The External Control Paradigm


  • The Paradigm states that every outbound requirements flow implies a control mechanism within the context process that will try to assure that the external agent, normally outside of our control, conforms to the requirements. For example:
    • In the logistics context, PROCESS BACKORDERS will check to verify that inventory is received from manufacturing and that backorders are reprocessed back into the main PROCESS ORDER flow.
    • In the accounts receivable context, AGE RECEIVABLES will check to see that customers are paying invoices so that open invoices don’t stay in INVOICE ORDERS permanently.
  • The External Control Paradigm helps reduce project risk by forcing us to acknowledge potential trouble spots in our application right up front.
  • Some will argue that this discussion is premature. It forces us to think about issues that will arise and be documented at lower levels of detail during N-level data flow diagramming. These people are correct in a purest sense. Whatever process is responsible for controlling the external agent's activity will be a subject for analysis later.
  • That's why this paradigm doesn't ask analysts to attempt to define the controlling process, but only to identify it. Granted, the line between identifying and defining is a fine one. We believe that the benefit to be gained from knowing about a trouble spot sooner than later outweighs these theoretical objections.


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