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Pre-Project Problem Analysis Course

Increasingly, organisations are operating in fast-moving and often volatile business environments.  Project teams need to respond quickly to tricky and often ill-defined problem situations, enabling the organisation to adapt and meet the ongoing demands of its customers and environment.    In these contexts the pre-project stage is crucial: For our change initiatives to be successful, we need to truly understand the problem we are trying to solve.  By understanding the problem we can ensure that any future project activity is built upon a firm foundation, and is heading towards a set of goals that are concise, precise and have been agreed upon.

This practical, hands-on course, focusses on the problem-solving skills that practitioners need in order to collaboratively explore and describe problems, and to co-create potential options for improvement.  These skills are extremely valuable pre-project and early in the project lifecycle, and this course will be of interest to business analysts and other practitioners who help analyse, assess and solve tricky organisational problems.

Course Duration: 2 Days

Who Should Attend

This course is well suited to anyone needing to understand how to undertake problem analysis early in the project lifecycle.  It will be of particular interest to BA teams that are looking to ‘left shift’ and seek early engagement.  Typical delegates include: Business Analysts, Consultants, Requirements Engineers, Business Systems Analysts, Product Owners, Requirements Managers. It will also be of interest to Project Managers seeking an understanding of the types of analysis that can be undertaken pre-project.

Entry Requirements

There are no specific entry requirements, however the course will be of most value to practitioners with some existing experience of business analysis who are looking to broaden their knowledge of strategic and pre-project business analysis.

Delivery and Assessment

The course is hands-on and interactive, and there will be many opportunities to practice techniques.  Where necessary, feedback will be provided by the course facilitator.

Learning Outcomes

Candidates that successfully undertake this course will:

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  • Understand what pre-project problem analysis is, and its significance in the analysis and project lifecycle
  • Understand the importance of stakeholder identification, categorisation and management
  • Be able to use a range of problem analysis techniques to understand problem situations
  • Be able to define a problem using a ‘problem statement’ and understand how successful outcomes can be articulated with Critical Success Factors and Key Performance Indicators
  • Understand what a Business Use Case diagram is and understand its value in articulating scope during pre-project problem analysis
  • Use a 1 page ‘Project Concept Summary’ template to bring together a potential project idea onto a page

Video Overview

Course Content

1. Introduction
What is ‘Problem Analysis?’:  A brief introduction to the course, and a discussion of why it is important that we analyse the problem before assuming or implementing a solution
2. Stakeholders in Problem Analysis
Identifying Stakeholders: Tips for identifying likely stakeholders, along with suggestions of potential ‘generic’ stakeholder types that regularly warrant consideration
Stakeholder Analysis: Categorisation of stakeholders
Communication/Engagement Planning: Planning how to liaise with stakeholders in the early stages of problem investigation
Power & Politics:  Discussion of how power & politics can affect problem solving, and how it affects us as practitioners
3. Understanding the Problem Situation
Elicitation Techniques: Very brief overview of relevant eliciting techniques relevant for pre-project problem analysis
Categorising Problematic Situations:  The difference between a ‘difficulty’ and a ‘mess’
Problem Analysis Techniques:  Practical overview of:
– 5 Whys
– Fishbone Diagram
– Multiple Cause Diagram
– Causal Loops
External Environment Analysis: Practical overview of the STEEPLE technique for analysing the broader business or organisational context
Perspectives: The importance of understanding that different stakeholders may perceive the problem situation differently
Defining the Problem:  Overview of a typical ‘Problem Statement’, along with a discussion of pros/cons and when it is most useful
Defining Success:  Critical Success Factors (CSFs), Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), Balanced Business Scorecard
4. Defining Business Requirement Scope
Roles & Goals: Defining the ‘roles’ that are involved in the problem space and their (business) goals
Business Use Case Diagram: Introduction to Business Use Case diagrams as a way of scoping out the high level business requirements on a problem situation/potential project concept
Requirement Types:  Brief discussion of other requirement types that may emerge early in the project lifecycle
5. Identifying Areas for Change
Gap Analysis:  Comparing the output from the techniques in previous sections to identify areas where change is desirable
Existing Solution Evaluation: Discussion on approaches for benchmarking/measuring existing solutions to determine where improvement may be needed
6. Generating Improvement Ideas
Creative Thinking Techniques:  Techniques for generating a range of potential ideas for improvement: Brainstorming and Brainstorming Enhancers
Types of Improvement Approach:  Discussion of the breadth of improvement approaches that are generally available, which is often wider than initially anticipated.  e
7. Bringing It all Together
Project Concept Summary:  Overview of a one page ‘Project Concept Summary’ outlining the problem, likely requirement scope, and potential solutions
Validation: How to ensure the ‘Project Concept Summary’ is validated by key stakeholders
Next steps: What next after the ‘Project Concept Summary’

Course Endorsement

This course is endorsed by IIBA®.

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Next Steps

Want to run the course for your team?

For more information and to book this course for your organisation please contact us: