How the cow helped make the design process more fun

Hello! I am a leading systems analyst in company MoySklad and now we with the Production team are launching an internal startup within the startup – Production 2.0. Recently I wrote about how to start the development process in a new project, and now I want to continue the story from the “burning tank”.

By the beginning of the second sprint, we agreed that in production, in addition to the assembly process to obtain one finished product, there is also a disassembly process – when there can be a lot of finished products according to the flow chart.

In this article, I will demonstrate how the cow helped design and why it is important to choose good examples for analyzing business requirements.

Business processes needed to be rethought to refine the data model and UI prototypes. We used examples about the dismantling of a fish and a car quite often, but they did not give an emotional background to the dialogues. And taking into account the business requirements being clarified on the go, the team gets tired after the first hour of discussions. There are still few of us – from 4 to 6 people at online meetings. It is important to keep attention so that each participant is maximally involved in the design process: a developer and a systems analyst assess feasibility, a tester helps to find pitfalls, a business analyst and product owners help to disassemble the business. Universal concentration can be difficult, especially if only one person is broadcasting the screen and completing models / requirements.

But everything looks more vivid when an interesting example comes to mind, an example with a cow (the discussions have no connection with the real life of the team members, we respect animals):

“So, let’s pretend we have a butcher shop and we are taking apart a cow.”

Few definitions

Products – the goods that were received as a result of the execution of the production order.

Product group Is a collection of goods (tuple) that will be produced as a result of a technological process.

Resource – the product from which the product is made.

Techcard defines the production process of a product group and is a template for determining the required resources.

Manufacturing process – an ordered sequence of stages, as a result of which products are produced and resources are expended.

Technical operation – a document, the creation and posting of which the user initiates a one-time write-off of resources from the warehouse and the crediting of finished products to it.

Cow tech card

The key production entities, from which all processes are built, are the product, stage, process and technical map.

We need to present all the possible types of technical cards that we can get. When producing a cow.

Option 1: I have a butcher shop and a meadow. I take the cow from the meadow and turn it into parts in one step. This is a simple disassembly checklist.

Option 2: I have a butcher shop and a meadow. I buy parts of a cow, take them to the butcher shop, and instantly collect 1 whole cow. This is a one-step process for producing a cow from an assembly checklist. In short, the same thing as with a cabinet from a well-known yellow and blue store: I slowly screw in the screws, where I can find and how much is enough.

These are simple job plans that support the current production of MyWarehouse. Now let’s complicate things.

Option 3: I have a butcher shop, a packing shop and a meadow. I take 10 cows from the meadow. First I turn 10 cows into a lot of parts – the disassembly stage, then I sort the resulting parts – the sorting stage, and then I put them in packages. This is all done according to a complex checklist for disassembling a cow. Received technical map:

Resources: 1 cow, 100 m2 of vacuum packaging.
Finished product: 1 packaged scoop, 1 packaged liver, 2-steak pack

Manufacturing process:

  1. Disassembly Stage (Resources: 1 Cow)
  2. Sorting phase (Resources: No new resources, using the results of the dismantling phase)
  3. Packing stage (Resources: 100 m2 of vacuum packing)

It turns out that I can take from the meadow as one cow, and 10, and 20, etc. And this is an excellent question for a business analyst: “Timur, is it possible to produce 1.5 cows?” Hysterics. Answer: “You can. We do not only work with cows, we do not set restrictions. They want half a cow, take half from the meadow or from the freezer. “

Option 4: I have a butcher shop, a bell factory and a meadow. Parts of a cow were brought to me, I go through the assembly stage and get one cow that does not walk. We do the resuscitation stage, make a bell for her and send the cow to the meadow. This is a complex flowchart for assembling a cow with a bell.

Yes, 1.5 cows are also allowed.

Received tech map:

Resources: 1 Packaged Shoulder, 1 Packed Liver, 2 Steak Pack, Silver.
Finished product: 1 cow, 1 bell.

Manufacturing process:

  1. Assembly Step (Resources: 1 Packaged Shoulder, 1 Packed Liver, 2 Steak Pack)
  2. Resuscitation Phase (Resources: No new resources, using build phase results)
  3. Bell Manufacturing Stage, can run parallel to the Resuscitation Stage (Resources: Silver)
  4. The stage of putting the bell on the cow (Resources: no new resources, the results of the previous stages are used)

This model helped us define the business rules and constraints:

  • Is it possible to set the finished product rate 1 in a simple assembly checklist?
  • Can there be finished products as a result of intermediate stages?
  • Is it possible to ask not whole norms?

And many, many others.

And of course, we have finally decided on a piece of the data model monster.

Technical operation and production process

Now it was necessary to determine how the production process is conducted according to the described technical maps in terms of control of stock balances and document flow.

Now, with only job plans of types 1 and 2, we can reserve a cow or parts of it in the warehouse using a production order. To write off a cow from the warehouse and turn it into cow parts or vice versa, we create a tech operation. The production order does not add anything to the warehouse.

Imagine that a customer came to us and asked us to produce cow parts for him. We, as a manufacturer, register a production order. In the production order, we select the desired cow parts.

Claims, Questions and Answers:

Business approval. As a producer, you can track the cow’s production process step by step.

Question. Can I just register that there was a cow production, without stage control?

Answer. Yes, you use a tech operation for this. But if you need to reserve parts of a cow before this, be sure to place an order for the production of a cow.

Question. But what if a cow’s technical map is created for the leg, head, thigh steak and tail, and they only want to order a leg from this technical map?

Answer. The rest of the cow will pull up automatically, because the tech sheet includes them. This is a group of finished products (the developer later called this a tuple)

Question. Is it possible to customize the technical map in a production order so that it contains only a blade?

Answer. No, then you need to create a new separate technical map. Example – “Techcard – Cow’s shoulder blades”

Question. Is it possible to tune the resources from the technical map in the production order by increasing the number of cows from 1 to 1.2 and adding resources?

Answer. Yes, you can, because there may be a marriage, a larger cow may arrive, etc.
And so on.

Not for the faint of heart

I had a cow and I started sawing off two legs from it.

Following the discussions, new terms and definitions were introduced in the production of meat products:

  • A cortege of finished goods (cows) is an unchangeable group of finished goods specified as the result of production according to the flow chart.
  • Assembly (cows) is a production process that results in one finished product for any amount of resources.
  • Disassembly (cows) is a production process that results in more than one finished product for any amount of resources.
  • Technical operation (over a cow) – instant production in one stage.
  • Production process (cow) – stage-by-stage production (preparation) of a cow
  • Cow problem

In custody

This is how software is actually designed, analyzing various models of user behavior, processes, and systems.

It is much more interesting to analyze business requirements and design not on typical examples, but on those that can make you laugh to tears.

First, it’s fun.

Secondly, it makes the imagination work more creatively and get the right questions out of the head.

Thirdly, all team members are cheerfully involved in the design and come up with their own versions of production.

Don’t be boring and choose the right examples!

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