On questions, The Snowman, and what that drill is really for


Happy 5W-1h Sunday.

Here’s your dose of What? Who? Where? When? Why? How?, a curation of articles, podcasts and videos that piqued my curiosity this week.


WHAT do they want a drill for?

Harvard marketing professor Theodore Levitt famously said, “People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill. They want a quarter-inch hole!” The lesson is that people are too focused on solutions and don’t spend enough time understanding what their stakeholders’ problems are or the best way to solve them.

That riff about business analysis myopia | Joe Newbert (Text at Newbert’s Blog)

WHO are the real customers here?

Asking questions, spreading the net wide and understanding a diversity of views is crucial. Most of all asking questions such as “Who are the customers and beneficiaries here, who else is affected or interested, and how are their voices being heard?” is so important.

The Snowman Fallacy | Adrian Reed (Text at Adrian reed’s Blog)

WHERE else can I find requirements?

You often must dig through lots of seemingly useless information to find the truth that can set you on the right path for your project. Here are a few frequently overlooked items that you can utilize as resources and analyze to help uncover useful information:

Resources For The Investigative Analyst: Take Your Pick! | Divya Kishore (Text at BA Times)

WHEN does simple become complicated?

Complication is the enemy of the Business Analyst in that the BA is an agent of ‘simtropy’**** i.e. movement towards simplicity through clarification and the removal of ambiguity. If anything is getting more complicated it’s probably not a good thing. 

Keeping Things Simple – Cinematic Lessons for Business Analysts | David Beckham (Text at The Samurai Business Analyst)

WHY should I ask why?

A business analyst is not merely a scribe who records whatever customers say and passes the information to the development team. The BA needs to ask thought-provoking questions to stimulate the thinking of the people they’re interviewing. 

No One Expects the Requirements Inquisition: Asking Next-Level Questions | Karl Wiegers (Text at Medium)

HOW can I make my meetings more productive ?

We’ve likely all received (or sent) meeting invitations with little more than a meeting title.  This means that attendees likely won’t be properly prepared, the meeting may not achieve its intended goal, and you’ll likely waste time in yet another unproductive meeting.

POWER Start for Your Meetings | Dave Saboe (Podcast at Mastering Business Analysis)

And, as always, please give feedback on Twitter. Whose piece above stood our for you? What would you like more or less of? Other ideas? Please let me know. Just send a tweet to @joenewbert and put #5W1H at the end so I can find it.

Keep growing.


P.S. Do you believe in professional certification?