January 2017

“Value” Can Be Tricky… UCOB Can Help!

Doctor on phone asking for cheaper alternative as patient can live with pain. Patient looking unhappy.

“Value” from whose perspective?

Value is an important concept in business analysis, and an important part of conducting business analysis is gaining a common understanding of the types of value that our stakeholders are trying to attain with a particular project or initiative.    Indeed, ‘Value’ is a one of the focal points in the Business Analysis Core Competency Model (BACCM™) in the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge Guide (BABOK®), which defines value from the perspective of business analysis as:


“The worth, importance or usefulness of something to a stakeholder or in a context”


This is clearly only one possible definition of value, but it is worth pausing and reflecting on.  It implies an important distinction that we, as practitioners, instinctively know but rarely talk about.  What is considered ‘valuable’ varies depending on who you ask and the context in which we are operating in.  In fact, what is considered ‘valuable’ may vary over time, and this has an impact on what we do as analysts and how we do it.


Defining Value: Trickier Than it Might Appear

It is easy to over-simplify the definition of value.  We might (quite understandably) think that it is for the sponsor to decide what is valuable.  Whilst there is a strong element of truth in this statement, and certainly the sponsor should define the strategically aligned outcomes they are seeking, success often involves balancing the needs of multiple stakeholders and groups—so of whom have no direct power on the project that we are working on.  It is important that we bring this view to the fore so that conscious decisions can be made.


Let’s imagine we are implementing a change project which will improve the processes in the contact centre of an insurance company’s claims department.  The sponsor may value “efficiency” and may have a specific amount of saving that she or he is looking to attain.  Of course, this could be better elaborated with a problem statement and a set of critical success factors and key performance indicators.


Yet, even if we have a clear metric we are aiming for, there will be many other stakeholders in this picture.  We ignore their perceptions of value at our peril! For example:


BA Trends: Predictions for 2020

Crystal Ball

Image Credit: © Ezume Images – Fotolia.com #91099334

I have never been good at predicting the future.  In fact, I suspect all of us find predicting future trends difficult—and predicting medium and longer term futures is even more difficult.  As Steve Davidson observed:


“Forecasting future events is often like searching for a black cat in an unlit room, that may not even be there.”


Yet, inaccuracy and uncertainty doesn’t stop predictions being useful for some applications.  If nothing else, predicting (one) possible future creates the opportunity for a conversation, for agreement, disagreement and refinement.   My intention with this article is to do just that—to set out one possible future and to create debate.  So once you have read this, I’d love it if you added a comment below! What do you agree with? What do you disagree with? Be sure to let me know.


So here goes. My top 6 predictions for Business Analysis in 2020: