Business analysts enable change in enterprises. In their role, they define needs, recommend solutions that deliver value to stakeholders considering context.
The BACCM has key concepts that aids a business analyst in practice. it is essentially a ‘thinking model’. The model constitutes 6 elements:
- Change – answers the question, what needs to be transformed in response to the change?
- Need – answers the question, what is the problem or opportunity to be addressed?
- Solution – answers the question, how are we going to solve, satisfy the needs considering context?
- Stakeholders – answers the question, who is/are affected by the change, need or solution?
- Value – answers the question, what do stakeholders perceive as value, benefit, when the need is addressed, or solution is developed?
- Context – answers the question, what are the circumstances that influence or influenced by the need, change, solution, and stakeholders?
All these elements are interconnected as illustrated below:
Business analysis requires analytical thinking and problem solving as core competencies. Systems thinking helps the business analysts have a holistic view on the various components or elements of an enterprise. These elements include, but are not limited to, people, applications, processes and data.
It is key for a business analyst to develop a systems thinking mindset. The key elements of systems thinking theory are;
- Systems mapping – provides a picture or map, depicting elements that need to be considered when solving a problem. The various perspectives to be considered. E.g., the BACCM is a system map.
- Interconnectedness – how components of system interact with each other. The concerns, considerations, assumptions, and constraints that need to be considered. Requires a shift in mindset, from linear thinking to circular, looping thinking.
- Synthesis – when information is collected through discovery, new ideas are created. Synthesis is, seeing the whole picture. It’s necessary before analysis, which is breaking down elements into small manageable components. Synthesis helps make sense of context.
- Emergence – drawing synergies of components in a non-linear way. Understanding how elements of a systems interact with each other. Larger things emerge from small parts, emergence therefore describes how these smaller parts come together.
- Feedback loops – constant probing and elicitation gives and builds feedback on progress and other discoveries of elements to be considered.
- Causality – showing how the flow of influence between the systems components, e.g., data, people, processes, experiences, applications, etc. the cause and effect of changes within systems and its components.
Systems thinking thus enhances an analyst’s ability to think more divergently, broadly and creatively.
There are a few pointers in gauging the effectiveness of a business analyst’s systems thinking mindset. This can be measured by:
- How well a business analyst communicates the impact a change to a component affects the system as a whole. e.g., a change to an application interface, how does this affect the customer experience, data collections and internal processes, etc.
- How well a business analyst communicates the effect of external changes, influences to the enterprise as a system. How the system needs to adapt to external or internal changes. e.g., changes to interest rates, how are these communicated to people internally and affected customers, what applications need to be updated, what processes needs to be followed, etc.
- Explaining how a change to a system or its components, affects other components of the system. e.g., how a change in process affects the people, data, applications, etc.
A systems thinking mindset is key to problem solving. It helps to conceptualise the ‘whole’ and provide a holistic understanding of the need in context. To be successful, Business analysts can leverage the BACCM in developing this mindset.
There must be intentionality in developing this mindset because enterprises and stakeholders deserve to be served well.