The purpose of this Evaluate Solution Performance (BABOK 7.6 – the last task included in the BABOK Guide) is:
“Evaluate functioning solutions to understand the value they deliver and identify opportunities for improvement.”
This task involves understanding the business value devlivered by the solution and whether it is over- or under-performing, validating that value with metrics, and deciding whether the elimination or replacement of the solution is necessary.
Many BAs read this and think, “I’ve never done that. As soon as I’m done with the requirements, I’m assigned to another project. I never have time to go back and evaluate the performance of the solution.” And you might be right.
I read it and think, “I do this all the time, just rarely at the end of a project; always at the beginning.”
Let me share an example with you from my real-world experience:
When I started working as the first true BA at a company that had recently purchased, but not yet consolidated, 5 smaller companies, the first thing we did was complete an assessment of each company’s business processes and systems. After weeks of work and lots of travel, the result was 5 individual reports and one consolidated report showing overlapping functionality, strengths, and issues. This report contained a whole lot more than a solution assessment (much of it would be considered enterprise architecture by the BABOK) and was not quite so formal as the BABOK describes because I don’t recall including too many metrics, but it did begin to make a case for replacing the 5 independent technology stacks with a single consolidated technology stack. By learning about the key challenges each organization faced and the limitations of their technology systems, we had the seeds of a plan to begin enterprise analysis for a multi-million dollar initiative.
Ideally, you’ll evaluate the performance of the solution before the project is declared “done” (something we talk about in the business analysis process), but it doesn’t always work out that way. This is another good reminder that the BABOK is not a methodology, or a process, so it’s perfectly OK to start at the end.
This post is one installment in our Journey Through the BABOK with BA Stories series.
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