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Saturday, July 22, 2017

Stupid questions

 I know that  we are told that there are no stupid questions. And that’s good advice to follow. The idea is that we ask all our questions and not worry about whether we will appear silly or stupid in asking them. And as a business analyst, of course, our bread-and-butter is asking questions and if we analyze and concern ourselves with the quality of the question or more importantly how we are going to appear and what people are going to think about us when we ask the question, we will find that we will be stifling ourselves and limiting the number of questions we ask.

 However there are two forms of questions that might be considered to be stupid; in other words, they should not be asked.

 A question for which you know the answer or the answer is clearly obvious is a stupid question. In other words you wasted time asking it when you could have asked a more information providing question. Now this does not apply to clarification questions where you’re asking to confirm your understanding of information that you already know. But asking if the sun is shining while everyone is wearing sunglasses seems to be somewhat of a stupid question.  Or this real question asked of a medical examiner by a lawyer: “Doctor, how many autopsies have you performed on dead people?””

 The other type of stupid question is one in which the responder cannot answer. There is no way to be able to answer without for example incriminating themselves, or putting themselves in a bad light or simply the responder clearly does not have the answer to the question. For example,  “how long has it been since you stopped beating your wife?” The question itself usually generates laughter because they see the quandary the responder is in trying to answer the question. 

It is a stupid question which has no answer.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

More on your future in business analysis

I was asked how long a business analyst should be a business analyst before he moves on to a “real” profession like project manager.   Here is my response:
I will mark my 50th anniversary in the IT business in September.  I am still a business analyst and as it turns out have probably been a BA for the whole time. I don't intend to "change " jobs.  Why?  Because business analysis is a role, not a position.  The CEO and CIO of major companies still perform business analysis activities; they still play the business analysis role.  There is always a demand for someone to determine the real problem, analyze the situation, and define alternate solutions to the problem.  there will always be a need for someone to analyze other businesses for acquisition or merger or analyze the competition and marketplace to help management decide on strategic direction for the organization.  You may choose to leave the position of business analyst, but likely once you are working in business analysis you will always work in business analysis.