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UML for documenting ERP customization

UML for documenting ERP customization

UML for documenting ERP customization

Hi folks!

I'm new to this forum and UML in general.  I've spent about a week reading through O'Reilly's "Learning UML 2.0" and experimenting with Enterprise Architect.  Sorry in advance for the long post; things are a little complicated.

My company does aftermarket manufacturing on vehicles.  I'm working on implementing some customizations to our new ERP suite and am trying to figure out how to document everything.  Previously I've used a process documentation methodology for our business workflow using Visio, and after doing some research it seems like UML is going to be the way to link that documentation through to software customization requirements, implementation, and interface / work instructions.  

The problem I've run into is while much advice is available for designing a project from scratch, there isn't as much if you have a huge pre-existing system that you are customizing and gluing together with other database components.  I don't want to define classes for EVERYTHING because that sort of defeats the purpose of buying an ERP system.  In the custom parts, I'm not sure what to define as classes, as each data object is a mishmash of database tables and local script variables in different subsystems with communication between them happening via stored procedures and intra-module script calls.

The specific task I'm working on right now is integrating the 3rd party configurator module with the core manufacturing system.  Users create VEHICLEs and JOBs to remanufacture the vehicles in the core ERP SYSTEM.  Our PRODUCTION COORDINATOR navigates to the JOB FORM and calls the CONFIGURATOR where much vehicle specific information is entered (make model year VIN factory options etc) and manufacturing options are selected.  The CONFIGURATOR runs through my list of rules for each of these options and spits out BILL OF MATERIALS and a LIST OF DETAILS about the VEHICLE into database tables back in the core ERP SYSTEM.  This description is obviously skipping some of the particulars, but those are the basic relationships.

I have the use cases written and that seems clear enough; I've got the thing working in front of me and I know how the users are going to use it.  Now I'm trying to build a class diagram and I'm not sure if I'm doing it right.  My natural choice of classes is CONFIGURATOR, CONFIGURATION, and VEHICLE.  Enterprise Architect allows me to add Data Model components for database tables, so I did that for Job, Customer Order, Details etc and made those members of my classes.  Each of these classes have methods that could be script procedures, MSSQL stored procedures, or event handlers.  The data for each class could be in one of several different runtime or static spots including database tables and variables in the ERP or configurator scripting environments.

*Do I want to skip classes altogether and move right to a component diagram?
The real problem is that I've got two big systems that do their own things nicely, plus one or two small addons, and a fairly complicated set of glue that ties everything together.

*How would folks recommend I start to abstract all this out into classes?  I don't have the luxury of making everything neat and clear cut and then implementing - I kind of need to go in the other direction.


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