Wednesday, 10 May 2017 07:14

Top 5 Techniques in Business Analysis

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Having been involved in several Business Analysis engagements and assignments, I have discovered top 5 techniques that I find most useful for Business Analysis, and they are highlighted below.

One Caveat: I am more tilted towards Strategic Business Analysis.

1. SWOT Analysis

The SWOT Analysis, which stands for Strength, Weakness, Opportunities, and Threat is a very simple, yet powerful technique used by Business Analysts to analyze both internal and external organizations under analysis.

When using SWOT Analysis, the Business Analyst conducts, and thorough analysis of the internal (Strength and Weakness) and external (Threats and Opportunities) actors and factors at play in the space the organization operates in.

In using SWOT Analysis, the Business Analysis answers the following questions under each of the quadrants

  • Strengths: characteristics of the business or project that give it an advantage over others
  • Weaknesses: characteristics of the business that place the business or project at a disadvantage in relation to competitors or other projects
  • Opportunities: elements in the environment that the business or project could exploit to its advantage
  • Threats: elements in the environment that could cause trouble for the business or project

Use: The SWOT Analysis is useful in understanding the position of the organization and helps to recommend the capabilities the organization needs to build or the feasibility of any initiative based on the result of the analysis.

2. MOST ANALYSIS

The MOST Analysis is a very simple and extremely powerful framework tool used by Business Analysts for analyzing and planning the details of what an organization does and initiatives the organization should be looking at doing and helps maintain strategic alignment. It can also be used to give the business or organization a fresh sense of purpose and capability.

The M.O.S.T. Analysis is a highly-structured method for providing targets to team members at every level of an organization. Working from the top down, it ensures that you retain focus on the goals which matter most to your organization

The MOST Analysis comprises of four elements:

Mission: Mission is the top-level, overall reason for being in business and defines outcomes the organization wants to accomplish. The more specific the business is when defining the mission, then the more success the business will have later on trying to define the remaining points within the tool.

Objective: The objectives are one step down from the mission. Think of these as a collection of individual goals that will add up to reaching the overall mission. Just like with the mission, objectives should be specific enough to guide decision making and planning for the future. With the mission in place, it should be relatively easy to develop a list of a few objectives. Objectives should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely (S.M.A.R.T.). Otherwise, goal-creep will set in, and objectives will become fuzzy and difficult to implement.

Strategy: These are the things the organization or business will do to reach the objectives. What actions should be taken to accomplish the objectives, and in turn, the mission? Strategies offer a way to quickly review and group the tactics implemented on the ground floor, so they make sense as methods to achieve your objectives

Tactics: Tactics are the methods you will use to carry out your strategies. They should be simple and relatively discrete processes that can easily be understood and carried out even by people who do not have a high-level overview of the M.O.S.T. analysis.

Use: The MOST Analysis is used to ensure the BA recommends the solutions that the organization needs to meet its objectives and mission. It is also used for alignment.

3. PESTLE ANALYSIS

The awareness of the influence the environment has on the organization the Business Analyst is working with is a very important factor in any Business Analysis engagement. The PESTLE Analysis, which is also called PEST Analysis is a tool used to identify and analyze the key drivers of change in the strategic or business environment. The analysis looks at the drivers and factors in the following and how the happening in those areas influence the decisions and the type of recommendation the Business Analysts gives the organization

Political: What are the current happenings and factors in the political landscape of the environment the business operates and how can it affect or change our business.

Economic: What are the important economic factors such as inflation or meltdown is happening, has happened, or will happen in our business environment and what do they mean to our business

Social (or Socio-cultural): What cultural aspects are most important that we need to pay attention to

Technological: What are the trends and innovation in the technology space. What is the direction technology is going, and what impact will they have in our organization or business?

Legal: What are the regulations or legislations that directly impact our industry or environment and how do they affect our business

Environmental: What are the environmental considerations we need to make in our business and organization.

Use: The PESTLE Analysis is used to understand the factors and drivers within the environment the organization operates and how those factors will influence the narratives of the organization

4. BRAINSTORMING

Brainstorming in a group creativity technique that is used extensively by Business Analysts to generate ideas, identify root causes of problems, and solve complex business problems. Most of the other techniques such as Mind Mapping, Root Cause Analysis, SWOT, and PESTLE Analysis use Brainstorming and an underlying technique.

I particularly find this technique very useful in generating diverse ideas.

Use: This is used in problem-solving, fact finding and idea generation

5. MINDMAPPING

You want to be sure you have all the areas within the analysis covered, you want to certainly confirm you have considered the different and diverse components and elements under analysis, you do not want to miss anything out? Then you would need the MINDMAP technique.

The Business Analysis function has over the years been greatly helped by this special and often unrecognized technique, but I find it extremely helpful during my business analysis engagement

What are the techniques you find useful in Business Analysis engagement? Share in the comment sections

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