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The Power of the Holistic Business Analysis

My geography teacher always told me that it's much easier to find a specific place on the map if you stand a couple of steps back and look at the map as a whole. Back then I didn’t know that to some extent I was using a holistic approach.


A holistic concept has been used since time immemorial and is well rooted in various fields, primarily being used to achieve scientific goals. Nowadays, the holistic approach serves not only the complex sciences but also average businesses, when proposing a comprehensive look at an organization, analysing where employees are most effective, business domain(s), customers, processes, systems, change initiatives, etc.


Business Analysis Core Concept is just the holistic concept in another guise, and helps to assess and resolve issues within a particular business.

Business Analysis Core Concept Model

The Business Analysis Core Concept Model TM (BACCMTM) is a conceptual framework. It encompasses what business analysis is and what it means to those groups performing business analysis tasks, regardless of perspective, industry, methodology, or level in the organization. 


The BACCM can be used to:

-describe the profession and domain of the business analysis

-communicate about business analysis using common terminology

-evaluate the interconnections of key concepts in the business analysis

-perform better business analysis by holistically evaluating the relationships among these six concepts

-evaluate the impact of these concepts and connections at any point in order to establish both a foundation and a path forward.


The six core concepts in the BACCM are

Each of these concepts is an idea fundamental to the practice of business analysis. Being equally necessary, each core concept is defined by the other and is instrumental in understanding the type of information elicited, analyzed, or managed in business analysis tasks. The reason we need them is that it would be pretty hard to consider the quality and completeness of the work being done without using them.


While planning or performing a task or technique, business analysts can consider how each core concept is addressed by asking questions such as:


-What are the kinds of changes we are doing?


-What are the needs we are trying to satisfy?


-What are the solutions we are creating or changing?


-Who are the stakeholders involved?


-What do stakeholders consider to be of value?


-What are the contexts that we and the solution are in?


If any of the core concepts experience a change, we should re-evaluate them and their relationships to value delivery. Following the BABOK Guide, the following classification schema describes requirements:


Business requirements: statements of goals, objectives, and outcomes that describe why a change has been initiated.


Stakeholder requirements: describe the needs of stakeholders that must be met in order to achieve the business requirements.


Solution requirements: describe the capabilities and qualities of a solution that meet the stakeholder requirements.


Transition requirements: describe the capabilities that the solution must have and the conditions the solution must meet to facilitate the transition from the current state to the future state. Transition requirements address topics such as data conversion, training, and business continuity.

Business Analysis for IT

Talking about holistic business analysis in the IT sphere, we can’t but mention such notions as scrum and agile, which have become the embodiment of holism in terms of modern business processes.


Scrum is one of the most potent agile process frameworks in use today. It suggests performing work on a project in a series of iterations, called sprints, which generally last from 2 to 4 weeks. At the end of each sprint, the team must produce working software of a quality high enough to be delivered to a customer.


Within the Scrum framework there are four formal meetings, known as ceremonies:  


-sprint planning 


-the daily scrum (or stand‐up) 


-sprint reviews


-sprint retrospectives


The most famous document among Scrum adherents is the Agile Manifesto. It comprises essentials to work and function effectively while delivering a product to a client. From the manifesto, we find out that the term developers describes the cross‐functional team of skilled individuals that works on building the product. The skills that developers require to do this include:


-business analysis


-technical design


-programming in various languages and tools


-testing 


-UI design


-technical writing

 

-architecture


-whatever else is needed to produce working software 


But such newfangled words as scrum and agile can bring you to nothing if you don’t have a clue about:


-Direction based on a business value 


-A clearly defined scope and audience


-A roadmap


-Success criteria for the product


Poorly thought out agile projects can conceivably go on forever, wasting time, money, and other resources in the process.


While Scrum focuses on value-driven development, it does not address business analysis activities in detail. Many of them occur as implicit steps in the Scrum framework. The following illustration shows the typical Scrum lifecycle with business analysis techniques superimposed.

During the whole sprint, thinking like a customer is a critical component of the agile business analysis. 

K&C Expertise

K&C business analysts use a range of models to visualize business processes with the specific set of models defined in correspondence with project requirements and tasks, as well as the client’s preferences.

A Marketplace for Gamers and the Modeling Process

The modeling process is a crucial component of the K&C team collaboration with a client. Within it, many different notations are used. The most common are:

At K&C, we chose only those models that help to accelerate the requirements process. For instance, let’s take a look at one of our projects aimed at the creation of a marketplace for gaming goods. It contained such processes as: registering users, creating a good, buying products, buying services, selling products, selling services, payment, complaints.


Our first step was to create a unique visualization and description of each process. Secondly, after we analyzed the process, we created user stories. Importantly, throughout the whole process, the most important was to be flexible and ready to begin from scratch even though we had only three months to provide a draft version of the product.


Blindly following the contract is a no-win situation. First and foremost, we tried to understand and do what the project needed. Money was the last thing we thought about. Instead, we wanted the product to skyrocket.” - Andrew Lazarenko, Head of Development, Ukraine K&C


For the process “Registration/Login Module for Storefront”, we applied an Activity Diagram:

Activity Diagrams break the process down in detail and are great for being sure you don’t miss any steps. They effectively complement use cases by providing a visual picture of the text describing the basic, alternate, and exception flows. An Activity Diagram illustrates the steps a system undertakes to deliver an outcome and the procedural logic required to proceed through those steps. The diagram can be completed as a workflow diagram or in a more formalized version in UML notation.


For the “Buying product”, we resorted to the next two models:


1.Business Process Model and Notation (BPMN), which provides an industry-standard language for modeling business processes in a form that is accessible by both business users and technical developers. BPMN is designed to cover many types of modeling, including both internal (private) processes and collaborative (public) processes. It can be the input to process automation technologies.


2.A User Interface (UI) Wireframe, which is a visual rendering of how a specific screen to be implemented as part of a software solution will be laid out. They are useful in generating “yes, but” conversations and eliciting information stakeholders don’t think of until they see what an application might look like. UI Wireframes, also often called Prototypes or Mock-Ups, can vary infidelity or the degree to which the presentation of the UI is intended to be realized in the final application.

And here’s another example of how we developed a Multiple Decision Makers Process using BPMN for our project InTouch, a complex multi-component platform, capable of scaling on multiple levels with fully automated deployment and release workflows:

A business process diagram can help facilitate more effective use case reviews by providing context for how the system functionality will support the business process. The example provided by the illustration above helped us create a universal process that can be implemented for different business systems. 

Summary

The holistic business analysis is a modern and very effective approach to marketing and business management in a company. If we exclude all the “over-the-top enthusiasm” and “pretentious statements”, we can draw up an accurate plan for a company's development in modern markets. If you feel like entering a new stage of development for your company, reach out to K&C specialists. And we’ll map up the plan for your success!

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