In this video, learn about what systems thinking is and how critical it is to the BA role.
Systems thinking is about looking at things from a systematic and holistic point of view and it doesn't have to be related to technology to be systematic. It's about seeing the parts of the whole and the whole in its parts. BAs that are effective at systems thinking see connections that are not easily known or seen by others. Systems thinking allows BAs to see how one thing impacts another, catching impacts and missed requirements that are so crucial to success.
Systems thinking allows us to break down big concepts into smaller pieces as well as abstract up the details to see the bigger picture. It helps us find what matters and what's connected within a lot of details. So where does Brady the BA use systems thinking? Well let's look at a few examples. First, when Brady gets a request for what seems to be a small change, systems thinking helps see the impacts on other things.
Yes that's right, so many times a stakeholder requests something small, but in reality it has a much greater impact. Systems thinking skills help us analyze for and catch these impacts. Next, Brady gets a request for what seems like a big change that is too abstract. And in reality there's a lot of detailed impacts. Great systems thinkers can see how something big impacts the details and can drive out where these details are and what the impact is.
And last, Brady evaluates how a potential change will impact other parts of a product, system, or process. If you've been a BA for any amount of time, you've definitely seen these examples happen. BAs use various tools and techniques to help with systems thinking. There are many techniques that help us connect to the people, process, and technology to catch these impacts, big and small. Thinks like using process analysis and data flow diagrams are just a few examples of our toolkit as BAs to help with systems thinking.
It all comes down to decomposing bigger things into smaller things, like story slicing, and functional decomposition techniques. Sometimes this is called chunking. It's about being able to abstract up a bunch of details into something bigger that's meaningful. Decomposing and abstracting allow us to see, model, and connect things that were not obvious before, creating better requirements and better outcomes.
This is what systems thinking is all about. I can't imagine a great BA without it.
- Establishing rapport and empathy
- Managing conflict
- Facilitating the decision-making process
- Facilitating powerful dialogue and conversation
- Verbal, listening, visual, and written skills
- Business acumen skills
- Systems thinking and creative thinking
- Leveraging productivity tools
- Considering past, current, and future technology trends