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How to explain to a business person with financial background why I need to do analysis?

Jane Jukowsky
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Joined: Mar 28, 2009
Posts: 145
My boss is a very sharp non-techie.. and I have tons of experience with software development, but almost none of it working for a non-techie, so I am learning on the fly.

As I try to do analysis and interview people (some of them very much Alpha types in a very male-oriented industry, and I am a woman), he seems to think I am taking directions from the wrong people (i.e. people other than himself), and, what annoys him the most, from people who are not in the know. He is afraid I am getting distracted, misled and confused about my priorities. Specifically, he got very ticked when he discovered that some of the people either misinformed me, or attempted to lead me.

I feel I do need to talk to a broad range of actors, even those who are not in the know but match the target demographic group (for the lack of face to face contact with the actual actors), just for the sake of usability studies and getting the feel of what their pain points might be. I also feel that even misleading leads are better than no leads, and even bad analysis is better than no analysis (and we went waaay too long without analysis, because he did not appreciate its importance and did not respond to my requests to send me to the plant). I feel that face to face, casual banter is better than talking over the phone, too, simply because people will make personal connections and admit to more "stuff" and how it "really" gets done when no one is watching, than they would over the phone to someone they don't know well.

Am I right? I am not a programmer-analyst type (more of a software engineer/architect), so I don't even know myself anymore. I know it feels right.. if I am right, please tell me how I can explain it to the non-techie who is very ticked about the necessity to pay high price for what he feels are the blind leading the blind.

David Newton
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Joined: Sep 29, 2008
Posts: 12617

Bad analysis is *worse* than no analysis, because it gives you misleading data points, and you don't necessarily *know* it's misleading. Same with leads. You have to *know* it's bad or misleading in order for it to be non-destructive.

Without knowing what you're trying to analyze or accomplish it's impossible to say much more than that.
Jane Jukowsky
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 28, 2009
Posts: 145
I beg to differ. Sometimes it's much easier to pick up a phone and double-check a data point with a domain expert or two than to hunt for the datapoints long-distance when you don't really know what to ask, and your domain experts have zero experience with computers and therefore have no clue how a computer could help them in their lives.
David Newton
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Joined: Sep 29, 2008
Posts: 12617

I don't know what that has to do with what I said, but okay.
Janeice DelVecchio
Saloon Keeper

Joined: Sep 14, 2009
Posts: 1665
    
  11

Jane,

Please check your private messages.

Thanks


When you do things right, people won't be sure you've done anything at all.
 
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subject: How to explain to a business person with financial background why I need to do analysis?