Activity 1.2: Analyze and Validate NeedsIn this activity, the draft needs from the previous activity are analyzed in the context of drivers, assumptions, and constraints. The purpose of this activity is to validate the needs including the feasibility of addressing the needs given constraints as well as the validity of needs given other drivers. Additionally, the needs from the previous activity are validated to ensure that they are adequately addressing the performance gaps and risks that were also identified in the previous activity. Ultimately this activity yields a finalized list of needs that the stakeholders and sponsor agree are to be the focus of the planning.
The following visual illustrates the tasks within this activity.
Identify drivers, assumptions, and constraints
The previous activity yielded a draft list of stakeholder needs as well as the risks of not addressing these needs and the performance gaps associated with these needs. In this task the drivers, assumptions, and constraints associated with the needs are defined for use in the next tasks.
- Drivers are forces like people, knowledge, and conditions that impact the need in focus. Drivers can be financial, political, legal, organizational, or cultural in nature, to name a few. In this task planners need to identify the drivers that impact this need or that could potentially have an influence on the need.
- Assumptions are accepted cause and effect relationships, or estimates of the existence of a fact from the known existence of other fact(s). In this task planners need to identify the assumptions that are of significant impact on the need.
- Constraints are elements or factors that work as a bottleneck. Constraints restrict an entity from achieving its potential with reference to its goal. In this task planners need to identify the constraints that have a significant influence on the need in focus or could potentially have an influence on this need.
The planner must also be aware of inter-related drivers, assumptions or constraints so the impact of responding to one is assessed against the others.
Analyze the impact of drivers, assumptions, and constraints
Having a consistently understood set of assumptions about the needs is an important part of maintaining a common understanding among the stakeholder community throughout the planning effort. Needs, performance gaps, and risks have been defined but inconsistency in the assumptions within the stakeholder community can result in a fragmented planning effort.
Likewise, consistently understanding the drivers and constraints that act upon the needs is important in that needs might be dynamic to the point of rendering the planning effort not useful.
Outputs from previous tasks provide planners with the required drivers, assumptions, and constraints. In this task the analysis is performed to determine impacts of those drivers, assumptions, and constraints on the stated needs. Planners need to assess each specific need against each specific driver, assumption, and constraint to determine validity of the need as it is stated. A list of the impacts and / or reactions of the needs in the context of the drivers, assumptions, or constraints is one good way of documenting the analysis.
Validate needs against drivers, assumptions, and constraints with stakeholders
The analysis from the previous task is the significant input to this task as planners look to validate the needs. In this task planners are validating that the stated needs are appropriate given the known drivers, assumptions, and constraints.
If, for instance, a major driver for a need is a law that might be repealed, then the validity of planning for this need at this time might be called into question.
In another example, if a need will obviously have a large scale cost impact and there are significant cost constraints on the organization, then the validity of the need being part of the planning could be called into question.
Planners need to also review the assumptions and ensure that there is consistency of assumptions within the stakeholder community. If, for instance, there are differences in assumptions between two groups, this could greatly reduce the likelihood of successfully plan for the stated needs.
|Applicable Drivers, Assumptions, and Constraints||N||S|
|Validated List of Stakeholder Needs||Y||S, B|
Key to FEA Layers: S = Strategy, B = Business, D = Data, A = Application, I = Infrastructure, SP = Security