Mastering Business Analysis

Mastering Business Analysis

The pragmatic and integrated approach to business needs and solutions

14-15 March 2013 (10-18h)
Location: Golden Tulip Brussels Airport (Diegem)
Presented in English by
Price: 1450 EUR (excl. 21% VAT)
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 Learning Objectives

Why we organize this workshop: Increasing importance of business analysis and business analysts

Business analysis provides the foundation for almost every kind of business change. Business analysts investigate the work of the business, and find both the problems to be corrected and solutions to improve the business processes. Business analysis is a combination of modelling, systemic thinking, innovating, communicating, project analysis, persuasion and several other analytical skills.

In short, business analysis is about understanding the real business and providing solutions to make it better. The business analyst is a modeller and a communicator: Models are used to understand the processes, information and behaviours that make up the business. This understanding is not superficial, but of the real, underlying business policies and the root cause of problems within the business. The analyst must also communicate this understanding clearly so that all stakeholders arrive at the same view of their business. The analyst is charged with guiding the strategic aspects of the project ensuring that the right problem is being solved, and finding innovative and optimally-beneficial solutions.

What will you learn here ?

During this workshop, you will learn how to:

  • Discover real business needs, not just the obvious and most talked-about ones
  • Improve your business processes and systems by a combination of process modelling, systems thinking and innovation
  • Define the most beneficial scope for the analysis project
  • Use models to understand and communicate the business processes, and ensure stakeholders also understand
  • Be better at interpersonal communication and convincing people of your systems ideas
  • Think systemically, to find the best way to improve your client's business
  • Be a better business analyst

Who should attend this workshop ?

Business analysis is almost everyone's job - every employee has some responsibility for effective business improvement. The most likely job titles you would find at this course are:

  • Business Analyst
  • Systems Analyst
  • Project Leader
  • Requirements Engineer
  • Product or Program Manager
  • or similar titles.

We also believe Users and Software Customers will benefit from learning advanced business analysis techniques, and will understand better how these can contribute to the organisation's wellbeing.

Why should you attend this workshop ?

Our businesses thrive or flounder on the effectiveness of their business processes, both automated and manual. Businesses with good processes provide a better service and are more responsive to their customers, and vice versa.

Business analysis is the craft of enlightened improvement to business systems and processes. Moreover, business analysis gives you ways of identifying the areas where improvement projects will yield the highest value.

This two-day course in business analysis gives you the skills and tools to discover your client’s real business, and to determine and demonstrate the best ways of improving it. This course is a natural companion to Mastering the Requirements Process, where we teach the art of requirements writing. The models and understanding produced by Mastering Business Analysis are the optimal input and foundation for your requirements process.

 Full Programme

9.30h - 10.00h
Registration, coffee/tea and croissants
Registration (only first day)
Start of each workshop day

This programme is spread over 2 days, from 10h00 (but the workshop leader will already be present from 9h30 to answer your questions) till 18h00, with a buffet lunch around 13h00:

Business Analysis - what are we trying to do?

Business analysis is about improving your business. To do this, the business analyst studies the problem space, models it and establishes the difference between the business as it is, and as it should be (from as-is to to-be).

The business analyst employs systems thinking and abstraction to see past the technological bias of the current way of doing things, to see the essence of the business - what should be happening - and to deliver, in alignment with management's goals, a model of the desired future state of the business.

Modelling the Business – techniques for studying and understanding the business processes and data

The business analyst uses a variety of modelling tools to arrive at a complete and agreed understanding of what the business is currently doing. The current state is by no means the desired future state, but nevertheless provides a baseline for future improvements. It is also vital that all the opportunities for improvement are recognised at this stage.

We teach a variety of models (business analysts should always be able to select whichever is most appropriate) to graphically represent the business processes. UML and BPMN models are prominent, but we also teach alternative ways of modelling, each having its own advantages. Data flow models and scenarios are a very "business-friendly" way to show a process.

Data models show the information used by the business. By discovering the stored information, the business analyst uncovers more of the business policy.

Business Events – organising the analysis

Business events are things that happen outside of the business, but are significant - the business must respond to each event. By discovering the business events, the business analyst sees the actual triggers that make the business function.

The response to an event is modelled as an end-to-end process, giving the analyst the advantage of seeing the big picture, as well as finding more and better opportunities for process improvement.

Systems Thinking – not getting carried away with solutions, but seeing the essence of the business

The essence of the business - the real business - is quite different from the current solution, and indeed different from any proposed solution. The essence is not a solution at all, but the underlying problem seen without the burden of technology.

By discovering the essence, the business analyst ensures that any system built is the right one, and lasts longer than any current technological fad. Systems thinking means looking at the business as a whole, not just one small part of it, or one business user and his software system. The systemic-thinking analyst is concerned with finding a solution that suits the whole of the enterprise, and does not cause unexpected detrimental effects of any changes.

Innovation – making real and worthwhile changes to the business by using fresh thinking

The most valuable companies today are also the most innovative. Businesses cannot stand still and carry on "business as usual" - this usually means "going out of business". If you want your business to be competitive, effective and attractive to your customers, then innovation must become part of all business change and system development projects.

For the business analyst, innovation means finding better processes, systems, products and services to make the business operate more productively. Innovative solutions cost no more - they usually costs less - and make better, more effective use of existing processes and technology. Innovation means looking at the problem in a different way to find the solutions that evade conventional requirements techniques. Becoming more innovative boils mainly down to changing the way you look at problems to find different ways of doing business.

The Human Element – interviewing, resolving conflicts, facilitating workshops, communication skills

The business analyst is above all a communicator, charged with understanding a piece of the business using information collected from the people in that business. Clearly, the needed skill is an ability to interview people, listen to them, and then ensure that both parties arrive at the same understanding of the problem.

Additionally, the business analyst frequently has to facilitate workshops, and to use communication skills to persuade stakeholders of the real problem, and to bring the sometimes disparate viewpoints to a consensus.

Delivering – now that you understand the business, here's how to bring about the changes to improve it

The right result can only come if the project is solving the right problem, and the goals, benefits and opportunities are universally agreed. This section looks at the conduct of projects, and how tools such as Business Model Generation, SWOT, ALUo and prioritisation can be used to full effect. The business analyst must work with the stakeholders towards the smooth acceptance of the delivered systems and so ensure the result in the most beneficial changes to the enterprise.

End of each workshop day


The Atlantic Systems Guild

James Robertson is a consultant, teacher, author, project leader whose area of concern is the requirements for products, and the contribution that good requirements make to successful projects. His work in the area of business analysis and requirements gathering is valued by clients around the world.

He is the co-author of the best-selling book "Mastering the Requirements Process, Third Edition" (Pearson, 2012, ISBN: 9780321815743). This book provides guidance on finding requirements and writing them so that all the stakeholders can understand them. He also co-founded the Volere approach to requirements engineering. His most recent book is "Adrenaline Junkies and Template Zombies: Understanding Patterns of Project Behavior", written with fellow principals of The Atlantic Systems Guild, a London and New York-based think tank known for its research into new systems engineering techniques.

James Robertson has worked on almost every type of information system. His experience has led him to write numerous seminars and papers that are well respected as sources of new software development ideas.

As well as teaching his seminars and workshops, he now advises companies on how to adapt modern software development techniques to fit specific projects, and how to effectively transfer the new technologies to the software developers within the organisation. He has formed a solid partnership with his wife Suzanne to consult on numerous large-scale projects in Europe and the United States.

James and Suzanne Robertson are principals and co-founders of The Atlantic Systems Guild.

The Atlantic Systems Guild Limited is endorsed as an education provider by the International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA).

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