The Golden Circle of BA Toolkit – Part 2 of 2

by Yaaqub Mohamed a.k.a Yamo5

In the first part of this post, I introduced ‘The Golden Circle of Advancing Your BA Toolkit’, as a principle to help us elevate the business analysis toolkit. If I were to summarize and crystallize this principle I would say:
“This is a principle of starting with WHAT you or your organization use as existing skills, tools, techniques and BA templates, analyzing HOW you do it through the various BA assessments and determining WHERE you want to take it with the rights steps and setting the required key performance indicators or critical success factors”
In this post, I want to extend this definition and focus on the importance of directionality of the traverse
What does it mean to ask the right question in the right order at the right time?

The Direction of Real Progress [Proactive]

When I introduced the golden circle for BA toolkit, I had emphasized the importance of starting with “WHAT“.  There will be unforeseen consequences when there is no accurate and actionable snapshot of the “AS-IS” state.
When you start with “WHAT” you are taking a proactive approach. You’ve taken a step back to gain a perspective that helps you see the current state of your skills, capabilities, tools, techniques and templates. Once you get a grip, you move on to the “HOW” to compare, contrast and understand where you can (and want to) take your AS-IS state of the toolkit; extending your detailed assessment. And when you know the “HOW” in a sufficient level of detail, you move to the “WHERE” to act on the gaps.
This is the direction of real progress! This is you (or your organization) being proactive. 
If we extend the example of use cases that we used in part 1 of this post, once you know that you predominately use use cases as a technique to document your requirements, and gain an understanding of the gaps that exist in “HOW” you do it, you decide to fill the gaps through a training course, mentoring or self-study – to specifically focus on the gaps.
This is the inside out direction of real progress and advancement.

The Direction of Quick Fixes and Broken Promises [Reactive] 

Now, what do you think happens if we flip the direction? 
What happens if you start with “WHERE” and work towards “WHAT”?
Let’s see… 
You or your organization is presented with a random BA course through a big and reputable training organization. The course is developed by an “expert BA” who was practicing 25 years ago but has many impressive diagrams and huge thick training material. The intent of the training is obviously to improve the capability and skills of the business analysts (and elevate the practice) in the organization. The direction of “WHERE” you’ll be able to take your toolkit is defined by the objectives of the training course. 
You enjoy the luncheon, the ambience and the company. Company-sponsored training always has some magical ways of generating a rush of endorphins. 
And… you got the much need break from work and ….. so did your BA toolkit!
You now come back from your training course with a supposedly stronger “HOW” you can improve your analysis to improve “WHAT” you do. 
If you appreciate the importance of requirements and objectives traceability, you’ll quickly realize that the traceability cord was cut too soon. Right after the WHERE! 
So, you get the idea.

The Key Takeaway for You (and Your Organization)

If you want to enhance your capability as an individual or organization, you should aspire to start with “WHAT”, by performing a thorough as-is analysis of what’s in your BA toolkit. Followed by understanding (with specifics) “HOW” you’re doing what you’re doing and the deciding “WHERE” to take your toolkit. 
Don’t let a mentor or a big BA training company let you decide how you need to improve. Be proactive about who you engage with; or even better, create custom in-house training. Nobody knows you or your organizations challenges better than you! 
One of the key principles in advancing yourself as a professional is finding out what your blindspots are and doing everything it takes to address them. If you ever need external help to unravel these blindspots, hire a professional services organization that has genuine interest in advancing business analysis, and puts the interest of the community (and your organization) first. 
I hope these insights and ideas will help you to advance your BA toolkit.
Now, go start with WHAT and best of luck doing that! 
Please use the comment space below to share your feedback, thoughts or any questions you may have.

Featured Product -> The Ultimate BABOK® Kit

Unprecedented CBAP-CCBA Study Guide, BABOK eMindmap, eTables, BOK Cartoons, Audio and Video. The Ultimate All-in-One Study Aid is here.

Go to top

Article by

Yaaqub Mohamed (Yamo), is the founder of The BA Coach community and host for the #1 ranked business analysis podcast in iTunes. He believes in adding relentless value to the BA community and advancing the practice.  He host this blog, and podcast to help business analysts throughout the world, do analysis better, by providing educational, relevant, and inspiring content. He's the author of 'The Five Pillars of a Great Business Analyst', best selling 'The Ultimate CBAP-CCBA Study Guide' and the creator of the revolutionary 'Ultimate BABOK Kit'. 

5 Pillars of a great BA

With this E-book, you will learn about the five pillars of being a great Business Analyst!. Sign-up below for our eNewsletter and receive your FREE copy once the book is launched! Sign up, or learn more!

5 Responses to “The Golden Circle of BA Toolkit – Part 2 of 2”

  1. […] observations as we look at navigating through the different questions differently. In part 2 of this post we will look at how different individuals and organizations navigate these circles (and thereby the […]

  2. Tony says:

    Thanks Yamo for such a thought provoking article.

    I wonder if your model would be improved by the addition of Simon Sinek’s “why” core circle. I think this would tie with your “Five pillars” i.e. that we need passion for our profession.


    • Yaaqub Mohamed a.k.a Yamo says:

      Thanks for the vote of confidence, Tony. Yes, you’re right, there is a possibility for adding a “why” as an outer circle to extend the concept of advancing BA toolkit. In fact I was hoping that someone would suggest me this. I’m glad you did!

      Thanks again!

  3. Great post!

    Yes, the ‘Why’ is necessary because it sets the context. From organization point of view, it could be the vision, business targets, new markets or competencies etc.

    For individuals, it could be the personal growth, capabilities etc.


  4. Tom says:

    At the risk of being a dissenting opinion, I’m not sure about including a “why” in the circle.

    For me the circle represents a process or a journey. I see “why” as the motivation for the action, but not a direct part of it. I’m thinking that the “why” circle would be something of an overlay (a transparent circle which aligns with the existing one and sits on top of it). Ideally, the circle itself could be transparent and resting on the underlying circle of “why.”

Leave a Reply

Previous post:

Next post: