Solution Assessment and Validation Tutorial

7.1 Solution Assessment and Validation

Hello and welcome to the seventh lesson of Certification of Competency in Business AnalysisTM or CCBA® (read as: C-C-B-A) certification course offered by Simplilearn. In the previous lesson, we discussed requirement analysis. Lesson 7 is the conclusion of all the lessons covered so far, and guides us through the actual process of implementation of the solutions. Moreover, it ensures that the project deliverables are satisfactory with respect to the goals set by the stakeholders and sponsor. Both stakeholders and sponsor are responsible for the acceptance of project deliverables. If the stakeholders are not satisfied, it can hinder long-term success of the project. For new solutions, it takes months of regular use before the benefits can be fully realized. Moreover, change and newness can bring resistance, and it requires time for the learning curve to reach the desired levels of efficiency. For the solutions to provide the promised benefits, the business analyst must ensure they perform as designed. The Business Analyst is required to perform the solution assessment and validation process. We will begin with the lesson objectives, in the next slide.

7.2 Objectives

After completing this lesson, you will be able to: Assess proposed solution Allocate requirements Assess organizational readiness Define transition requirements Validate solution Evaluate solution performance Let us look at the introduction to solution assessment and validation, in the next slide.

7.3 Introduction to Solution Assessment and Validation

Does the solution provide the business value? Solution assessment and validation is a key to the project, because it tests if the consensus requirements and the solutions proposed will actually provide the benefits stated as the goals for the solution. For a solution to be successful, it must be in alignment with the stakeholder goals. The most common technique for determining the best solution starts by reviewing the criteria. The questions are: Does the criteria accurately measure what will be constituted as a measure of success? How will the criteria be measured and by whom? It is important to avoid any conflict of interest by making sure there will be no bias in the measurements or interpretation of the data. If there is more than one solution to a need, decision analysis should be used to determine the solution with the highest success probability. These tasks are governed by the business analysis plans and business analysis metrics. The output of the assessment of proposed solutions is to substantiate that the solutions provide the deliverables as desired by the stakeholders. In the next slide, we will discuss the inputs and outputs for the assessment of proposed solutions

7.4 Solutions Assessment and Validation Diagram

The inputs for solution assessment and validation are: Assumptions and Constraints may lead to certain solutions being favored, while constraints may limit available solution options. Enterprise Architecture describes the current state of the enterprise. Requirements is information and processes stakeholders need during transition. Constructed, Deployed, or Designed Solution is the solution that will be investigated to understand what needs to be transitioned to the new solution. Solution Option or Options are documentation of each proposed solution so that effective comparison can be made. Solution Performance Metrics are the criteria by which the performance of the solution is to be assessed. Solution Scope allocates business requirements to components and releases. Stakeholder Concerns are issues or problems from the stakeholders. The outputs of solution assessment and validation are: Assessment of Proposed Solution is to assess the value delivered by each proposed solution. Identified Defects are known defects that exist in the solution. Mitigating Actions are steps that can be taken to reduce or eliminate the effect an identified defect has on a stakeholder or stakeholder group. Organizational Readiness Assessment is used to identify areas where the organization needs to add new capabilities to manage and operate the new solution. Allocated Requirements are requirements that are associated with the solution component that will implement them. Transition Requirements describe capabilities that must be developed for an organization to successfully transition between solutions. Solution Performance Assessment describes how the solution is performing in relation to business goals and objectives. Solution Validation Assessment determines whether the solution is able to meet the business need at an acceptable level of quality. In the next slide, we will discuss assessment of proposed solution.

7.5 Assess Proposed Solution Diagram

The inputs for assessment of proposed solution are: Assumptions and Constraints may lead to certain solutions being favored, while constraints may limit available solution options. Prioritized and Approved Requirements are the requirements that are candidates for acceptance criteria. Solution Option or Options are documentation of each proposed solution so that effective comparison can be made. The techniques used for assessing the solution are: Acceptance and Evaluation Criteria Definition are the quality metrics that must be met to achieve acceptance by a stakeholder. Decision Analysis is a cost/benefit analysis, typically used to determine the financial impact of the solution on the organization. Vendor Assessment is used to ensure that all parties will be able to develop and maintain a healthy working relationship. The output is Assessment of the proposed solution, which is to assess the value delivered by each proposed solution. In the next slide, we will discuss requirements allocation.

7.6 Allocate Requirements Diagram

The inputs for requirements allocation are: Prioritized and Approved Requirements are the requirements that are candidates for acceptance criteria. Designed Solution is a defined set of components along with the estimated costs and effort associated with delivery of those components. Solution Scope allocates business requirements to components and releases. The techniques used for requirement allocation are: Acceptance and Evaluation Criteria Definition are the quality metrics that must be met to achieve acceptance by a stakeholder. Business Rules Analysis is used to define rules that govern decisions in an organization and that define, constrain, or enable organizational operations. Decision Analysis is a cost/benefit analysis, typically used to determine the financial impact of the solution on the organization. Functional Decomposition subdivides processes, functional areas, or deliverables into their component parts and allows each part to be analyzed independently. Process Modeling describes how multiple people or groups collaborate over a period to perform work. Scenarios and Use Cases describe how an actor interacts with a solution to accomplish one or more of that actor’s goals, or to respond to an event. The output is allocated requirements. These are requirements associated with a solution component that will implement them. In the next slide, we will understand assessment of organizational readiness.

7.7 Assess Organizational Readiness Diagram

The inputs for organizational readiness assessment are: Enterprise Architecture is a description of an organization’s business processes, IT software and hardware, people, operations and projects, and the relationships between them. Solution Scope allocates business requirements to components and releases. Designed Solution is a defined set of components along with the estimated costs and effort associated with delivery of those components. Stakeholder Concerns are issues or problems from the stakeholders. The outputs of organizational readiness assessment are: Organizational Readiness Assessment is used to identify areas where the organization needs to add new capabilities to manage and operate the new solution. The techniques used for organizational readiness assessment are: Acceptance and Evaluation Criteria Definition are the quality metrics that must be met to achieve acceptance by a stakeholder. Data Flow Diagram shows how information flows through a system. Focus Groups are a means to elicit ideas and attitudes about a specific product, service, or opportunity in an interactive group environment. Organizational Modeling is used to describe the roles, responsibilities, and reporting structures that exist within an organization and to align those structures with the organization’s goals. Problem Tracking is used to ensure that issues identified by the organizational readiness assessment are resolved. Risk Analysis is used to identify possible risks associated with the change management process and possible risks associated with making or choosing not to make the change. SWOT Analysis identifies how current capabilities and limitations (strengths and weaknesses) match up against the influencing factors (opportunities and threats). In the next slide, we will learn to assess organizational readiness through force field analysis.

7.8 Force Field Analysis

The diagram shown in the slide is a graphical representation of the external forces that can affect solutions. These forces are exogenous and beyond the control of the company. By assessing the influence of these forces and allocating a weight to each force, decisions can be made with respect to supporting forces, and mitigate factors that can oppose desired changes. Each industry has external and internal forces that can support a solution, and forces that can degrade or inhibit a solution. For example, the force of new technology can make it less expensive and more productive to install a solution; another force is increased competition. Management can build strategies and tactics to support or reduce the impact of identified forces that can affect the outcome of a company or solution for the short and long term. In the next slide, we will understand transition requirements.

7.9 Transition Requirements

Phasing in the solution is the transition period, when a new solution is being implemented to replace an old solution. During this period, both the solutions may be active and running in parallel. Normally, training on the new system will be taking place and operating in tandem, yet separate from the existing solution, until it is considered safe to depend on the new solution. During this process, it is common to discover new requirements to help smooth the transition to the new solution. Moreover, the actual solution may be altered from the original designed solution. Transition requirements are elicited from stakeholder, users, and SMEs. Once analyzed, if changes are made, they are communicated and managed as part of the implementation procedure. However, once the solution has been successfully implemented, the transition requirements may become irrelevant and eliminated. However, if the solution is new and does not replace any existing solutions, transition requirements may be considered as a part of the implementation procedures. We will understand transition requirements with a diagram, in the next slide.

7.10 Define Transition Requirements Diagram

The inputs required for analyzing transition requirements are: Organizational Readiness Assessment used to identify areas where the organization needs to add new capabilities to manage and operate the new solution. Stated Requirements are the expressed desires of stakeholders, which must be analyzed to ensure that they reflect a genuine need. Designed Solution is a defined set of components along with the estimated costs and effort associated with delivery of those components. Deployed Solution is the existing solution currently employed. The output obtained is the Transition requirements. They are the capabilities that must be developed for an organization to successfully transition between solutions. The techniques used to come up with transition requirements are: Business Rules Analysis is the rules that govern decisions in an organization and that define, constrain, or enable organizational operations. Data Flow Diagrams are used to show how information is input, processed, stored, and output from a system. Data Modeling describes the concepts relevant to a domain, the relationships between those concepts, and information associated with them. In the next slide, we will deal with the solution validation diagram.

7.11 Validate Solution Diagram

Does the delivered solution meet the business need? The solution validation is required to ensure that the solution meets the need in an ongoing basis. If there are problems identified in the solution, a new solution will be designed to fix or mitigate the problem, to make sure the deliverable solution works as required. This task is a quality control test to validate the success of the solution. The inputs required to validate solution are: Constructed Solution is a solution that actually exists. Prioritized and Validated Requirements are requirements that can be demonstrated to deliver value to stakeholders and are aligned with the business goals and objectives. The techniques used for solution validation are: Acceptance and Evaluation Criteria Definition are the quality metrics that must be met to achieve acceptance by a stakeholder. Problem Tracking is used to ensure that issues identified by the organizational readiness assessment are resolved. Root Cause Analysis is 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). The outputs of solution validation are: Identified Defects are problems known to exist in a solution. Mitigating Actions are 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 is an assessment of whether the solution is able to meet the business need at an acceptable level of quality. We will understand solution validation process with a diagram in the next slide.

7.12 Solution Validation Process Diagram

The diagram in the slide describes the general flow of validating a solution. The validated requirements and designed solution scope are reviewed and tested, to determine if the solution and requirements work without defect, and meet all the criteria that define success. If defects are detected, they are evaluated and, if appropriate, a new solution is designed, tested, and validated. Once a solution has been validated, it is ready for full implementation and integration into the company operations. We will move on to the last task on the list of solution assessment and validation, which is evaluating the solution performance.

7.13 Evaluate Solution Performance Diagram

How is a solution functioning after implementation? The final task of solution assessment and validation is another quality check and it looks at the future of the implemented solution. Often, this evaluation takes place several months after implementation and incorporation of the solution, as a normal operation or business rule. While the process of the analysis is still fresh in the minds of the stakeholders and before memory starts to fade, it makes sense to not only evaluate how the solution is working, but also what changes can be made to improve or evolve the solution in the future. The inputs required to evaluate solution performance are: Business Requirements are higher-level statements of the goals, objectives, or needs of the enterprise. Identified Defects are known defects that exist in the solution. Solution Performance Metrics are the criteria by which the performance of the solution is to be assessed. Deployed Solution is the existing solution currently employed. The techniques used to evaluate solution performance are: Decision Analysis is a cost/benefit analysis, typically used to determine the financial impact of the solution on the organization. Focus Groups are a means to elicit ideas and attitudes about a specific product, service, or opportunity in an interactive group environment. Observation is a means of eliciting requirements by assessing the stakeholder’s work environment. Survey/Questionnaire is a means of eliciting information from many people, sometimes anonymously, in a relatively short period of time. The output is solution performance assessment describes how the solution is performing in relation to business goals and objectives. Now, let us go through a few questions to check your understanding of the concepts discussed.

7.15 Summary

In this lesson, we have learned that analysis process culminates with the solution assessment and validation. All the prior modules dealt with the intermediate processes to arrive at the point of actual implementation and testing of the requirements, solution, and the deliverance of the proposed benefits or deliverables of the solution. The tasks to solution assessment and validation start with assessing the proposed solution. The purpose of the solution assessment and validation tasks is to ensure that the solution meets the business need and a successful solution implementation. Business analysis plans drive the implementation of the solution. In other words, the business analyst should execute to the plan. Organizational readiness measures stakeholder’s preparedness for accepting the changes associated with a solution. The organization must be ready to make the changes to the new solution. Performance metrics tell us how well the solution has been implemented compared with expected results. This task is a quality check to ensure that the deployed new solution is delivering the benefits, as measured by the criteria for success, as well as actual performance within the context of the business rules, goals, and objectives.

7.16 Thank you

We have completed the lesson on solution assessment and validation. In the next lesson, we will discuss the required underlying competencies in business analysis.

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  • PMP, PMI, PMBOK, CAPM, PgMP, PfMP, ACP, PBA, RMP, SP, and OPM3 are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc.

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