Business Analysis Learning Path

Learn all the key skills required to become a business analyst, including Six Sigma

SIX SIGMA CONTENTS

Six Sigma is a problem solving methodology for improving business / operational performance; it’s about minimizing mistakes and maximizing value. Traditionally Six Sigma was seen as a quality improvement methodology but today, it’s evolved to be much more than that. Click here to read more

Let’s start working with Six Sigma & what we refer to as the breakthrough equation.

Y = f(X) + E

In the above equation: Y = the desired results or outcome; X = input factor(s); F = function (the way the inputs are transformed); E = the presence of error or uncertainty. Click here to read more

Defining a Six Sigma project is 50% of the overall improvement process. By properly defining the project we can increase the chances of project success and make business improvements that a poorly defined project may not achieve. Click here to read more

Identifying problems in Six Sigma starts with a very AS-IS detailed process map (as discussed here). For each step in our process maps, we should be adding. Click here to read more

To identify all the X’s (inputs) in our process that impact the Y’s (the critical output(s)) through brainstorming alone can be an impossible task. So, we try to add some structured documentation to the mix so that we can start to identify those X’s in a structured manner. Click here to read more

Six Sigma deploys a number of statistical methods to understand current processes. As we have discussed previously, variation in output costs the business, both directly and indirectly so we need to analyse and mitigate as much variation as we can. Click here to read more

To truly deliver value, we first need to understand what value is from our customers’ perspective. We call this definition of value the Voice Of the Customer (VOC) and we should use it as our guiding principle for everything that we do. Click here to read more

Capability is the term used to define how well a process matches the voice of the customer. To find this out, we need to be able to calculate the defect rate of the process. That is done with two main methods, we can firstly find the yield (the proportion of correct items) and derive the proportion of defects or we can directly analyse the number of defects in the process. Click here to read more

In Six Sigma, we use capability indices to directly compare the voice of the process to the voice of the customer. This helps us to quantify the capability of the process to meet specification. Click here to read more

Our next task is to reduce all the inputs that we’ve identified to just those few that impact variability the most. We can start to strip down the list of requirements by utilizing observation & recording the quantitative findings. For example, the actual variability in time to complete, the differences between Ben and Sue at processing orders and the variance in product dimensions at each stage of the process. Click here to read more

Decision making from analysis in Six Sigma is the most important part of any project. It’s great that you’ve collected lots of tasty data but if you don’t take the correct decisions as a result, it will greatly impact your Six Sigma initiative. Click here to read more

Finding the relationship between input variables and the output from the process can be vital to implementing a successful Six Sigma strategy.  In the below chart, we can say that the data is correlated strongly. But, how strongly? Click here to read more

Below is a model that I’ve put together to summarize the various pieces of each stage. I’ve intentionally not linked to any of the improvement and control elements. The improvement methodologies you seek will be largely determined by the steps before & the experiments you choose to use will also vary heavily. However, suffice to say, the key thing here is to validate the relationship between your inputs (X) and outputs (Y), Once validated, you can implement appropriate improvement actions. You then need to create a control and monitoring plan to ensure that the improvements you made continue to achieve the required performance levels and continue to deliver value to your business and customers. Click here to read more

BUSINESS ANALYSIS Contents

There are so many pieces of the business analyst role & they’re often documented in several different places & it’s hard to see where they fit in the overall structure of the business analysis process. The model below highlights the different elements of each BA project phase. We have linked to descriptions of the components below the diagram. Click here to read more

There are a number of techniques that business analysts can adopt to drive more effective investigation into a problem in order to analyse the issue & propose a solution. Click here to read more

Business strategy is an absolute necessity for all businesses. The need is bought about by the ever more unpredictable business environment and the removal of barriers to entry to many industries, bought about by technology. Click here to read more

OSCAR stands for objectives (business & project), scope (deliverables of the project), constraints (budget, timescales & standards), authority (business owner of project) and resources (people & equipment available). This model can be used as a terms of reference, to keep requirements relevant to the objective of the project and business. Before we start any requirements elicitation, we need to first extract the OSCAR statements. Click here to read more

Processes enable organizations to deliver value, either internally or to their customers. In some companies, these processes can span multiple individuals, departments and external organizations, making them extremely complex and prone to inefficiencies. Those inefficiencies can drive cost to the business, customer dissatisfaction and general inefficiencies. Click here to read more

Stakeholder analysis and management is a critical part of any project. Why? Well, you need as many people championing your project and as few causing obstructions and difficulties as possible. In order to achieve this, you first need to figure out exactly who your stakeholders are; what their influence over the project is and how interested they are in the initiative.  From there, you can create a stakeholder management strategy. Click here to read more

Defining a solution as a business analyst is all about understanding what the problem is, as we discussed here and what the stakeholder needs are, as discussed here. Once we know what the problem is and what the stakeholders want we can start analyzing the gap between where we are and where we need to be. We call this a gap analysis. Click here to read more.

Solid documentation is an absolute necessity. It’s used throughout the lifecycle of the project. It’s what stakeholders sign-off on; it’s what the developers follow during the implementation phase; it’s what the testers use to validate that everything works as it should; it’s what the support teams use for post-deployment troubleshooting and it’s used to assess benefits realization at the end of a project. Click here to read more

Business cases are key to projects in most organizations. A well written business case provides senior management with the information they need to make an informed decision on a project. Click here to read more