Wednesday, April 30, 2003

Plugging Leaky Business Cases

Jack Keen has written an article at CIO Magazine on validating business cases. He introduces a couple bullet items which are fairly basic. The reason I mention it is that I am a fan of Business and I.T. Alignment. At Momentum, I preach to the consultants about tying business cases and use-cases together. Many software people tend to believe that the use-case IS the business case. This just isn't the case... the use-case brings the business case to fruition. I reccomend prioritizing the business cases, then identifying the use-cases for each business case, then prioritize the use-cases within the high priority business cases. Also, I recommend documenting the association of a business case to a use case. For example,

Business Case #32:
Theme: Increase Customer Satisfaction
Objective: Resolve Technical Support Questions Quickly
Measurement: 80% resolved on first call

Business Case #42
Theme: Remain Fully Compliant with Government Regulations
Objective: Answer questions around hazardous material
Measuerement: Have access to all MSDS information / per product

// More business cases go here....

and then later....

Use Case: Display Material Safety Data Sheet
Business Case : #34
Overview: blah blah blah
Pre-conditions: blah blah blah
Post-conditions: blah blah blah
// rest of use case...

// More Use case goes here

I find that too often software developers are building new components or fixing old ones - yet they have no indication on why they are doing it. Relating the use-case back to the business case gives the engineer the knowledge to better understand and/or challenge the users about the work effort.

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