The Creative Business Analyst - Part 2, Generating Solution Ideas

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A lot of people think that coming up with solutions to business problems is the hardest part about being a business analyst – particularly when working with a client who knows more about the business than you ever will. Don’t believe it, after all you’ve already made considerable progress in understanding the problem – and your understanding is based on level-headed analysis rather than a potentially emotional interpretation by your client.

Now it’s time to look for solutions – to be creative and think outside the square. In this paper we’ll offer a few tips and techniques for getting the creative juices flowing. We’ll show you that anyone can be creative and that solutions can come from the most unexpected places – you don’t have to be a subject matter expert to come up with valid, workable solutions to business problems.

Author: Jan Kusiak

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zarfman posted on Wednesday, June 10, 2009 7:55 PM
Hi:

As I understand it, thinking outside the square is a cousin of thinking outside the box.

As I recall thinking outside the box sprang from the old nine dot problem from the 1960's or 1970's. Just an old consultants trick.

Writers usually say think outside of the box without defining what's
inside or outside the box.

If we must have something like that, use Venn-Euler diagrams. Then
one can use basic set operations that have some rational basis. Such
as the knowledge set required to solve the problem vis-a-vis the
knowledge sets of the problem solvers.

Regards,
Zarfman
zarfman posted on Wednesday, June 10, 2009 8:39 PM

Hi - it's zarfman again.

Part of my work experience is in the area of Finance and Accounting. V.P finance, Controller, etc.

I find it hard to accept than someone who has never taken a course in accounting or finance and has no understanding of GAAP is going to help me solve and accounting or finance problem.

Regarding creativity, there has to be some sort of relevant range or relevancy. That to say that the typical accounts receivable clerk is going to have a difficult time helping me understand the Black-Scholes formula.

In fact I would assert that to arrive at helpful solutions in Finance and Accounting you must be a subject matter expert.

Or to look at it another way, if I'm designing a flight control system and it proves to be unstable, if someone is going to help they better have a clear understanding of control system stability criteria.

Regards,

Zarfman
zarfman posted on Wednesday, June 10, 2009 9:14 PM

You say - Now it’s time to look for solutions – to be creative and think outside the square. In this paper we’ll offer a few tips and techniques for getting the creative juices flowing. We’ll show you that anyone can be creative and that solutions can come from the most unexpected places – you don’t have to be a subject matter expert to come up with valid, workable solutions to business problems.

Here is a really hard business problem for a company dealing with neural networks.

Although the Hopfield neural networks is known to provide an efficient algorithm for hard problems, it cannot always give the correct solution due to local minima. For the graph isomorphism problem (which has not yet been proved to be polynomially solvable or NP-complete), We introduce a Hopfield network that shows a similar behavior, and give some additional initial conditions, which are collectively called condition C. However, the Hopfield network with condition C is still not powerful enough. Can we introduce another type of neural network and show that it can solve the problem correctly for largel graphs

Go got it.

Zarfman
Anonymous posted on Monday, February 22, 2010 1:12 PM
@ Mr. Zarfman, It is imperatively stated with a fantastic example by you that times are demanded where the BA neems in-depth knowledge to the business process to provide effective solution.

I would still ask, creative soluctions from a BA is not as good as a SME (Programmer, developer, architect or rather per your case a network engineer). They are really not intended to solve the math shown above.

The Out of box thing mentioned by Jan K again is like trying to "elicit " situations such as,

1. Why this algorathim the best or considerd efficient? why not something else? If we have options compare and contract to provide better advice back to business.
2. If so what are the optimal( not excat but optimal) Local (maxima, minima) for the neral design.
3. Condition 'C' am sure for in your case, what may be the best case scenarios on input conditions to be considered? rather considering all of them which makes design to become complex for a high level discussion Can we consider lesser scenarios or have the problem break down?
4. Also for Isomorphic graphs where NP - incomplete, I am ceratin there should be an Engineer ( I am a EE Engineer myself but laughin abt it) with a good statistical back ground to to determine the exact weights of the test input to reduce search space.

This much level of technicality still will come out from a BA who is domain specific (into network world) and not a genric BA. Hope you agree to the difference.
zarfman posted on Monday, February 22, 2010 4:55 PM

Greetings - Anonymous

You wrote - This much level of technicality still will come out from a BA who is domain specific (into network world) and not a genric BA. Hope you agree to the difference.

Zarfman writes – If I understand you correctly, you are saying that the BA should be well trained with regard to a specific domain.

In my domain, financé and accounting, if the BA has little if any understanding of my domain (not well trained - generic) the BA would be of little use to me. Someone would have to spend a lot of time educating the generic BA.

If I've misinterpreted your post let me know where I've gone astray.

Regards,

zarfman
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