Analysis: Financial Management, Business, Data, Financial, Statistical, System Analysis
Financial Management, Business, Cost Volume, Data, Design, Financial, Performance, Statistical, System Analysis
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What is Financial Management, Business, Cost Volume, Data, Design, Financial, Statistical, System Analysis SiteMap
Wikipedia defines:
  • Analysis is process of breaking a complex topic or substance into smaller parts to gain a better understanding of it. Technique has been applied in study of mathematics and logic since before Aristotle, though analysis as formal concept is relatively recent development.

Examples of business analysis include:

Enterprise analysis or company analysis
focuses on understanding the needs of the business as a whole, its strategic direction, and identifying initiatives that will allow a business to meet those strategic goals.
Requirements planning and management
involves planning the requirements development process, determining which requirements are the highest priority for implementation, and managing change.
Requirements elicitation
describes techniques for collecting requirements from stakeholders in a project.
Requirements analysis
describes how to develop and specify requirements in enough detail to allow them to be successfully implemented by a project team.
Requirements communication
describes techniques for ensuring that stakeholders have a shared understanding of the requirements and how they will be implemented.
Solution assessment and validation
describes how the business analyst can verify the correctness of a proposed solution, how to support the implementation of a solution, and how to assess possible shortcomings in the implementation.

This is used to perform an internal environmental analysis by defining the attributes of MOST to ensure that the project you are working on is aligned to each of the 4 attributes.
The four attributes of MOST

Mission (where the business intends to go)
Objectives (the key goals which will help achieve the mission)
Strategies (options for moving forward)
Tactics (how strategies are put into action)

This is used to help focus activities into areas of strength and where the greatest opportunities lie. This is used to identify the dangers that take the form of weaknesses and both internal and external threats.
The four attributes of SWOT

Strengths - What are the advantages? What is currently done well? (e.g. key area of best-performing activities of your company)
Weaknesses - What could be improved? What is done badly? (e.g. key area where you are performing poorly)
Opportunities - What good opportunities face the organization? (e.g. key area where your competitors are performing poorly)
Threats - What obstacles does the organization face? (e.g. key area where your competitor will perform well)

This is used to prompt thinking about what the business is trying to achieve. Business perspectives help the business analyst to consider the impact of any proposed solution on the people involved.
There are six elements of CATWOE

Customers - Who are the beneficiaries of the highest level business process and how does the issue affect them?
Actors - Who is involved in the situation, who will be involved in implementing solutions and what will impact their success?
Transformation Process - What processes or systems are affected by the issue?
World View - What is the big picture and what are the wider impacts of the issue?
Owner - Who owns the process or situation being investigated and what role will they play in the solution?
Environmental Constraints - What are the constraints and limitations that will impact the solution and its success?
De Bono 6Hat

This is often used in a brainstorming session to generate and analyse ideas and options. It is useful to encourage specific types of thinking and can be a convenient and symbolic way to request someone to switch gear. It involves restricting the group to only thinking in specific ways - giving ideas & analysis in the mood of the time. Also known as Six Thinking Hats

White: Pure, facts, logical.
Green: Creative, emotional
Yellow: Bright, optimistic, positive.
Black: Negative, devils advocate.
Red: Emotional.
Blue: Cold, control.

Not all colors / moods have to be used

Five Why's

Five Whys used to get to the root of what is really happening in a single instance. For each answer given a further 'why' is asked.


This is used to priorities requirements by allocating an appropriate priority, gauging it against the validity of the requirement itself and its priority against other requirements.
MoSCoW comprises:

Must have - or else delivery will be a failure
Should have - otherwise will have to adopt a workaround
Could have - to increase delivery satisfaction
Would like to have in the future - but won't have now

This technique is used when analyzing the expectations of multiple parties having different views of a system in which they all have an interest in common, but have different priorities and different responsibilities.

Values - constitute the objectives, beliefs and concerns of all parties participating. They may be financial, social, tangible and intangible
Policies - constraints that govern what may be done and the manner in which it may be done
Events - real-world proceedings that stimulate activity
Content - the meaningful portion of the documents, conversations, messages, etc. that are produced and used by all aspects of business activity
Trust - trusting (or otherwise) relationship between all parties engaged in a value system

Roles of business analysts

As the scope of business analysis is very wide, there has been a tendency for business analysts to specialize in one of the three sets of activities which constitute the scope of business analysis.

Organizations need to focus on strategic matters on a more or less continuous basis in the modern business world. Business analysts, serving this need, are well-versed in analyzing the strategic profile of the organization and its environment, advising senior management on suitable policies, and the effects of policy decisions.
Organizations may need to introduce change to solve business problems which may have been identified by the strategic analysis, referred to above. Business analysts contribute by analyzing objectives, processes and resources, and suggesting ways by which re-design BPR or improvements could be made. Particular skills of this type of analyst are "soft skills", such as knowledge of the business, requirements engineering, stakeholder analysis, and some "hard skills", such as business process modeling. Although the role requires an awareness of technology and its uses, it is not an IT-focused role.
Three elements are essential to this aspect of the business analysis effort: the redesign of core business processes; the application of enabling technologies to support the new core processes; and the management of organizational change. This aspect of business analysis is also called "business process improvement" (BPI), or " reengineering".
Systems analyst
There is the need to align IT Development with the systems actually running in production for the Business. A long-standing problem in business is how to get the best return from IT investment, which are generally very expensive and of critical, often strategic, importance. IT departments, aware of the problem, often create a business analyst role to better understand, and define the requirements for their IT systems. Although there may be some overlap with the developer and testing roles, the focus is always on the IT part of change process, and generally, this type of business analyst gets involved, only when a case for change has already been made and decided upon.

In any case, the term "analyst" is lately considered somewhat misleading, insofar as analysts (i.e. problem investigators) also do design work (solution definers).

Goal of business analysts

Ultimately, business analysts want to achieve the following outcomes:

  • Reduce waste
  • Create solutions
  • Complete projects on time
  • Improve efficiency
  • Document the right requirements

One way to assess these goals is to measure return on investment (ROI) for all projects. Keeping score is part of human nature as we are always comparing ourselves or our performance to others, no matter what we are doing. According to Forrester Research, more than $100 billion is spent annually in the U.S. on custom and internally developed software projects. For all of these software development projects, keeping score is also important and business leaders are constantly asking for the return or ROI on a proposed project or at the conclusion of an active project. However, asking for the ROI without really understanding the underpinnings of where value is created or destroyed is putting the cart before the horse.

Reduce waste and complete projects on time

Project delays are costly in three different dimensions:

  • Project costs For every month of delay, the project team continues to rack up costs and expenses. When a large part of the development team has been outsourced, the costs will start to add up quickly and are very visible if contracted on a time and materials basis (T&M). Fixed price contracts with external parties limit this risk. For internal resources, the costs of delays are not as readily apparent, unless time spent by resources is being tracked against the project, as labor costs are essentially fixed costs.
  • Opportunity costs Opportunity costs come in two flavors lost revenue and unrealized expense reductions. Some projects are specifically undertaken with the purpose of driving new or additional revenues to the bottom line. For every month of delay, a company foregoes a month of this new revenue stream. The purpose of other projects is to improve efficiencies and reduce costs. Again, each month of failure postpones the realization of these expense reductions by another month. In the vast majority of cases, these opportunities are never captured or analyzed, resulting in misleading ROI calculations. Of the two opportunity costs, the lost revenue is the most egregious and the impacts are greater and longer lasting.

N.B. On a lot of projects (particularly larger ones) the project manager is the one tasked with ensuring that a project is completed on time. The BA's job is more to ensure that if a project is not completed on time then at least the highest priority requirements are met.

Improve project efficiency

Efficiency can be achieved in two ways: by reducing rework and by shortening project length.

Rework is a common industry headache and it has become so common at many organizations that it is often built into project budgets and time lines. It generally refers to extra work needed in a project to fix errors due to incomplete or missing requirements and can impact the entire software development process from definition to coding and testing. The need for rework can be reduced by ensuring that the requirements gathering and definition processes are thorough and by ensuring that the business and technical members of a project are involved in these processes from an early stage.

Shortening project length presents two potential benefits. For every month that a project can be shortened, project resource costs can be diverted to other projects. This can lead to savings on the current project and lead to earlier start times of future projects (thus increasing revenue potential).


The links to your right will explain each of these terms in greater detail.

However, the one think all of these terms have in common is to provide the user with better understanding so they can take positive action to improve results.

There are a variety of techniques to analyze your organization including

Email below or call John Antos at 972.980.7407 to find out how we can help you reach your goals with improved analysis.

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