Deena Chadwick
The CommonSensical BA

Too many Business Analysts and Product Owners skip Analysis. They elicit or gather information around a problem and then immediately and usually by themselves come up with an solution.

This is like reading the first and last chapters of a book. Inevitably you will miss something and that something could change everything.

The two most frequently skipped parts of analysis are:

  1. Identifying the Problem
  2. Brainstorming with Others

Identifying the Problem

It is important to question what is being asked in order to ensure that the solution matches the real problem. Albert Einstein once said, “If I were given one hour to save the planet, I would spend 59 minutes defining the problem and one minute resolving it.”  This might seem crazy, but these are very wise words.

How many times has one of your projects gone down one path, only to realize that it should have gone down another. I am no suggesting that you not take action, I am imploring you to take the time to determine the right course of action first.

I have seen it time and time again. The business requests that IT create a “Report” and the first question asked by the BA or PO is…What data do you need? Too many people assume the problem is that a report does not exist. Instead they should be asking: Why do you need a report? What will you do with the information?

There are many great techniques, articles, and studies out there to help teach you how to identify the problem. My immediate goto is always the 5 whys.

You are an intelligent analyst with great strategic and critical thinking skills, so why do you take orders from the business as if you were a waitress?

If you take the time to identify and define the problem, your team will need less time to solve it.

Brainstorming with Others

It is important to include someone else in your thought process. This idea is not new, it has been around for hundreds of years.

“Two heads are better than one,” is a well known quote can be found in writing as far back as the mid 1500s in a proverb written by John Heywood. The idea can even be found in the bible in Ecclesiastes as ‘Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor.’

In the year 2000, Alan S. Binder and John Morgan proved this to be true through an extensive study, they further proved that an individual does not make decisions faster than a group.

You are an intelligent representative of the business, you know that two heads are better than one, so why do you come up with solutions all by yourself?