Assess Proposed Solution - Business Analyst

Purpose

To assess proposed solutions in order to determine how closely they meet stakeholder and solution requirements.

Description

Solution assessment may be performed on a single solution or to compare multiple proposed solutions.

When assessing a single solution, the business analyst determines whether the solution delivers enough business value to justify its implementation. This will most often be the case when a custom solution has been created to meet a particular business need.

When assessing multiple alternative solutions, the business analyst has the additional goal of attempting to determine which solution delivers the greatest business value. This requires understanding the advantages and disadvantages of each alternative.

Input

Assumptions and Constraints: Assumptions may lead to certain solutions being favored, while constraints may limit available solution options.

Requirements [Prioritized and Approved]: The relative priorities of requirements allow analysis to identify the choices that meet the most important requirements. Requirements must be approved in order to allow a decision to be made.

Solution Option(s): Information on each proposed solution must be available. The information should be in a form that facilitates effective comparison of the different available options.

Elements

1. Ranking of Solution Options

When relatively few criteria are involved, it may be easiest focus on those criteria where substantive differences exist between solution options. Those differences then form the basis for the decision.

For more complex decision problems, a scoring system may be used, with sets of related requirements assigned a weighting to reflect their relative importance to the organization. Each solution is scored and the top-rated solution or solutions are then investigated in greater detail.

2. Identification of Additional Potential Capabilities

Solution options will sometimes offer capabilities (whether potential or actual) to the organization above and beyond those identified in the requirements or the original business case. In many cases, these capabilities are not of immediate value to the organization but have the potential to provide future value, as the solution may support the rapid development or implementation of those capabilities if they are required (for example, a software application may have features that the organization anticipates using in the future).

Techniques

Acceptance and Evaluation Criteria Definition: Requirements should be expressed in the form of acceptance criteria to make them most useful when assessing proposed solutions.

Decision Analysis: Decision analysis methods directly support the assessment and ranking of solution options.

Vendor Assessment: When an option is being provided in whole or in part by a third party, the assessment of the solution should be coupled with an assessment of the vendor to ensure that all parties will be able to develop and maintain a healthy working relationship.

Stakeholders

Domain SME: Domain SMEs can provide feedback during the selection process or participate in assessing options.

Implementation SME: Gather information from experts with specific expertise in the solution options under consideration. Interoperability with the organization’s enterprise architecture needs to be considered.

Operational Support: Provide information on technical constraints that may limit the solutions that can be implemented.

Project Manager: Will need to plan and manage the selection process.

Supplier: Will provide information on the functionality associated with a particular solution option.

Sponsor: Approves the expenditure of resources to purchase or develop a solution and approve the final recommendation.

Output

Assessment of Proposed Solution: Assess the value delivered by each proposed solution. If multiple options are available, a recommendation of the best solution should be made. A recommendation to terminate the initiative may be given if no solution delivers enough value to justify being implemented.

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