Don’t Forget the Constraints!

I found this interesting little quote a few weeks ago.

I recently visited an Eastern sage and asked him, ‘Is it possible to live for ever?’ ‘Certainly,’ he replied, ‘You must undertake to do two things.’ ‘What are they?’ ‘Firstly, you must never again make any false statements.’ ‘That’s simple enough. What is the second thing I must do?’ ‘Every day you must utter the statement ‘I will repeat this statement tomorrow.’ If you follow these instructions faithfully you are certain to live forever.’

– Jacqueline Harman, letter to the Daily Telegraph, Oct. 8, 1985

So, why do I post that on my business analysis blog, if not only to share a cute little witticism? Here’s my take – and think on this for a sec.: If not for the constraint of.. well, mortality, the requirements for living forever sound pretty darn simple, don’t they?

In addition to eliciting and specifying the requirements, an important part of the analyst’s value-add lies in helping business stakeholders and delivery teams identify and understand the business, technical, legal/regulatory or other constraints that will apply for the solution.

A clear understanding of these restrictions and limitations helps solution designers/architects narrow the potential solution set to those that are most realistic (or at least to those within the realm of possibility!) and helps the business stakeholder arrive at realistic expectations.

About the Author

Jonathan Babcock is a management and IT consultant with expertise in business analysis, process optimization and solution delivery methodology. Practical Analyst is his outlet for sharing what he's learned, and for interacting with solution delivery professionals across the globe.

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