Validate Solution - Business Analyst

Purpose

Validate that a solution meets the business need and determine the most appropriate response to identified defects.

Description

Solution validation is required to ensure that a delivered solution meets the business needs on an ongoing basis. Problems that are identified through solution validation will be reported and prioritized for resolution. When a problem is identified with the solution (i.e. a failure to meet a stakeholder need, whether or not the requirement was correctly specified) the business analyst will be able to help the team determine the most appropriate action.

Input

Solution [Constructed]: Validation can only be performed against a solution that actually exists. The solution may or may not be in actual use by the enterprise.

Requirements [Prioritized and Validated]: The priorities are needed to determine which requirements are candidates for acceptance criteria. The requirements are used to determine whether outputs of the solution fall within acceptable parameters.

Elements

1. Investigate Defective Solution Outputs

Identify defects in a solution or solution component by looking at cases where the outputs from the solution are below an acceptable level of quality. It is necessary to define what is considered to be a defective output. For example, a requirement might be considered to be defective if it is changed more than once before it is implemented, or if it is rejected by reviewers after the second round of reviews. When it can be determined that the solution is consistently producing defective outputs, root cause analysis should be performed in order to identify the cause of the problem.

Some solution components (software applications being the most likely example) may require an implementation SME to investigate the root cause of problems.

2. Assess Defects and Issues

Identified defects are reviewed to assess the effect that they will have on the operation of the organization. This requires determining the severity of the defect, the probability of the occurrence of the defect, the severity of the business impact, and the capacity of the business to absorb the impact of the defects. The business analyst may be required to identify which defects must be resolved, which can be mitigated through workarounds or other approaches, and which can be accepted until resources exist to address them.

If a defect cannot be resolved in a timeframe that is acceptable from a business perspective (due to complexity, because the cause cannot be identified, because it is not a sufficiently high priority, or for any other reason), and stakeholders cannot accept the defect, the business analyst may investigate options for mitigating the effects. These may include additional quality control checks, new manual processes, removal of support for certain exception cases, or other measures.

Techniques

Acceptance and Evaluation Criteria Definition: Determine the set of requirements that the solution must meet in order to be considered valid.

Problem Tracking: Used to track identified defects to ensure that they are resolved.

Root Cause Analysis: Used to ensure that the underlying reason for a defect is identified, rather than simply correcting the output (which may be a symptom of a deeper underlying problem).

Stakeholders

Domain SME:Will provide input into the development of acceptance and evaluation criteria.

End User:May assist in the development of acceptance and evaluation criteria and participate in acceptance testing.

Implementation SME :Will support the validation process, investigate defects, correct identified defects, and participate in the defect prioritization and resolution process.

Operational Support: Will support the deployment of defect resolutions.

Project Manager: Responsible for co-ordination of work between the parties involved in the validation process.

Tester: Solution verification (that is, verifying that the solution behaves in accordance with the solution requirements) is the responsibility of the tester. Testers will develop and execute tests to identify defects which may need to be assessed and validated by the business analyst. Test plans may be reviewed to ensure that the planned set of test activities will be sufficient to assure the organization that the solution is in conformance with the requirements.

Regulator: May review the results of acceptance testing and require that records be kept regarding the process and outcomes.

Sponsor: The sponsor (or designate) must accept the solution.

Output

Identified Defects: Known problems that exist in a solution.

Mitigating Actions: Steps that can be taken, or processes that can be followed, to reduce or eliminate the effect an identified defect has on a stakeholder or stakeholder group.

Solution Validation Assessment: An assessment of whether the solution is able to meet the business need at an acceptable level of quality.

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