Questions lead to innovation

By nature, people do not like change. They develop comfort with routine, regardless of whether it makes sense or not. It's some sort of inertia.

As a business analyst you will encounter this inertia many times. Where you'll really notice it is when you are trying to redefine a process to be more efficient and realize that the new process is strikingly similar to the old one. When you ask them why the new process looks the same as the old one, you'll hear answers such as:

  • "I don't know."
  • "We've always done it that way."
  • "I'm not sure why we do that; we just do."
  • "Why would I do it anyway else?"

With any process, you should try to understand why you need to do any specific step. What are the key benefits, considerations, safeguards etc...? Are we simply asking for a step in the process because, "it's always been there?"

Be willing to inquire. Of course you'll need to be a little careful to avoid offending people (see my post Asking questions & getting answers.) However, you must understand your clients' wants in order to determine the best ways to achieve it. As a business analyst, you have a few objectives:

  1. Understand your clients' desires.
  2. Communicate the needs so that IT staff can understand them.
  3. Analyze and innovate to make things better. This is where you add additional value to a project. I'm not talking about increasing scope with all of your ideas. I mean, add value to help your clients' maximize the benefits they can realize.

Is there a better way to do something? What can we learn from other industries? What can we learn from other companies? What can we leverage more?

A company's ability to innovate, improve, and learn ties directly to the company's value. (David P. Norton)

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