A word on adjusting diagrams

You may have noticed the emphasis I place on visual modelling, which is fancy for “drawing pictures”.

People can relate to pictures better than text in many contexts. Can you imagine an architect trying to document his building design textually?

Flexibility and strength must always work together

Flexibility and strength must always work together

Unlike architectural drawings for a building, business analysis models are not literal. As such they can suffer from misinterpretation. You may draw something in a workshop that is meaningful to those who were present precisely because they were present when the background information was being discussed. However, someone else might not get it straight away from your drawing.

In fact, it might turn out that someone who was not present at the workshop spots an inconsistency or an omission because they are looking at your drawing with fresh eyes.

Assume, therefore, that your initial draft will not be correct. Be ready to change it. Be flexible enough even to adjust the shapes you use, perhaps adding new ones that better convey the underlying meaning.

Sometimes, however, your drawing will not need to be adjusted. You might find instead that the reader needs to be taught how to read the drawing correctly. Every type of drawing has its own rules, after all, with which the reader must be familiar.

Ultimately, it is up to you, as the analyst, to judge whether to educate the reader or adjust the drawing. If you adjust the drawing every time someone has an issue with it, you will find yourself constantly updating it and satisfying no one. However, if you refuse to change it at all, some of your audience will not understand it.

Getting this balance right between firmness and flexibility is one of the key skills of a business analyst.

Kind regards,

Declan Chellar

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