When you know what you stand for, you get to do the work

Debra Paul has written half a dozen wonderful books that humanise the too-often industrialised craft of business analysis.

In Business Analysis, she makes it clear that if were merely trying to define the IT elements, we’re doomed to a lifecycle of looking in the rear-view mirror. We’ve nothing but an information system in the making, always wary of our predicted benefits. We’ve no choice but to be driven by function, focused on maintaining or perhaps slightly increasing our competitive advantage.

The alternative is to expand your scope and build your authority, the arc of change you seek to enable. This is a productive stance, one based on opportunity, not function.

Now you have found your stakeholders, where do you want to take them?

Debra shares six principles that good business analysts live by; if the principles you’re living by (and leading others by) doesn’t do these things for you, you might need to dig deeper and find better principles. Ones that are more authentic and more effective. Good principles:

  1. Address the root cause of business problems, not symptoms.
  2. Recognise that IT systems should enable opportunity for improvement.
  3. Challenge pre-determined solutions and identify business options.
  4. Evaluate feasible and contributing requirements, not meeting all requests.
  5. Support the entire business change lifecycle, not just requirements definition.
  6. Recognise and negotiate conflicting stakeholder views, not avoidance.

HT: Debra Paul