If humanity had opted for “business-as-usual” from the beginning, I would probably be using a hammer and chisel to pound out this post.
Before we invented writing, I’d just be shouting it out to anyone who could hear and wasn’t a carnivore big enough to kill me.
I don’t know what Business Analysts might have done before we invented languages to communicate. But invent those things we did, because I needed both, language and writing, to tell this story my way.
And that’s where it all started. I’ll just bet that even back then, there were Business Analysts at work in the caves, thinking furiously about how to improve the hunter-gatherer productivity.
A Stone-Age Business Analyst Named Tom
Tom: “You know, this cave is starting to really smell. We should do something about that waste collecting against the back wall. Either that or it’s time to move out, Oh Mighty One.”
Clan Leader: “What are you talking about, Tom? I thought you were supposed to be working on improving our FTKR (Find-to-Kill Ratio) for hunting mastodons. Whatever happened to that project?”
Tom: “I have a fantastic product idea, but the technology isn’t there yet. I wrote the specs for a device that allows hunters to throw a spear farther and harder, but the flint sharpeners threw a fit and said there was no way they could meet my weight requirements for the tips.”
Tom: “The handle carvers also complained that the length and weight of the thingy I call an “Arrow” would never penetrate the mastodon’s hide. That put that product development on hold until we figure out how to mitigate those impediments. Meanwhile, what about our cave situation?”
Clan Leader: “Gads, you sure do talk a lot, man. Where do you get all these weird ideas?”
Tom: “Well, I do spend a lot of time reading the petroglyphs in other caves I visit. Did you know that our ancestors had a great run before the damn Neanderthals branched off and decided to start their own race?”
Tom: “Anyway, some of my ideas come from them, other ideas just hit me out of nowhere. I guess I’m just weird.”
Tom: “But back to the stench that permeates our cave now. How about we move out of the cave into the Savannah? Then we could just squat and drop it wherever so it wouldn’t accumulate in one place and cause such a stink. Besides, what’s the worst that could happen if we leave our caves and move out into the Savannah? We can always sleep in the trees.”
Clan Leader: “What a stupid idea….”
Problem Solvers Sought
Obviously, Tom did manage to sell his brilliant ideas to the leader of his clan.
Why am I convinced that Business Analysts existed that far back? Simple. Humanity faced a ton of problems just to ensure that the race survived until I was born, that‘s why. (Personally, I can’t envision why else humans evolved the way they did.) And nobody solves problems like Business Analysts, right?
In any environment that suffers problems on a massive scale (e.g., early man- and woman-kind’s hostile environment before the Stone Age), there had to be a few that were willing to take a chance on change to try to solve the problems.
What could people of that caliber possibly have been called other than Business Analysts? Medicine men? Shamans? Oracles or something stupid like that?
NO, those intrepid and forward-looking beings had to be Business Analysts because they passed their DNA down to me. Those holy genes grant me the power to explain things my way with no fear of contradiction – or conviction (if I’m wrong).
Flash Forward to Today
Even today business analysis is all about solving problems and improving the business environment. And that always results in change.
Many resist changes because they don’t know what those changes might bring. They’re afraid of the “unintended consequences” of change. Bah, I say, and Humbug, too (whatever that means). We have nothing to fear but fear itself (Hey, I think I’ll lay claim to that saying for BAs around the world.)
Change happens; always has, always will. We just need to find better ways of taking advantage of it. Those who do, thrive; those who don’t, devolve. That makes those of us wearing the Business Analysis Hat responsible for defining a better tomorrow for all.
Current advances in technology like Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, etc. give us better tools to work with.
But to take advantage of them, we, like our cave-dwelling ancestor, need to embrace our weirdness and willingness to foster change. The world needs more people like us to show the way.
We can envision and define the future, but we can’t get there without the rest of humanity. The good news (for us) is that they can’t get there without us, either.
Given the choice between business-as-usual and business analysis, I can only see one way that has a future. EMBRACE CHANGE!