The last knowledge area in the BABOK® framework is called Solution Evaluation. Its main focus is on assessing the (completely or partially) delivered solution’s value and performance. If there are any obstacles or unnecessary constraints, a Business Analyst should identify them and try to remove them to increase the solution value.
Before we dive into Solution Evaluation details, let us take a look at what we learned in the previous posts. In the Strategy Analysis, a business analyst determines the future state, which is defined by BABOK® as a set of conditions that a solution must meet to satisfy the business need. Thanks to these conditions, you know the delivered solution works properly.
In the Solution Evaluation, we define and measure the solution performance to be able to evaluate it. A Business Analyst transforms the measurements into basic statistics on the performance of the solution. These statistics help him determine whether the solution’s value matches the value an organization has in mind. If he concludes that the value is not realized, he starts further analysis to determine factors blocking the proper performance. These factors may be solution related (a calculation is taking more time than expected due to an algorithm design issue) or organization related (users are reluctant to use the solution because they do not trust the new technology). Whatever the reason, a Business Analyst documents the obstacles and their impact on the value. This information helps him to understand why the solution does not perform. Based on this insight, he defines actions to bridge the gap between current and expected performance.
Do you recognize some of these aspects from your daily practice? Your organization may more prominently address some aspects. BABOK® names all the necessary aspects important to the business analysis work. We can put the elements we discussed above as inputs, tasks, and outputs of the Solution Evaluation knowledge area.
Current state description
Measure solution performance
Analyze solution performance
Assess solution limitation
Assess enterprise limitations
Recommend actions to increase solution value
Solution performance measures
Solution performance analysis
Recommended actions (to increase solution value)
Let’s take a quick look at each task and its role in this knowledge area.
This task is dedicated to defining the performance measures for the solution to check whether the solution delivers the value expected by the organization. It also contains elements of performing the performance measurements and obtaining the raw performance data.
In this task, the Business Analyst analyzes and interprets the raw data from the previous task. This task helps us understand whether the solution delivers value as expected by stakeholders. It means that a Business Analyst collaborates with stakeholders to determine what value shall be realized by the solution and checks whether the solution fulfills it.
If a discrepancy in behavior is concluded, the next step is to perform a root cause analysis to find bad performance causes. This task focuses on finding causes that are internal to the solution, e.g., bugs. In the next task – assess enterprise limitation – the external causes are determined. The identified internal limitations are documented, categorized, and analyzed to allow corrective actions to take place.
This task addresses the external causes of the solution underperformance. These external causes can be related to people working with the solution, business processes the solution supports, or organizational structures within which the solution is used. BABOK® advises taking a broad perspective when looking for possible limitations. As in a previous task, external limitations are documented, categorized, and analyzed to allow corrective actions.
The last task in the Solution Evaluation knowledge area is about taking corrective actions. This task includes defining the action plan to address the underperformance of the solution. As a result, the performance improvement can be realized, and the value the solution delivers to the organization increases.
This is the last knowledge area of the business analysis framework. In the previous posts, we discussed the Business Analysis Planning and Monitoring, Requirements Elicitation, Requirements Life Cycle Management, Strategy Analysis, and Requirements Analysis and Design Definition. Next to the framework with six knowledge areas, BABOK® also addresses a Business Analyst’s competencies and techniques to be used with the tasks.
If you wish to get more in-depth information about these knowledge areas, competencies, or techniques, please consider buying the BABOK® Guide or become a member of the International Institute of Business Analysis®. As an IIBA member, you receive your own (electronic) copy of the BABOK® Guide for further study.
BA Coach also provides online workshops about BABOK®.
BABOK Guide V3