The Superior Business Analysis Approach is pretty simple: write down what you are or should be doing.
The premise is that if you are doing something that is important to you and especially to a large group of people, then you should at least think through what you are setting out to do, how you will do it, the steps and tools you would use to do it, and a mechanism for checking that it is all working out. The only way of capturing and organising these thoughts and then being able to consistently recall, apply, tweak or fundamentally reform them is to write them down.
Of course – saying this is the easy bit and is no silver bullet. Actually doing it (ie writing down your essential how-to information and in a meaningful, adaptable way) is harder. This is where the Superior Business Analysis Framework comes in.
Many organisations do not have a simple framework in place that encourages and allows their staff to easily capture the bare basic information required to manage their core responsibilities and opportunities. Sure, most places have ‘goals’, HR and finance are usually pretty good at having endorsed policies in place, some managers like to have documented procedures in place, and everyone has to report on something – but this key information is usually not captured in a consistent, effective or usable way.
The Superior Business Analysis Approach seeks to address this issue by providing a simple, usable, scalable and adaptable framework that can easily be adopted by organisations and understood by their staff. It provides you with an understanding and checklist of what information needs to be recorded and how it links together to drive the achievement of your goals – and it should not cost the earth to implement! Rather it should be able to be implemented in a way that empowers all staff and allows them to take ownership over their activities and how the activities are carried out better in the future.
Before you go on to look at the Framework, it is important to have a clear picture of what this essential how-to information is. It is the bare basic information about how a responsibility or opportunity is managed, which is required to undertake those activities in a less risky, less costly and ultimately more successful way. That ‘responsibility’ or ‘opportunity’ (we can think of it as the ‘problem space’, although ‘opportunity space’ works well too!) may be the running of an organisation, the management of a specific outcome and anything in between.
The information that is captured using the Superior Business Analysis Approach is not information about projects that are being carried out within the problem space. Projects are activities that are carried out with the intention of being a once-off and which create, change or end the ongoing activities to achieve ongoing goals. The best examples of projects in this context are those projects that apply the Superior Business Analysis Framework to a certain business area, create a new business activity (eg to deliver a new product / service / way of achieving goals), and improve procedures themselves (through streamlining / cutting back steps, linking steps better with other procedures, or creating new tools / forms / templates to support a procedure). Projects generally do not contribute to achieving ongoing goals – projects set up the way an organisation achieves its ongoing goals.
The information that is captured through the Superior Business Analysis Approach is about ongoing activities. Ongoing activities are not once-off. They cycle through more than once and therefore in most cases it is most cost-effective for these activities to be set up in a standard, satisfactory and repeatable way. You would want to capture this information so that each time you start the activity again you do not need to recreate the steps, templates, forms, tools, context and approvals all over again. Ongoing activities are the way you achieve what you set out to, so you want to make it as smooth, successful and low-risk as possible and you want everything that is going on in your organisation to support them.
To see the Framework itself, click here.
To read about the Improvement Cycle, click here.