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Scope of Subject Matter That Can Be Handled by IDEF0

As we have stated, IDEF0 is a method for analyzing enterprises. An enterprise may be a company, a division of a company, a group of companies working together in a joint venture, a field office of a parent company, a support function within an office (for example, publications, accounting, or payroll), a government agency (for example, the Department of Defense or the Commerce Department), an individual running a small business, or a project within a company. All of these are enterprises, since they are composed of one or more people working to accomplish some form of product development or to provide some service.

The scope of the analysis encompasses manual as well as computerized aspects of the enterprise. IDEF0 is particularly useful for rigorously defining the juncture at which manual actions interface with the computer (the so-called man-machine interface). For example, using the viewpoint concept of IDEF0, the author may develop a model from the user’s viewpoint as well as from the software developer’s viewpoint, thus providing a requirements definition from both important aspects of a software system to be developed. The model bridges the communication gap between user and software cultures.

IDEF0 analysis does not stop at the man-machine interface, but may be used to model the operation of the software system itself. In fact, the method has been successfully used for many years to model the requirements, top-level design, and detailed design of software systems.

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