Database design and planning is an important step to take before implementing a RDBMS (Relational Database Management System) for the programmers and the client. The client will be able to see the benefits of having the system in place along with the costs involved for the project and the ongoing support once the system is implemented. The planning process will help the designers and programmers understand the client's must-haves and don't-care's so that they can spend their time in the necessary areas that will give the client the biggest bang for their buck.
The design and planning stage is the time to figure out what the client needs, but not to tell the client what they need. Once they explain what they want to accomplish it is then our job to translate that English into code as best we can. It's important to gather as much information from the client as possible so that it can be used and they'll be happier with the end product.
From the consultant point of view it's important to give the client options during the design and planning stages. You can use third party software that provides templates such as Wordpress Hosting. An extravagant system with security and login features will be more expensive than a peer-to-peer network without as much security. It should be displayed to the client as an "a la cart" format so that they can pick and choose the parts that will help their company the most.
Once the big decisions are agreed upon and money is discussed it's time for the designers and programmers to get their ducks in a row. Relational diagrams should be created first so that each group of programmers works toward the same goal. Many times database projects are split into a few teams, so all alterations should be immediately discussed with the other teams.
Most of the planning should be done with the client. I can't stress enough how important the client is in the planning of a database. Businesses are all different in their own way which means each RDMBS will be slightly different as well. If you want a good plan in place it will basically mimic exactly what the client said, not exactly like a different database you already created. Templates and design patterns will save the programmer's time but the database will not be one of a kind and it will cause the client to complain more in the future. A good plan creates a good end result and a happy customer is a repeat customer!
Accessible Data Solutions. The Database Planning Phase. Retrieved from: