Focus on What Makes Your Business Smart: From Interpretation to Implementation Step 4: Develop Scenarios
In Steps 1 – 3, business analysts work very closely with the business stakeholders to gather business rules, identify decisions, and define business concepts. Step 4 is the transition step between the business and IT. In this step, the business analyst needs to develop the scenarios for test cases and test data, and to specify the expected result.
The goals of this step
Techniques and methodology
Scenario development techniques based on decision structures, concept model, and business rules
Deliverables from business analysis often get thrown out the window when it comes to development. That doesn't happen in this approach. Just the opposite — the deliverables continue to be the crucial documentation for development.
Use what you have done in Steps 1 – 3 to develop scenarios, create test data, and test drive business rules and decisions.
Figure 1. Expected outcome for each decision in a decision structure.
Using the decision structure completed in Step 2, a business analyst can specify the desired outcome for a scenario by walking through each decision in the decision structure. This ensures both completeness and alignment. Figure 1 shows an example of a decision structure and the expected outcome for each decision. This particular scenario is created for the male patient 'Sammy' born on September 24, 2012.
Figure 2. Patient data supporting one outcome in a decision structure.
Use the business rules identified in Step 2 to determine the data required to generate the desired outcome. For example, the following business rule dictates whether a patient receives an allowable vaccine:
A vaccine must be considered an allowable vaccine if all of the following are true:
- the Vaccine Type of the vaccine dose administered is one of the Allowable Vaccine Types.
- the Allowable Vaccine Type Begin Age Date is less than or equal to Date Administered.
- the Date Administered is less than the Allowable Vaccine Type End Age Date.
In order to generate an outcome of 'The patient received an allowable vaccine':
- Vaccine Type (DtaP-IPV(130)) must be an Allowable Vaccine Type (identified in a different business rule, not shown).
- The Date Administered (November 30, 2012) must be between the Allowable Vaccine Type Begin Age Date and Allowable Vaccine Type End Age Date.
There are, of course, business rules that specify:
- Allowable Vaccine Type
- Allowable Vaccine Type Begin Age Date
- Allowable Vaccine Type End Age Date
The final goal of this step is to create test data for all the decisions in order to generate the desired result. An example for one decision structure is shown in Figure 3.
Figure 3. Patient Test Data Supporting All Outcomes in a Decision Structure.
Once a scenario is created, a business analyst can vary each outcome to create a different scenario. Use the decision structure to help you do that in a systematic manner. For example:
- Keep all other outcomes the same, and change 'Age is valid' to 'Age is invalid'.
- Then, keep all other outcomes the same, and change 'Interval is valid' to 'Interval not valid'
Each of these new scenarios needs to have the correct data. Use Q-COEs, concept model, business rules, and decision tables to help with determining the correct data for the desired outcome.
As you can see, this method provides you a framework to systematically build as many scenarios as required. The number of scenarios needed depends on your tolerance of risk. Scenarios can be built over time. With this structure, you can easily identify the scenarios you have developed from the scenarios that still need to be developed.
This approach of generating scenarios and test data based on Q-Charts, Q-COEs, concept model, business rules, and decision tables enables the best testing of decision logic independent of systems, GUIs, or platforms.
Plainly speaking, here are some of the main things you need to remember:
- Use the deliverables in Steps 1 – 3 as a framework to build the scenarios. This gives you the most business alignment and structure.
- Use scenarios to systematically test your business logic. No matter how careful you are, you will make mistakes. This testing is valuable for developers also.
- The number of scenarios you build depends on your tolerance on risks. Scenarios can also be accumulated through time.
For further information, please visit BRSolutions.com
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