years old I would sit down to learn HTML as a hobby (yes, HTML was my hobby). Although my websites churned out to look like absolute trash and functioned on a pretty depressing level, in the process of research, working with clients, figuring out bells and whistles, I was able to generate a more holistic understanding  of what I was learning and still retain that knowledge today. On these terms, I agree that the designers – the individuals who actually work with the client to figure out their problems and solve them – are the people who should create the requirements needed for their projects; in our case: a databaase.
Lawrence, B. (1998). Designers must do the modeling. Software, IEEE15(2). Retrieved from

2 thoughts on “Designers Must Do the Modeling

  • November 4, 2012 at 3:12 pm

    I agree that designers should be the ones that get the direct contact with the client and as they have that approach to them they should evaluate the client’s problems and design something that will fix it. Instead of trying to design a possible solution to solve a problem that is uncertain that will be fix by the implemented solution.

  • November 4, 2012 at 3:18 pm

    Using a System Development Life Cycle (SDLC) approach is extremely necessary I believe. When designers try to jump around and do not plan and gather information they more often than not end up with a system that has issues or does not work well. This causes many issues in the ways of time and money for a company. It is important to follow a process so as to make a good project.

Comments are closed.