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BABOK3 9.1

9.1 Analytical Thinking and Problem Solving

Analytical Thinking and Problem Solving core competencies include (7): • Creative Thinking, • Decision Making, • Learning, • Problem Solving, • Systems Thinking, • Conceptual Thinking, and • Visual Thinking.
Why does a BA need Analytical Thinking and Problem Solving Skills (3)? To analyze problems and opportunities effectively, identify which changes may deliver the most value, and work with stakeholders to understand the impact of those changes.
How does a BA use Analytical Thinking (3)? Rapid assimilation of information; identification of which information is relevant; Fast choice of effective and adaptable methods to learn and analyze the media, audiences, problem types, and environments as each is encountered.
What is the purpose of Creative Thinking? Generate new ideas, approaches, and alternatives to problem solving and opportunities.
What is Creative Thinking? generating new ideas and concepts as well as finding new or different associations between existing ideas and concepts.
What does Creative Thinking help to overcome? Rigid approaches to problem solving by questioning conventional approaches and encouraging new ideas and innovations that are appropriate to the situation.
What might be involved in Creative Thinking? Creative thinking may involve combining, changing, and reapplying existing concepts or ideas.
How does a BA encourage Creative Thinking in others? Business analysts can be effective in promoting creative thinking in others by identifying and proposing alternatives, and by asking questions and challenging assumptions.
What are 5 measures of the effectiveness of Creative Thinking? • generating and productively considering new ideas, • exploring concepts and ideas that are new, • exploring changes to existing concepts and ideas, • generating creativity for self and others, and • applying new ideas to resolve existing problems.
Why does a BA need Decision Making Skills (2)? A BA must be effective in understanding the criteria involved in making a decision, and in assisting others to make better decisions.
How does a BA use Decision Making? When a business analyst or a group of stakeholders is faced with having to select an option from a set of alternatives, a decision must be made on which is the most advantageous for the stakeholders and the enterprise.
How is Decision Making used to select the best option? Determining the best option involves gathering the information that is relevant to the decision, analyzing the relevant information, making comparisons and trade-offs between similar and dissimilar options, and identifying the most desirable option.
Why would a BA document a decisions? Business analysts document decisions (and the rationale supporting those decisions) to use them as a reference in the event a similar decision is required in the future or if they are required to explain why a decision was made.
What are 7 measures of the effectiveness of Decision Making and the Decision Making Process? • stakeholders are represented • stakeholders understand context, and process and decision rationale • pros and cons of all options are communicated •reduces uncertainty addresses the need • a decision is made.
Why does a BA need Learning as a competency? A BA must be able to describe their level of understanding of the business domain and be capable of applying that level of understanding to determine which analysis activities need to be performed in a given situation.
What is the purpose of Learning? The ability to quickly absorb new and different types of information and also modify and adapt existing knowledge allows business analysts to work effectively in rapidly changing and evolving environments.
What is Learning? Learning is the process of gaining knowledge or skills.
What are the 6 stages of learning about a domain? Initial acquisition and learning of raw facts, comprehension of their meaning, application of the knowledge in day-to-day work, and finally analysis, synthesis, and evaluation.
How can Learning be improved? Learning is improved when the learning technique is selected based on the required learning outcomes.
What does a BA do once learning about a domain has reached the point where analysis is complete? Synthesize the information to identify opportunities to create new solutions and evaluate those solutions to ensure that they are effective.
• Visual: learning through the presentation of pictures, photographs, diagrams, models, and videos.
• Auditory: learning through verbal and written language and text.
• Kinesthetic: learning by doing.
How many learning techniques should a BA use? Most people experience faster understanding and longer retention of information when more than one learning technique is used.
What are 5 measures of effective Learning? • understand that learning is a process • learn concepts then demonstrate an understanding of them, • apply concepts to new areas or relationships, • rapidly absorb new facts, ideas, concepts, and opinions, • effectively present them
What is the purpose of Problem Solving? Business analysts define and solve problems in order to ensure that the real, underlying root cause of a problem is understood by all stakeholders and that solution options address that root cause.
How is a problem defined? Defining a problem involves ensuring that the nature of the problem and any underlying issues are clearly understood by all stakeholders.
Why are stakeholder points of view articulated and addressed? To understand any conflicts between the goals and objectives of different groups of stakeholders.
What 2 things are done with assumptions? Assumptions are identified and validated.
What does a BA do after the objectives that will be met once the problem is solved are clearly specified? Alternative solutions are considered and possibly developed.
What are alternatives measured against to determine which possible solution is best? Alternatives are measured against the objectives to determine which possible solution is best, and identify the value and trade-offs that may exist between solutions.
What are 4 measures of effective problem solving (process and framework)? • participants confident in the process, • solutions meet objectives & solve root cause, • solution options can be evaluated using the framework, • process avoids decisions based on unvalidated assumptions or preconceived notions.
What is the purpose of Systems Thinking? Understanding how the people, processes, and technology within an organization interact allows business analysts to understand the enterprise from a holistic point of view.
What is Systems Thinking? Systems theory thinking suggest that a system as a whole has properties, behaviours, and characteristics that emerge from the interaction of the components of that system. These factors are not predictable from an understanding of the components alone.
In the context of systems theory, what is included in a system? In the context of systems theory, the term system includes the people involved, the interactions between them, the external forces affecting their behaviour, and all other relevant elements and factors.
What are 3 measures of the effective use of Systems Thinking? • communicating how a change to a component affects the system as a whole, • communicating how a change to a system affects the environment it is in, • communicating how systems adapt to internal and/or external pressures and changes.
What is the purpose of Conceptual Thinking? BAs routinely receive large amounts of information. They apply conceptual thinking skills to find ways to understand how that information fits into a larger picture and what details are important, and to connect seemingly abstract information.
What is Conceptual Thinking? Conceptual thinking is about understanding the linkage between contexts, solutions, needs, changes, stakeholders, and value abstractly and in the big picture.
How does Conceptual Thinking help stakeholders manage change? Conceptual thinking is about linking factors not easily defined to the underlying problem or opportunity, models, or frameworks that help stakeholders understand and facilitate themselves and others through change.
What are 4 measures of effective Conceptual Thinking? • connecting disparate information & understanding the relationship, • confirmed understanding of the concept being communicated , • formulating abstract concepts using information & uncertainty, • using past experiences to understand the situation.
What is involved in Conceptual Thinking to generate new solution options? It involves using past experiences, knowledge, creativity, intuition, and abstract thinking to generate alternatives, options, and ideas that are not easily defined or related.
What is involved in Conceptual Thinking to gain understanding? It involves understanding and connecting information and patterns that may not be obviously related. Conceptual thinking involves understanding where details fit into a larger context.
Why is Conceptual Thinking needed? It is needed to connect disparate information from a multitude of stakeholders, objectives, risks, details, and other factors.
What is Visual Thinking? Creation of graphical representations of the concepts or systems being discussed. The goal of these is to make abstractions and then find suitable graphic devices to represent them.
What is the purpose of Visual Thinking? The ability to communicate complex concepts and models into understandable visual representations allows business analysts to engage stakeholders and help them understand the concepts being presented.
How does Visual Thinking help stakeholders provide input? Allows stakeholders to easily understand the concepts being presented, and then provide input.
What are 5 measures of effective Visual Thinking? • complex information is communicated visually • comparisons, pattern finding, and idea mapping •increased learning, quick memory, and follow through • stakeholders engaged at deeper level • stakeholders understand critical information
What is involved in Visual Thinking? Convey and integrate non-visual information in simple graphics.
What is an advantage of presenting information visually? Communicate large amounts of information and complex connections between contexts, stakeholders, needs, solutions, changes, and value.
How does Visual Thinking help stakeholders comprehend? Stakeholders learn more quickly, process the information, and connect points from each of their contexts.
Created by: Tarka



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