This is the fifth and final post in a series about the PMI-PBA® certification. The last exam area is the Evaluation domain and includes the work necessary to make sure the solution is ready for the stakeholders, and that it delivers the value expected. This is the last domain in the PMI-PBA exam content outline which includes Needs Assessment, Planning, Analysis, and Traceability and Monitoring. Solution evaluation is where all of the work of the project comes together. Business analysis work in this domain assures that the solution is ready for use in the business area. To make sure it is ready, it must be thoroughly tested, the end users must be ready to use it, and the organization must be prepared for its impacts. Business analysts are important team members in this work. The person or people who elicited and analyzed the requirements know exactly how the solution is supposed to work, and know the stakeholders’ expectations for the value it will provide. With that knowledge, the business analyst helps the team identify and resolve defects found during testing.

Evaluation is Easy if Requirements Were Well Defined

This chapter is the shortest chapter in RMC’s new PMI-PBA Exam Prep study guide and the fewest number of exam questions will come from this domain, only about 20. This is because when the team has planned, elicited, analyzed, and managed requirements well, the number of problems found during testing should be low. One of the biggest benefits of strong requirements management skills is that a better quality product, one that meets stakeholder expectations, is more likely to be built.

Evaluation Ties Back to Needs Assessment

Evaluating the solution requires us to look back at the original project objectives (defined in Needs Assessment), acceptance criteria, and detailed requirements. Test plans are designed to make sure the acceptance criteria has been satisfied and the functional and nonfunctional requirements have all been included in the solution. When a problem, or gap, is found, the team documents the gap, analyzes it, and determines how best to correct it. After it is corrected, the solution is retested. Some problems may not be resolved before implementation, due to time constraints. In these situations, if the sponsor agrees, the business analyst helps the end users develop a workaround or mitigating action that can be used until the problem is resolved. Getting approval to implement the solution may require consensus from a number of stakeholders.

Post-Implementation Assessment

One additional task in this domain is the post-implementation assessment of the solution. Only after a new product or solution has been used by end users in their production environment can we really assess its value. Measuring the actual results of the new solution allows us to definitively report that the project objectives have been met.

This is my last post in this series. Check out the PMI-PBA Exam Prep study guide and our other PMI-PBA exam prep products. Business analysis is critical to project success and earning the PMI-PBA certification is one way to show your expertise in this important discipline.