Book: Data Flow Diagrams – Simply Put!

Process Modeling Techniques for Requirements Elicitation and Workflow Analysis

Kindle: $4.97    Paperback: $9.97Buy from Amazon
for sales within the United States!
Check international pricing

Author: Tom and Angela Hathaway
Pages: 75 (estimated)
Publication Date: March 29, 2015

Also available as an eCourse and covered in this ILT course


In today’s wired world, software applications often take center stage in optimizing workflow and increasing productivity. Unfortunately, the process of delivering the right software to the right people at the right time is challenging to say the least.

This book presents Dataflow Diagrams (DFDs) as a phenomenal tool for visualizing and analyzing dependencies and interactions amongst manual and automated business processes. It explains what a DFD is, why you need one, and how to create it.

You will learn the benefits of process visualization for the business community, for the one wearing the BA hat, for those tasked with developing the solution, and ultimately for the entire organization.

You will also discover how DFDs are powerful tools for recognizing and eliminating two of the major problems that haunt IT projects, namely Scope Creep and Project Overruns caused by late project change requests.

Data Flow Diagrams – Simply Put! was neither created “For Dummies®” nor “For Complete Idiots®”, but for normal people in the real world to give them a basic understanding of business analysis concepts and techniques. Many people do business analysis although it is not in their job description.

Whether you are the CEO, COO, Director, Manager, or on the front lines, you may be involved in defining how technology can benefit you and your organization. When you are in that awesome role, you are at that time “the one wearing the Business Analysis (BA) hat”.

This book answers the following questions:

  • What is a Data Flow Diagram (DFD)?
  • What is a Rigorous Physical Process Model?
  • What is a Context-Level DFD?
  • Why should I use Data Flow Diagrams?
  • What symbols can I use on each type of diagram?
  • How can I drill down into a process?
  • How can I show 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 process specifications offer?
  • How can I 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?


Anyone involved in Analyzing Requirements, Business Process Modeling, or Workflow Analysis, including (but not limited to):

  • Subject Matter Experts (SME)
  • Agile Product Owners
  • Business Process Managers
  • Business Process Users
  • Project Leaders and Managers
  • Business Analysts
  • Business Architects
  • Systems Analysts
  • Software Testers
  • User liaison personnel
  • and anyone wearing the BA hat

Table of Contents

    • Preface
    • About the Authors
    • Introducing Data Flow Diagrams (DFDs) for the Business
      • Business Processes, Data Flows, and Value Chains
      • What is a Data Flow Diagram and Why Do You Need One?
    • Modeling the Flow of Material and Data
      • Introducing Rigorous Physical Process Models to Identify Stakeholders
      • Drawing an RPPM Using Identified Stakeholders and Interview Notes
    • Visualizing Project Scope
    • How to Identify the "Right" Internal Processes for a DFD
      • Representing Increasing Levels of Detail Using a DFD
      • Identifying Candidates for Internal Processes
      • Selecting the Appropriate Processes to Include on the Detailed DFD
    • Drawing a Detail Level DFD
    • Balancing the Levels Ensures Completeness
      • Balancing Data Flows from the Higher to the Lower Level
      • Balancing Data Flows from the Lower to the Higher Level
    • Creating Detailed Process and Data Specifications
      • Defining Functional Primitives
      • Capturing Metadata for Critical Business Data Elements
    • Horizontal Balancing Reveals Missing Data Elements
      • Defining and Justifying the Value of Horizontal Balancing
      • A Walk-through of Horizontal Balancing
    • The Business Value of Data Flow Diagrams
      • Creating and Using DFD Fragments vs Completely Balanced DFDs
      • Summary
      • What Should You Do Next?

Additional Information

About the Authors

Angela and Tom Hathaway have authored and delivered hundreds of training courses and publications for business analysts around the world. They have facilitated hundreds of requirements discovery sessions for information technology projects under a variety of acronyms (JAD, ASAP, JADr, JRP, etc.).
Based on their personal journey and experiences reported by their students, they recognized how much anyone can benefit from a basic understanding of what is currently called “business analysis”. Their mission is to allow everyone, anywhere access to simple, easy-to-learn techniques by sharing their experience and expertise in their training seminars, blogs, books, and public presentations.


There are no reviews yet.

Be the first to review “Book: Data Flow Diagrams – Simply Put!”

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *