Monday, 20 May 2013 08:17

"Probably the largest collection of Sparx EA talent ever assembled"

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At the end of a dark tunnel, in a quiet corner of industrial London, we gathered at secret location. From the outside, it looked like a set from a 60's spy film. Deserted railway sidings, occasional glimpses of shadowy figures in the distance.


But inside and anonymous shed, it was more like the Starship Enterprise. Shiny hi-tech, bright lights and the largest tube map ever seen.

 It was the second Sparx System Enterprise Architect European User Group meeting, Wednesday 15th May 2013, Transport for London training centre.


 More than 100 delegates, from 50 companies and organisations in 8 countries met to share ideas and experiences and to get to know other EA users.


"It was worth coming just for the discussion I had before even the first speaker started" one delegate told me. "And I've got the rest of day!" she added.

Jackie Mitchell, Programme Manager for the event and CEO of sponsors eaDocX opened the session.

 "This is probably the largest collection of Sparx EA talent ever assembled". And it probably was.


 Doug Rosenberg opened the session with talk on using - or rather not using - Agile for large projects. How much Agility would you like, when your life depends on the software working correctly?


We then split into 3 parallel sessions, with talks on SysML & BPMN, Use Cases and MDGs, EA Navigator and Analyser Workbench, but mostly tales of how different people have used EA. There were stories of project triumphs, a few minor disasters, but these quickly because learning points, and mostly lots of discussions over coffee.

Some stars of the worldwide EA community were among the speakers. Geert (When do I find time to sleep) Bellekens, undisputed champion of the Sparx user forum, gave two talks. The first on his EA Navigator extension, and the second on his current project experiences on a huge, multi-language EA model, and showed why tools like EA Navigator can help when things get complicated.


Peter (50 EA Tricks) Doomen, gave up his birthday to share even more tricks. How many more does he have? Will he ever run out ? I saw some hard-core EA experts sitting at the back of his session taking furious notes.

 Jackie Mitchell illustrated her talk on EA for Project Managers by describing some great project failures, and how EA could have helped avoid them. She didn't suggest that Project managers had to be EA users, but showed how our EA information can help them run better projects. 


Phil Chudley from sponsors Dunstan Thomas dazzled us with both his boundless energy and his encyclopaedic knowledge of EA, with his talk on EA & BPMN. So much good stuff, I'm going to have to go over that one more slowly offline...


Roman Bretz, came all the way from Nuremberg  from another sponsor LieberLieber, and started by encouraging us to think about using languages that our customers can understand – Russian, German, English, UML, SysML, he had them all covered – before describing his work with executable models.

Ian Mitchell from eaDocX, did two sessions: the first one on using the EA Structured Scenario editor for use cases. Despite falling off the stage at one point, Ian kept his cool and thinks he managed to introduce some Hidden Gems that even Peter D. hadn’t seen before.

Ian’s second talk described his experiences on a large telecoms project. “How to do less work, have more fun and become (a bit) famous doing it” was a subject that ticked a lot of boxes with the audience.

Daniel Siegl, also from LieberLieber explored how EA can be used as a fully-functional development environment, with debugging and everything! He also let split that Sparx, keen to 'eat their own dogfood', not ONLY use EA to do their development: not just the analysis and design, but the code & test as well !


Knut Paulsen, from Evry, described how he and his team have implemented EA over several years in their organisation, writing customisations and supporting user groups in various roles and functions across Norway.

And finally Paul Hewitt from Visure Solutions (our final Sponsor) showed how integrating EA with Visure brings requirements lifecycle management capability to projects.

All in all, a great day - I wished I could have spoken to more people, as everyone seemed to have an interesting story to tell.

If you'd like to get involved with running an EA USer Group meeting near you, then please contact us via There's already talk about meetings in Belgium, France, Nordics and New York

Ian Mitchell, Bath, UK.



Read 9341 times Last modified on Tuesday, 21 May 2013 06:29

Ian Mitchell is a Business Analyst by trade, and designer of the eaDocX and Model Expert Extensions for Enterprise Architect. He’s been an EA user since v3.5, and in the IT industry in all kinds of roles for 30+ years. He also writes the Artful Modeller blog.

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