Business Analysis Techniques Applied to Real Life
When we arrived in Tampa, we followed a time-honored approach to assessing a potential new home (one lesson learned from 63 moves, by the way) by renting a house with reasonable access to both the airport and a golf course (not challenging at all in Tampa). After living there for a year, we were absolutely sold on the life style, so we built a house in a golf course community in an area called New Tampa, joined the club, and settled in for a life of semi-luxury – at least as much as our limited income would allow. That is what you get when you define your problems, analyze them, define your requirements for a solution, prioritize the requirements, and follow through with appropriate test procedures.
The story could have ended there, but life went on and, as always, change happened. In our case, the major change came after we had been enjoying the good life for 7 years. The house developer sold the golf course to a company that was more interested in public play than private member fees. The new company implemented a number of anti-member policies that had members fleeing the club like the proverbial rats leaving the sinking ship. We became disgusted, put our house on the market, bought a fifth-wheel motor home, and hit the road. After all, it had been a great run for us, but it really was time to find a different domicile – that gypsy blood was reawakening.
Over the course of the next 15 months, we tested living in Montana, Nevada, Arizona, Southern California, Las Vegas, Chicago, and Twin Falls, Idaho. Granted some of the locales were dictated by contracts, but we gave every location serious consideration anyway. Nothing worked for us. Finally, we recognized that we had abandoned our original, highly successful approach of using our business analysis skills (note the appropriate evolution of terminology) and were back to simply trying anything that came to mind in the hopes that something would work. Not a good idea and not one I would recommend.
We revisited our list of requirements from the past and discovered that the vast majority of them had not changed, so how could we expect a different solution? We returned to Tampa, rented a house in a different, upscale golf community – and decided after 6 months that we hated it. Florida felt right, but Tampa perhaps was not it, so we moved to the East coast of the state (Satellite Beach) and rented a condo on the fourth floor on the beach where we could watch the ocean rolling in and Shuttle launches from our balcony. We hated it.
After 6 months there, we reconsidered our requirements and realized that we had not been as diligent this time around in interpreting them the same as we had years earlier, so we revisited them, decomposed them, revised them, and reprioritized them. Reminiscing on the 7 golden years in the golf course community, we decided to revisit that area of Northeast Tampa to see if we could reignite the magic.
We drove over on a Saturday “just to visit”, and bought a new house on the same day. For the record, the new house was less than a mile away from the first house we had built, but on a different golf course. We ended up living happily in that house for 12 years after which our requirements had changed so much that we decided it was time to move back West from whence I came – but this time again following proper business analysis procedures.
My little story shows that using sound business analysis techniques can provide value in your private life as well as your professional life. If you actually understand your requirements and can implement a solution that meets them, you, too, can find your Nirvana – wherever or with whomever it might be. The only caveat: to use those business analysis techniques, you have to learn them first.