Validating Solutions to Meet Business Needs

One key business analysis task in the BABOK® Guide’s Solution Assessment and Validation knowledge area is taken straight from the name: Solution Validation.  It is essential that you make sure that your new solution addresses the business and stakeholder needs that triggered your project in the first place. You must compare your solution and its capabilities against the project’s business, stakeholder and solution requirements that were created earlier in the project life cycle. Any problems or discrepancies that you find during solution validation are recorded, prioritized, and resolved.

Funny enough, a solution must be built in order for you to validate it. The solution you are validating may or may not be in operational use, but it needs to be constructed and functioning. The technical work activities that create the constructed solution are not considered to be within the scope of the BABOK® Guide.

There are two elements to perform when validating your new solution relative to its requirements. They are investigating defective solution outputs and assessing any defects and issues.  Let’s look at each of these elements in greater detail.

Investigate defective solution outputs.  Defective solution outputs occur when the outputs are below the previously defined acceptable level of quality for that output. Defective outputs require investigation and resolution as part of your solution validation activities.

Assess defects and issues. Any defects that are identified during solution validation need to be reviewed and assessed. Some defects require immediate resolution while others may be mitigated using a workaround or accepted for the time being. There are several ways to mitigate the impact of a defect using a workaround, such as additional quality control checks, new manual processes and removing support for exceptions and errors.

Areas that you need to consider when assessing solution defects include the severity and probability of the defect and analyzing any business impacts.  We will take a look at these specific considerations and the outputs of the Validate Solution task in my next blog post.

Remember to keep an eye on the solution early on in your projects. Happy solution assessment and validation!

Susan Weese

If you are considering sitting the CBAP or CCBA certification exams for business analysts, check out our new study guide that can help you prepare to pass the test, the CBAP / CCBA: Certified Business Analysis Study Guide by Susan Weese and Terri Wagner!  It’s a great place to learn more about each of the 6 knowledge areas and everything else you need to know to successfully pass the certification exam.

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