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Beginning Database Design Solutions by Rod Stephens

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Chapter 11. User Needs and Requirements

The first step in designing and building a database is gathering user requirements. You cannot build a database to solve the users' needs unless you understand those needs. This chapter walks you through the process for The Pampered Pet.

In this chapter you see examples of:

  • Identifying user requirements.

  • Determining what the database's main entities are.

  • Defining use cases to verify that requirements have been met.

The scenarios described here do not necessarily present the most efficient possible outcome. Ideally your customers know exactly what they need and give you their full cooperation while spelling out the requirements in crystal-clear detail. Things don't always go that way, however (in fact, I've never seen it happen that way), so neither do the steps described here.

Perhaps you'll get lucky and things will go more smoothly than some of the discussions described here, but you should realize that at least sometimes people skills are as important as database design skills during this phase.

Meet the Customers

Requirements gathering for this project begins with a series of meetings in The Pampered Pet's back room (where they hold pet training courses, so it smells a bit funny). Occasionally customers have an agenda for these introductory meetings but, as often as not they won't have been through the process of building a database before, so it'll be up to you to keep things moving in the proper direction.

The initial meetings with The Pampered ...

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