Business Analysis Business Problems

Business Problems

Business problems range from resource issues, late schedules, over budget projects, and falling sales for an organization. The first thing that a business analyst MUST do is to understand the business problem, then to attack the problem and come up with ideas to solving it. Business Analysis don’t just prepare and create paperwork for the enterprise, they need to provide insights to the team into the nature and scope of the business problem. For business analysts to gain insight into the issues surrounding the business, the businesses analyst can ask him or herself a few questions. Some of these questions might seem like no brainers but you still must ask these questions often.

What is the business problem? (why are we starting this project)
What is the impact of the business problem on the organization's goals and objectives? (sales, competition)
To which business process does this problem relate? (online ordering, bricks and mortar stores)
How do you define root causes of the business problem? (do you even know what your root cause is?)
How do you document and confirm the problem? (wiki based, templates, central repository)

Business Analysis are like CSI investigators because to uncover problems they will have to do forensics first, issues cannot be solved without a thorough investigating and understanding of what the issues are. As a business analyst you must gather information from product owners/business/stakeholders/staff in order for you as a business analyst to identify the business problem. The business analyst has a few solutions and techniques that he has in his play book to help gather the necessary information to find solutions to the issues of the organization.

Here are a few plays from the BA playbook:

Staff interviews - Gain information on organizational structures and processes. (talk to everyone involved, no one is off bounds)
Facilitated workshops - Gain insights into managerial processes necessary in the identification of project goals and objectives. (How do they do their work, are there new processes trying to be introduced, why change now?)
Task and document analysis – Analyze the documents, they will provide insights into where and how information flow/flows could be deficient. (do they even have any documents?, work breakdown structure)
Case Study analysis - Use of business case studies and research to better understand the business problem. (Why are you initiating the project? does this project support a specific business need?)

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