Friday, December 14, 2012

The Importance of a Feasibility Analysis

Dealing with a feasibility analysis reminds me of the many project implementations  that I have witness failing. The reason for the failure was due to the lack of a feasibility analysis.

In this case, the program implementation dealt with a counter that would count the amount of times students would enter the HPU computer lab without an ID. The policy was that you as a student are allotted 3 opportunities to enter the computer lab without an ID. After those three chances were given, students are not supposed to be let into the lab without an ID card.  Although the program in itself was very useable and met the needs of the client, the project was not strategically aligned with the business.  This very essential part of the feasibility analysis was not met, and therefore the project ended in failure. The flaw did not lye with program counting student ID less entries, but with the policy. To deny current students entry into the computer lab for a missing ID is unacceptable. This goes to show that experience and foresight in planning such as Feasibility analysis  are essential to success.


  1. I think you're absolutely right that many projects go awry because the implications of their implementation are not thought through, although I would be interested to explore whether a feasability analysis as such would have helped in the example you give. Perhaps asking the question "is the project strategically aligned with the business" might have helped if asked up front, but I can imagine just as easily that the problems with the plan may not have been discovered even then, depending on who was in the room, and which stakeholders were being considered.

    This is the important idea from agile development is that sometimes these issues don't become clear until the implementation process, which is why it's critical to try out small implementations of the simplest features to increase understanding that can be fed back into subsequent rounds of feasibility analysis.

    I think it's very rare that a feasibility analysis picks up all the potential problems in advance, unless the team involved is very very familiar with the project domain, and that they are lucky that not much changes in the world over the course of the project implementation.

  2. You may be right in that even though they would have written a feasibility report, they may have not the problem. But I think that writing the feasibility report at least gives it a chance to be found.