Business Analysis Techniques

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BA Techniques presentation given by Paul Turner (AssistKD) in Edinburgh (April 2012).

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  • BA Techniques When asked to give this talk, was looking for an angle. Thought at first might shine a ‘narrow beam’ on just one or two techniques. But which ones? At least someone in this audience would be expert and so bored by this. Then asked some of my colleagues to brainstorm – technique there! – list of all the BA techniques they’d ever heard of . A lot of techniques suggested, so I decided to do a survey of the field, as it were, and make some suggestions about where and how the various techniques might be used. So that’s the outline of my presentation.
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  • BA Techniques NOTE – SLIDE BUILDS – PICTURE APPEARS ON MOUSE CLICK To try to make sense of this, I decided to think about what business analysts actually do. I divided their work into six broad areas. These are not meant to be definitive, they’re only my classification for this talk. I’m sure we could debate this for hours and there are undoubtedly better classifications possible but just bear with me for this evening! DISPLAY USE CASE DIAGRAM. I – or to be absolutely honest, my colleague Debbie Paul - suggested using a use case context diagram for this and that’s what we have here. TALK THROUGH CLASSIFICATIONS AND WHAT’S INCLUDED IN EACH.
  • BA Techniques The first group of techniques are used to investigate the situation, to get at the facts – and opinions – that are relevant to the business issue we’re studying. In the ISEB BA diploma, this is called ‘elicitation’ and in the ISEB IS Consultancy Practice Certificate it’s called ‘Data Collection’. But what’s in a name? You’ll notice that I’ve used the use case ‘extend’ construct in some places here. The idea is that all of these techniques can stand alone but they can also be used to build on others. For instance, you might hold a workshop and then decide to pursue some issues in more detail using one-to-one interviews. Or vice-versa probably, though that’s not shown on the diagram. I would guess that interviews and workshops are the most-used techniques here, with others taking a supporting role.
  • BA Techniques Next, let’s look at some strategic analysis tools. Again, all of these can be used on their own but I’ve also shown them feeding in to a SWOT analysis. Everyone know what a SWOT analysis is? EXPLAIN SWOT CONCEPT IF REQUIRED. Very often, SWOTS are constructed by just brainstorming but we’ve found that using the other techniques to understand the internal and external environment makes for a more structured and powerful analysis. CATWOE – if you haven’t met it before – comes from the world of Soft Systems. The most important element is the Weltanshauung or World View and this is relevant in understanding strategy as, sometimes, it is a difference of world view within the management team of an organisation that leads to problems. Or where the world view is completely out of step with the real world.
  • BA Techniques Next, we have the important work of business case construction. I know that some business analysts get involved in this, while others contribute to business cases created elsewhere – by the project sponsor for example. But either way, I think that BAs need to have an understanding of the concepts involved. You’ll notice that extending the cost/benefit analysis are a number of scary-sounding accounting techniques. You may, as a BA, use the services of your management accountants to do these analyses properly but you do, I think, need to understand the principles involved so you can discuss the results meaningfully with the accountants. And, as the slide shows, you do need the ability to put your ideas over both in writing and in a presentation.
  • BA Techniques OK, so there you have it – a vast array of techniques. So how do you decide which to use when? I think there are three criteria to consider: The situation – TALK THROUGH THIS The ‘users’ – TALK THROUGH THIS The business analyst – TALK THROUGH THIS. MAKE THE POINT THAT WHAT WORKS FOR ONE PERSON WILL COMPLETELY FAIL FOR ANOTHER. IMPORTANT NOT TO GO OFF AT HALF-COCK AND RUIN YOUR CREDIBILITY.
  • BA Techniques NOTE – SLIDE BUILDS – PICTURE APPEARS ON MOUSE CLICK So how do we learn to use these techniques effectively? DISPLAY PICTURE. I guess most of us have seen this model of the skills development process. And I guess also that, for each of the techniques I’ve presented, we’re all going to be somewhere or other on the model. At least after this talk, we’ll all be in a state of conscious incompetence in that there will be some techniques we’ve only just heard of and will want to examine further.
  • BA Techniques Essentially, there are four ways of developing our mastery of the various techniques: Courses are an obvious one and, for some techniques, they really are essential. I think, for instance, that learning how to use CATWOE or build a business activity model is best done with someone at hand who can advise and guide you on what do to. But for many techniques, private study is just as good. The main difficulty is finding suitable reference sources and I have to admit that BA techniques are scattered about all over the place. But the references in the BCS Business Analysis book provide a starting point and there is always the internet. Thirdly, discuss with your colleagues and network e.g. IIBA events. I actually believe, though, that you learn best by trying things out. Ideally, you can find someone in your organisation who is good at a particular technique and get some mentoring from them. Short of that, find a small, safe issue, on which to practise. Sometimes, you’ll find that a particular technique doesn’t work for you – I can’t seem to get on with mind-maps, for instance, which is probably why I’ve left them out of this presentation.
  • BA Techniques Just to summarise this, then, I’ve put together what I call a basic toolkit of techniques that I think all BAs ought to master. I’ve treated my six areas sequentially here but, of course, this is an over-simplification. Also, some techniques can be used in other places – you might well use MoSCoW, for instance, in a workshop to get people thinking about the priority they assign to things. I’m sure each of you has a favourite technique that you’d want to see in these lists – and you’re view is as valid as mine here.
  • BA Techniques
  • BA Techniques When asked to give this talk, was looking for an angle. Thought at first might shine a ‘narrow beam’ on just one or two techniques. But which ones? At least someone in this audience would be expert and so bored by this. Then asked some of my colleagues to brainstorm – technique there! – list of all the BA techniques they’d ever heard of . A lot of techniques suggested, so I decided to do a survey of the field, as it were, and make some suggestions about where and how the various techniques might be used. So that’s the outline of my presentation.
  • Business Analysis Techniques

    1. 1. Business Analysis Techniques …you can never have too many tools Paul Turner Edinburgh 12th April 2012© Assist Knowledge Development, 2012 Business Analysis Techniques/1
    2. 2. Business analysis - definitions An internal consultancy role responsible for investigating business situations, identifying and evaluating options for implementation business systems, defining requirements and ensuring the effective use of information systems in meeting the needs of the business. Business Analysis 2nd Ed., Debra Paul and Donald Yeates (eds), BCS, 2010 The methodical investigation, analysis, review and documentation of all or part of a business in terms of business functions and processes, the information used and the data on which the information is based. The definition of requirements for improving any aspect of the processes and systems and the quantification of potential business benefits. The creation of viable specifications and acceptance criteria in preparation for the construction of information and communication systems. SFIA v5.0, 2011© Assist Knowledge Development, 2012 Business Analysis Techniques/2
    3. 3. An alternative definition© Assist Knowledge Development, 2012 Business Analysis Techniques/3
    4. 4. The breadth of Business Analysis ? Strategic analysis Business analysis Business case Requirements engineering Solution development© Assist Knowledge Development, 2012 Business Analysis Techniques/4
    5. 5. The breadth of Business Analysis ? Business Architecture Strategic analysis Business analysis Systems Thinking Business case Solution Architecture Requirements engineering Solution development© Assist Knowledge Development, 2012 Agile development Business Analysis Techniques/5
    6. 6. BA techniques in context Context Rationale + Lifecycle + Roles + Deliverables Techniques© Assist Knowledge Development, 2012 Business Analysis Techniques/6
    7. 7. BA techniques in context Context Rationale + Lifecycle + Roles + Deliverables Techniques© Assist Knowledge Development, 2012 Business Analysis Techniques/7
    8. 8. Some business analysis techniques© Assist Knowledge Development, 2012 Business Analysis Techniques/8
    9. 9. Some business analysis techniques Critical success factors Use case diagram Website navigation model Context diagram Use case description Process dependency modelling Rich picture Technical architecture model Object interaction / Function hierarchy Functional dependency collaboration diagram Network architecture plan diagram Object role models Workflow diagram Business scenario modelling User conceptual model Organisation chart Task analysis User interface object model Entity relationship model (high- Business event model Screen navigation design level) Business roles definition System event modelling Business process model Logical data model State transition diagram High-level data flow diagram Class model State machine diagram Business object model Relational data analysis Object dynamic model SWOT Event analysis Process streamlining PESTLE Payback calculation Business process redesign Five Forces DCF/NPV calculation Interviewing Power/interest grid Internal rate of return Workshops MOST Benefits management Questionnaires Resource audit Benefits realisation Document analysis BCG matrix User acceptance testing Record searching Balanced business scorecard Swimlane diagrams Special-purpose records Key performance indicators Business process Activity sampling CATWOE reengineering Work measurement Business activity modelling Business process management Prototyping© Assist Knowledge Development, 2012 Business Analysis Techniques/9
    10. 10. More business analysis techniques Give up yet? Aargh! Brainstorming Cost/benefit analysis Round-robin Impact analysis Columns and clusters Gap analysis Bodyguards and assassins Standard costing Vernissage Marginal costing Talking wall Absorption costing Force-field analysis Ratio analysis Greenfield site MoSCoW Transporter Organisation diagram Prioritisation Report writing Time beam Presentation techniques And even then people said “ You’ve missed …….”© Assist Knowledge Development, 2012 Business Analysis Techniques/10
    11. 11. The role of the business analyst Investigating the situation Analysing strategy Modelling business processes Stimulating thinking Developing Business Specifying business analyst information case systems© Assist Knowledge Development, 2012 Business Analysis Techniques/11
    12. 12. Investigating the situation Questionnaires <<extend>> Interviewing <<extend>> Workshops Special-purpose records <<extend>> <<extend>> Activity sampling <<extend>> Work measurement Business Record searching analyst <<extend>> Document analysis© Assist Knowledge Development, 2012 Business Analysis Techniques/12
    13. 13. Analysing strategy Five forces PESTLE <<extend>> <<extend>> MOST <<extend>> SWOT <<extend>> Resource <<extend>> auditBusiness analyst CATWOE© Assist Knowledge Development, 2012 Business Analysis Techniques/13
    14. 14. Developing a business case Benefits Benefits realisation management DCF/NPV Impact <<extend>> analysis <<extend>> <<extend>> IRR <<extend>> <<extend>> Report writing <<extend>> Cost/benefit <<extend>> analysis Payback <<extend>> calculationBusiness Presentation <<extend>> <<extend>> analyst techniques Ratio analysis <<extend>> Marginal costing <<extend>> <<extend>> Standard costing Absorption Gap analysis costing© Assist Knowledge Development, 2012 Business Analysis Techniques/14
    15. 15. Finding reasons not to© Assist Knowledge Development, 2012 Business Analysis Techniques/15
    16. 16. Selecting techniques • The situation: • How much time? • How much money? • How good a job? • Local standards! • The ‘users’: • Technical literacy • Patience • Decisiveness • The business analyst: • Personality • Preferences • Knowledge • Experience© Assist Knowledge Development, 2012 Business Analysis Techniques/16
    17. 17. Selecting techniques •Type - hard, soft •Usage - analysis, modelling, communication •Audience - shared, private •Documentation - core, support© Assist Knowledge Development, 2012 Business Analysis Techniques/17
    18. 18. Mastering techniques (1)© Assist Knowledge Development, 2012 Business Analysis Techniques/18
    19. 19. Mastering techniques (2) Networking Work Experience Private study Courses© Assist Knowledge Development, 2012 Business Analysis Techniques/19
    20. 20. A basic toolkit Business Strategy Investigate Consider Analyse Evaluate Define Manage and Situation Perspectives Needs options Requirements Change Objectives PESTLE Rich pictures Stakeholder Gap analysis Feasibility Scenarios Cultural web Management Analysis MOST Interviews Value chain Storyboarding Learning cycle CATWOE Analysis Impact SWOT Workshops Analysis Prototyping SARAH PARADE Organisation Resource Audit Context diagrams Diagraming Investment MoSCoW Benefits BAMs Appraisal Realisation POP-IT model Process Modelling RASCI Business Timeboxing CRUD Matrix case© Assist Knowledge Development, 2012 Business Analysis Techniques/20
    21. 21. Business Analysis Techniques – The ‘first eleven’ CATWOE Use case diagrams Swimlane diagrams Workshops Organisation diagram Interviewing Scenario analysisMind maps SWOT Cost-benefit analysis Prioritisation© Assist Knowledge Development, 2012 Business Analysis Techniques/21 From: Business Analysis Techniques 72 essential Tools for Success – Cadle, Paul and Turner (2010)
    22. 22. So why not try some out for yourself!© Assist Knowledge Development, 2012 Business Analysis Techniques/22
    23. 23. Guiding principles for business analysis• Root causes: not symptoms• Business improvement: not IT system change• Creative options: not prescribed solutions• Feasible requirements: not all suggestions• Entire lifecycle: not just requirements definition• Negotiation: not conflict avoidance• Business agility: not business perfection© Assist Knowledge Development, 2012 Business Analysis Techniques/23
    24. 24. BA of the Year Award 2012 • Will be presented at the Business Analysis Conference Europe in London on 25th September 2012 • Five finalists get free entry to the Conference from 24th to 26th September 2012 • Application form from: chris.martin@assistkd.com • Closing date for entries: 20th July 2012 Award sponsored by:© Assist Knowledge Development, 2012 Business Analysis Techniques/24
    25. 25. Business Analysis Techniques …you can never have too many tools Paul Turner paul.turner@assistkd.com© Assist Knowledge Development, 2012 Business Analysis Techniques/25

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