‘Going with your gut’ is not a ‘business strategy’.

Here’s a link to my latest article on LinkedIn. If you’d like to read the article in entirety here, look below the link.

‘Going with your gut’​ is not a ‘business strategy’​

So, two days a go I was scrolling through my IG feed and I saw this: I was instantly distressed. Let me tell you why.

My latest article on LinkedIn

So, two days a go I was scrolling through my IG feed and I saw this:

Text that says "Sometimes, simply going with your gut is the best business strategy there is."

I was instantly distressed. Let me tell you why.

First, ‘going with your gut’ is not a good thing in business. In your personal life, sometimes, sure. But in business, no. No, no, no- especially if you have investors or are looking to attract them. Investors are not going to like the idea of ‘gut’ decision making because

  • you can’t measure ‘gut’.
  • you can’t calculate ROI on ‘gut’
  • there’s no way to

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Business Analyst = Product Owner, My Two Cents

A few days a go, a fellow BA, Anthony Arriagada, made the statement on LinkedIn that BAs are essentially product owners. The ensuing discussion was insightful.

Here’s my two cents- a BA can be a PO, but not every PO is a BA.

Here’s why.

To evaluate this statement carefully, I think we need to take a step back. We call ourselves Business Analysts (BA) primarily because we practice the art of business analysis. For the most part, we accept that the IIBA sets the parameters around the art we practice, including methodologies and techniques. Business Analysts can serve in various industries and be given various titles, but it is what we do, and how we do it, that allows us to collectively call ourselves Business Analysts.

The same can be said of a ‘product owner’. This title has been defined by a specific methodology, and has it’s own set …

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Co-working spaces are popular and on the rise in Dallas

So, I love co-working spaces.

The funny thing is that I don’t need one. I have a home office. However, many of my clients do. If you need an office space and a business mailing address, and don’t want or need to pay for a traditional business space, this is your answer.

Co-working space with long table and mismatch chairs, side office with Super Mario mural and glass doors, storage cubbies on back wall, conference room with large window, and plants sharing space with the light fixture overhead.
A co-working space in Europe

The plans are various and flexible. Some spaces are geared toward specific demographics, like women. Some spaces even offer virtual desks, where your in office time is limited, but you are still provided the benefit of a business address.

I reside in Southern Dallas, and there are several really nice co-working spaces that have recently opened up in that area. The amenities are great, and some are quite economical.

Here’s a few articles that cover several new co-working space options.

Do you take advantage of a …

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Business Rules, Business Schmules

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

So, business rules define or limit some aspect of the business. Business rules define business logic- not system logic. Business rules are truly important to understand, because without them, a feasible solution to a business problem cannot be developed. Business rules are large contributors to business policy, procedure, and strategy.

For example, let’s consider a deposit account. There are many rules that govern deposit accounts in this country alone. Consider business rules that different deposit account institutions create.

Credit unions offer deposit accounts, but only to individuals who are members. Additionally, a savings deposit account must be opened before any other deposit account can be opened. These rules limit who can own a deposit account at a credit union.

Chart showing business rules for shipping an order.
Business Rules Example

While most brick and mortar deposit account institutions create rules around charging ATM fees, many online …

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Brainstorming- Get It Right

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

We’ve all heard of brainstorming. Most likely, we’ve all done it to some degree, for personal or professional reasons. In fact, thinking back on my many years of experience, I can’t recall a single instance where brainstorming did not come into play at some point when developing alternative solutions.

Brainstorming can be simply defined as a group session, where the aim is to generate ideas without critique, judgement, or evaluation.

Brainstorming is easy to do, useful, and important, but most people do it wrong. What I mean is that many times what you hear during a brainstorming session is something like

  • “We could- wait. No, that won’t work.”
  • “Maybe if we tried- on second thought, that won’t meet our needs.”
Today's accomplishments were yesterday's impossibilities. A split picture. On one side, yesterday, a boy holds a cactus while trying not to be pricked. On the other side, today, the same boy holds a shiny, gold trophy.
Accomplishments

As you can see, the problem with this is that many possibilities are discarded and judged negatively before they are …

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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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