Systems Thinking for Business Analysts

Systems Thinking for Business Analysts

Understanding 'Messy' Problems

8 November 2023 (9-17h CEST)
Location: Live Online Event (@YOUR DIGITAL WORKPLACE)
Presented in English by Adrian Reed
Price: 640 EUR (excl. 21% VAT)

This event is history, please check out the NEXT SESSION

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 Learning Objectives

What will you learn here ?

In this practical and hands-on one day course, you will hear about the importance of systems thinking in a business analysis context.

Attendees who successfully attend the course will:

  • Understand the danger of 'silver-bullet' solutions that are pursued without sufficient analysis.
  • Understand what 'systems thinking' is, why it is important for business analysis and projects, and the consequences of applying linear/siloed thinking.
  • Be able to differentiate between 'difficulties' and 'messes', and use this differentiation to select appropriate problem solving tools for a given context.
  • Be familiar with a technique for examining the external business environment.
  • Be familiar with a range of relevant tools and techniques:
    • Rich Pictures
    • Multiple Cause Diagrams
    • Causal Loops

Here is a brief video about this workshop:

About this course:

  Register for both workshops with Adrian Reed:

Register now for this workshop and for the practical workshop on pre-project problem analysis.

Many organisational initiatives focus on solving tricky and 'messy' organisational problems, involving many stakeholders, departments, systems and processes. Yet, so often our stakeholders are blindsided by sickly-sweet silver-bullet solutions that seem so simple and assume a neat linear relationship between cause and effect. The trouble is that things are rarely that simple, and in trying to navigate the organisational 'spaghetti', so often we find it hard to get beyond short-term fire- fighting. Sound familiar? Then this course is for you!

Why you should attend this course:

In this practical and hands-on one day course, you will hear about the importance of systems thinking in a business analysis context and will have the opportunity to practise using a range of tools that can be used to systemically analyse a problem situation. The course contains a wide range of exercises which are used to ensure that the learning translates to real-world scenarios.

It is suitable for beginners who have little or no formal knowledge of systems thinking techniques, and can act as a useful refresher for those who have some existing experience. It is of particular relevance to those that work early in the business change lifecycle, before a project is initiated.

Who should attend this course:

This course is well suited for anyone needing to understand how to analyse tricky problems early in the project lifecycle. It will be of particular interest to BA teams that are seeking early business engagement, or those that are working with multiple stakeholder groups. This is likely to include:

  • Business Analysts
  • Consultants
  • Requirements Engineers
  • Business Systems Analyst
  • Product Owner
  • Requirements Manager

 Full Programme

  Register for both workshops with Adrian Reed:

Register now for this workshop and for the practical workshop on pre-project problem analysis.

8.45h - 9.00h
Welcome in the Waiting Room

In this first section, we dive deeper into the nature of an interconnected world, definition of a 'system' and an introduction to systems thinking and practice, and its relevance to business analysis.

Assess Context

Here, we give an introduction to techniques and concepts that are useful when initially considering a problematic situation, including:

  • A tool for assessing the complexity of a situation in order to assess what types of approaches will be relevant
  • The traps of linear thinking
Assess Perspectives, Purpose and Boundaries

Here, we introduce and practice a range of systems techniques and concepts, including techniques for:

  • Assessing different perspectives
  • Understanding how different stakeholders evaluate 'success'
  • Understanding how different 'boundary judgements' can affect how stakeholders see a situation
  • Conducting external environment analysis
Lunch Break
Analyse Problem Situation

This section presents an overview of a range of systems techniques and concepts including:

  • Rich pictures
  • Multiple cause diagrams
  • Feedback and Causal loops
Propose Action

This section focusses on taking the insight gained through the other systems techniques and diagrams to determine where change may be feasible and desirable, and the types of actions that can follow.

Final Q & A
End of this workshop


Blackmetric Business Solutions

Adrian Reed is a true advocate of the analysis profession. In his day job, he acts as Principal Consultant and Director at Blackmetric Business Solutions where he provides business analysis consultancy and training solutions to a range of clients in varying industries. He is a Past President of the UK chapter of the IIBA® and he speaks internationally on topics relating to business analysis and business change. Adrian wrote the 2016 book 'Be a Great Problem Solver... Now' and the 2018 book 'Business Analyst'

You can read Adrian's blog at Follow Adrian on Twitter @UKAdrianReed and LinkedIn.

Questions about this ? Interested but you can't attend ? Send us an email !