A Simulationist's Framework
for Business Analysis

Part 03:

Unified Theory of Business Analysis

R.P. Churchill

Lean Six Sigma Black Belt

www.rpchurchill.com/presentations/BAseries/03_Unified www.rpchurchill.com | Portfolio | Presentations
30 Years of Simulation

Continuous simulation of the heating of a square billet and Discrete-Event simulation of a multi-phase process.
30 Years of Simulation


  • Paper (Chemical/Process)
  • Nuclear (Power Generation)
  • Metals (Steel, Non-Ferrous)
  • HVAC (Building Control)
  • Insurance, Banking, Legal
  • Security, Inspections
  • Passenger Processing
  • Medical Facilities
  • Evacuations
  • Area Control
  • Threat Response
  • Logistics, Supply
  • Maintenance and Reliability
  • Staff Level Determination
  • Fleet Management



  • Design and Sizing
  • Operations Research
  • Real-Time Control
  • Operator Training
  • Risk Analysis
  • Economic Analysis
  • Impact Analysis
  • Process Improvement (BPR)

Architectural Considerations

  • Continuous vs. Discrete-Event
  • Interactive vs. Fire-and-Forget
  • Real-Time vs. Non-Real-Time
  • Single-Platform vs. Distributed
  • Deterministic vs. Stochastic
Why do so many business analysis activities look so different?
  • If you talk to different BAs they often seem to be doing very different things.
  • Job ads seem to vary quite a lot.
  • I've surveyed five groups of BAs now. They report a lot of things in common, but a lot of things that are different, too.
Structure of the BABOK
  • Chapter 1: Introduction (structure of the BABOK)

  • Chapter 2: Key Concepts (basic context of business analysis)

  • Chapters 3-8: Knowledge Areas (the basic flow of what gets done)

  • Chapter 9: Underlying Competencies (Analysis, Behavior, Domain Knowledge, Communication, Interaction, Tools/Tech)

  • Chapter 10: Techniques (50)

  • Chapter 11: Perspectives (Agile, BI, IT, Business Architecture, Process Management)

  • Appendices

Part One: The Solution vs. The Engagement (aka Product vs. Process)

The Engagement is the process used to manage the application of other specific techniques to develop the Solution...

...just as the Scientific Method is the process used to manage the application of other specific techniques to develop enhanced understanding of our universe.

Several divisions of BA topics can be examined with this dichotomy in mind.

Link to detailed discussion.

Part One: Scope and Scale Variations

All the steps are followed: implicitly in small efforts and explicitly in larger and more complex efforts.

  • A large, complex effort may last a long time and involve many people.
  • A small effort may address a small, well-defined issue, in which case many steps would be formally skipped over.

An individual might not see every step. Often they may see just one.

Link to detailed discussion.

Part Two: The 50 Techniques
1Acceptance and Evaluation CriteriaSolution
2Backlog ManagementEngagement
3Balanced ScorecardEngagement
4Benchmarking and Market AnalysisEngagement
6Business Capability AnalysisEngagement
7Business CasesBoth
8Business Model CanvasBoth
9Business Rules AnalysisSolution
10Collaborative GamesEngagement
11Concept ModellingSolution
12Data DictionarySolution
13Data Flow DiagramsSolution
14Data MiningSolution
15Data ModellingSolution
16Decision AnalysisSolution
17Decision ModellingSolution
18Document AnalysisSolution
20Financial AnalysisBoth
21Focus GroupsSolution
22Functional DecompositionSolution
24Interface AnalysisSolution
26Item TrackingEngagement
27Lessons LearnedEngagement
28Metrics and KPIsSolution
29Mind MappingSolution
30Non-Functional Requirements AnalysisSolution
32Organizational ModellingSolution
34Process AnalysisSolution
35Process ModellingSolution
38Risk Analysis and ManagementBoth
39Roles and Permissions MatrixSolution
40Root Cause AnalysisSolution
41Scope ModellingBoth
42Sequence DiagramsSolution
43Stakeholder List, Map, or PersonasEngagement
44State ModellingSolution
45Survey or QuestionnaireBoth
46SWOT AnalysisBoth
47Use Cases and ScenariosSolution
48User StoriesSolution
49Vendor AssessmentBoth
Solution: 30     Engagement: 11     Both: 9

Link to detailed discussion.

Part Three: Software Tools
5Azure DevOpsSolution
4Team Foundation ServerEngagement
3Google DocsEngagement
2MS DynamicsEngagement
2Visual StudioSolution
2SQL ServerSolution

Software greatly aids sharing and communications, so BAs will concentrate on this. However, a huge amount of solutioning will be aided by specific, technical software or will be software, with which BAs will tend to be less involved.

Link to detailed discussion. Link to survey results.

Part Four, Context of the Engagement: The Framework:
  • Project Planning
  • Intended Use
  • Assumptions, Capabilities, Limitations, and Risks and Impacts
  • Conceptual Model (As-Is State)
  • Data Sources, Collection, and Conditioning
  • Requirements (To-Be State: Abstract)
    • Functional (What it Does)
    • Non-Functional (What it Is, plus Maintenance and Governance)
  • Design (To-Be State: Detailed)
  • Implementation
  • Test
    • Operation, Usability, and Outputs (Verification)
    • Outputs and Fitness for Purpose (Validation)
  • Acceptance (Accreditation)
  • Project Close
Part Four, Context: The Framework - Simplified
  •   Intended Use
  •   Conceptual Model (As-Is State)
  •   Data Sources, Collection, and Conditioning
  •   Requirements (To-Be State: Abstract)
    • Functional (What it Does)
    • Non-Functional (What it Is, plus Maintenance and Governance)
  •   Design (To-Be State: Detailed)
  •   Implementation
  •   Test
    • Operation, Usability, and Outputs (Verification)
    • Outputs and Fitness for Purpose (Validation)
Part Four, Context: Basic Engagement Structures

Link to detailed discussion.

Part Four, Context: Engagement Structure Variations

Link to detailed discussion.

Part Five: Different Teaming Concepts
  • Temperament (from Communicating with Leaders): Coach (Heart), Facilitator, Executor (Hands), Driver, Visionary (Head), Champion

    Participants see to aspects of the engagement.

  • SDLC Cross-Functional Areas (discussion here): Business Value, User Experience, Process Performance, Development Process, System Value, System Integrity, Implementation, Application Architecture, Technical Architecture

    Participants see to non-functional requirements aspects of the solution.

  • Specific Roles: Sponsor (Product Owner), Team Lead (Architect), ScrumMaster, Developer, DBA, UI/UX Designer, Graphic Artist, Tester, Business Analyst, Specialists in Security/Deployment/Documentation

    Participants see to functional requirements aspects of the solution.

  • Anything Else You Can Make Up! What have you seen?
Part Five: Most Management Techniques Are About Communication

Whatever teaming concept you use, you always want to ensure each individual is supported and listened to so they can bring their best efforts.

Communication is especially important because no method gives you a deterministic, cookie-cutter series of steps to follow that will be guaranteed to produce good results. Pretty much every Wikipedia description of industry meta-methodologies includes a nontrivial section of criticisms.

Negotiation, review, teamwork, feedback, expert judgment, empathy, sensitivity, and continuous adaptation and adjustment are always necessary.

Part Six: Different Industries, Applications, and Architectures.

People often think that business analysis varies significantly across different industries.

  • When it comes to managing engagements they are mistaken, since those skills translate completely -- if they are clearly understood.
  • That said, the effects of scale, project/program/product, and internal/external bring very different considerations into play. However, those often apply more to PMs than BAs.
  • When it comes to applying specific technologies, those are usually independent of the industry as well. Some require specific training; others are relatively easy to learn.
  • They may have a point when it comes to applying specific domain knowledge, but this can be mitigated by doing things BAs should be doing anyway.

Bear in mind that hiring managers and organizations are free to ask for anything they want, and their expectations and vision will always be colored by their own experiences.

This presentation and other information can be found at my website:


E-mail: bob@rpchurchill.com

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/robertpchurchill