You have just arrived at a page that will hopefully change the way you see your business (and by that I mean any of your ‘business’ in your professional and personal life) forever. In a good way of course! The Superior Business Analysis framework – which you should see pictured below – is probably as simple as you can get for understanding what you need in place to ensure that you have thoroughly thought through what you are doing. It’s not just a picture with lots of boxes in it. It is a universal problem solving and management framework that helps you to think through anything.
The Framework itself is only comprised of four sections. Yep, it’s that easy.
This reflects the four aspects of managing any particular responsibility or opportunity at the highest level. You want to know:
- the Strategy – what you are realistically aiming for;
- the Management – how it is realistically going to be achieved;
- the Operations – what steps will be taken and tools used to achieve this; and
- the Reporting – how will you be able to check on if the aims are being met.
As I have mentioned elsewhere, it is not rocket science and it is universally applicable. The catches are that: (1) yes, you need to take what you are managing seriously enough to properly think it through; and (2), if you do want to take it seriously, dreams and high level plans for what you are going to do are not enough – you need to get into the detail and have a mechanism for checking and adapting your approach.
However where you are taking your management really seriously – and in particular where you are part of an organisation that has more than a couple of staff members – this conceptual checklist of what to work through is not enough. You need to record and maintain a bit more detail about how exactly you are managing things so that you have an organised way of managing the greater complexity and so that you and the other people in the organisation are able to have an objective conversation about what is, is not or should be occuring in the future.
But you don’t want to just document things for the heck of it, do you? No, you want to keep things as simple as possible (because after all, unnecessary complexity will usually also been unnecessary time, cost and confusion).
The Superior Business Analysis Framework is comprised of those bare essentials that are needed to manage anything in a less risky, less costly and ultimately more satisfying way.
This framework is all about providing the thinkers (including the reluctant thinkers) out there with a framework of essential knowledge. This (to varying degrees of detail, depending on what you are managing and how serious you are about it) is what you need to have a clear picture of what is going on in your enterprise at the moment and also to change it into the best managed enterprise in town.
The Framework is comprised of four main sections, with the final section being a consolidated body of knowledge. This final section is important because at the end of the day, often the consolidated catalogues of the activities, infrastructure and terms used in the business are of as much use as everything else.
So… going into a bit more detail this time:
The Strategy section holds the necessary information about what you are realistically aiming. This is where the mission, goals, constraints and principles are found and laid out in a way that can be traced and linked to all other parts of the framework. The Strategy is to be determined and managed by the leaders of the organisation, but in such a way that it can be easily communicated to the rest of the organisation. The Strategy section specifically does not include every item that you have ever seen in a Strategic Plan in your life – it holds the essentials only.
The Management section holds the managerial level concerns, essentially the how you will achieve your aims by starting to operationalise the defined strategy, without getting into too much detail. It identifies the relevant policies (that provide guidance on how the goals will be achieved) and business rules (that provide strict instructions on how the goals will be achieved) that will guide the implementation of the Strategy. You can think of the Management parts as setting up the parameters for operations, in the same way that the Strategy does for managers.
The Operations section is where the nuts and bolts of how the goals will be achieved is held and is based on the documentation of ongoing business activities. This may sound like it is down the priority list following the previous two frameworks, but this is where strategy is ultimately implemented. These activities do not need to be limited to core business activities, but also can include those activities required to maintain and improve the entire framework. For example, there may be a procedure for a review of elements of the Strategy or of monitoring activities.
The Reporting section provides a mechanism for checking whether the Operations are achieving the Strategy, and at the same time checking whether the defined goals are appropriate. The Reporting part is essentially comprised of the performance metrics (either key performance indicators or outcomes metrics) required to report on whether the procedures are fulfilling the strategy, as well as the related information requirements, such as what data is required to report against these metrics (including where this data is sourced, how frequently and the breakdown of any required algorithms).
The Consolidated Body of Knowledge holds the master lists or catalogues of the organisation, essentially the key concepts used in all the other frameworks and extracted from the other documentation for easy reference and analysis. Depending on the needs of the organisation, these master lists may include:
- Activities and their associated forms and templates,
- Roles, responsibilities and stakeholders,
- Data requirements, systems and tools,
- Resources and operating infrastructure, and
- A Corporate Dictionary (Glossary)
This framework is licensed through Creative Commons, so go on – give it a try! It has already been applied to a whole range of subjects, such as governance planning, natural resource management and engagement management. It would be great to hear where it helps you.
The Superior Business Analysis Framework by Sophie Hansen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.