Consider the Bistro

Most people reading this post don’t analyse restaurants. But most of us have dined at one.

The question to ponder is: Why do you choose to go back to your regular place?

Would you return if your favourite meal on the menu was often unavailable?

Would you return if your meal was badly prepared, or made with budget or expired ingredients?

Would you return if your meal was served late, served cold or when it arrived at your table it wasn’t what you ordered?

Even more frustrating: Would you return if you couldn’t catch the attention of your disinterested waiter to get the help you needed when you needed it?

If we’re not willing to sacrifice quality in our requirements as paying customers, why do we risk jeapardising the experience we offer our own customers?

Business analysis isn’t a race to keep the lights on at the cheapest price.

Business analysis is our mission to make a worthwhile product for those we serve, and we do it by understanding the holistic situation that connects each stakeholder.

40/5

Our working week is shaped into 8 hours a day, 5 days a week.

A culture born in 1926 when Henry Ford took the radical step to cut shifts from nine hours to eight, and scale back the work week from six days to five.

Some of this decision was about productivity. Some of it was about welfare. Some about fairness. But much of it was because Henry Ford realised that if people worked all the time, it meant that they had little downtime to spend their hard-earned money.

40/5 was born in the 2nd Industrial Revolution, century-old thinking that is still shaping our organisational culture today.

How will your work shape tomorrow?

Things business analysts know

  1. Passionate, creative people can change the business (in fact, they’re the only ones who do). You can change things in this moment, and you can make more change than you believe is possible.
  2. Business change is best made with the end in mind. “What problem needs solving?” is the stance that matters.
  3. You cannot bring everyone along; therefore asking “Who needs this?” can help focus your efforts on the champions and help you deal with the opponents (in you head and the corridors).
  4. Stakeholders have different perspectives. Their view, as far as each person is concerned, is the right view and the priority view, and you need to facilitate consensus.
  5. We can move people together in common groups that often (but not always) share similar experiences, groups that behave similarly based on their perceived status, value, impact and other needs.
  6. What you know and recommend isn’t nearly as relevant as what your stakeholders feel and decide.

I Am Business Analyst: an executive summary

Changes that embed, win.

Business analysts make business change happen: for the specific scope in need, and by delivering required, fitting and effective solutions for the stakeholders who want it.

Business analysts help organisations to seize their opportunities and mitigate their threats; they use business analysis to solve stakeholders problems. They have the empathy to understand that those they seek to serve don’t need what they want, want what they need and don’t care about how they get it. They probably never will.

At the heart of our decision making is our belief in value, in our perceived understanding of what something is worth, in how we can get the most out of it.

We default to the cost and our judgements on time and quality to decide what option to choose and how to get there.

Brief, compatible, and beneficial messages delivered to an engaged stakeholder, will earn attention, trust and action. Supportive detail will be explored following. Sometimes.

Strategic analysis is not the same as business analysis is not the same as systems analysis, but together they shape our choice to build the right product for the right people and to build the product right.

“That’s the way we do things around here” is how each of us experiences the organisational culture, and business analysts engage with this presence every day.

Change climbs a grand staircase. The first step is the simplicity of awareness—’What is it?’, then it rushes up to become personal—’How will it affect me?’, before it slowly trudges to the top—’How can we improve it?’. Making better even better. Sometimes.

Time is a precious resource since our days are thrashing with noise. Smart business analysts make it easy for the stakeholders they work with, by helping position the options in a way that is meaningful and is helpful.

Most of all, business analysis starts (and often ends) with what we do and how we do it, not in all the technical stuff that happens in the middle to design and implement the solution.

Your tactics can make a difference, but your strategy—your commitment to a way of being and a need to be fulfilled and a benefit to be realised—can change everything.

If you want to enable change, start by shaping the experience. Start by forming a tightly-knit team. Start by getting key stakeholders in sync.

Change beats analysis—so much that change is analysis.

Heads product, tails service

We talk about product and service as if they’re separate ideas. That we are either in the business of selling products or in the business of providing services.

But they’re not distinct. They’re two sides of the same coin.

When your customer buys your product they expect your work to be backed up with service. And when you sell your service to clients they expect you to deliver the end product.

You can’t see your customer clearly with one eye closed.