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The Value of a Solution
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  • The value of a solution exists in the problem it solves.

    A solution costs money, to acquire, implement, support and decommission. There are also the costs of the additional problems it creates.

    A solution, of itself, does nothing for an enterprise. The only value that a solution has, exists in the problem that it solves. This is why it is critical at the project approval or business case stage that the problem is well defined.

    If it is not possible to define the problem at a level of detail that permits the value of solving it to be identified, then I'd suggest that a project to implement it would be something between premature and disastrous. What is required in this case is a study to analyse the problem, its root cause(s), potential solutions and the costs and benefits of solving it.

    This is the standard systems engineering approach.

    However, if management determines that the problem requires an IT solution, then the typlical response is to create a project, identify requirements and implement teh predetermined solution. This is not only a receipe for a failed project but there is no clear articulation of the value of teh solution, even if it were to be properly implemented.

    My advice is to make sure that someone understands the problem and that person has the responsibility for overseeing the implementation (if any) and for communicating to all concerned the value of solving the problem.

    Bernard Robertson-Dunn, 2011

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