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VPEC-T Business Analysis: Overview & Examples

Instructor: James Kuhn

Jim has taught adults for more than 20 years and has a Masters Degree in Christian Leadership.

VPEC-T business analysis is a methodology that is used to translate complex business and technology requirements among IT systems stakeholders. The purpose of this lesson is to provide an overview of this strong communications tool.

VPEC-T Overview

Remember the children's game telephone where kids whisper a secret down a line and see how the story changes from beginning to end? For example, 'My dad gave my mom red roses' can easily become 'My head is a big bulldozer' by the end of the line. Often, the original message becomes unrecognizable, even after just a few steps. This shows how a simple message can be corrupted when passed between multiple parties of different understandings, a problem with indifferent communications.

In today's technology-rich environments, organizations often miscommunicate with one another, and this issue is most apparent when dealing with information systems. Business leaders have needs, and IT leaders have solutions, but often it seems they are not speaking the same language. Much time and anxiety is wasted on trying to understand one another. That is where the VPEC-T business analysis framework can help the organization achieve its goals and objectives.

VPEC-T business analysis is a defined methodology for communications between all stakeholders in a group, using a set of guidelines that help to breakdown translation challenges. Through the use of mental filters or intentional focus points, VPEC-T provides for diverse inputs into a project from participants who may have differing views, priorities, and requirements. Because of this capacity, VPEC-T business analysis tools are often used for complex enterprise IT systems or large scale development efforts.

VPEC-T business analysis is best understood through a review of its components, which make up its acronym:

  • Values
  • Policies
  • Events
  • Content
  • Trust

Values

Every participant in a system's development has a desire to gain something from the resulting project (also known as 'what's in it for me'). By having a clear understanding of the desired value of all stakeholders, tangible and intangible, teams can ensure all goals are addressed in the project. Addressing the values of everyone involved early in the process helps to gain support, increase project momentum, and avoid costly rework in later stages.

For example, one team member may be from the sales department (and gets paid a commission on every sale), so it is important for him to have an easy sales system to work with. Another team member, however, may be from the accounting department, where they would like every entry double-checked for accuracy before processing. Understanding these two values, apparently in conflict, early on will save valuable time and effort later in the development cycle.

Policies and Events

Any type of control that is placed upon an organization and its activities can be considered a policy and has an impact on IT Systems. Such controls can be internal - such as hiring policies or workplace rules - or external - like business contracts or government safety regulations. Systems must work in compliance with these policies. Note, policies can be formal, as those noted above, or informal, such as undocumented workflows, work assignments, or departmental hierarchy. Care must be taken to understand all policies that influence the proposed project.

The activities of the organization serve as triggers for events. A thorough understanding, and agreement, of these events is necessary when technology interacts or engages with the organization's transactions. Whatever an organization does, whether it be answering phones or building rocket ships, are considered events. All of the people, processes, and tools that are involved in the events must be fully contemplated as part of the development process.

For example, your company may have a policy that applies geographic limits to same-day shipping. When an event, such as a new sales request, is processed, this policy must be considered in the processing - technically and operationally.

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