Functional Decomposition Diagram in BI

Functional decomposition is a valuable method used to break down complex processes into smaller, more manageable tasks. By specifying the functions, activities, processes, or actions that each component must perform, functional decomposition aids in problem-solving. It contributes to the advancement of various disciplines in business, such as machine learning and business operations.

In today’s fast-paced and intricate business landscape, understanding and effectively organizing complex processes is vital. Functional decomposition provides a structured approach to deconstructing intricate systems, enabling organizations to gain clarity and optimize their operations.

In this article, we will explore the concept of functional decomposition, how it works, the role of functional decomposition diagrams, and the step-by-step process involved.

What is Functional Decomposition?

Functional decomposition involves breaking down complex processes into smaller tasks or sub-functions. These sub-functions are more manageable units that collectively contribute to the larger function. By decomposing a function into smaller units, it becomes easier to analyze and address specific components or tasks. This approach enhances problem-solving and facilitates improvements in various business areas.

How Functional Decomposition Works?

Functional Decomposition Diagram

Functional decomposition works by breaking down a functional relationship into its constituent elements to rebuild the original function from those parts. This decomposition process is typically carried out to gain insights into the identities of the constituent parts or to create a concise representation of the overall function. It is important for the individual constituent processes to exhibit a certain degree of modularity for successful functional decomposition.

Furthermore, breaking down processes into sub-functions allows businesses and project managers to analyze how each function or task contributes to the organization’s overall objectives. It provides a granular understanding of the system, enabling optimization and assessment of the performance of individual sub-functions.

Functional Decomposition Diagram

A functional decomposition diagram visually represents the hierarchical relationships between the individual elements of a process. It adopts a pattern similar to flow charts to illustrate the flow and structure of the process. The diagram categorizes the primary function into smaller sub-functions or units, each contributing to the overall goal or objective of the function within the organization.

Other methods commonly used for breaking down complex processes include decision trees and flow charts. Decision trees provide multiple potential solutions for a problem, while flow charts help visualize the sequential flow of a process.

Functional Decomposition Process

The functional decomposition process involves refining sub-functions from top to bottom. Let’s delve into the steps of this process:

Identifying the General Functions

To start the functional decomposition process, define the purpose of your design or system. Identify the tasks or components that your dashboard or system must accomplish. By answering these questions, you establish the purpose of your function. The most general task of your system should be placed at the top of the functional decomposition diagram, along with a brief description of the task without specifying how it is performed.

Identifying Set of Sub-Functions

Consider the tasks or functions that directly contribute to the most general function of your system. These tasks will become the set of sub-functions. Place them directly below the general function in the functional decomposition model, connecting them to the general function with lines. Describe each sub-function briefly, focusing on what it does rather than how it is performed.

Identifying Next-Level Sub-Functions

Analyze the sub-functions defined in the functional decomposition diagram and further break them down into next-level sub-functions. Think about how these advanced functions contribute to your design or system. Add these tasks to the functional decomposition diagram, connecting them using lines. Repeat this process until you reach a level where the sub-functions cannot be refined any further.

Give a Final Check to the FDD

After completing the functional decomposition diagram, carefully review all the sub-functions and their respective levels to ensure you have not missed any possible functions that can be added

Functional Decomposition Diagram Example:

Let’s consider an example scenario where you are using Mokkup for the first time to design a dashboard wireframe. To begin designing your dashboard, you will need to outline the purpose of your dashboard and the specific functions it will include. Here’s how you can proceed:

  1. Define the general function: Start by defining the general function of your dashboard design. In this case, let’s use “Dashboard design” as the general function.
  2. Add sub-functions: Identify the sub-functions that contribute to the general function and add them to the diagram. For instance, you can include sub-functions such as “Create an account,” “Select template,” “Create a project,” “Edit templates,” and “Download project.”
  3. Break down sub-functions: Further, break down the “Create account” sub-function into more specific tasks or sub-functions. This could include tasks like “Adding email,” “Creating a new password,” “Re-entering the new password,” “Signing up,” and “Signing up using Google.”
  4. Refine the diagram: Repeat the process of adding sub-functions and breaking them down into more detailed tasks until you cannot refine them any further. This helps address the specific components and tasks involved in the functions and how they can be solved or implemented.

Functional Decomposition Diagram Steps:

To design and understand the functional decomposition diagram more effectively, follow these steps:

  1. Understand the basic function: Start by identifying the tasks your dashboard should perform based on the general function. This will help you determine the sub-function flow and make it easier to decide on their organization.
  2. Identify sub-functions: List the sub-functions that contribute to the general function and align with the objectives of your dashboard design.
  3. Categorize next-level sub-functions: Understand how these next-level sub-functions add value and contribute to the first two levels of the overall function. Consider their overall contribution to the general function and how they support the desired outcomes.
  4. Examine the diagram: Review your functional decomposition diagram to ensure that all relevant functions and sub-functions are included. If any functions are missing, add them to the diagram to comprehensively represent your dashboard’s functional structure.

By following these simple steps, you can effectively design a functional decomposition diagram that showcases the flow of functions and sub-functions within your dashboard design. This approach allows for a better understanding of the overall system and the relationships between its various components.

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