Tuesday, 25 March 2014 10:27

Work of the Future

Written by

ferrer Mar25

You have won the BA lottery. Your organization REALLY wants to transform itself, and sees Business Analysis as the key to success. Leadership, learning and creativity matter more than ever. Can you facilitate the future? Let’s practice.

Anyone providing correct answers to the following can win one of the following:

  • A chance to co-author a future blog in this space
  • A chunk of Silly Putty larger than a chicken egg
  • Free BABOK study charts
  • OR $20 of MY MONEY (sterilized, of course)
  • BA Times has NO liability for these prizes :)

Ties in the number of correct answers will be broken by subjective evaluation of the excellence of any comments entered with the answers.

Case Study:

Imagine yourself 300 years in the past (1715), eavesdropping on some Virginia farmers. In spite of the recent introduction of a commercial steam pump overseas, the farmers have no concept of “automation” whatsoever. The farmers are talking about how tough the local soil is, and how slow the local blacksmith is in making replacement iron plow points.

How do you explain what you do? How could your skills POSSIBLY benefit them? What can you do that would offer the possibility of progress by the farmers while leaving you un-flogged (fed, even)?

Here is the background you need: Thanks About.com


  1. The best first “action” you could take would be to:
    1. Understand the farmer’s “root” cause more deeply
    2. Introduce yourself to the farmers for rapport
    3. Interview the blacksmith
    4. Start a project to invent steel
    5. Understand how you might be perceived by others

  2. The best way to learn what solutions could address the farmer’s concerns would be:
    1. Get a job as a farmer
    2. Get a job as a blacksmith
    3. Get a job in Manchester, England
    4. Google the specifics
    5. Join the farmer’s cooperative

  3. The most immediate way (from the following) to influence the farmers would be to:
    1. Explain the advantages of a steel plow
    2. Get a job as a blacksmith
    3. Listen for a few weeks before saying anything
    4. Get a job as a banker
    5. Beat them at farming using steel tools

  4. The most likely acceptable solution for this time and place in Virginia would be:
    1. Mass production of plow tips
    2. Acceleration of the invention of steel tips
    3. Development of the first all iron plows
    4. Adding more animals for more power
    5. If you would just keep working as a blacksmith

  5. The most “technologically accessible” solution offering improvement in plow performance would be:
    1. Mass production of plow tips
    2. Acceleration of the invention of steel tips
    3. Development of the first all iron plows
    4. Adding more animals for more power
    5. Making plow points sharper

  6. The most likely way to get your project off the ground would be:
    1. Convince all the farmers
    2. Convince the blacksmith
    3. Convince the competition
    4. All of the above
    5. Convince a banker

Supply your answers in the comments as 1.a, 2.b., etc., except supply the right answers instead of my example.

  1. But wait, there’s more! How did you explain your answers? Just in case someone else is as brilliant as you, your explanation could be the tiebreaker.

  2. AND, just for fun. You are in the present, and a person appears from the future and lets you know that the BA job has changed because …. ???

Best wishes, my fearless readers!

Don't forget to leave your comments below.

Marcos Ferrer

Marcos Ferrer, CBAP has over 20 years experience in the practice of business analysis and the application of Information Technology for process improvement. Following graduation in 1983 from the University of Chicago, Mr. Ferrer joined IBM in Chicago, where he worked on requirements and systems implementations in diverse industries. His recent projects include working requirements for the Veteran's Administration, introducing BA practices at the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission, and creating bowling industry models for NRG Bowl LLC. In November 2006, Marcos Ferrer is one of the first CBAPs certified by the IIBA. He has served as an elected member of the DC-Metro chapter of the IIBA, most recently as President, and assisted in the writing of the BOK 2.0 test.

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