One of the first rules of business analysis should be never waste business people’s time
. One of the fastest ways to waste their time is not knowing what they are talking about … literally
… and do nothing about it. So you end up just wasting their time over and over again. Unacceptable.
Is there a way to avoid it? Yes, by taking the time to understand exactly what concepts the business people mean when they use the words they use.
I believe business vocabulary should be job one for Business Analysts. If you don’t know (and can’t agree about) what the concepts mean, then (excuse me here for being blunt) you simply don’t know what you’re talking about. (And sometimes, unfortunately, neither do the business people … which is something important BAs should find out as early as possible.) So structured business vocabularies (fact models) are a critical business analysis tool. How else is there to analyze and communicate about complex know-how in a process-independent way?!
Looking at the issue the other way around, you can make yourself look really smart about a complex area in a relatively short time by having and following a blueprint. We’ve had that experience many, many times in a wide variety of industries and problem areas. (Try jumping between insurance, pharmaceuticals, electricity markets, eCommerce, race care equipment, credit card fraud, trucking, taxation, healthcare, banking, mortgages, pension administration, ship inspections, and more! We do.)
There’s no magic to it – like contractors for the construction of buildings, you must
have or create structural blueprints. For operational business know-how, that means bringing an architect’s view to structure the concept system of the problem space … just a fancy way of saying develop a well-structured business vocabulary. Then a whole lot of things will fall right into place for you.
P.S. By the way, I’m not
talking about any form of data
modeling here. Also, there’s no real need to use the ‘S’ word (semantics
) for it.