Want to know how it’s done?

The Business Analysis technique for today’s post is “business process model”.

A business process model is a representation of how a business task is completed. The previously discussed ‘as is process analysis’ can be completed with the help of a ‘as is business process model’.

A business process model is constructed to aid thorough analysis and to encourage stakeholder engagement. A business process model is usually some sort of visual representation of all of the steps that must be completed to accomplish a task or goal. Steps can be manual or systematic. Inputs and outputs are also included.

Fact: algorithm is a difficult sounding term used to describe a set of detailed instructions for accomplishing a task. Thus, a business process model is a type of algorithm.

Here’s a cute example of a business process model.

Algorithm showing how cars are counted as the enter a parking garage.
Car Park Algorithm

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How do things work now?

The Business Analysis technique for today’s post is “as is process analysis”.

As is process analysis describes the current, right now, if you will, state of a business process in an organization. In other words, this type of process analysis describes how a business process works, or is carried out- not how that business process should work or be carried out.

I love doing this type of analysis, because it shines a light on areas that need improvement from a procedural perspective. I like to draw flowcharts to illustrate the as is state.

For example, a business owner may find that his team members are always turning in fewer merchant’s credit card receipt than they should. Missing merchant credit card receipts could result in loss of revenue. So the business owner wants to find out how this is happening.

The business owner, with the help of her business analyst, maps …

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What do I understand about what was just said?

The Business Analysis technique for today’s post is “active listening”.

Over the years, we’ve heard a lot about active listening, and at this point it all sounds quite cliche’. However, cliche’ or not, active listening is still one of the most important skills you can have and use (in both your business and personal lives). Active listening is simply listening attentively to what a speaker is saying, reflecting on what is being said, and withholding judgement about what is being said until true understanding has been established.

A great way to test whether or not you are engaged in active listening is to ask yourself (after the speaker has finished) “What do I understand about what was just said?” In this way, you acknowledge that what was said and your understanding about was said might be two different things. This acknowledgement subtly and consistently encourages you to actively listen.

Quote: Do not listen with the intent to reply or judge; listen to understand.

Being …

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You can do anything, not everything.

For all the solopreneurs, entrepreneurs, and small business owners out there- you can do anything, not everything.

You are only one person, and you can only pay close attention to one thing all the time. The latest science proves effective multitasking is a myth. You cannot be in two different meetings at the same time according to the known laws of physics.

Man sitting at desk, overwhelmed by all the business tasks that require his attention. Persons off screen are trying to hand him a phone, a checklist, some books and manuals, and another is reminding him of the time.
Effective multitasking is a myth.

So, while you are smart, creative, innovative, and don’t mind putting in work, you simply cannot do everything all the time.

How about this- gather smart people around you who can support you, give you good advice, share best practices, and maybe show you a few techniques of their own? These types of relationships are beneficial and contribute to your growth. Don’t be afraid of paying for knowledge, especially if it helps you to progress faster.

Most of all, keep moving. Don’t …

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Meeting Agendas, Defenders from Chaos

Whew! It’s been a while since I last posted, but now I’m back to it.

In my last post, I mentioned that I wanted to spend some time on what BridgingtheGap.com calls ‘business analysis techniques’. Today’s discussion is about agendas.

Most people think agendas are only for meetings. To be fair, that is mainly what they are used for. But the concept of ‘agenda’ is broader than that. An agenda is simply a list of things to be discussed, considered, done, talked about, completed, etc. Now, it’s important to take note of a few things. The definition for ‘agenda’ does not

  • say which items on the list are more important than others
  • require more than one person to be privy to the list
  • include an explanation of why items are included in the agenda
  • place any resource restrictions around the items on the list

What this means is that items …

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Don’t tell Momma- questions are not the devil

Business Analysts solve business problems. To do this, a Business Analyst needs a certain set of skills. According to Zippia, there are 10 skills a BA must posses.

The second skill on Zippia’s list is research, the sixth is problem solving, and the ninth is communication- all of which involve (dah, dah, daaaahh) asking questions. (How to ask questions and then interpret and respond to the subsequent replies is one of my favorite subjects. 🙂 )

I’m not sure when it happened, but at some point, asking questions seems to have gone from being generally regarded as an ‘inquiry’ to ‘vicious attack upon intelligence, integrity, and reputation’. Now, I know not everyone makes this definitive translation when they are asked questions, but a remarkable amount of people do- not just in their professional lives, but personal ones too.

As a BA, my only goal is to solve problems. …

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We are all biased. We can self-correct if we are honest with ourselves.

Here’s a really great article by the BIG THINK explaining 200 cognitive biases that rule humans’ everyday thinking. The biases are there for good reason- mostly just the brain’s way of saving time or energy. But the unrecognized shortcuts in thinking can lead to thinking errors.

The cognitive biases are categorized into four major “problems”.

  • Too much information
  • Not enough meaning
  • Need to act fast
  • What should we remember?

This giant cognitive bias codex will transform your understanding of yourself

Nearly 200 cognitive biases affect our decision-making. The codex groups the biases based on 4 major “problems”. The sheer amount of biases teaches us “humility,” says one of the Codex’s creators. Perhaps aside from mythical spiritual figures, humans are not objective in how they react to the world.

#thisBArocks #GetPeople…

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The “Completely Confused” Communication Strategy

Several well written articles have been published about what it takes to be a Business Analyst (BA). This one is an example. In most of these articles, communication is mentioned in a general sense, explaining that the BA must be a people person, and speak to people in a casual and relatable fashion in order to gain specific and technical knowledge from them.

Discussion

I agree with all of that. However, I’d like to discuss what I do when people have information that I need, but are engaged in some resistant behavior, seem unwilling to share what they know, and/or display signs that they feel threatened. At these times, I sometimes employ what I call the “Completely Confused” communication strategy. This communication strategy piggybacks on the idea that a BA should always go into every project with an open mind, assuming nothing, and not being an expert in anything.

Please …

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Is your SMB affected by your self-image?

You must be confident to be a successful entrepreneur or SMB owner. It takes guts to put yourself out there and take on such a high level of responsibility. Consequently, we entrepreneurs make lots of decisions. How can we know if we’ve made the right decisions? What if we’re wrong? How does that affect our business? According to a social psychologist at UTEP, recognizing when you might be wrong does not decrease perceptions of competence.

How to Know When You Might Actually Be Wrong

In any argument, it can be hard to tell who is wrong and who is right. Except when you’re one of the involved parties, that is-because you’re definitely right. Right? It turns out, you might not be!

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