Tripwire 1: It’s tempting to trust the stakeholders’ pre-conceived notion about their problem: “If you just add this new field to the existing screen it will give us what we need.” Well, sure, that sounds good, but it’s never as simple as that, not with the nature of your business. I’m a huge fan of low-hanging fruit. I love the idea of quick-win improvements that remedy tricky, complex situations.


That’s an unlikely panacea, and it’s too convenient to race ahead into solution-mode without truly exploring the situation first. It’s no wonder that you’re stuck—you’ve jumped to conclusions.

Perhaps it makes more sense to gain a profound understanding of the user and their pain—who they are and what they do. Perhaps it makes sense to discover the right questions to ask and let the solution find you. Then, based on that success, you can be very specific about the change you seek to make, and to make it happen.

Tripwire 2: You want to implement an IT system, which will transform how you currently do things. So you try to shoehorn a ‘solution’ into the existing way of working, and you deploy it with some instructions that are of little meaning to anyone. After all: “The business analyst’s sole role is to exploit IT.”


On the other hand, there’s a path you can take to meet the business need, solve the problem, or take advantage of the opportunity. To choose to see the whole business system—the organisation, the people, the processes and the IT. To choose to guide, provoke, interrogate and return questions with more relevant questions that will discover the whole answer. If you do this, then you can make change happen that will promise business improvement.