What Is A Concept Model?

Are you a business analyst involved in the documentation of business rules and creation of complex decision tables? 

A concept model provides a great way of documenting definitions and communicating precise meanings of terms to stakeholders. It can be described as a semantical representation of the nouns that are important for an organization or a specific domain. It is devoid of technical biases, information or data models and represents the language of the business. 

The model can be presented graphically or textually in the form of a list which is published as a document or a web page. Developing a concept model typically involves the use of a glossary as a first step and focuses on the correct terms to use in stakeholder communications, business rules and specification documents.

Why Bother?

The concept model is particularly useful where the project is knowledge-intensive and subtle distinctions need to be made within business vocabulary without using technical models such as class diagrams and entity relationship diagrams.

The concepts that would mostly be represented in a concept model are highlighted in the BABOK guide and are as follows:

  • Noun Concepts: The noun concepts of a domain are easy to spot and are considered “given”, for example “Order”, “Author”, etc

  • Verb Concepts: These provide the link between the noun concepts and can serve as building blocks for the definition of business rules.

  • Other connections include concepts around roles and classifications.

Want to see what a concept model looks like? View a conceptual model of architecture description, as an example.