The Community Blog for Business Analysts

Seilevel
Seilevel

Lessons for a Good Hair Cut

Last year, I wrote about my Lessons from a Bad Haircut. I’m please to say I finally have a lesson from a good haircut.

How did I finally get a good haircut?

It was what the stylist did after I explained what I wanted. She drew a quick sketch. It took about 15 seconds. And, with that sketch, I was able to say “No, that’s not what I want.” 60 seconds more of discussing what I wanted while pointing at the sketch, and she’d refined the sketch until both of us were confident that we were talking about the same thing. The sketch was very crude and would never be confused with a work of art. But, that wasn’t the purpose. The purpose was to convey an idea. And it did. And, I got a good haircut.

So, what does this have to do with requirements?

Most people relate to pictures much more easily than to words. “Pictures” are all of the diagrams included in the RML®, such as process flows, wire frames, BDDs, etc.

One of the major things to remember about creating these diagrams is that they don’t have to be perfect to be useful. They simply have to be sufficient to convey the idea. And, once a model of the idea is out there, the discussion becomes very productive. If you can project the diagram or sketch it on a white board, people will point at it and discuss—what’s right? How do we make fix what isn’t? At the end the discussion, with an updated diagram, you’re ready to move forward with all parties confident they are headed down the same path.

When working with a client who wants me to skip the model and go straight to the words, I’ve found they react well to the statement “If we’re not in agreement about the model, we won’t get the words right.” They get it: it’s a matter of being more efficient and synching up our understanding as rapidly as possible, rather than wasting time on misunderstanding.

If I revert to my hair style of ten years ago–all one length and all I need is a trim–I can skip the sketch or picture. Otherwise, a picture or sketch will be a prerequisite to any haircut I get. I similarly recommend that requirements models be a prerequisite to any requirements you write.
 

Want to read other blogs? Check us out here.

This entry was published on Aug 22, 2010 / Seilevel. Posted in Business Analysis, Analytical and Problem Solving Skills. Bookmark the Permalink or E-mail it to a friend.
Like this article:
  5 members liked this article

Related Articles

COMMENTS

Mendix.com posted on Wednesday, September 1, 2010 1:42 PM
Visual requirements are more readily understood by everyone involved in a project. It makes sense that with words, you start with the details and then get to the big picture - but with visuals, you start with the big picture and then drill down into the details. You may not HAVE to have perfect diagrams, but with Mendix, your visual models are interpreted and deployed as working applications. It's a pretty neat software platform, has anyone over at Seilevel ever tried it?

http://www.mendix.com/page/products/whitepapers/
Only registered users may post comments.


Blog Information

» What is the Community Blog and what are the Benefits of Contributing?

» Review our Blog Posting Guidelines.

» I am looking for the original Modern Analyst blog posts.



Modern Analyst Blog Latests

Jarett Hailes
Jarett Hailes
As we start a new year many of us will take the time to reflect on our accomplishments from 2012 and plan our goals for 2013. We can set small or large goals. goals that will be accomplished quickly or could take several years. For 2013, I think Business Analysts should look to go beyond our traditional boundaries and set audacious goals. Merriam-...
2 Responses
Howard Podeswa
Howard Podeswa
Recently, I was asked by the IIBA to present a talk at one of their chapter meetings. I am reprinting here my response to that invitation in the hope that it will begin a conversation with fellow EEPs and BAs about an area of great concern to the profession. Hi xx …. Regarding the IIBA talk, there is another issue that I am considering. It's p...
15 Responses
Adrian M.
Adrian M.
Continuing the ABC series for Business Analysts, Howard Podeswa created the next installment titled "BA ABCs: “C” is for Class Diagram" as an article rather than a blog post. You can find the article here: BA ABCs: “C” is for Class Diagram Here are the previous two posts: BA ABCs: “A” is for Activity Diagram BA ABCs: “B” is for BPMN
1 Responses
Copyright 2006-2019 by Modern Analyst Media LLC