When I set out to learn a new business domain, I ask questions of many people including:
- Business Analysts
- Account Managers
- Project Manager
- Data specialists
- Application developers
What I do is take a chunk of the information related to the first thing I need to know and thoroughly explore it. I find out where things are in the database, I find out who has responsibility for what, I find out where in the user interface you can find the information and how that information is csent to teh application. I review stored procedures, reporting queries, imports and exports related to the subject at hand. I ask questions like:
- What do they use the data for
- Where in the application do they find the data
- How do you use the application? What is the workflow?
- Have there been any major changes over time
- Are there laws or regulations or accounting practices that have to
- Is there a User Guide
I repeat the process for each new area I need to explore. Critical things to remember are to retain the information. (If you don't retain it in memory as I do, then retain it in documentation somewhere and review the documentation frequently.) This is not learn and forget stuff. And then make connections as you learn both to your past experience and to other parts of the system.
Always be aware that you are looking for the meaning of the data not just where it is stored or used. But why you have that data and what people expect to get out of having it. In a complex environment, be especially concerned to find out if there are legal/regulatory reasons for having the data. That data needs to be handled much more carefully.