8.3 Eliminating Holes and Overlaps

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Holes exist when a requirement or issue is uncovered. Overlaps exist when requirements

or issues are covered more than once, either totally or partially. The

point in determining holes and overlaps is to make our processes more efficient

by covering all the requirements or issues without unnecessary redundancy.

One problem that overlaps will exhibit, if they are allowed to remain in the

system, is to provide multiple answers to the same problem. If, in future, a

change is necessary, it is possible that only one of the approaches will be

changed, thereby leaving different answers to the same issue in the system. That

creates, rather than solves, a problem.

Once all the approaches have been identified, they should be laid side-byside,

so to speak, and carefully analyzed for holes and overlaps. The best way to

accomplish this task is to create yet another matrix with the requirement or

issue across the top and the approaches up the side. Holes will be manifest by

the lack of an intersect between a requirement or issue and an approach. Overlaps

will be manifest by the existence of more than one intersect with a requirement

or issue.

You should understand that it is possible that one approach can be used to

resolve more than one requirement or issue, as in Approach A in Table 8-3.

However, two approaches to the same requirement or issue create an overlap,

as in Requirement 3.

T a b l e 8 - 3 — A n a l y z i n g H o l e s a n d O v e r l a p s

Requirement 1 Requirement 2 Requirement 3

Approach A X X

Approach B X

Approach C Hole

Approach D X

Overlap