Capability Cases

A Capability Case is the “Case for a Capability”.  By Capability we mean the potential to deliver business functionality. Case is different from the Use Case meaning of the word case.  It is borrowed from two places.

  1. In the Case-Based Reasoning world the word ‘case’ has a long established meaning of defining a “Problem-Solution” pair for reuse and adaptation in new problem contexts.  In this sense, Capability Cases are reusable solution concepts. 
  2. Additionally, in the Business world ‘case’ has a well-established meaning of making a business justification (making the case) for spending effort or money.  In this sense, a Capability Case stimulates interplay between what is possible with a technology and how a business might overcome a problem or gain a market advantage.

Envisioning Workshop Gallery I:
State Government Self-Service
This is a subset of Capability Cases used for a state government's Self-Service project. When nominating Capability Cases a number of approaches are used:
  • One way to derive a portfolio of candidate capabilities is by matching the forces that are present for an organization to the forces relevant to a specific CapCase.  Forces are the motivators and constraints that surround the problem and the solution.
  • Similarly, challenges faced by the solution stakeholders' can indicate candidate capabilities.
  • A complementary approach is to identify capabilities by looking at the benefits –business results – that they bring to an organization. Forces, challenges and business results are all part of an extended model of the Capability Case.
  • An important aspect of selecting proposed Capability Cases is evaluating them with respect to their perceived business value and implementation effort. Another way of evaluating is positioning the capabilities within Three E’s matrix:

The book offers detailed explanation of selection and evaluation approaches, as well as the rationale for selecting these particular Capability Cases. Here, on the web site we show just one illustration of the selection process - a mapping between few of the challenges discovered during the Business Capability Explaration and nominated capabilities:

Concept-Based Search | HTML | PDF

Navigational Search | HTML | PDF

Visual Navigator | HTML | PDF

Retrieval Assistant | HTML | PDF

Personalized FAQ Agent | HTML | PDF

Instant Helper | HTML | PDF

Browse with a Buddy | HTML | PDF

Virtual Time Machine | HTML | PDF

Envisioning Workshop Gallery II:
Solution Envisioning at NASA
This is a subset of Capability Cases used for NASA Digital Shuttle project.

Product Design Assistant | HTML | PDF

Generative Documentation | HTML | PDF

Content Annotator | HTML | PDF

Expert Locator | HTML | PDF

Concept-Based Search | HTML | PDF

Automated Content Tagger | HTML | PDF

Interest-Based Information Delivery | HTML | PDF

Envisioning Workshop Gallery III:
TopBraid Capability Cases
This is a small sample of Capability Cases for solutions build with TopBraid Suite.

Message Schema Builder | HTML

Semantic Data Mapper | HTML

A Capability Case is described using a template that expresses the commonalities of one or more solution stories.  At its most basic - we call it a summary or identification level view - the CapCase template is simple:

Capability Case Summary Template | HTML | DOC

Summary level Capability Cases are sufficient very early in the solution exploration phase when high level design ideas and concepts are first discussed. To determine relevance of a capability to a specific business context, typically more details are needed.  The template for an elaborated Capability Case is detailed below:

Elaborated Capability Case Template | HTML | DOC