Shortly after the Gulf War in 1991 (Desert Storm), the U.S. Department of Defense realized that there were significant problems in its battlefield logistics systems that provided supplies to the troops at the division level and below. During the Gulf War, it had proved difficult for army and marine units fighting together to share supplies back and forth because their logistics computer systems would not easily communicate. The goal of the new system was to combine the army and marine corps logistics systems into one system to enable units to share supplies under battlefield conditions.
The army and marines built separate as-is process models of their existing logistics systems that had 165 processes for the army system and 76 processes for the marines. Both process models were developed over a 3 month time period and cost several million dollars to build, even though they were not intended to be comprehensive.
I helped them develop a model for the new integrated battlefield logistics system that would be used by both services (i.e., the to-be model). The initial process model contained 1,500 processes and went down to level 6 DFDs in many places. It took 3,300 pages to print. They realized that this model was too large to be useful. The project leader decided that level 4 DFDs was as far as the model would go, with additional information contained in the process descriptions. This reduced the model to 375 processes (800 pages) and made it far more useful. Alan Dennis

1. What are the advantages and disadvantages to setting a limit for the maximum depth for a DFD?
2. Is a level 4 DFD an appropriate limit?

  • CreatedMarch 13, 2013
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