Technique Summary: BABOK 10.3, 10.4, and Agile 7.2

By Julie Ramsey

Below is a summary of techniques 10.3 and 10.4 from BABOK® version 3 and Technique 7.1 from the Agile Extension to the BABOK guide version 2.

 

Technique 10.3 – Balanced Scorecard

Purpose – A balanced scorecard is used to manage performance in a business model, organizational structure or business process.

Description – This is a strategic planning and management tool that measures organizational performance beyond traditional financial measures. It is outcome focused providing a balanced view of an enterprise. Using a balanced scorecard allows the drivers of value creation to be understood, measured and optimized to create sustainable performance.

The balanced scorecard is made up of four dimensions: Learning and Growth, Business Process, Customer and Financial. It utilizes an organization’s vision and strategy to determine tangible objectives, specific measures and targeted outcomes in each dimension.

Elements – The Learning and Growth dimension includes measures of employee training and learning, product and service innovation and corporate culture. The metrics may drive use of training funds, mentoring, knowledge sharing and technology improvements.

Business Process contains measures indicating how well the enterprise is operating and if their products meet customer needs.

Customer focus, satisfaction and delivery of value are metrics in the Customer dimension.

Profitability, revenue growth and added economic value are measured in the Financial dimension.

For all the dimensions there are lagging indicators to provide results of actions already taken and leading indicators to provide information on future performance.

Usage Considerations – Measures must be quantitative, linked to strategy and easily understood by all stakeholders to be meaningful. Each dimension affects and is affected by the others so changes in one area will impact the other areas.

Strengths

  • Facilitates a holistic and balanced plan.
  • Allows for short, medium and long-term goals to be incremented together.
  • Easily aligns strategic, tactical and operational teams to their work.
  • May boost forward thinking and competitiveness. 

Limitations

  • A lack of clear strategy makes aligning the four dimensions challenging.
  • May be viewed as sole tool for strategic planning rather than part of a suite.
  • Can be viewed as a replacement for strategic planning, execution and measurement.

 

Technique 10.4 – Benchmarking and Market Analysis

Purpose – Both benchmarking and market analysis are used to improve organizational operations, increase customer satisfaction and increase value to stakeholders.

Description – Benchmarking studies compare organizational practices with best-in-class practices such as those at competitor enterprises, in government, or from industry associations. The objective is to evaluate enterprise performance and ensure operational efficiency.

Market analysis involves researching customers to determine what products and services they want, what factors influence their purchases and what competitors are in the market. The objective is to gather information to support future decisions in an organization.

Elements – Benchmarking includes:

  • Identifying areas to be studies
  • Identifying leading enterprises or competitors in a sector
  • Surveying enterprises to understand their practices
  • Visiting best-in-class organizations
  • Identifying gaps in current and best practices
  • Creating a project proposal for implementing best practices

Market analysis requires business analysts to:

  • Identify customers and understand their preferences
  • Identify opportunities to increase value to stakeholders
  • Identify competitors and learn about their operations
  • Look for market trends, anticipate growth rate and estimate potential profitability
  • Determine appropriate business strategies
Usage Considerations –



 

Strengths

Limitations

Benchmarking

Provides information about new methods, ideas and tools to improve performance

Time-consuming and may require expertise for analysis and interpretation

Helps identify best practices by competitors to meet or exceed that competition

Market Analysis

Can target specific groups and be tailored to answer specific answers

Time-consuming, expensive and results may not be immediately available

May identify differences in products and services from competitors

Technique 7.2 – Behavior Driven Development

Purpose – Behavior Driven Development (BDD) can increase value, decrease waste and increase communication between stakeholders and delivery teams by focusing on the intended customer behavior for the solution.

Description – Agile values customer collaboration and working solutions to get to the desired output. An agile business analyst identifies solutions to deliver customer value in increments. BDD supports this by using real examples.

Elements – Stakeholders provide real life business scenarios as examples. The business analyst facilitates the discovery of a comprehensive set of scenarios some of which may be out of scope for the current effort.

Behavior Driven Development uses a simple grammar format called Gherkin which allows real scenarios to be filled into syntax as in the form below:

GIVEN <a situation>

WHEN <an event>

THEN <expected result>
 

There may be multiple THEN outcomes and both GIVEN and THEN statements may be compound conditions linked with AND statements. The trigger is the WHEN which may only contain one event.

Several software products accept examples in this format enabling easy conversion to automated tests. Automating the examples speeds up analysis verification and validation.

Usage Considerations –

Advantages

  • Customer needs are expressed in a natural language based on concrete examples
  • Given-When-Then maps to Setup-Execute-Assert used by agile developers in Test Driven Development allowing tests to be implemented directly
  • Supports production of effective test cases
  • Scenarios are easily prioritized

Disadvantages

  • Important scenarios may be missed if the right “what if” question isn’t asked
  • More scenarios than are manageable may be needed for complex business rules
  • Scenarios and test cases must be kept current, relevant and easy to read to be effective