Navigating the Amusement Park

by Abraham Magalong,
Business Analysts Pty Ltd Consultant

Working as a BAPL Business Analyst Consultant is both character building and rewarding. I liken it to episode thirteen of season four of The Simpsons, named Selma’s Choice. Our profession of business analysis can sometimes be difficult. However, BAPL makes it easier by helping Consultants navigate the Duff Gardens amusement park equivalent of information technology (IT) projects. To illustrate how, I will provide direct comparisons between Selma’s Choice and the day in the life of a BAPL Consultant.

The story or IT project often begins by a directive. The Simpsons, along with Patty and Selma, drive to Littleneck Falls to attend the funeral of Great Aunt Gladys, and the review of her will. On the video will, Great Aunt Gladys advises Patty and Selma not to die alone, as she did. Selma hears the ticking of her biological clock, and decides she wants a child. This opening scene is similar to how projects are often started. Either a senior executive direction or the fear of not actioning and not being compliant. How BAPL use and capture this direction is by developing a scoping document. This living document allows both consultants and clients a mechanism to understand the business problem, impacts and the benefits of undertaking the project.

The next few scenes in this episode follows Selma on her journey in dating life. First she tries, video dating, but gets rejected by Groundskeeper Willie. She then goes to a psychic who tries to sell her a love potion. The psychic ingests it, blurts out the innocuous ingredients and discovers that she accidentally drank a truth serum. Selma dates Hans Moleman after revoking his license at the DMV. All goes well until Hans tries to kiss her goodnight; Selma envisions herself as the mother of several mini-Hans, and kicks him out of the car to prevent that future from happening. I liken this scene to the process business analysts go through when evaluating whether a solution meets business requirements. To avoid the turmoils of procuring the Hans Moleman equivalent of an IT solution, BAPL has quality control mechanisms across the practice to help consultants. Some of these control measures are:

Traceability

BAPL ensures a level of due diligence is performed to ensure that all requirements have been documented. One of the means of doing this is ensuring that a level of current state analysis and requirement traceability, particularly process analysis, has been undertaken by the consultant.

Peer review

Before deliverables are submitted to clients or vendors, they are peer reviewed within the practice by a Senior BAPL Manager. This quality assurance step ensures that deliverables are fit for purpose and that all options have been appropriately considered.

Leveraging the practice knowledge

Consultants at BAPL have over 500 years’ cumulative experience in business analysis. This allows consultants to reach out to the practice and validate whether an analysis approach is appropriate or if they have had previous experience with the same problem. Our centre of excellence underpins this.

The concluding scenes are of Selma looking after Bart and Lisa at the Duff Gardens after Homer falls ill from food poisoning. After Bart and Lisa repeatedly annoy each other with pranks at the Little Land of Duff ride, Selma intervenes (mindlessly reacts), shouting at Bart to quit making noises and ordering Lisa to drink the water from the ride. When Lisa takes a sip, she hallucinates and wanders away from the ride, becoming mesmerised by the amusement parks lights and is later found swimming in the fermentarian. Lisa eventually is returned to Selma by park staff as she proclaims, “I am the Lizard Queen!” Bart typically creates mischief himself as he gets on a roller coaster called The Barrel Roll and ends up having to be rescued after the car stops in the centre of one of the inversions

Matt Groening

These unfortunate, albeit humorous series of events is similar to how frantic, chaotic and exhausting IT project delivery can be at times. Business Analysts fulfil their roles as well as others within the project team. This is because we share similar knowledge areas with many other disciplines like solution architecture, data analysis and project management. The concluding scenes justify how without a structured analysis approach, supportive culture and defined responsibilities, projects can quickly become over spent and delayed. To help consultants with situations like this, BAPL provides the following services:

Service Delivery Manager 1-2-1’s

Every person needs someone to depend on. Consultants at BAPL have a Service Delivery Manager who regularly ensures the consultant has all they need to confidently achieve their scope of work but also the client is happy with efforts and understands expectations.

Practice Manager guidance

Driving our practices collective knowledge and upskilling our consultants is the Practice Manager. Consultants can contact the Practice Manager for any advice, template guidance and support. Peer reviews from the Practice Manager also ensures a level of quality assurance for project deliverables.

Leveraging the practice knowledge

This point is worth repeating as it is a strength within our practice. No single consultant has all the answers. Every one of our consultants brings a variety of skills, years’ worth of knowledge and experience, and a plethora of lessons learnt. All of which can be leveraged by any consultant. A consultant can reach out to our practice to ask for advice on an analysis approach, template and sanity checking.

The episode concludes with Bart and Lisa returning home with Selma deciding she can live without children for now and adopts Jub-Jub, Gladys’ pet iguana. The role of a consultant is to provide value adding advice. This may be acknowledging that doing nothing, or something different, may be the best approach for a client. To ensure consultants are confident to provide advice like this, BAPL provides support, whether it be training, peer reviewing and guidance.

Working at BAPL is character building and rewarding. You will never feel like the ‘Lizard Queen’ when you have the backing of the whole practice behind you.