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  • 1. Avoiding the “Solution Illusion” A Thin Slice of Problem Analysis Adrian Reed adrian.reed@blackmetric.co.uk @UKAdrianReed
  • 2. Covered today • What is the “Solution Illusion”: – Why does it matter? – How might we know it’s happening? • How can we help stakeholders to take a step back? – Tools & Techniques – The 1-page project concept
  • 3. Q. How much does it cost to implement a payroll system…? • • • • • And….NotProjection: Original to forget…. AUD $6.13 Million (EUR 4.2 Million) 190 Manual workarounds 92,000 paper forms being processed every fortnight Actual [inc op costs] 1,010 payroll AUD$ 1.5 Billionstaff) staff (85,000 total ~3,400 staff receive overpayments each pay (EUR 1,040,000,000) period ($1.7M AUD / EUR 1.2 M) 2,500 customisations to “off the shelf” and “like for like”Queensland Australia. system
  • 4. Some of the likely causes… No clear statement of problem “A burning platform” – the illusion of only one option And a lot more! Inadequate “Simple sounding” assessment of solution driving the complexity of business current situation
  • 5. Sound familiar?
  • 6. What you might hear when the “Solution Illusion” is happening… We don’t have time for any feasibility work… It’s off the shelf.. I presume we won’t need to worry about analysis? ? It’s a simple IT-only project
  • 7. …not again… We already know what we want. There’s no time for any analysis! Now go away and deliver the thing and stop asking questions
  • 8. A secret… Don’t we all think in solutions?
  • 9. Divergent and convergent thinking… IDEA GENERATION Maximise volume of options DEFINITION & SCOPING Nail down definition and scope
  • 10. Problem Analysis: Building the project foundations Without foundations, cracks appear…
  • 11. Project concept summary: A “thin slice” of why, what & how WHY? WHAT? HOW? Project concept summary
  • 12. Pulling it all together Problem Statement Other Requirements Possible Solutions Business Use Case diagram (Roles & Goals) CSF / KPIs Recommendation for next steps
  • 13. Problem Statement The problem of….. What problem are we trying to solve? Is affecting…. The impact of which is…. A successful solution would…. Who are our stakeholders? Why should we care? What are the benefits? How do we know it’s done?
  • 14. Example: A mail-order retailer 1. Marketing team set up new TV advertisement campaign to promote a great new offer… 2. Customers love it 3. Customers REALLY love it! 4. Phone lines are jammed
  • 15. WE NEED MORE PHONE LINES IN OUR CALL CENTRE!
  • 16. Problem Statement: “WE NEED MORE PHONE LINES!!” The problem of congested and busy phone lines Affects our customers and call centre staff The impact of which is we lose potential sales… as customers can’t get through A successful solution would enable customers to get information and make a purchase quickly without holding, leading to increased revenues (and profits)
  • 17. Identifying CSFs and KPIs Financial Customer Problem / Opportunity Innovation “Sustain” Internal processes
  • 18. Roles & Goals ROLES GOALS Who has an interest in the problem domain/business system? What is each stakeholder (role) trying to achieve or do?
  • 19. Business Use Case Diagram Symbol Description Business Actor Outside organisational boundaries Worker Inside organisational boundaries Business Use Case Interaction within organisational boundaries Communication Shows interaction
  • 20. Scope… Categorise each business use case/goal • Valid [out of scope] • Existing [satisfied] • Existing [Unchanged, Impacted] • Existing [Partially satisfied/not satisfied]: • New [not satisfied]:
  • 21. Other concept-level requirement types Non-functional – – – – – – – – Reliability Performance Efficiency Usability Security Compatibility Maintainability Interoperability Transferability General – Multi-language – Multi-currency – Multi-region – Legal and Compliance
  • 22. Solution options
  • 23. Pulling it all together Problem Statement Other Requirements Possible Solutions Business Use Case diagram (Roles & Goals) CSF / KPIs Recommendation for next steps
  • 24. WHY? • • Problem Statement CSF/KPIs WHAT? • • • Roles & goals Business Use Case diagram Conceptual requirements HOW? • Solution options Project concept summary
  • 25. From Concept Level Requirements To… • System Use Case • User Stories • Process Modelling • Data Modelling
  • 26. Closing thoughts…. • Call out the ‘solution illusion’ and ‘magic bullets’ • Encourage an early problem focus. • Project concept summary can be a useful guiding beacon
  • 27. • Where in your organisation are your business analysts located ? • How are you adding value? • Where do you think the BA adds most value? • How do we measure that value? www.blackmetric.co.uk