CHAPTER 6Problem Framing

We accomplish what we understand. If we are to accomplish something together, we need to understand it together.

—Ron Jeffries


The best practice of problem framing is based upon understanding and prioritizing business needs and ensuring that potential solutions solve the problem that was originally posed without creating new ones. This broad-based systems perspective requires planning, feasibility determination, information gathering, business case preparation, and risk assessment.

I intentionally refer to this best practice as problem framing rather than the broader term business analysis. While the profession of business analysis has been around for decades, its origin has roots in software development; and not unlike the software development lifecycle, business analysis in analytics requires specialty skills that range from business planning to the quantitative and qualitative methods used in advanced analytics (at least an awareness of options). In addition, this best practice area relies on the soft skills of interviewing (for requirements elicitation), fact-based problem solving (analysis/synthesis), storytelling, knowledge management, negotiation, influence, and case study methods.


The primary focus of analytics in general is to fully understand the needs of the organization and to identify actionable opportunities that allow the organization to meet its goals.

Organizations that excel at problem framing ...

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