In this post, I’ll use the challenge of enhancing the Be a Brilliant Business Analyst community to bring to life some of the common business analysis concepts and tasks.
Houston we have a problem
Soon after I launched BABBA I received direct contacts from members of the community asking for help with specific challenges. I was happy to to help because it helped me learn about community members and their challenges.
But it would be a problem if I was getting direct requests from all of the members – this just wouldn’t be sustainable. And also the community idea is that you ask the community for help so that you get a variety of ideas and you can pick the best and most relevant advice. But… sometimes a post with some replies isn’t enough if you have some thorny issues – what you need is a proper conversation.
So I have a community which is good at solving certain sorts of problems but doesn’t solve all the problems.
Business Analyst Concept: sponsor conversation. The preceding paragraphs are the type of conversation you might have with a sponsor when they are initiating a project. However, it is more likely that the sponsor will be excitedly telling you what they are going to do to solve this problem. You may need to wind them back a step or two and ask the question ‘why is this project going ahead?‘ Does this seem a bit vague? What does the sponsor actually want? Well, this is pretty typical, and this is where we demonstrate our value by helping provide a little structure and analysis.
So, we could draft a problem statement at this stage which would be something like:
The BABBA community would like to satisfy the needs of all of its members. The community is currently offering support through an online community which is lively and adds value through member and expert interviews and elearning. However, conversations seem to be what is required to ‘troubleshoot’ specific member challenges.
Every problem is an opportunity…
So there is an opportunity to enhance the service to facilitate conversations for members. But, if you remember, from the original statement, there were a couple of other things to consider:
But it would be a problem if I was getting direct requests from all of the members – this just wouldn’t be sustainable.
Business Analysis Concept: constraint. This statement tells me what I should consider when finding a solution. The solution will be constrained by my availability.
the community idea is that you ask the community for help so that you get a variety of ideas and you can pick the best and most relevant advice
Business Analysis Concept: requirement. Wow, our first requirement. This seems to suggest that we have a requirement such as: Any request for help will be shared with the community to allow multiple suggestions.
We could also use the problem statement to draft the business goal which is a type of business requirement and drives an entire project:
The project will deliver service(s) to BABBA community members which will allow them to have conversations with one or more community members to troubleshoot immediate challenges they are facing.
This is a ‘live’ problem so I will have to leave it there and see how this evolves…
(by the way the BABBA community is currently closed to new members. If you’re interested in joining, get to hear when it reopens first by getting on the waiting list)
So, we have covered the following concepts just by me reflecting back on what I am doing and remembering to put my BA glasses on:
Problem statement, Constraint, Sponsor (conversation), Requirement and Business Goal.
Why don’t you reinforce your BA skills by applying them to yourself or any initiatives that are close to you (friends or family)?
I recommend you do, even if you’re not sure whether it applies because it doesn’t include any technology. The best business analysts can help tackling any business problem.
Have you done this in the past or have plans in the future?
If so, please let us know any ideas you have or have had in the past for practicing business analysis on yourself (or someone you know).