Powerful Business Analysis Through the Context Diagram

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Raksha Pahlad shares powerful business analysis through the context diagram with Joe Newbert, and how different abstraction levels can be used bring clarity.

Raksha Pahlad is a business analyst at Healthbridge, who has been exploring her passion for the business analysis profession for nine years.

Raksha has worked within the banking, healthcare and investment industry sectors. She has a Bachelor of Business Science degree, Business Associate accreditation, is CBAP accredited and is currently completing her Masters in Information Systems qualification.

Congratulations on your recent workshop at the Business Analysis Summit Southern Africa, it was well received by many. For those who weren’t fortunate to attend, could you give us a synopsis of what your session was about?

The workshop centred on the early analysis stages of an initiative and how the context diagramming technique can be used to structure initial elicitation, align stakeholder thinking on analysis scope and guide business analysis planning and approach development.

We also discussed a method for combining the strengths of rich picture diagrams with context diagrams. These are some techniques that business analysts could use to manage the complexities and uncertainties common to the initial stages of analysis.

The topic is clearly an area that you are personally passionate about. Why do you feel this subject is relevant and important for the business analysis profession?

My view is that, the more complex and challenging an initiative, the greater the potential for the business analyst role to add value to it. However, there isn’t an exact science to how a business analyst can maximize the actual value an initiative realises from their contribution. Factors such as time constraints, scope, the true value that the initiative holds, stakeholder expectations and the quality of business analyst deliverables often have to be navigated and balanced against each other.

How a business analyst arrives at the plan for navigation and balancing seemly conflicting factors, holds great influence over the success or failure of an initiative.

Context and rich picture diagrams are techniques that business analysts can use to assist them in setting themselves up for success when given demanding work contexts.

Having shared your ideas with the business analysis community. What key points would you like people to take-away, reflect and act upon?

The early stages of an analysis initiative does not necessarily have to comprise of a context or rich picture diagram. The underlying theme of the workshop was that

… time invested in critically thinking about and understanding the objectives of an initiative and the formulation of a strategy for analysis, is where the true value lies.

Using techniques and tools to bring clarity to your initiatives and manage inherent uncertainties, can provide an invaluable foundation for successful analysis execution.

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Business analysis summit spoiled in terms of the learning and networking opportunities. What was your greatest personal insight taken from the business analysis conference?

The tremendous support for the viewpoint that business analysts can and should be adding value outside of traditional IT project environments, was encouraging. The common challenge issued for business analysts to be more, think more and experience more; was inspiring.

Having been a first time speaker at Business Analysis Summit Southern Africa, what words of encouragement do you have for people who may be considering presenting in future?

It can be quite an intimidating endeavour that requires significant preparation time. However, if you choose a topic that you believe in, the journey can be a fun and fulfilling one. I personally enjoyed and appreciated the experience.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

As a business analyst community, I hope that we all one day get to realise the full potential that the frameworks of our profession promise.

Powerful Business Analysis Through The Context Diagram with Raksha Pahlad

Download Raksha Pahlad‘s slide-deck from BA Summit SA 2016 and find out more about Powerful Business Analysis Through The Context Diagram. Share your thoughts on powerful business analysis through the context diagram with @Newbert over on Twitter.

About Joe Newbert

Joe is a consultant, a writer, a speaker and above all a teacher, who spends most of his time at the Business Change Academy helping people to grow their skills, bring meaningful change and see their career soar.

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