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New Post 12/25/2012 9:44 PM
User is offline Jon T
3 posts
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Capability Driven Requirements  

 Dear BA experts,


Happy Boxing Day! 

I would like to ask if anyone has approached system* requirements gathering and documentation, from a 'capability centric' perspective, and any comments/ advise would be greatly appreciated.

A bit of background context for my question:

1. The Requirements deliverable will be used firstly for Procurement (forming a basis for contractual Statement(s) of Work), but further on to guide and define the scope of systems delivery/implementation.

2. Due to the sector-wide nature of my organization, the 'Enterprise' within which these capabilities will operate is wide-ranging & heterogenous, furthermore is not expected to achieve much process alignment or standardization.

3 'Best practice' processes within this industry (Healthcare) are evolving and thus ideally the requirements will support processes/use cases which have yet to be stabilized.


Given this context of requirements development, the suggestion is to describe the desired Solution Requirements in 'capability terms', anticipating a severely limited ability to document & validate against target Business Processes / Use Cases due to factors 2 & 3 above. 

Questions:

1. Although I foresee that we will be able to generate a decent description of the proposed system capabilities, what can I do to ensure 'Completeness' and 'Correctness' against the (as of yet undefined) Context of Use? 

2. Are there any considerations as to the actual documentation style/form for capability based requirements? [Our default form of requirements capture would be in inventorised 'Requirement Statements' using structured sentences]. I am open to alternative methods to describe system capabilities, as long as it can be captured in a conceptual & product-agnostic manner.

* Note; the word 'system' is used here primarily to denote that the primary target of the requirements will eventually be an IT system (not process or org changes).  Neverthless It is intended that the requirements remain focussed on the business' functional & data needs and less concerned with detailing a specific system design.
 
New Post 12/28/2012 11:10 AM
User is offline Tony Markos
493 posts
5th Level Poster


Re: Capability Driven Requirements  

Hi:

I use data flow diagrams to document system manual and/or automated behavioral requirements (ie., processing requirements) at higher levels of abstraction.    I decompose these requirements downwards, and at the detail level, I switch over to sequence-dependent diagraming.

Data flow diagrams are created for a specific "viewpoint".    If I want to focus on an organizations strongest capabilities, I put special emphasis on identifying the inputs to and outputs from the processes (i.e., behavioral requirements) that implement such capabilities. I use the same approach for best practicies.

As far as scoping out a system goes, there really is only one way to go:  A Context Diagram.  (A Context Diagram is a Data Flow Diagram.)

 
New Post 12/30/2012 7:31 PM
User is offline Jon T
3 posts
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Re: Capability Driven Requirements  

 Hi Tony,


Thanks very much for your kind feedback.

Doing context diagrams / data-flow diagrams is certainly something that I foresee we will use as part of conceptualization and discussions, if not to capture the final requirements in formal DFD form.

If I understand your 2nd paragraph well, the emphasis on going through the context / data flow exploration of nominated 'Priority Capabilities' will help to ensure that the documented system requirements are as 'complete' and 'correct' as possible.

Any thoughts on how much a 'good' DFD relies on knowledge of the detailed business processes (i.e. L3 or lower)? Often a walkthrough of DFD creation seems to me to rely on imagining 'a day in the life of user/as-is system' - i.e. process / workflow thinking.
 
This workflow/process knowledge is the part of the Requirements development process which I believe will be lacking or unconfirmed for us.


Cheers & Thanks again
Jon
 
 
New Post 1/2/2013 12:17 PM
User is offline Tony Markos
493 posts
5th Level Poster


Re: Capability Driven Requirements  

Jon:

How much detail is required for DFD's?   On Agile projects, a few medium-rigor  higher-level DFD's, some ERD's, and maybe some screen shots is all that is often needed.  

Granted, the more detailed knowledge you have, the more precision your DFD's will have.    But, precision on the BA's part is most often not necessary.   Try L3.  Then show your work to the development staff and ask them if they can "take it from here".   Per Agile, the detailed requirements can and should  be handled by developers via conversations. 

A drill down DFD an approach is actually excellent Agile - as most Agile projects have poor to non-existant "bigger pictures".

Give em Agile:  A minimal, yet of adequate quality set of requirements.   Sell yourself as a true Agile BA.   Make big bucks!

 
New Post 1/2/2013 1:53 PM
User is offline dldelancey
61 posts
8th Level Poster


Re: Capability Driven Requirements  

Based on your reference to Boxing Day, am I correct in assuming you are outside of the US?  I ask because within the healthcare industry in the US, a great deal of effort has already been put into such an undertaking.  It's a mountain of madness and may put your eyeballs to bleeding, but worth a look-see.  http://www.cchit.org/

 
New Post 2/15/2013 1:19 AM
User is offline Jon T
3 posts
No Ranking


Re: Capability Driven Requirements  
Thanks for the follow-up comments,and apologies for the long delay in my response.
 
@Tony: I understand that an Agile & BA-straight-to-developer combination will alleviate a lot of the (upfront) need for precision. However within my context (which is to support a procurement RFP), we are looking at trying to 'cover our bases' in quite a wide way and yet ensure that we do not get 'caught' with significant gaps due to missed stakeholder contexts / or inversely 'ask for the gold-plated featureset' when it may not all be business-demanded.
 
Nevertheless I think I hear you - to aim for DFD L3 if I can later expect a desciplined process to drill down into the detail.  I have not yet begun using this approach directly, but will update if/when it kicks in to my working toolset. 
 
 
@dldelancey,
 
Yes, you are indeed right, I do hail from outside the US.  Nevertheless, I did some digging around on US use cases might be useful - must confess in my rush I wasn't able to find anything directly useful on CCHIT. (some test-script like stuff for MU did also emerge, but I'm not doing particularly EMRs/EHRs focussed work this time...) 
 
However have found the AHIC use cases from some of the earlier work done - and at this stage it is proving rather useful for raising questions and 'setting the scene' for some of the detailed requirement questioning.  
 
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