Business analysis isn’t just spec’ing IT

When you determine the business strategy, you’re doing business analysis.

When you identify key performance measures, you’re doing business analysis.

When you assess costs and benefits for that new idea, you’re doing business analysis.

And yes, when you’re structuring how the department will operate, that’s business analysis too.

For a long time, during the days when business and IT systems analysis were the same things, business analysis was reserved for executives and management consultants with a budget.

And now it’s for you.

It’s not going to analyse itself

The best options aren’t instantly embraced. Even the obvious course of action requires a good, hard shove to catch on.

That’s because the best options require significant analysis and change. They fly in the face of quick wins, and the Executives’ feeling of inertia is uncomfortable.

Because there’s a lot of noise and a history of failure, projects are risky.

And because people often want to jump to the solution.

Your most generous and insightful work needs to analyse and define the best way forward for the stakeholders it’s meant to serve. And your most successful work will be heard and understood because you crafted it to be.

How quick and cheap can it be done?

That’s what most people seem to care about.

The fastest time, the fewest resources, the lowest rates.

Too many organisations spend their time running a time/cost-saving show, trying to get just a little more bargain out of the delivery team.

The thing is, if you want it quick and cheap it won’t be good. And without good, stakeholders are compromised.

Business analysis is about the stakeholder. About delivering your best work to satisfy the needs of those you serve. It’s about delivering remarkable benefits, by giving value you can be proud of. And it’s about being a driver of change that sticks, not simply sticking the change to them.

We can do work that matters for people who care. And if you’re like most people I know, I don’t think you’d want it any other way.

Consume, curate and create

There are three choices when it comes to participating with content.

(Whether it’s a book, an article, a blog, a podcast, a whitepaper, a presentation, free training or a webinar, etc.)

  1. You can read/listen and absorb pieces – by consuming content for your own interest.
  2. You can recommend to others/join in discussions – by curating content with the gesture of a like, a reply or a share to your peers.
  3. You can start/craft the conversation – by creating something generous of yourself because you care enough to raise your hand and speak up within your industry.

Content is a mutually-inclusive pyramid economy – with a 90:9:1 incline.

It’s an opportunity for us all to participate in the consumption (90%), curation (9%) and creation (1%) of content, simaultaneously.

But whether we’re turning up en masse with the interest to consume (silence) or showing up atop the steep slope with the generosity to create (voicing), it’s the small gesture of our curation (feedback) that helps to shape where the content economy goes.

Because taking a moment to give constructive feedback says “Thank’s for this view/Here’s what I think/Let’s keep going,”.

Last Thing First

Squeezed in at the end of a project – if there’s the time and the emotional desire – is the lessons learned/retrospective workshop.

It’s a critical review of the project, reflecting on past events and behaviours. Revealing facts or feelings about things that had a measurable effect on delivery – positive and negative – and facilitates constructive conversation about suggestions for next time.

  • What went well, not so well and new ideas
  • Start, Stop, Continue.

And it’s a good thing – it is good for the customer, the organisation, the team and future projects. Because if you take the feedback onboard you’ll become better.

But do we take it to heart? Do we keep the past lessons we learned with us? Or do we tick a project box and archive the lessons away?

What if we repeated the last thing first?

What if we had a project preemptive – where we dusted off the ‘documents’ and reminded ourselves of the past lessons learned/retrospectives when we start to go again?