September 15, 2015

Using the BACCM to Understand Business Analysis

In the recently-released BABOK® version 3, the IIBA introduces a concept called the Business Analysis Core Concept Model™ (BACCM™) which provides a useful framework to business analysts.  The figure below, which was published by the IIBA in BABOK® version 3, is a diagram of the BACCM™ framework.

The triangles in the diagram represent the six core concepts.  Each concept can best be understood by understanding the other five concepts, and the relationships between all of them.  If we start with the triangle for Need, the BABOK® version 3 defines Need as “a problem or opportunity to be addressed.”  This Need has Value to the Stakeholders.  A Solution is a way of satisfying the Need, and is accomplished through one or more Changes.  The Solution chosen to satisfy the Need and the resulting Value provided to the Stakeholders are assessed within the Context surrounding them.

All of the concepts are equally important.  Look at the shape created by the triangles and the six outer lines between them.  Each of the sides is the same size.  And if we take away one of the concepts, the six-sided figure falls apart.  Likewise, if we push one of the triangles out of place, it changes the shape of the entire figure.  Any change in one has an impact on the other five concepts.

The BACCM™ framework is more than an interesting diagram.  It also happens to be a very useful tool for business analysts.  It doesn’t just provide a common terminology, it also provides a “checklist” if you will for identifying and evaluating the requirements.  Start with one of the concepts, and look at all of the other concepts in relation to it.  As you assess each of these relationships (represented by the lines) you will uncover requirements.

Let’s walk through an example.  Suppose a manager in our organization is concerned about the number of customer orders not getting shipped in a timely manner.  This concern is a Need, so we’ll start with that triangle and the lines radiating from it.  Each line represents a two-way relationship between two concepts.  The Need in our example (late orders) is held by a Stakeholder (the manager) and possibly others.  Who are the other Stakeholders impacted by this Need?  And if we flip it around, what are the other Needs of these Stakeholders?  What information or requirements can we glean from this assessment?  Now move to one of the other concepts.  The Need has a Value to each of the Stakeholders.  How do we quantify this Value?  Does it vary by Stakeholder?  In what Context?

If we jump to the Solutions concept, there are several possible Solutions that might resolve the Need.  A report or new dashboard might provide the information the manager needs.  Are there other Solutions which could satisfy the Need?  What about a modification to the warehouse management system, or even a new analytics tool?  Will each of these Solutions satisfy the Need to different levels or provide different Value to the manager and the other Stakeholders?  What Changes will be needed to implement the various Solutions?  What is the cost for each, and does it increase or decrease the Value?  Is there something in the Context which will limit the types of Changes we can make?  How will the Stakeholders need to participate in the Changes?

The questions above are a result of looking at some of the lines/relationships on the diagram.  Continue this process with all of the other lines on the diagram.  Don’t forget to look at each relationship in both directions.  When you are done assessing each relationship, you will have a gleaned much of the information and requirements you will need.

Best of all, this model can be used in virtually any situation, regardless of the industry, methodology, the organizational culture or the project size.  How will you use the BACCM™ on your next project?

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