The Allure of the Technical Solution
Faced with a business challenge, it seems we want to get to the technical solution as soon as possible.
You’ve been there. The business reaches out with a problem and tells you exactly what they want you to do. Because we are team players and always ready to show our business some love, we take the chance that the business knows why their current process isn’t working and knows enough to come up with the way out.
Why do we do this? Why do we hand over the most important role a Business Analyst plays in Technology (business process analysis) and let someone else dictate the technical solution? Could it be because we can’t wait to start figuring out how to create something new?
“You think you need what?” or “Sure, we can do that.” then …… zoooooooooom! Let’s code!!
Why does everyone have a technical solution before we know what we want?
1. There is always the urgency created by the requestor that compels us to jump over the logical steps to solve a problem. It is enough to hear that the business needs it now to make the sanest among us lose control. We react with our required sense of urgency, then too often do the wrong thing. We assume what we hear is all we need to know. We move on little information. Instead of responding to the requestor “I’m sure we can help so let me ask you a few questions, we just say ‘OK’ then come back later with nothing or the wrong thing.
Why do we go along with that? When we want to understand what our business does, we know to reach out and shadow the business.
Take a breath and ask about the current process. Show interest, build a relationship and let that technical solution wait until you know what you are solving. You are a Business Analyst and this is your area of expertise.
2. Then there’s the programmer or developer who gets a great idea (and it is great!). A new technical development will fix everything and make the business so much better. Unfortunately, their understanding of where the solution fits with the business process is often a partial understanding, hearsay or old school. Just try asking the developer to wait a minute to make sure IT and the business is talking apples to apples and be ready to hear how you are in analysis paralysis. You just stepped on their technical solution parade.
Why do they do that? With that kind of passion behind improving our business process, imagine the results when we are providing a technical solution that fits.
Take a breath and go out and document the current business process. Bring the requirements back to the techie and watch a remarkable technical solution come to life. You are a Business Analyst and this is your area of expertise.
3. Let’s be honest here. We all have the well-meaning leader who just came out of a meeting after volunteering the team to fix a business issue. The only thing left for the leader to do is delegate and convey the fast eta they promised. You get all the details that came out of that meeting so your leader is positive you are ready to take action. Get it done!
How does this happen? There’s a good chance that no one who actually uses the broken process was in the meeting so you need to find that one person who can give you the full story.
Take a breath and let your leader know you are on it and know exactly what to do next. You are a Business Analyst and this is your area of expertise.
4. The worst culprit, the one who jumps in with both feet before knowing how deep the water is, is the BA who spies a process breakdown. We spot it and know our business partners will love what we can do for them. We want to show them now how much better things can be. In the short run back to our desk, we have the solution built in our heads. We are so excited! Let’s email them to let them know a fix is on the way!!
Why do we do that? We’re passionate about our business and about being a BA. That’s good, right? We’ve been around our business and know them better than just about anyone else. Does this mean we lower our standards and forget the skills that got us here? The skills that made our business successful?
Take a breath. Fill out a requirements doc and show yourself what you don’t know about the process you are fixing. You are a Business Analyst, after all, and this is your area of expertise. No one knows the business, the business need, what makes the business ROCK like the fully engaged Business Analyst.
Yes, the technical solution is the coloring book and crayons for anyone in IT.
Yes, it is fun, exasperating and extremely rewarding when you see the plan in action, but we are the keepers of the technical solution proposal! Don’t let the allure, that sparkle, of the technical solution blind you to accepting a technical solution from anyone else. Manage the technical solution, the BA way!