Data modeling requires a BA with an English major

Have you ever had one of those days where an event sucks the will to
live out of you? The type where if you got sucked into a toilet you’d
flip the world the bird and leave with a smile?

Well, today was said day.
I had a meeting today that was set up to review the physical data model
for the project that I’m on. It’s not a big model. Actually it’s a lot
like Twiggy; lean. I wish it was more top heavy like Elle, but alas it’s not.

Anyways, back to the meeting. I had scheduled this little soiree for 1
hour as I figured we would get in, get going, get stuff done and leave.
I should have known that the wheels of bureaucracy always have a
wobble. The meeting consisted of myself (the keeper of the data model
– aka Frodo), the lead architect from my team (aka the path finder Aragorn), the data architect from the client (aka the master of rhetoric Grima) and the solution architect from the client (aka the repetitive Gollum).
I arrived, with the data model to bind them all, and Gollum decides
that the meeting is better spent discussing the architectural
implications of using XML and how our merry band of trekkers. He gets
up in front of the group, trust dry erase marker in hand, and proceeds
to draw a diagram of the different physi-logical architecture layers
that we may, or may not, be using. Then he starts on the XML.

XMLLLLLL….we neeed to think of the XMLLLLL. My precious XMLLLLL. Web
ssssservices…..XMLLLLLLL. XMLLLLLLL. Make it pretty like logical
model. My precious XMLLLLLLLL.

Unfortunately, I think I transcribed his pontification with far to much intellectual content. I digress though.

So after half an hour of his discussion, excuse me, his oration, on how
we needed to fit into the enterprise XML strategy (which of course
doesn’t exist anywhere except in Gollum’s head), Grima finally speaks
up and tells Gollum to sit and be quiet. This, after all, is a meeting
about the physical data model (the one that, by this point, I’m
thinking might not have been read by them let alone will bind them). So
Grima starts with the comment that the physical data model needs
extensive rework. There are numerous problems with misspellings, bad
punctuation and nondescript comments. Remember this is a physical model
review. Apparently the most first thing that we do when reviewing a
data model is proof read the table and column comments. While this is
being conveyed to me (because I am the keeper of the data model that
now can only bind them if it contains no non-element capitalization)
Gollum sits at the table mumbling “Yes…..Yes…..My precious

At one point Grima pushes a piece of paper in front of me and asks
“Have you read this standard document?”. Not only had I read it, but I
now have portions of it burned into my retina as I tried to read
through it’s run on sentences and non-sequitorial thought processes in
an attempt to decipher the naming, commenting, and data model color
scheme standards. Instead of pointing this out, I simply say “Yes” and
attempted to use the data model to make me invisible.
Rather than make another statement about the model, Grima asks a
question. “Why are these tables green?” Ummmmmm……because
you have a green database and I wanted to colour co-ordinate?…..Hang
on you pompous dumbass, it says right in your data modeling standards
document why the tables are green. Have you read the standard?

Alas, I’m to patient and I only state the obvious (for those of us that
have read modeling standards). “They are new tables, and new tables to
the data structure are represented with green.” Grima appears
dumbfounded. Perhaps it was only dumb as I don’t think anything with
him is founded. “But these are from a different database.” Once again
my mind runs rampant with all the inappropriate, yet truthful comments
that should be, but never will be, spoken. Have you looked at the design documents? Do you know what we are trying to do here? Do you know what project this is?

At this point the mighty Strider steps in and begins to duel with
Grima. Because of the valiant acts of Aragorn, I am able to sit, with
an appearance of interest and concern, and think about the apprentice
plumber program that the local community college is offering. I know
that I can make some sexy plumber crack.
Ok….shake off that mental image and back to the story.

Strider deftly duels with Grima for a while (not long as Gollum had
already used half the meeting to talk about his precious XML). During
this time I’m only picking up the odd word so that I can deftly jump
back into the conversation when everyone looks at me and shovel the
shit that is being spewed forth by Grima. After proclaiming that I am
not fit for the English language, Grima proceeds to tell us that
comments for database elements are never really input into the
database. I’m pretty sure that this is where I turned off all receptors
of external stimuli and concentrated on one thing only……alcohol.

The meeting ended (which for me was the high note) and the physical
model only has a few things that need rework. Spelling, punctuation,
capitalization, and meaningful content. And that was just for the
comments section. The diagram also needs to be consolidated and
combined. The data elements (tables and columns) all need to have their
names reviewed.

Sigh…..I thought I’d never say this, but Buddy is going to have to rework the data layer and I’m actually sorry for him.

I’m the Igloo Coder and I wish this were an igloo for one.