The ‘Process’ of Business Analysis is a Great Example of a Social ProcessIn a recent post, Jonathan ‘Kupe’ Kupersmith said:
“In manufacturing following a process step by step is a good thing. In our world [business analysis] this is not the case. Following an A to Z process for every project is a bad thing. Every project is different. Different people, different risks, different priorities, etc. You need to adapt your process to meet the needs of the project.”.I believe what Kupe is saying is that the ‘business analysis process’ is not a traditional straight-line process (like old-style manufacturing). Instead, it is what is currently being called (variously) a ‘social process’ or ‘dynamic process’ or ‘case-based process’. Such a process is:
- Social in that interactions at various times with various people with various kinds of know-how must be orchestrated for optimal results.
- Dynamic in that the ‘flow’ is highly situation-based rather than predictably straight-through (static).
- Case-Based in that the ‘flow’ of events is based on the particular characteristics of the case (project) at hand, rather on forced conformance with some ideal.
- There are many, many companies (even in manufacturing) now beginning to understand that their core business processes should be organized as social/dynamic/case-based rather than traditional/static/straight-line. Customization and personalization of products and services demand it.
- Achieving manageable customization and personalization at scale requires an appropriate infrastructure that is business-based.
- The need for infrastructure leads inevitably to business vocabulary (business semantics) and business rules. (What’s the alternative??) So business rules are probably even more essential for social/dynamic/case-based processes than traditional/static/straight-line ones.
- Having a standard business vocabulary for the ‘business analysis process’ is key. How many organizations really have one? I see this omission as a huge hole in current BA standards and practices. (Plug: Our new book, Building Business Solutions: Business Analysis with Business Rules, has a 55pp Annotated Glossary. We practice what we preach. http://www.brsolutions.com/b_building_business_solutions.php)
- The know-how to support a social/dynamic/case-based ‘business analysis process’ should be expressible as rules. If the know-how can’t be articulated and properly communicated, then how can the process be repeated, learned and scaled? Tacit know-how is simply no longer adequate in a knowledge economy.
Tags: business analysis projects, case-based process, dynamic process, process of business analysis, scaling up, social process
Good points, Ron. I’ll comment on Kupe’s original post shortly, but your post makes me wonder, are ‘social process’ ‘dynamic process’ and ‘case-based process’ just buzzwords for ‘systems thinking’? They seem to have the same characteristics as a classical system (not a technology system). What are your thoughts?
Ronald G. Ross
Julian, Not in my mind. But it’s a hard question and I don’t have a well-formed answer. I’ll be interested in what others have to say.