Business Analysis Techniques Applied to Real Life
I recently posted a blog in which I proposed that business analysis techniques could benefit anyone, in their private as well as their professional life. I wrote the post in my typical, rather abstract writing style which at times bears little relationship to reality as most folks know it. As a result, I feel compelled to explain how I could develop this conviction by telling a reality-based experience that back up my claim. This is a true story – well, as true as any story based on 25-year-old memories can be.
To set the stage, my story starts in the pre-cell phone, pre-internet, pre-PC revolution era I like to call the years of ignorance where we were all blissfully unaware of our basic need to share every lurid detail of our personal life with the rest of humanity in 140 characters or less. I had just completed the 62nd move in my life. I was not being chased by anyone nor was I a fugitive; it is simply my nomadic nature. As my first wife had often observed, I had to have some gypsy blood in me. But that is a tale for a different time.
My newly acquired third-and-final wife and I had just moved from Portland, Maine to Colorado Springs, Colorado in an ill-fated attempt to form a systems analysis brain trust with a group of like-minded consultants. This was the era in which Silicon Valley was blooming and the idea of creating enclaves of creativity was in the air.
A few months after we settled in, I went to a doctor for some forgotten reason and he noted that my blood pressure was way too high. Specifically, the diastolic reading, the lower one, was regularly clocked at over 110 and that concerned him. In our discussion, he explained that one factor contributing to the problem was the altitude of Colorado Springs (over 6,000 feet). He stated that moving from a lower altitude to a higher one caused one’s blood pressure to go up, but after living at the new altitude for about 3 months or so, the body adjusted. Key to the adjustment, however, was that one stayed at that altitude long enough for the process to complete.
Given that my emerging life style as a traveling instructor/consultant in systems analysis and design required constant flights to anywhere on the planet, it was impossible for me to commit to that long of a stay at that altitude. To lead my story back to the explanation of how business analysis skills can benefit anyone in any walk of life, it is important to point out that very many current business analysis techniques come from the field then called systems analysis and design (e.g., problem analysis, process modeling, process analysis, etc.) I had fairly recently (at that time) acquired many of those skills and successfully tested most of them on IT projects (OK, at that time it was still called Data Processing or Electronic Data Processing; again, a different story). In that situation, my wife and I decided we should try them out to see if we could solve this private problem as well.
We pretty much went by the book and started off by identifying the stakeholders (my wife, myself, our SSA&D cohorts, our newly acquired dog; the doctor was involved but we considered him simply an instigator and not accessible to the project). Starting with that list, we initiated business problem definition and listed all “problems” related to living in picturesque Colorado Springs. I don’t recall the full extent of the list, but it obviously included the aforementioned blood pressure issue, the fact that the local airport was not exactly an international hub with non-stop connections anywhere (except, of course, to Denver), and that the founding member of our ill-fated group of consultants had abandoned us and his home of some 10-odd years to move to Vail (elevation 8,150 feet). Apparently, the skiing was better there.
That was our existing situation. In the true spirit of engrained nomads, we concluded that the only obvious solution to our dilemma was to move (so what else is new?). The only unanswered question was, … continued