Introduction to Business Analysis and Technical Writing
Course Co-ordinator: Dr Paul Ralph
Term Taught: Michaelmas
Course Website: https://mle.lancs.ac.uk/course/view.php?id=414
This one-term introduction to qualitative business analysts is an intellectual roller-coaster that careens through the tunnel of modeling, past the forest of interpretation, around the loop-de-loops of report writing and over the ocean of information technology. MythBusters meets Microsoft in this philosophical slugfest over the fallacies and pitfalls of IT-enabled life. From hacking bank accounts to managing software projects, from the superfluousness of airport security to the myth of requirements, this course will hit you week after week with paradigm breaking insights that will change the way you see IT, business and life forever.
This is a non-technical introduction to qualitative analysis and conceptual modeling. It involves an ambitious, challenging multi-stage term project including collaborative and individual elements, primary and secondary research, research on analysis and analysis of research. There is no textbook. There is no exam. There are no slides. Come to each class ready to work. Education is not a spectator sport.
- conceptual modeling
- requirements and goal modeling
- process modeling
- stakeholder analysis
- cost-benefit analysis
- scenarios and personas
- Understand and apply systems thinking
- Understand the IT design process (the real one, not the one usually found in textbooks)
- Understand and apply qualitative systems analysis techniques
- Understanding and apply informal and semi-formal conceptual modeling techniques
- Improved competence in analytical report writing
Lectures and Seminars
Contact Time: 25 hours
The expected total workload for the course is approximately 80 hours. This includes time to complete the coursework assessment.
The undergraduate secretary for the Management Science department is Helena Greenwood, in A68 Management School. Her office hours are 10 - 12 and 2.30 - 4.30.
The course will be assessed by:
- Weekly quizzes on readings (20%).
- A multi-stage analytical report which may include an outline, draft(s), reviews of other students' work and a final paper.
Standard departmental penalties will apply for late revised drafts unless you have been given an extension by the relevant lecturer for exceptional reasons. For all other assignments, late submissions will not be accepted.
If this class sparks your interest in systems analysis and design and you want to read more, we suggest the following books. The relevance of the books by Klein and Stanovich may not be immediately apparent, but these are perhaps the most important.
Alexander, C.W. Notes on the synthesis of form, Harvard University Press, 1964.
Alter, S. The work system method: Connecting people, processes, and IT for business results, Work System Press, 2006.
Brooks, F.P. The design of design: Essays from a computer scientist, Addison-Wesley Professional, 2010, 448 pages.
Checkland, P. Systems thinking, systems practice, Wiley, Chichester, 1999.
Checkland, P., and Poulter, J. Learning for action, Wiley, 2006.
Cross, N. Designerly ways of knowing,
Springer, 2006. Fowler, M. UML Distilled, Addison-Wesley: Reading, Massachusetts, 2004.
Jackson, M. Problem frames: Analyzing and structuring software development problems, Addison- Wesley Longman Publishing Co., Inc., Boston, MA, USA, 2001.
Klein, N. The shock doctrine: The rise of disaster capitalism, Metropolitan Books, 2007.
Norman, D. The design of everyday things, Doubleday Business, 1990.
Schneier, B. Schneier on Security, www.schneier.com.
Schwaber, K., and Sutherland, J. The Scrum Guide, Scrum.org, 2010.
Simon, H.A. The sciences of the artificial, (3rd ed.), MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, USA, 1996.
Schön, D. A. 1983. The reflective practitioner: how professionals think in action, Basic Books, USA.
Stanovich, K. What intelligence tests miss: The psychology of rational thought, Yale University Press, New Haven, CT, USA, 2009, 308 pages.
Tufte, E.: The Cognitive Style of Powerpoint. Graphics Press, Cheshire, CT, USA (2003).
Waldrop, M.M. Complexity: The emerging science at the edge of order and chaos, Simon and Schuster, New York, USA, 1992.