Three Business Analysis Techniques for Solution Validation

If you find yourself performing solution validation as part of your project, remember that there are three general techniques that the BABOK® Guide  recommends that you use when validating that solution and addressing any defects or issues that you might find. Some of these techniques occur early in the project life cycle when you are defining what you will validate, while others are used closer to the end of the project life cycle when you are actually performing your validation efforts. Let’s step through each of those three techniques in a bit more detail.

Acceptance and Evaluation Criteria Definition. Early on in your project, you and the team need to make sure that you define the set of requirements that will be used to validate the resulting project’s solution. This set of requirements must have defined, measurable acceptance criteria for you to use in your validation efforts.  If you can’t measure these acceptance criteria, it will be difficult to prove that the solution is delivering what was promised.  I always tell my project teams to think about the end of the project when our key users and stakeholders are tired of us, and to put together measurable and objective acceptance criteria that we can use to prove the solution performs as defined.  That way, we are good to go whether our stakeholder love us or dislike us at the end of the project. If you are interested in learning more about defining these criteria, check out my previous post about acceptance and evaluation criteria.

Problem Tracking.  Never, ever forget that problem tracking is your formal vehicle for identifying and tracking identified defects in your solution. This technique ensures that the defects found during solution validation are addressed and resolved. It is funny how the problems, defects or issues that get written down, analyzed and have agreed-upon fixes actually get fixed, isn’t it? I find myself using this technique later in the project life cycle, but the mechanism for identifying, logging and tracking project problems, defects or issues should be available very early in the project life cycle, just in case.

Root Cause Analysis. Root cause analysis allows you to determine the underlying reason for a problem or defect in your solution. Identifying the real cause of the problem is a significant step in addressing and fixing that problem. This straightforward and effective business analysis technique allows you to correct the actual cause of the defect versus correcting a symptom of that defect and not the defect itself.  It can be all too easy to fix the symptom of a problem and miss the real problem that is causing your solution to behave badly.  You can read more about this technique in one of my previous posts on using root cause analysis .

Happy solution validation!

Susan Weese

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