TxM 067 Section 7.11 Steps in coding a hierarchy Created by James on 7/11/2013 3:41:54 PM
Strategic engineered precision taxonomies (SEPT) require the development of highly structured taxonomic code schemes linked to the hierarchies. The steps in developing such code schemes are as follows:
1. Build the hierarchy keeping coding in mind
As you build the hierarchy take account of how you plan to code taking account of the different coding styles that are available to you.
2. One level at a time
Build the code one level of hierarchy at a time – follow the colour coded columns corresponding to the indents of the hierarchy and work all the way down from top to bottom adding codes at the start of each level of indent and then spacing codes out over the remaining section of the hierarchy.
3. Use one character per indent
Most frequently you will use one character / letter / number for each level of hierarchy but in some cases, primarily with complex code schemes of the Item Master / Material Master / Product Master genre you may use more than one character. In such complex hierarchies you may use different code patterns for different levels of the code hierarchy.
4. Gap code
It is vital that you gap code – at every level of the code scheme spread the code out as much as you practically can leaving larger gaps in areas where it is most probable that further detail might be added in future.
5. Follow list sequence
The code sequence MUST follow the list sequence.
If while coding you see an opportunity to improve the list sequence then change the list sequence and code accordingly.
Where you change the list sequence please notify other team members of your action in order to avoid "people" problems later.
6. Mnemonic is preferred
Mnemonic alpha coding is always preferred with the mnemonics corresponding to the hierarchy.
There are, however, distinct rules that apply in large code schemes.
Codes should be structured in segments with delimiters such as "-" (preferred), "/", "_" or "." depending on the code scheme. Multi-segment codes such as the Cubic Business Model Chart of Accounts should have segments delimited. Most software can handle "-" or "." as a delimiter and these have the advantage of being on the numeric pad, some people favour "/" which is also on the numeric pad. Once you have chosen a delimiter stick to it.
Where a code element, such as the Chart of Accounts exceeds four characters in length this should also be split into segments. The human brain interprets and remembers three character or four character blocks most readily so code segments should be kept to between three and four characters wherever possible, for example 172-9343-013.
8. General ledger coding
In the case of general ledgers there are usually accounting and business requirements that dictate the sequence of the lists and this points to numeric coding.
In addition, most accountants prefer numeric coding on the basis that it is allegedly faster and more accurate for bookkeeping staff. However, I have encountered accountants who prefer alpha-numeric – decide the coding convention before you start coding.
9. Alpha sequence code
In cases where the code scheme is very cramped you may use Alpha as a sequence code with no correlation between the letter used and the corresponding list entry.
10. Mnemonic logic
In mnemonic coding the progression of logic is as follows:
a. First letter match
b. Next matching consonant
c. Letter sequence
d. Relevant vowel
The goal is to follow the sequence of the hierarchy with coding that is most intuitively easy to remember.
11. Strategic (essence) logic leads
Note that the strategic (essence) logic of the sort order is more important than the ease of remembering as the human mind has great capability to remember patterns.
12. Check digits
Sequence number coding should, as far as possible, always include a check digit in cases where several characters are allocated to the counter.
13. Sort order
When coding make sure that the sort order of the code always correlates with the physical position sort of the hierarchy.
The above is an outline of considerations and steps in the coding of a hierarchy. I hope to produce more detailed material in due course.
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