Avoiding the “Solution Illusion”
A Thin Slice of Problem Analysis

Adrian Reed
adrian.reed@blackmetric.co.uk

@UKAdrianRee...
Covered today
• What is the “Solution Illusion”:
– Why does it matter?
– How might we know it’s
happening?

• How can we h...
Q. How much does it cost to
implement a payroll system…?

•
•
•
•
•

And….NotProjection:
Original to forget….
AUD $6.13 Mi...
Some of the likely causes…
No clear statement
of problem

“A burning
platform” – the
illusion of only one
option

And a lo...
Sound familiar?
What you might hear when the
“Solution Illusion” is happening…
We don’t
have time for
any feasibility
work…

It’s off the ...
…not again…

We already know
what we want.
There’s no time for
any analysis!

Now go away
and deliver the
thing and stop
a...
A secret…
Don’t we all
think in
solutions?
Divergent and convergent thinking…
IDEA GENERATION

Maximise volume of
options

DEFINITION & SCOPING

Nail down definition...
Problem Analysis:
Building the project foundations

Without
foundations,
cracks
appear…
Project concept summary:
A “thin slice” of why, what & how
WHY?

WHAT?

HOW?

Project concept summary
Pulling it all together
Problem Statement

Other
Requirements

Possible Solutions

Business Use
Case diagram
(Roles & Goal...
Problem Statement
The problem of…..

What problem
are we trying to
solve?

Is affecting….
The impact of which is….
A succe...
Example: A mail-order retailer

1. Marketing team set
up new TV
advertisement
campaign to promote
a great new offer…
2. Cu...
WE NEED MORE
PHONE LINES IN
OUR CALL
CENTRE!
Problem Statement:
“WE NEED MORE PHONE LINES!!”
The problem of congested and busy phone lines
Affects our customers and ca...
Identifying CSFs and KPIs
Financial

Customer

Problem /
Opportunity

Innovation
“Sustain”

Internal
processes
Roles & Goals

ROLES

GOALS

Who has an interest
in the problem
domain/business
system?

What is each
stakeholder (role)
t...
Business Use Case Diagram
Symbol

Description

Business Actor
Outside organisational boundaries

Worker
Inside organisatio...
Scope…
Categorise each business use case/goal
• Valid [out of scope]
• Existing [satisfied]
• Existing [Unchanged, Impacte...
Other concept-level requirement types
Non-functional
–
–
–
–
–
–
–
–

Reliability
Performance Efficiency
Usability
Securit...
Solution options
Pulling it all together
Problem Statement

Other
Requirements

Possible Solutions

Business Use
Case diagram
(Roles & Goal...
WHY?
•
•

Problem
Statement
CSF/KPIs

WHAT?
•
•
•

Roles & goals
Business Use
Case diagram
Conceptual
requirements

HOW?
•...
From Concept Level Requirements To…
• System Use Case
• User Stories
• Process Modelling
• Data Modelling
Closing thoughts….
• Call out the ‘solution illusion’
and ‘magic bullets’
• Encourage an early problem
focus.
• Project co...
•

Where in your organisation are your business
analysts located ?

•

How are you adding value?

•

Where do you think th...
'Helping Stakeholders to Take a Step Back and Avoid the "Solution Illusion"', by Adrian Reed, UK
'Helping Stakeholders to Take a Step Back and Avoid the "Solution Illusion"', by Adrian Reed, UK
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in …5
×

'Helping Stakeholders to Take a Step Back and Avoid the "Solution Illusion"', by Adrian Reed, UK

566 views

Published on

Published in: Technology, Business
0 Comments
1 Like
Statistics
Notes
  • Be the first to comment

No Downloads
Views
Total views
566
On SlideShare
0
From Embeds
0
Number of Embeds
2
Actions
Shares
0
Downloads
12
Comments
0
Likes
1
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

'Helping Stakeholders to Take a Step Back and Avoid the "Solution Illusion"', by Adrian Reed, UK

  1. 1. Avoiding the “Solution Illusion” A Thin Slice of Problem Analysis Adrian Reed adrian.reed@blackmetric.co.uk @UKAdrianReed
  2. 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. 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. 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. 5. Sound familiar?
  6. 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. 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. 8. A secret… Don’t we all think in solutions?
  9. 9. Divergent and convergent thinking… IDEA GENERATION Maximise volume of options DEFINITION & SCOPING Nail down definition and scope
  10. 10. Problem Analysis: Building the project foundations Without foundations, cracks appear…
  11. 11. Project concept summary: A “thin slice” of why, what & how WHY? WHAT? HOW? Project concept summary
  12. 12. Pulling it all together Problem Statement Other Requirements Possible Solutions Business Use Case diagram (Roles & Goals) CSF / KPIs Recommendation for next steps
  13. 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. 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. 15. WE NEED MORE PHONE LINES IN OUR CALL CENTRE!
  16. 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. 17. Identifying CSFs and KPIs Financial Customer Problem / Opportunity Innovation “Sustain” Internal processes
  18. 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. 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. 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. 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. 22. Solution options
  23. 23. Pulling it all together Problem Statement Other Requirements Possible Solutions Business Use Case diagram (Roles & Goals) CSF / KPIs Recommendation for next steps
  24. 24. WHY? • • Problem Statement CSF/KPIs WHAT? • • • Roles & goals Business Use Case diagram Conceptual requirements HOW? • Solution options Project concept summary
  25. 25. From Concept Level Requirements To… • System Use Case • User Stories • Process Modelling • Data Modelling
  26. 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. 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

×