What is analytical thinking ?

One of the key skills that every successful business analyst should have is analytical thinking.

Analytical thinking is the ability to effectively analyze problems and identify opportunities which would add value to the organization.

The business analysts uses analytical thinking to quickly understand information such as diagrams, stakeholder concerns, customer feedback, schematics, user guides, and spreadsheets, and figure out which ones are relevant.

Having a clear understanding of the analytical thinking and problem solving core competencies allows business analysts to identify the best way to present information to their stakeholders.

For example, some concepts are more easily understood when presented visually through diagrams and information graphics rather than by paragraphs of text.

This knowledge would help the business analyst to plan their business analysis approach and enable them to communicate the business analysis information in a way that best suits the audience.

There are seven analytical thinking and problem solving core competencies and they are:

  • Creative Thinking: creative thinking involves creating new ideas, concepts, approaches, and associations between existing ideas and concepts.

It produces flexible approaches to problem solving by querying standard approaches and inspiring new ideas and transformations that are suitable to the situation.

It may also involve merging, changing, and reapplying existing concepts or ideas.

  • Decision Making : decision making involves gathering the information that is relevant to the decision, analyzing this information, making comparisons and trade-offs, and identifying the most desirable option.
  • Learning : Learning is defined as the process of gaining new information, or modifying existing knowledge, behaviors and skills.

An efficient business analyst to be able to quickly understand new and different types of information and change existing knowledge in evolving environments.

  • Problem Solving : problem solving is used to identify the root cause of a problem and fixing the cause to ensure that the same problem does not reoccur.
  • Systems Thinking : Tan effective business analyst should understand the people, processes, and technology within their organization.

Every organization is made up of a system which has properties, behaviors, and characteristics that appear from the relationship of its components.

To understand the complete system, the whole system would have to be analyzed.

  • Conceptual Thinking : Conceptual thinking is defined as the relationship between contexts, solutions, needs, changes and stakeholders.

It involves understanding and connecting information and patterns that are seemingly unrelated.

  • Visual Thinking : Visual thinking is defined as the graphical representation of systems or processes.

It is used to help the stakeholders easily understand the ideas being presented, and enable them to provide helpful feedback.