It doesn’t matter how many Business Analysis techniques and tools you know, unless you know this….

Photo by Startup Stock Photos from Pexels
Photo by Startup Stock Photos from Pexels

 

If you are a Michelin star chef entertaining the guests at a newly launched 7-star hotel with the most delicious sounding dish, but your food supplier provided you with inferior quality raw material for cooking, it’s 99% likely that the dish would go down the waste bin; it doesn’t matter how much technique and style you might have used or how well equipped and modern your kitchen is.

The same holds true if you are a Business Analyst. What is the raw material for your preparation?

Answer: Information

In order to produce great output from your analysis, you must acquire good quality of information. “Good quality” information is something that is relevant to the purpose you are trying to achieve, accurate, complete, timely, consistent and workable. Information that you can reflect upon, slice, dice and analyse and synthesise to create the recipe you are trying to prepare; the recipe for insight and change.

The question is how do you get such good quality information?

As a BA, you can elicit information from various sources. An obvious source is the human resource: the Stakeholders or Subject Matter Experts in the business. The most direct way to fetch information from them is a meeting (interview). Now, how do you get information out of their mind? By asking questions during the conversation.

The rule is: “In order to get good answers, you must ask good questions”. That is the only way to #elicit “good quality” information. Fail to do this at your own disaster. So prepare before a meeting.

What is a good question?

A good question is often a simple, open-ended question that doesn’t bind the audience (interviewee) into answering in mono-syllables (yes/no/may be/don’t know), something that doesn’t make them freeze with discomfort or yell with rage, a question that makes them think and excite them to share their experience. Well sounds like a lot, but remember it’s a “simple” question. Don’t be afraid to ask a simple “silly” question, because there is nothing called a Silly Question.

Can you learn to ask simple, open-ended questions?

Well, listen to what Larry King, the TV presenter have to say about the style of such good questions and practice this style to get success:

 

Successful Conversation

Open-ended questions are only one of the factors in making a conversation successful. If you want 13 other tips, you need to watch the video I shared on a previous post on the Business Analysis Interest Group on Facebook. Here’s the link if you are interested: https://www.facebook.com/groups/BusinessAnalysisIG/permalink/1626001617500475/

 

Happy questioning.

Best,

Ujjal

 

 

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