Analytical and Problem Solving Skills

Aug 09, 2020
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It is strange how something that is supposed to be simple is actually so complex.  Something that is supposed to be a matter of linear career progression can actually end up in a state of a continuous loop, with no way of terminating such a loop.  A point of stagnation and frustration. This is a quandary facing many intermediate business analysts. They do not know how to shift gears and move one notch up and be senior business analysts - who play a strategic role in helping their business stakeholders bring their strategies to life through the right initiatives.

May 11, 2020
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The COVID-19 crisis is reshaping businesses and livelihoods, and seasoned and new BAs alike have an unparalleled opportunity to put their analytical skills to great use. Whether you are still employed, or has been laid off or furloughed, now--while we navigate the pandemic crisis—is a good time to demonstrate the value of business analysis and the contributions you can bring to your current or future employer. Here are three examples of how you can accomplish that.


Apr 13, 2020
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This final article in the Requirements in Context series discusses detailed requirements for a fully automated business activity. ‘Fully automated’ means that the business information system (BIS) is expected to perform the activity from start to finish without user involvement. A simple example is the system automatically posting a monthly fee against customer accounts. A more complex example is the system utilizing customer-specific pricing details to determine the amount charged for a purchase made by a customer.

Mar 22, 2020
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Visual analysis models provide a powerful set of tools that let business analysts depict system information at various levels of abstraction. These models serve as an aid to understanding, as well as an aid to communicating. Alas, I fear that modeling is somewhat of a neglected practice. I believe modeling is an essential skill every BA should master. Here’s why.

Dec 15, 2019
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Five S can be applied in any work environment and prepares a work area for a follow-on Lean process improvement effort. In this case, 5S prepares my garage for Lean process improvement in doing home activities like automobile maintenance, appliance repair, and hobbies like gardening and woodworking. But, remember the preparation benefit is only realized if 5S is sustained. As I said I am the worst (ugly) in keeping the “new world order” in my garage.

Dec 08, 2019
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The intention of these viewpoints is to make it easier to see and understand the real business problem. This article focuses on the fourth viewpoint, the Future-How, which looks at the solution to the business problem. It does this by assessing alternatives, and then choosing the best solution to that real business problem.
Nov 03, 2019
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Learning about mental models and how to apply them to their work is one of the best investments for business analysts interested in achieving the level of deep thinking that leads to better outcomes for their projects and organizations. The first article in this series described what mental models are and talked about the first mental model covered, second order thinking. In this second installment we discuss another mental model that that can help business analysts become better problem solvers: integrative thinking.
Sep 29, 2019
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The purpose of the Trips-R-You Flight Booking Case Study is to provide an integrated, end-to-end set of requirement examples. In IIBA® BABOK® V3 terminology, end-to-end means from Business Requirements to Stakeholder Requirements to Solution and Transition Requirements. This case study, and associated artefacts, use the more traditional business terms Goals, High-level Requirements (HLRs), and Detail Requirements. Only functional requirements are addressed, and only within the context of a project chartered to deliver an IT-based solution.
Sep 02, 2019
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For the business, it means they not only need to understand the problem the customers are trying to solve - they need to understand that problem in a context and design a full end-to-end experience of solving it. Some people call this process “human-centered design”, some - just using common sense when designing stuff. 
Aug 11, 2019
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The reason why top performing business analysts tend to be so effective in complex projects, even when their domain knowledge is limited, is because of their ability to see things from a higher angle and with more nuanced colors.
May 12, 2019
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Process modeling/mapping/flowing, can be an art, and science, based on the maturity of the organization, knowledge of those doing this work in the organization, and many other factors. What I have found can be challenging is identifying the actual processes to model/map/flow. The fight identification may not occur on the first attempt as this work can be quite iterative, however, there are some concepts that can help make the identification a little easier
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Sometimes I find it difficult to explore new pieces of work in a structured way. When given a new challenge / piece of work it’s easy to jump straight into a solution. However as BAs we first need to understand the problem area better.
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In a large firm, a business analyst (BA) organization makes an effort to identify, analyze and provide a solution to the above questions. A BA organization is a prime pillar in optimizing resources to provide maximum value out of it to the business.

A BA organization consists of business analysts in various roles like Product Manager, Program Manager, Project Manager, Business Analyst, Business Systems Analyst, Business Systems Consultant, Business Process Analyst etc.  The prime objective is to analyze business to maximize value addition.

To understand more about the BA organization, it is important to understand what is business analysis

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During a recent presentation to business analysts, I used one of my consulting projects as an example of how to apply an analysis technique we were discussing. A member of the audience asked, “What made this company hire you as a BA consultant to tackle this project, when they already have so many in-house product managers and business analysts on their teams?”

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A requirement is “a condition or capability needed by a user to solve a problem or to achieve an objective” (AKA a goal). Thinking in terms of problems and goals thus is a core competence for the requirements engineer. But what in fact is a problem or a goal? This may seem to be a rather philosophical question. As requirements engineers we should be quite specific on this point as the problems and goals of our clients are the raison d’être for our work.
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