Guest blog written by Jon Pugh
If you believe the sentiment, “a problem well-defined is half-solved,” you might have a hard time believing that, after over twelve years in the industry, I still encounter clients who think they can save money by trimming hours from the discovery budget.
The question we hear a lot is, “how is this different from what we did in the pre-sales discovery?”. And really, while a solution architect’s pre-sales discovery is critical to a successful solution design, it doesn’t cover every last detail. That’s where a full Discovery comes in. They go over things like business rules, technical integrations and look for process paths. All of this and more helps increase efficiency and make for a more successful solution.
This process is very much like taking a long road trip. You can’t make the entire trip alone, so bringing a partner along gives you a chance to break out the drive into shifts. And here we begin the Road to Discovery (see what we did there?).
Who is driving first?
The business analyst typically takes the first shift on the road trip. Consider their primary job to be that of a customer advocate. In the seat next to them we have the solution architect. It’s fair to say that a good portion of the Solution Architect’s job is to tell the Business Analyst what he or she is advocating for.
From a client’s perspective, this manifests as one person helping the business figure out what they need and what possible solutions exist, while the other person works with the business for an extended period of time to determine how exactly that solution should look and feel.
Let’s take this through another metaphor.
In the software industry, we like two kinds of analogies: cars and houses. I’m going to give you a house analogy to drive the point home.
My wife and I built a house a few years ago. If you’ve never done that, you know how overwhelming it can be (for instance, there are like ten different kinds of nickel finishes for doorknobs and faucet handles) But, the process always starts with picking a lot and a floor plan that you can refine later. Our salesperson took us around to see the locations and models and discussed the costs/benefits of all of the options.
He helped us figure out what kind of house we wanted by asking general questions about interests and lifestyle, etc. Once we settled on the lot location and floorplan, he introduced us to an expert who walked us through all of the materials and features that would go into the house.
Do you want ledgestone or flagstone?
How deep should your basement be?
Let’s talk about roof shingles!
The process could have taken much longer if that expert didn’t even know what questions he should be asking.
The point of the story is that we dealt with two different types of experts: one who knew how to direct us toward a house that made the most sense for our needs and another who knew how to work with us to make sure all of the materials fit together in the exact way we had hoped. This is how the Business Analyst group works with our Solution Architects.
Stay tuned for more in the Road to Discovery series coming up!
If you liked this post, check out our podcast here where we interview Business Analyst, Chris Giles on the difference between a pre-sales discovery and a full discovery.
The Road to Discovery | A Team-Oriented Approach | New post coming soon!