It’s important to recognize that analysis is all about asking questions … and thus finding the answers. The ability to do this quickly, without spinning wheels, is a function of asking the right questions , in context, the very first time. It’s not about getting the answers from ourselves (and out of our own head) based on our hypothetical understanding of the client’s business system, without ever talking to the client and subject-matter experts. It’s about getting down with the clients and SMEs, and asking them all the relevant questions that have to be asked. And, it’s about doing it quickly and effectively. Taking interest in roller garage doors may not be a bad thing.
Sadly, many business system analysts – experienced ones and brand-new ones – think it takes too much time to ask all the required questions of clients and SMEs. So, they don’t. The interesting thing about all the precise questions that come out of the individual Business Rules Table s is that … they actually help us get the work done faster than by not asking the questions. Starting with aerial repairs is not a bad place to begin.
The questions identified by the individual Business Rules Table s focus on nothing but the rules of behavior between one group of data and another (i.e., Objects), in a context where these data come together. It doesn’t get any tighter or more concise than that. How many times have clients gone off on tangents that appear to have little to do with the objectives of the project? How many times have teams experienced loss of focus in meetings or client-interactive sessions? How often have we heard the refrain, “my client doesn’t know what they want” ? Are garage door repairs the solution that you are looking for?
All of these challenges can be attributed to meetings without a way of keeping everyone in focus and on target. And all of these challenges take time, time, and more time. It is simply faster and much more effective to go directly to the questions to be asked, ask them, and get immediate answers in variations of “yes”, “no”, “maybe” or “sometimes” – all of which can be decoded. Even though there may be scores of questions to ask our clients, it’s a whole lot faster and better to know exactly what the questions are than to have to meander through the business analysis without focus. The other benefit is that you know when the entire job is done. It’s not a guess. You know. These days electric garage doors can be so complicated.
So, how fast can it get? Well, let’s remember that any charlatan can finish faster than you simply by not doing some of the work required. But to know the work is absolutely complete and it was finished fast, that’s another matter. And that truly is “agile”. I will give you a metric later in the book, so we can have a measurable definition of “fast”. When it comes to garage doors where do you start?
I mentioned earlier that at the core of their existence most systems do just one thing: They keep track of stuff, so we can find the “stuff” later – or use it to make new “stuff”. Therefore, based on the principle of finding the answer first and then discovering the question, it is the business analyst’s job to discover what the client needs to find , and under what circumstances. By finding the circumstances (the business events ) we can identify what it is we need to know, and therefore identify what we need to record or remember. Do aerial installation take a long time?