On solutioners, brown cows, and having too narrow a choice


Here’s your What? Who? Where? When? Why? How? for the week.

WHAT is the difference between ‘What’ and ‘How’?

It’s often said that requirements are about what and design is about how. There are two problems with this simplistic demarcation. First, this makes it sound like there’s a sharp boundary between requirements and design. A second problem is that one observer’s how is another person’s what.

The Fuzzy Line Between Requirements and Design | Karl Wiegers (Text at Medium)

WHO is trying to squeeze the project?

Traditional business analysis is built around the sponsor who pays for the project. It’s done to the stakeholder, not for them. Old-school business analysis is under the hammer of time, cost and quality, and any restrictive scope measures to solve the problem—to build the product, to land the service, to make the change.

Too Narrow a Choice | Joe Newbert (Text at Newbert’s Blog)

WHERE should I begin?

The first step was to conduct an efficient workshop to agree in more detail on how the team would collaborate (sprints, roles, etc.) and create an initial version of the backlog by transforming the existing requirements document into user stories.

Project Inception Workshop: Get Started on the Right Path | Miquel Rodríguez (Text at Netmind)

WHEN can I push-back on a predefined solution?

I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve been given an assignment, told what the solution is going to be (e.g. build a new application or product), and then told to do business analysis. How am I supposed to define needs and recommend solutions if you’ve already decided what we’re going to do?

When “Solutioners” Are The Decision Makers | Sarah Mullen (Text at BA Times)

WHY do we need requirements?

Too often, teams fall into a trap focused on requestors’ prescriptive requirements. When you limit your view of requirements to this prescriptive lens, you lose sight of the overall objective and stifle the natural creativity that comes from marrying old problems to new, fresh solutions.

How to make the most of Requirements Elicitation | M Anst (Text at Modern Analyst)

HOW now?

The ‘brown cow’ model gets its name from English elocution lessons where well-to-do students were taught to annunciate correctly by repeating ‘how now, brown cow’.  When used in a business analysis context, it reminds us that we tend to start a situation with a “How Now” view, a current state.

Tactical Problem Solving: Brown Cow Revisited | Adrian Reed (Text at Adrian Reed’s Blog)

Until next Sunday, keep growing,

— Joe

Chief Training Officer at the Business Change Academy
Editor for Inter-View Report and Podcast Host on OneSixEight FM.

P.S. On a scale of 1-10, how much are you looking forward to an end of year break?