The contributions of functional analysis

We’ve compiled detailed project studies starting on the basis of an incomplete expression of user needs, including a significant proportion of false needs, and omitting certain real needs.

The gap with the real needs is amplified by an interpretation of the project management, obliged to generate by renewal of the existing or arbitrarily the share of the unexpressed needs.

On 11 projects, we had the opportunity to conduct a value-based management study on projects already in the detailed study phase, therefore having at the start of pre-projects describing the needs and quantified solutions that had been validated.

Although on this type of intervention, it is easy to take stock of the overall contribution of the methodology, but difficult to affect the results between the functional analysis and the following phases of research and analysis of the value of solutions. , we can draw the following results:

2 specific projects showed an underestimation of user needs by a factor of two, due to insufficient user investment in specifications, and a lack of prospective dimension: too great a preeminence of project management in the development of functional specifications led to replacing at great expense an obsolete system by a system of too similar performance.

The 9 other projects had, among the needs expressed, a percentage of “false needs” of:

  • 25% for 1 project, in the order of magnitude of what the methodology highlights in other application sectors.
  • 50% to 65% for 4 projects, inflated, on the basis of correctly assessed needs.
  • 65% to 90% for 4 projects: in these cases the needs were expressed in the form of a preconceived solution that was very out of step with the real needs. The functional analysis led to adopting conceptually different solutions.

It is interesting to underline that the false needs, if they generate additional costs proportional to their rate, do not however bring a better satisfaction of the users: on the contrary, factors of increase of the complexity of the systems, they induce dissatisfaction.