Many DBAs say that the database design can be subject to several errors. One of the most common ones being poor planning which can slow down your process. This is a non-technical error; however, it is one of the biggest and common problems. Everyone gets super excited when a new database project commences as they get into the process of being engaged with it. Everything at the beginning sure looks bright and rosy.
The start of any project is like a blank canvas, and business clients are satisfied; they are working on a project that will bring great value to both of you, promising a great future. However, when it comes to embarking on a project, the key here is to stay focused, as in the case you are not, you are bound to make mistakes in the database design.
The database design model and the significance of proper planning
Before you commence with the database design model, you first have to be certain about what the client does and all the business plans associated with the project with an overall picture. Every project has a goal, so it is here that you should be aware of the accomplishment of this project in the future.
It would help if you understood how the flow of data works in the company of the client. In short, you must be aware of every detail and who is working with the data, making the changes, the reports that are required, and when and how does everything take place.
It would help if you used the terminology and the language that the client uses. You may or may not be an expert in the niche; however, your business client is. You should ask them to explain those areas that you do not understand. When you explain the technical details to the client, you should use the terminology and language they understand.
You already know the database technologies you use from the database engine and the programming language with other tools. You should choose solutions that are close to the problems you wish to solve, but while doing so, you must include the client’s preferences and its present infrastructure for IT.
Questions you should ask during the planning phase for the database design-
You should be ready with some questions when it comes to the planning phase of the database design. They are-
Which tables should be the central tables in the database design model? Experts in database management and administration from the esteemed company, RemoteDBA.com say that you might probably have some of them. The other tables are generally the usual ones like the user account, role, etc. You should never miss out on the dictionaries and the relations between these tables.
What names should be used for the tables in your model? Note, you should keep the terminology the same as what the client deploys at present.
What are the rules that should be applied when you name the objects and tables? Refer to the previous point for the answer.
How long will the total project take? This is crucial for both the client’s timeline and schedule.
When you have all the answers to the above questions, you will be ready to share solutions to any problem that might crop up at the beginning of the project. This solution does not have to be a complete application. It can be a short document or just a few sentences in the client’s business’s proper language.
Good planning is an essential component of data modeling. However, it is not confined to database design alone. It is an indispensable component for any IT or non-IT project. Skipping the plan can only be feasible in the following cases –
The project that you have is very small
The goals and the tasks are defined and clear
The timeline for the completion of the project is short
Communication during the planning process
Whenever you start any database design planning process, you need to understand the key requirements. Some of them are very common when it comes to the company’s requirements, for instance, user roles and their statuses. Some, however, are quite specific. For instance, when you are building, say, a cab company project, you will have tables for clients, drivers, vehicles, and more.
However, everything will not be clear and obvious when you start working on the project. There will be some instances where you will misunderstand some of the project requirements, and the business client might wish to add some novel functionalities. You might see that a task can be done differently, or the process might need some change, etc. These considerations can be the reason for some major and minor changes in the database design model. Most of them might need new tables, and sometimes you might need to remove or modify these tables, especially when you write code associated with these tables. In some cases, you might need to rewrite the code again.
Experienced DBA consultants say to reduce the time. You should have a clear talk with your clients and developers. You should not be scared to ask any question that is vital to the business. When you feel you are ready to commence, the project always asks yourself if a situation that is not clear to you is covered in the database. The client will handle other parts of the project and make sure whether a change in the project is expected shortly or not. Once you are confident with all these questions, you should go ahead and start the project.