26-06-2017 Door: Suzanne Robertson & James Robertson

The Comprehension Gap

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The comprehension gap is the distance between people's understanding of the real problem, and the solution that is delivered to solve that problem.

Unfortunately, this gap is not being closed. It works like this: Within a few days of the start of any project, a solution is proposed. This proposal comes from the business and the development team because they assume they know the solution.

They don't.

They haven't studied enough, they do not know enough about the business problem, the knock-on effects of the solution, the people who will use the solution, and a lot else. At the beginning of a project, nobody can really know the solution, and yet, it is this assumed solution that gets developed.

Try this: take a solution, assumed or otherwise. Now ask "How else might we do this?" Generate several more solutions. Some of these are probably better than the original, but keep going.

For each of your proposed solutions, including the original, test it using safe-to-fail probes. Safe-to-fail probes are small-scale experiments run cheaply and quickly, and as the name suggests, nothing is lost if the experiment does not work out. You can build process models or storyboards or anything else to play with a proposed solution. At this stage, any proposed solution is simply that, a proposal. Your probes are a learning experience for everybody, and are intended to test whether the proposal works, and works as needed.

Is the functionality sufficient to deliver the required value to the customers? Is it culturally acceptable, both to its users and its customers? And does it fit with their mental model of how and why they work? Are any assumptions about the business values being made?


http://biplatform.nl afbeelding
An example of a safe-to-fail probe. The team used a rich picture and annotated it with their estimates of volume and cost to test the viability of this proposed solution.

Your safe-to-fail probes should close the comprehension gap, and throw up a winner, a "hit" that sparkles and stands out from the rest.

This then is the solution to develop.

Suzanne Robertson & James Robertson

Suzanne Robertson en James Robertson zijn oprichters van The Atlantic Systems Guild, een denktank die bekend staat om zijn vernieuwende technieken op het gebied van systems engineering, en zijn gezamenlijk de grondleggers van de Volere requirements methode, template, checklists en technieken. James verzorgde jaren lang verscheidene trainingen bij Adept Events op gebied van business analyse en requirements engineering.

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