As a business analyst you are often expected to act as a bridge between a functional domain and the business stakeholders. Business analysts must be great verbal and written communicators, tactful diplomats, problem solvers, thinkers and analyzers. Though you have been extensive training in project management and related areas, using systematic business and management tools such as graphical analysis, data distribution & visualization, statistical discovery, etc are considered to be difficult by many Business Analysts.
Fortunately Lean Six Sigma, which is process improvement methodology provides many of the tools that can be handy for Business Analysts at one place. It comprises of statistical tools and techniques along with visualization tools. There are many tools such as Visual Analysis & Data Discovery tools like Fish-bone, 5 why, in scope-Out scope, Box plots and analytical tools like MSA, Descriptive Statistics, Variation, Correlation and Regression. They are explained in brief as under:
There are many tools which a business analyst will learn from Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Certification. We’ll talk about few Visual analysis tools from Lean Six Sigma in brief as under:
- Fish Bone Diagram also called as Cause and Effect Diagram helps to reach the root cause of any business issue. The important characteristic of this tool is to categorize the issue into 6 different aspects like Men, Machine, Material, Measurement, Method and Mother Nature (Environment). This will help the analyst prioritize the problem and solve the problem in a systematic manner.
- Another tool for root cause analysis is 5-Why which involves repeating the question “Why” where each question forms the base of the next question and this will go on until the root cause is found. All the questions and answers of the 5 Why, are placed on a sheet of paper with the help of which the analyst can view the whole picture in a single page.
- Box plot is a quick way of visualization of data and is represented in the form of box & whiskers. It helps in scrutinizing and comparing sets of data which demonstrates the variation in the sample data set.
- Statistical process control (SPC) is method of measuring and controlling KPIs of any process. AKA control charts, this helps to proactively identify issues from data. It is a great tool for continuous monitoring of process parameters both in service and manufacturing processes.
- Run charts are similar to control charts and suggest shifts in the process over a period of time and points out special factors which influence the process variability.
- FMEA stands for Failure Modes and Effect Analysis which is an approach to identify all possible failures in any process. Like doing analysis of how and where we can fail so as to take precaution before even starting the implementation of any project. This is a very important element for the success of any project which will help a business analyst in his/her daily management.
Here are few examples of data discovery analytical tools that a Business Analyst will learn from Six Sigma.
- Quite often Business Analysts struggle with poor data quality. MSA aka Measurement System Analysis is a Lean Six Sigma tool used to evaluate that whether the data collection method, the instruments/source used for measuring and whole measurement is precise & accurate or not. This is also used to ensure the integrity of data used for analysis and gauge the effects of errors in measurement used to make decisions taken for product or processes.
- Descriptive statistics includes the assessment of central tendency and measures of dispersion in the any data set. Further it helps to identify skewness, kurtosis, outliers, and specific patterns in the distribution.
- Analysis of Variance abstracted as ANOVA is a statistical hypothesis test used to identify significant factors that cause a particular business issue. The biggest the merit of such advanced statistical methods is in confidence & credibility that a Business Analyst can provide to the leadership and management on his analysis and conclusions.
- Correlation & Regression are similar tools used to establish a relationship between the two business variables such as revenue and capacity. By validating such relationships, the Business Analyst can bring out significant insights to the management.
A business analyst having Green Belt Certification shall have a comprehensive understanding of Lean six sigma and shall be able to apply its tenets to their daily work. The principles of Six Sigma are so widely applicable that employees getting trained are highly valued and aggressively sought after. Lean Six Sigma Certification will be a stepping stone for professionals to a higher level as you avail expertise in different problem solving tools and techniques of Lean Six Sigma.