20 March 2012

Four schools of Business Analysis: Mastery versus breadth

By my estimate there are four main schools of analysis;

  • Data Modelling
  • Business Rules Management
  • Business Process Modelling, and
  • Interaction Modelling (i.e. Use Cases)
We as a community of analysts tend to get early exposure to one and then work to master it.  And that works to a point because some disciplined analytical thinking goes a long way no matter how it is applied.

We then augment these basics with more advanced skills and techniques and complement them with social and interpersonal skills and gradually become highly competent analyst/consultants (and sometimes even an Analyst-Therapist.)


Imagine if instead of investing all that energy into mastery of one modelling school we were to instead become generally competent at two, three or even all four?  By applying multiple thinking models to the problem at hand we will get a better and more broad understanding that we will from improving our artistry in techniques such as BPMN or Use Case Narratives.


  1. I like the sound of this. I think it's important to have a varied toolkit and approach.

    Reminds me a bit of the notion of 'T shaped' people who have broad understandings and one area of deep expertise.

  2. Hi Craig,
    Great post. I really like your list of BA competencies. And your call for BA's to expand into new competencies. I come from a data modelling background. And have found recently that improving my ability to analyze business processes and interactions would help me contribute more to my organization.

    Also, I find that layering new competencies/frameworks on top of what I already know has a powerful impact on my performance. Not only in my ability to solve new types of problems, but also to perform better in my existing responsibilities.

    Nice post.

  3. Thanks for a wonderful post! It has been a great change of pace for me as i am always on the lookout for a whole new perspective on different subjects. Keep up with your hard work and dedication.