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Avoid "boiling the ocean"

Provide focus, clarity, deliver business value fast, do the right things at the right time. Save money.

One of the most important goals for creating the Use Case Tree Method was--and still is--to tackle a phenomenon that we see happen often in almost all knowledge graph initiatives which we can most easily describe as "people are trying to boil the ocean".

It is human nature to try to simplify things by creating a logical boundary around a given set of problems that need to be solved. That's one important driver behind the creation of more and more silos in an organization.

However, with a Knowledge Graph, and especially an Enterprise Knowledge Graph, the idea might exist that all information is linked, everything comes together in one place (not necessarily a physical place btw) and all applications are now called use cases that all work with the same "giant database" that runs somewhere in the cloud i.e. "the EKG".

Where to begin? What to do when?

It turns out that many people simply start doing what they like to do best. For some that's about focussing on ontologies that model the whole world. For others, it's about focussing on discussions about performance and database technology. And so forth. All of those activities are eventually all necessary but not all from day one. Don't lose sight for the forest for the trees.

In an EKG context, it becomes even more important than ever before to create focus, to have managed expectations, to not waste time on things that are not important just yet, to keep the eye on the ball which is to keep delivering real business value to real end-users continuously.

The Use Case Tree avoids the boil-the-ocean-phenomenon because the Use Case Tree and its individual use cases define an agreed scope at the detail level without becoming technical immediately.

First focus on "the why and the what" (to deliver), then keep adding specialists and let them add their detailed information to your use cases until it gets delivered. In fact, at higher levels of maturity, adding all these details will lead to higher levels of automation of the software development and delivery process itself leading to "executable models" where no programming is even required anymore (low-code/no-code delivery).

The Use Case Tree provides focus for the Center of Excellence (CoE), enabling it to "crank out" use cases one by one, according to the agreed roadmap that is aligned with business strategy.

Author: Jacobus Geluk