Analytical and Problem Solving Skills

Sep 04, 2022
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As Business Analysts, when we’re at the sharp end of solution delivery that doesn’t match a customers needs, at that time it just can’t be rectified and we can’t help thinking that we might have been able to prevent this at the early stages. In this article we’ll explore 3 ways to get out the trap of being solution oriented up front to shift more into the problem and needs to get better requirements. 

Aug 14, 2022
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We hear the buzzword “business transformation” everywhere. It has become almost expected of any organization to announce they are on their digital transformation journey. What does it mean?

There are many definitions of digital transformation. This abundance points to a broad interpretation of the term. The ambiguity of these statements reflects vague expectations of many organizations embarking on their “digital transformation journeys”.

Jul 24, 2022
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When engaging on projects we need to lead our clients to get the outcomes we need for analysis. If we act passively and don’t take charge then they’ll take things all over the place and create chaos. In this article we’ll explore how a problem statement acts as a powerful tool to keep control of our engagement and analysis right through the project lifecycle.

Jan 17, 2022
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Thanks to infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and software as a service (SaaS) architectures, the utility of and business case for model-driven, no-code and low-code platforms have become more compelling than ever. More and more enterprises are entrusting their digital transformation, regulatory compliance, and business process management objectives to model-driven, no-code or low-code business application platforms.  These model driven platforms also raise the bar for the business process modeling skills of the business analysts, systems analysts and process owners who use them.

Oct 03, 2021
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There’s always more than one design solution for a software problem and seldom a single best solution. The first design approach you conceive won’t be the best option. As one experienced designer explained it:

You haven’t done your design job if you haven’t thought of at least three solutions, discarded all of them because they weren’t good enough, and then combined the best parts of all of them into a superior fourth solution. Sometimes, after considering three options, you realize that you don’t really understand the problem.

Sep 12, 2021
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I was teaching a business analysis course recently and noted that few students had used a Fishbone Diagram along with the Five Whys for root cause analysis. This motivated me to write an article on root cause analysis using the combo method along with a short example.

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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.

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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.


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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.
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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.
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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.

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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. 
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