In this episode, I share excerpts from a presentation I recently gave about changes in the world of business analysis and how we can leverage our skills and competencies in a new way.

This episode is part 2 of a live recording of a presentation I gave at an IIBA chapter meeting in November.  I edited out portions of the recording for time including sections that involved audience interaction and exercises.  This is part 2 of the presentation and part 1 was shared in episode 174..

The world of work is changing faster than ever.  To be successful, we need to change too.


Shifting to a Product Mindset

Having a customer centric focus with a product mindset is critical in shifting to a Product Manager or Product Owner role.  It’s also helpful in simply being a great Business Analyst.

Start with the user and understand their challenges and desires.  By knowing your customers, their pain points, and what’s valuable to them, you can identify a target audience with a problem you can solve in a valuable way.

Once you understand your target customers and their needs, you can start thinking about solution options.  Create a vision for your product and a strategy to maximize both customer and business value.

Because we don’t always know the right solution until we get feedback or data, we need to establish goals and metrics around the potential solutions and features.

To support the strategy and vision, a goal oriented roadmap such as Roman Pichler’s GO Roadmap can help.  Instead of a roadmap that looks like a Gantt chart, identify goals and related features that the team can work to achieve.


Product Discovery

The process of identifying the right problems to solve is known as Product Discovery.  It starts with ideas, options, and problems to solve gained by understanding your customer.

With that information, we identify assumptions, risks, questions, and hypotheses that we want to test.  To get answers quickly and cheaply, we then devise experiments and examine the results.

The results help us to validate or invalidate our assumptions and adapt our approach.  Some items may be added to the Product Backlog as potential solutions we’d like to build.  Other items may be dropped if the experiment results invalidate our hypothesis.

Our experiments may also result in new ideas to be tested.


Tools to Understand Your Users

Many organizations use personas, but they often fail to get the full value out of this tool.

To get the most value from personas, start with a Customer Journey Map to identify the customer interaction points and the customer’s experience with those interactions.  Identifying the low points and challenges will help you to find specific scenarios around which you can develop personas.

Another powerful tool to understand customers is an Empathy Map.  Empathy Maps help you get inside the customer’s head and better understand their point of view and the challenges they face.


The Business Case

Once you identify potential problems to solve, you need to understand if the problem is worth solving.

To do this, you can use a Lean Canvas to better understand potential solutions and their cost and value.  The Lean Canvas not only brings clarity to problems and solutions, it also serves as a light weight business case.

It helps you understand both the problem space and the solution space.  This allows you to understand whether or not you have good problem-solution fit and good product-market fit.

Once you have a solution that you believe would be valuable, create a hypothesis and small, cheap experiments to validate or invalidate our assumptions.

Our goal is to find out very quickly how wrong we are.


Listen to the full episode to discover new tools, techniques, and skills that will allow you to provide value to your organization in new ways.  



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