According to Business Analysis Body of Knowledge in the International Institute of Business Analyst, business analysis can be defined as the practice that allows modifications in an organization by defining requirements and recommendations of solutions that has the capability to provide value to the stakeholders. In order to complete this work as per the requirements of an ideal business analyst, there is a need for well-developed analytics and problem-solving competencies. As everyone knows, solutions are recommended by the business analysts to the companies for staying within those companies for a long time. There is a great description of the behaviors, knowledge, characteristics and personal qualities provided by the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge in their The Underlying Competencies chapter having the capability to support the practice of business analysis. The importance of analytical thinking is stressed by this chapter among all other aspects. However, the real questions are it enough to rely on analytical thinking for providing companies with sustainable services?
Is the most vital skill for a business analyst is analytical thinking?
For one instance, all the things are covered by the job title and some of our readers will say that”, There is a need that some strong analytical capabilities should be possessed by the business analysts that should consist the procedure to collect details relevant to the business condition under investigation and finding main issues having relation with this detail. In addition, it is also needed that the business analysts should be able to make a comparison between the data from several sources and find out the potential reason, effective patterns and creating conclusions by using these datasets for reaching a right solution. In another language, analytical thinking can be defined as a logical reasoning procedure having the capability to converge on one right answer on the basis of the facts that our analysis has already discovered. Its comparison can be made with identifying the answer to a question: what will we get by adding one with one? The right answer to this question is two.
If we think differently, we will find that the world is changing at a very fast speed. As per the Vanson Bourne Report named The IT Complexity Challenge that posted on October 2015, there are lots of tough tasks in the organizations and that’s why they try to do their best by introducing new technologies and solutions along with maintaining the present ones to a pretty high standard for maximizing the value attained by them. The organizations characterized these modifications with the help of high complexity levels and are tougher to solve due to lots of causes, such as involvement of a great number of stakeholders and their opinions, contradictory or incomplete needs, the interconnected nature of these issues with the other issues that present in the company. These issues are often referred as the wicked by the experts.
According to this definition, the wicked problems can be ill-formulated when there is some confusing detail and there are lots of clients and decision makers having conflicting values. There is nothing like right or wrong solutions to these problems as they can only be stated as worse, better, adequate or not adequate. Stakeholders only have the power to accept these solutions and it largely depends on their perspectives and values on how the solution looks like. As a business analyst, we have to work with lots of wicked issues on a frequent basis. Yes, it is true?
Analytical Skills VS. Wicked Problems
If we talk about the present complicated scenarios, the wicked issues may not be adequate for a business analyst to depend completely on his/her analytical knowledge & skills for offering adequate solutions to the challenges in an organization. The outdated analytical thinking maybe not enough because of the cumbersome procedure to collect details, hidden agendas of stakeholders, incomplete & contradictory data sets and other social characteristics of the circumstance. At that time, there will be a requirement of an alternative strategy.
Leave your comfort zone: Introduce Design Thinking
Design thinking has become an old thing now as it is in operations for many years. Moreover, we have already mentioned it in lots of blogs. There is an evolution done in the applications of design thinking in the past some years and its utilization has reached to the business field in a much broader way. It has become ideal for offering satisfactory services to the wicked issues that are mentioned above in our post. The characterization of the design thinking is performed by recognizing the importance of having a great understanding about the issues that need to be solved, an in-depth sensitivity about the demands of the stakeholders and most vital, what they select for doing in the daily life, i.e. a desire to experiment, refine and learn things. Also, they should target the complete system instead of just some components.
There is a need to employ concepts of prototyping & iterations and divergent & convergent thinking to the problem solving for achieving the design thinking. The business conditions can be explored by boosting curiosity, a holistic strategy for the business situations and targeting stakeholders. It is needed for developing a great understanding of the present reality. The hypothesis can be developed for doing an effort to find one that can work in the situation having a problem. The intervention of divergent thinking with the convergent thinking narrows these possible solutions to some of the candidate solutions that can be further evaluated and prototyped. The most suitable solution can be defined by using this iterative method.
There is a close relation to the design thinking with our human problem-solving nature. There was an experiment done by the Microelectronics and Computer Technology Corporation about the how problems is solved by the people. They reach to the result that is presented in the figure below:
A linear strategy from our process descriptions or work instructions is represented by the red line. It prescribes how the problem situations are tackled by us. There is a great difference between the lines in a substantial way, isn’t it? According to this experiment, the individuals don’t just begin by collecting and analyzing the details about the problem when they face a complex issue. A pure, full and abstract information about the issue isn’t formed naturally by the cognition. It isn’t that simple and doesn’t work in this manner. It also displays that the understanding of the issue can only come from developing potential solutions and then thinking how they may work. There is a number of questions triggered regarding the issue through these potential solutions and it gives much-needed strength in understanding what is really required. The success of design thinking is truly supported by this experiment where the value to the stakeholders is provided by the exploration, prototyping, ideation, and iterations. It suits more to the nature of the human.
Implementing design thinking results in better business analysts
The techniques of design thinking are pretty much applicable to the business analysis. As business analysts, we have worked as the solvers of these wicked issues and assists our companies to modify and adapts the quick paced world. The main approach to design thinking is to go through the issues and then find out all the possible and impossible solutions so that the ideal solution can be selected by the convergent thinking. It should fit the situations perfectly about what we are performing. There are lots of tools provided by the design that helps us in following things:
1. Coping with the opinions of the stakeholders
2. Validating whether we are on the right path
3. Looking for the solutions that can make stakeholders happy
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