Course 119:
Defining the Problem Domain

(4 days)


Course Description

In these fast-moving times of highly competitive challenges, the business analyst must be prepared to analyze the business itself—not just the software and hardware—to uncover inefficiency, redundancy, and other opportunities to improve the process of delivering a quality product. This course examines the methods the business analyst can use to determine the problems facing the business and derive solutions that will enhance the organization’s ability to respond quickly and efficiently to business challenges. The course is a workshop course designed around two case studies to illustrate advanced concepts in business analysis.

Learning Objectives

  • Identify and document the organization’s workflows and processes
  • Determine the best solution to the business problem
  • Present the solution to the business for confirmation, the approval authority for approval, and the implementers for acceptance
  • Elicit and communicate information using effective communication methods such as effective listening, body talk, and presentation techniques
  • Diagram the problem and solution
  • Apply influence skills to guide the successful implementation of the solution

Who Should Attend

Business analysts who have completed courses in basic business analysis.


The course focuses on business process modeling and re-engineering, which inevitably call upon many of the BA skills acquired in the requirements development and specification writing courses. It complements and reinforces the earlier lessons in interviewing and analytical techniques, and expands upon the basic information provided in earlier courses, such as presentation to management, meeting facilitation, and active listening.

Course Outline

Unit 1: The Business Process

  • The Business Process in Context
    • Not the Starting Point
    • The Business Model
      • Diagramming the Business Model
      • Business Modeling Notations
    • Defining the Problem Domain
  • The Business Process in Context
    • What Is a Business Process?
    • Business Process Characteristics
    • Example of Business Process
  • Documenting the Business Process
    • Functional Decomposition
      • Workshop: Creating a Functional Decomposition
    • Basic Process Structure
  • Levels of Business Process Analysis
    • Business Process Re-Engineering
    • Business Process Improvement
    • Business Process Modeling
    • Business Process Analysis
    • The Process of Maintaining Integrity

Unit 2: Gathering Information to Define the Problem Domain

  • Information Gathering
    • Information Gathering Process
    • Information Gathering Plan
    • What Information to Obtain
    • Identifying Scenarios
      • Positive Scenarios
    • Impact of Corporate Culture
      • Workshop: Creating the Information Gathering Plan
    • Follow the Paper
      • Observation Techniques
      • Documenting the Process
        • Workshop: Diagramming the Paper Flow
        • Document Analysis

Unit 3: Defining the Business Process

  • Business Process Improvement
    • BPI Principles
    • Approach to BPI
  • The Business Process Diagram
    • Business Process Characteristics
    • Example of Business Process
      • Business Process Documentation Notation
      • Workshop: Diagram the Business Process
    • The Notion of Value
    • Achieving Business Value with Process
    • Elements of the Business Process
  • Defining the Problem Domain
    • Neighboring Constituencies
    • Intersecting Constituencies
  • Documenting the Business Process
    • Elements of a Business Process
    • Model of a Business Process

Unit 4: Documenting Business Processes

  • Business Process Modeling
    • Purpose of Business Modeling
    • Challenges to Business Modeling
    • Forms of Business Modeling
  • Event Horizon
    • Process Events
    • Business Events
    • Boundary Events
    • Identifying Scope
    • Organizational Events
    • Events at the System Boundary
    • Event Partitioning
  • Workflow Diagrams
    • Workflow Diagrams
    • Workflow Diagram Components
    • Workflow Diagrams Decomposed
    • Workflow Concepts
      • The Full Arc
      • The String of Pearls
    • Activity Flow Diagrams
    • Paper Flow
    • Obstacles and Bottlenecks
    • Templates, Forms, and Artifacts
  • Follow the Paper
    • Functional Decomposition
    • Business Object Model
  • Business Use Cases
    • Business Use Case
    • Business Use Case Description

Unit 5: Analyzing Business Processes

  • Analysis
    • What Is Analysis?
    • Time and Quality Strategies
  • Analytical Techniques
    • Value Analysis
    • Process Analysis
    • String of Pearls Revisited
    • Activity Based Costing
    • RAEW Matrix
    • Activity Matrix
    • Ishikawa Diagram
  • Looking for Weaknesses
    • Activity Effectiveness Matrix
    • Context Switching
    • Cycle Time Analysis
    • Measuring Flow
  • Impact Analysis
    • Organizational Impacts
      • Drivers
      • Customers and Suppliers
    • Business Impact
    • Problem Domain Impact
    • Solution Domain Impact
  • Deriving Business Requirements
    • Solution Process in Context
    • Translating the Business Model to the Systems Model
    • Flowing the Requirements

Unit 6: Communicating the Solution

  • The Business Case
  • What Is a Business Case?
    • Decision Paper
    • Proposal for Work to Be Done
  • General Business Case Content
    • Rational
    • Problem Statement
    • Vision of Solution
    • Product Scope
    • Assumptions
    • Impact Analysis
    • Alternative Solutions
    • Risk Evaluation
    • Financial Considerations
  • Steps to Preparing a Business Case
    • Define Problem
    • Determine Alignment
    • Establish Vision, Goals, and Objectives
    • Specify Supporting Information
    • Assess Organizational Impacts
    • Identify and Document Various Solution Scenarios
    • As Needed, Assess Financial and Intangible Costs and Benefits
  • Confirmations and Approval
    • Gaining Acceptance
    • Gaining Approval

Unit 7: The Bottom Line

  • Cross-Checking
    • Validating the Process
    • Validation Matrices
  • Implementing Business Processes
    • Measuring Issues
    • Feedback
  • Where to Go for More Information
  • References
  • Course Summary 

Please Contact Your ROI Representative to Discuss Course Tailoring!