Business Analysis with a Sprinkle of Science
Updated: Jan 10, 2020
People often look at the idea of mixing business with science as weird and unusual, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that Business Analysis has to be handled with a scientific approach, due to the simple fact that, BA involves a huge amount of investigation. As with most scientific investigations, for a BA’s investigation to be accepted as concrete and wholly trustworthy, it must be reproducible and repeatable by another professional, using similar collated data.
In essence, If I were to examine a process and model the as-is, then suggest automating the process, then another BA should be able to reach a similar conclusion after examining the same data. To make this happen, I document themes and summaries, as well as the raw data- what was said, by who, when and via what medium. Doing this allows me to capture the actual data “as received“, rather than “as assumed” (that is, the data after my brain has processed it, based on my understanding, which may be flawed). This is essential in reducing the risk of misinterpretation/misunderstanding.
An example of a misinterpretation: I once had an interview with a client, who mentioned that they "develop guidance for medical technologies". Sadly, I did not see the need to ask what "medical technologies" meant because I was certain that those words implied "Medical Devices/System". I won't describe how shocked I was to find out that "Medical Technologies" actually meant drugs!
Imagine if I had drafted a solution for "Medical Technologies", the in-house BAs would have wondered why a drug should have single sign-on role-based access with a cloud database.
I was able to resolve this problem easily by referring to the raw data (transcript) of my meetings with the MedTech Team, I simply re-read the document with the appropriate point of view- a drug.
Therefore, adopting this approach of capturing the details in a raw form is very important for a host of reasons, one of which includes clarity; in order to maintain business continuity, another professional could pick up your work in your absence, understand it and carry-on with no fuss. The most important reason, is the fact that it allows people to trust your work and reduces the amount of effort you expend when trying to convincing people of a solution- I will discuss this in detail in a post titled: Change Management for Novices!