About the Benefits and Pitfalls of Relying onAnalytical Methods for capturing User Needs and                Requirements  ...
Analytical Methods in Systems             Development• Analytical and quantitative tools allow a rational  treatment of a ...
Analytical Methods in Systems              Development• The clear definition of these requirements is a  basis for generat...
Analytical Methods in Systems             Development• Functional analysis strongly depends on the initial  formulation of...
Analytical Methods in Systems             Development• Inputs, outputs become valuable instruments  to capture the interac...
Pitfalls of Analytical Methods in          Systems Development• How many times have such rigorous analytical  methods deli...
Pitfalls of Analytical Methods in          Systems Development• Let us make a bold statement here by holding also  respons...
Pitfalls of Analytical Methods in          Systems Development• Certainly, this analytical approach is more aligned  with ...
Pitfalls of Analytical Methods in          Systems Development• Accurately capturing, communicating, and fulfilling the  r...
Pitfalls of Analytical Methods in          Systems Development• Sage also gives the following seven attributes of a  sound...
Pitfalls of Analytical Methods in          Systems Development• Sage also gives the following seven attributes of a  sound...
Pitfalls of Analytical Methods in         Systems Development• The analytic and quantitative formulation of  requirements ...
Pitfalls of Analytical Methods in         Systems Development• If we acknowledge the fact that biased  information is incr...
Pitfalls of Analytical Methods in          Systems Development• One way of capturing biases through analytical means  is t...
Pitfalls of Analytical Methods in         Systems Development• Acceptability focuses on defining a precise  boundary withi...
Pitfalls of Analytical Methods in          Systems Development• The systems perspective refers to the analytical view of  ...
Pitfalls of Analytical Methods in          Systems Development• Kurstedt also reminds us that even though Western  culture...
Pitfalls of Analytical Methods in          Systems Development• The immediate reaction of an analytic thinker to  this arg...
Pitfalls of Analytical Methods in         Systems Development• When a group has to make a decision using the  holistic app...
Pitfalls of Analytical Methods in          Systems Development• Humans have this unique ability to gather and  relate issu...
Pitfalls of Analytical Methods in          Systems Development• Analytic means are inadequate to capture the ultimate  mea...
References•   [1] Buede Denis. The engineering Design of Systems. Wiley Series in systems    Engineering, New York, chap 9...
For Comments and Questions contact didier@pragmaticohesion.com                      Copyrights (c) 2011-2012 Pragmatic    ...
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About the benefits and pitfalls of relying on analytical methods

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About the Benefits and Pitfalls of Relying on Analytical and Quantitative Methods for capturing User Needs and Requirements.

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About the benefits and pitfalls of relying on analytical methods

  1. 1. About the Benefits and Pitfalls of Relying onAnalytical Methods for capturing User Needs and Requirements Copyrights (c) 2011-2012 Pragmatic 1 Cohesion Consulting
  2. 2. Analytical Methods in Systems Development• Analytical and quantitative tools allow a rational treatment of a design problem that leaves little or no room for emotions or feelings.• These approaches perform a clear decomposition of the design problem by distinguishing the various elements that should drive it i.e., the various requirements and their respective categories such as: mission, input/output, external interfaces, functional, non-functional, system wide, and technology requirements. Copyrights (c) 2011-2012 Pragmatic 2 Cohesion Consulting
  3. 3. Analytical Methods in Systems Development• The clear definition of these requirements is a basis for generating an objectives hierarchy for the solution System.• This hierarchy is a decomposition and quantification of the characteristics that describe an acceptable solution system.• Functional analysis is often performed and aims at grouping and decomposing the functions of a system to discover the behavior embedded in it. Copyrights (c) 2011-2012 Pragmatic 3 Cohesion Consulting
  4. 4. Analytical Methods in Systems Development• Functional analysis strongly depends on the initial formulation of various scenarios describing from a user standpoint what services are needed from the system (Use Cases).• Performing functional analysis reveals some implied requirements that are not explicitly stated in the originating requirements and that are discovered by yet another decomposition and classification exercise. Copyrights (c) 2011-2012 Pragmatic 4 Cohesion Consulting
  5. 5. Analytical Methods in Systems Development• Inputs, outputs become valuable instruments to capture the interaction taking place between functions and sub-function in terms of data, material, or energy transformed or transported within the system and between the system and its environment.• Once a solution system is instantiated, it is evaluated to determine its degree of conformance to the objectives hierarchy. Copyrights (c) 2011-2012 Pragmatic 5 Cohesion Consulting
  6. 6. Pitfalls of Analytical Methods in Systems Development• How many times have such rigorous analytical methods delivered systems that still failed to satisfy the real needs of the system’s users?• The answer is: more often that Managers, Business Analysts, Architects, Engineers, and Developers would have expected.• Of course one could blame such user’s dissatisfaction on some deviation from the ideal rigorous analytical and quantitative approach. In all fairness, some blame can be found there. Copyrights (c) 2011-2012 Pragmatic 6 Cohesion Consulting
  7. 7. Pitfalls of Analytical Methods in Systems Development• Let us make a bold statement here by holding also responsible the almost exclusive reliance that many Business Analysts, Engineers, and Developers place in trusting analytical and quantitative techniques.• This trust is often oblivious to the fact that the needs that they think they are fulfilling could be blurred by the means used to perceive or capture them.• An analytical decomposition and quantification of requirements is just one of several ways of perceiving and understanding the actual needs and purpose that a solution system intends to fulfill. Copyrights (c) 2011-2012 Pragmatic 7 Cohesion Consulting
  8. 8. Pitfalls of Analytical Methods in Systems Development• Certainly, this analytical approach is more aligned with the technical culture of the modern western world.• Engineer and Analysts in the western world are educated to value and trust engineering efforts based on their use of well-defined analytical and quantitative techniques and tools.• Many Engineers and Analysts tend to perceive needs in analytical and quantitative terms because they usually fulfill them by analytical and quantitative means. Copyrights (c) 2011-2012 Pragmatic 8 Cohesion Consulting
  9. 9. Pitfalls of Analytical Methods in Systems Development• Accurately capturing, communicating, and fulfilling the requirements of a system is a daunting task that has been and continues to be the object of many commendable research efforts.• Sage [7] talks about the importance of technical direction and system management. He identifies twelve deadly systems engineering transgresses.• For example, transgression one states: ”There is an overreliance on a specific analytical method or a specific technology that is advocated by a particular group”. Copyrights (c) 2011-2012 Pragmatic 9 Cohesion Consulting
  10. 10. Pitfalls of Analytical Methods in Systems Development• Sage also gives the following seven attributes of a sound system engineering process(or system development process): – 1: Is Logically sound – 2: Is matched to the potential and organizational situation and environment extant. – 3: Supports a variety of cognitive skills, styles, and knowledge of the human who must use the system – 4: assists users of the system to develop and use their own cognitive skills, styles, and knowledge Copyrights (c) 2011-2012 Pragmatic 10 Cohesion Consulting
  11. 11. Pitfalls of Analytical Methods in Systems Development• Sage also gives the following seven attributes of a sound systems engineering process(or system development process):[continue] – 5: Is sufficiently flexible to allow use and adaptation by users with differing experiential knowledge – 6: Encourages more effective solution of unstructured and unfamiliar issues allowing the application of job specific experiences in a way compatible with various acceptability constraints – 7: Promotes effective long-term management Copyrights (c) 2011-2012 Pragmatic 11 Cohesion Consulting
  12. 12. Pitfalls of Analytical Methods in Systems Development• The analytic and quantitative formulation of requirements does not capture accurately enough the full range or richness of information provided by stakeholders.• For example, during face-to-face meetings, facial expression, tone of voice, gestures, and body posture carry 93% of the information content while verbal language only conveys the remaining 7% [Mehrabian 1971] Copyrights (c) 2011-2012 Pragmatic 12 Cohesion Consulting
  13. 13. Pitfalls of Analytical Methods in Systems Development• If we acknowledge the fact that biased information is incredibly rich [Draft and Lengel 1984] then capturing as much biases as possible from stakeholders during requirements elicitation sessions should be a valuable objective as opposed to being considered a deficiency.• Rejecting bias in requirements definition implies denying their usefulness in identifying the characteristics of what stakeholders desire or despise. Copyrights (c) 2011-2012 Pragmatic 13 Cohesion Consulting
  14. 14. Pitfalls of Analytical Methods in Systems Development• One way of capturing biases through analytical means is to create a hierarchical ranking of the relative importance of selected requirements as perceived by the customers/users [1].• This approach though valuable to exert analytically based trade-off decisions and system evaluations, is an imperfect way of capturing emotional dimensions of face-to-face communications.• It is a subtle and often unconscious manifestation of the drive that many analytic thinkers have to define acceptability over seeking desirability [Yoshida Kosaku 1989]. Copyrights (c) 2011-2012 Pragmatic 14 Cohesion Consulting
  15. 15. Pitfalls of Analytical Methods in Systems Development• Acceptability focuses on defining a precise boundary within which anything is acceptable.• Desirability is holistic in nature; it addresses the somehow imprecise but more fundamental aim sought by stakeholders.• Kurstedt[4-6] identifies and tries to reconcile three dimensions of the systems approach: The systems perspective, the generalist perspective, and the holistic perspective. Copyrights (c) 2011-2012 Pragmatic 15 Cohesion Consulting
  16. 16. Pitfalls of Analytical Methods in Systems Development• The systems perspective refers to the analytical view of a problem or system and the needs to which it responds.• The holistic perspective (and generalist perspectives) must complement the system perspective in order to more effectively tackle and solve the significant engineering problems faced in our modern society.• Refer to the presentation: The four thinking perspectives of the successful Business Analyst for further details on using system, generalist, and holistic thinking in Business Analysis. Copyrights (c) 2011-2012 Pragmatic 16 Cohesion Consulting
  17. 17. Pitfalls of Analytical Methods in Systems Development• Kurstedt also reminds us that even though Western culture’s engineers and analysts have harder times understanding and applying holistic thinking, they are no strangers to it.• Kosaku Yoshida [3] illustrates holistic thinking by giving the example of dating and asks the following question: “when you go on a date, would you evaluate whether your date has intelligence:96 points, appearance: 90 points, emotional stability 50 points? Do you evaluate your partner like that? If you get a date, turn off the light and get the smell; get the total understanding. You are not going to analyze. You are going to capture the entire feeling. That I call ultimate understanding” Copyrights (c) 2011-2012 Pragmatic 17 Cohesion Consulting
  18. 18. Pitfalls of Analytical Methods in Systems Development• The immediate reaction of an analytic thinker to this argument could be voiced as: “If a single person can make a choice based on a holistic thinking process then how do you reconcile the most likely different holistic choices that each system’s stakeholder would make?”• One could answer this question by first pointing out that an analytic summing of individual holistic choices made by the members of a group yields neither an analytic solution nor a holistic one. Copyrights (c) 2011-2012 Pragmatic 18 Cohesion Consulting
  19. 19. Pitfalls of Analytical Methods in Systems Development• When a group has to make a decision using the holistic approach, the group must come together as a “Group” to get synergy through the holistic perspective.• The human brain has this special ability to come to a conclusion from unconscious, incomplete or missing data; a group of human minds has the potential to do things an analytic model can’t, such as coming up with a synergistic answer. Copyrights (c) 2011-2012 Pragmatic 19 Cohesion Consulting
  20. 20. Pitfalls of Analytical Methods in Systems Development• Humans have this unique ability to gather and relate issues, characteristics, nuances, meanings, essences, alternatives, and criticalities ingredients all so needed to perform a holistic thinking process.• The holistic perspective of a system wants to capture the system’s ultimate purpose or meaning.• The meaning of a system transcends any system’s components or parts for they are only contributors to its essence. Copyrights (c) 2011-2012 Pragmatic 20 Cohesion Consulting
  21. 21. Pitfalls of Analytical Methods in Systems Development• Analytic means are inadequate to capture the ultimate meaning, purpose, and essence of a system.• Deming illustrates the synergy effect by taking the example of an orchestra that gradually improves its performance to one day becoming able to soar: that special level of performance that can hardly be analyzed and that is rooted deeply in the hearts and minds of the orchestra’s musicians and conductor.• A group of people can effectively exercise the holistic approach when they have mutual respect, good communication, a good participation process, and a shared purpose [5]. Copyrights (c) 2011-2012 Pragmatic 21 Cohesion Consulting
  22. 22. References• [1] Buede Denis. The engineering Design of Systems. Wiley Series in systems Engineering, New York, chap 9, 13• [2]Daniel Jesse, Warner Paul W., and Bahill Terry A. Quantitative methods for Tradeoff Analysis. The Journal of the International Council on systems Engineering volume 4 number 3-2001• [3] Kosaku Yoshida. Transcripts of videotape Made in Japan “Whole”-istically, petty consulting/production, Cincinnati, Ohio, 1990, p.11• [4,5,6] Kurstedt H. A. Management Systems Theory, Applications, and Design. Virgina Tech Blacksburg, VA. 2000 chap 1.1.16.6, 1.1.27.4.3, 1.1.27.4.4, 1.1.16.2• [7] Sage. Andrew P. Systems Management for Information Technology and Software Engineering. Wiley Series in systems Engineering, New York. 1995, p.7• [8] Sage Andrew P. Systems Engineering. Wiley Series in Systems Engineering, New York. 1992, p.223• [9] Sage Andrew P. Decision Support Systems Engineering. Wiley Series in Systems Engineering, New York. 1991, p.23• [10] Daft L. Richard and Lengel H. Robert, Information Richness: A new approach to managerial behavior and organization design (Organizational Behavior, vol.6, 1984, pp.191-223)• [11] Kosaku Yoshida, Deming Management Philosophy: does it work in the US as well as in Japan? Columbia Journal of World Business, Fall 1989, p12. Copyrights (c) 2011-2012 Pragmatic 22 Cohesion Consulting
  23. 23. For Comments and Questions contact didier@pragmaticohesion.com Copyrights (c) 2011-2012 Pragmatic 23 Cohesion Consulting

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