The Snow Blower


The scenario here is that our driveway, of about 80 yards, requires clearing after a snow storm.

First we are going to write the requirements incorrectly:


A driveway cleared from snow.


Snowfall over the winter blocks the drive and needs clearing


A snow blower with which to clear the drive in a relatively fast manner.


How often have we come across a requirement definition which looks something like this? Generally they are more padded than this but often do not say a lot more. A response to this requirement would probably suggest a 27″ snow blower from Home Depot manufactured by Ariens. Or something like that. However there may be other responses or better solutions to the problem if we could only know what the problem was…

Let’s try again.


A driveway clear of snow enabling free access to come and go within a half hour notice enabling the family and other services to access town/shops/emergency services and deliveries to be made when necessary. This will add security and piece of mind to the household.


When snow falls during the winter the driveway can become impassable to traffic preventing access to town when required and also preventing deliveries including parcels from mail delivery services.


A clear driveway within a half hour time frame.

Proposed solution

A 27″ Ariens snow blower.

Functional Analysis

The proposed solution will meet the requirement but has the customer considered other approaches to the issue which satisfy the objective? Other options might include laying a heated driveway, contracting a snow plow service or hiring the neighbor to clear the driveway for you.

If the analyst is not able to understand the issue or the objective and is only given the requirement of a snow blower from the previous example then the latter proposals cannot be offered. With the extra knowledge comes other possibilities. It is very important to give the analyst the reasons WHY.

Follow Up.