process improvement

How Does It Look Backwards?

This idea came to me during a hike I had taken with my cousin just outside of Bend Oregon. We didn't do the full loop, instead we turned around about 40% into the hike and came back the way we came. The view was gorgeous starting out as we began to look at the rock formations on our right. Coming back, the sun was in a different position and it was like we were on a totally different hike. We were still marveling at the view to the right but it was the opposite right. The point is that when you go backwards from the way you came, you might come away with a totally different perspective. 

Took a picture of my cousin taking a picture of this wonderful view.

A business analyst will typically spend a lot of time investigating how something works, verifying that they have it correct and then proposing a new method that meets established goals. The new methods can be targeted towards:

- improving quality
- reducing costs
- reducing process duration
- integrating two or more processes
- moving from one technical system to another
- many more and even combinations thereof

When the business analyst is presenting the "as is" and "to be" flows, they always start at the front and then progress to the end. In the cases I described above, the focus is primarily on the process and not the objective. What if we put the objective as the primary focus in the presentation?

What if we walked our stakeholders through the process flow backwards? The analyst would begin at the end object [the final destination] and then review pieces of the process flow from the end towards the start. This would be confusing at first but it would likely facilitate a more focused amount of concentration by the stakeholders in the audience. This increased and different type of focus could introduce valuable insights into the overall process under examination.

© 2016 Dwayne Wright