10 July 2007

Top Down, Bottom Up Analysis

Taking a top down and bottom up approach to business analysis is a useful method, especially when working with business processes.

I recommend it to analysts who are mapping a whole business or large departments. It helps check whether the purpose of a business process is actually being met by the myriad details below it; a reconciliation.

It also helps analyse whether activities are aligned with the strategic objective of the process. If not it's a trigger to investigate and challenge the activity a bit more rigorously.

The assumption is when you investigate the top level process with senior execs, they are most closely aligned with the business strategy, and that as you drill into the detail front line workers are much less likely to be aligned with strategy and more likely to be focused on their local turf, which may be based on things such as customer experience, timeliness or cost.

While front line activities may seem sensible and good, they may not be aligned with business strategy. Or short term satisfaction may be gained at the cost of the overall customer experience. (Jonathan Babcock presents a hypothetical example of this in his blog.)

Whether you are analysing the current state or designing the future , make sure you include the top down part of the analysis and don't just go work shopping and interviewing your way through front line workers activities. It may eem like extra effort today, but it will mean your work will be of a higher quality and of more business value.

Image Details: View of Manhattan from Empire State Building
Author: Luigi Scarantino
URL: http://www.infoturisti.com

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