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Getting to the Essence –How to Get to the “What” Beyond the “Who and “How”

Thursday, February 25, 2021 -
6:00pm to 8:00pm

Getting to the Essence –How to Get to the “What” Beyond the “Who and “How”

Alec Sharp

In his landmark article, “No Silver Bullet – Essence and Accidents of Software Engineering,” Fred Brooks made the point that business analysis will always be challenging. Why? Because it’s relatively easy to describe the “who and how” of the current state – this person (who) does something using that tool (how,) then another person does something using another tool, and so on. What’s difficult – often very difficult – is figuring out what is actually being accomplished. Sometimes, our business clients and subject matter experts are so immersed in their job, and how they do it, they’ve literally lost sight of what is really being done. And that makes building a useful future state very difficult. That’s why the speaker has concluded a fundamental ability of great analysts and architects is separating the “what” from the “who, how, and why.”

Backed up by real-life examples, this session will provide practical techniques and frameworks for dealing with a variety of business analysis challenges. After learning “The Three ‘Es” of getting to the essence – Events, Entities, Essential Activities – key learning points include demonstrating how to:

  • Keep people from diving into unhelpful detail while analyzing the “as-is” state
  • Make your use cases / user stories more useful, and not drifting into the “useless case” zone;
  • Ensure evaluation and selection of purchased solutions is focused on “what” must be provided;
  • Free people from over-attachment to the as-is state during organisational or process change.

About the Speaker:

With 40 years of consulting experience, Alec has provided business analysis and business change expertise throughout Europe, North America, Asia, and Australasia. Always based on real-world experience, he has delivered hundreds of BA-related workshops and top-rated presentations at international conferences, including “Days not Weeks or Months – Process Change in Agile Timeframes,” “Analyst or Stenographer? – Myths, Half-truths, and Successful Methods in Business Analysis,” and “Agile and Modelling – What Works, What Doesn’t.” His 90-minute briefing “Five Things You Need To Know About Business Processes” has been delivered to senior executives at major organisations around the globe.

Alec literally wrote the book on business process modelling. “Workflow Modelling: Tools for Process Improvement and Application Development” is a consistent best seller in the field, and is widely used as an MBA text and consulting guide. Alec was awarded DAMA’s Professional Achievement Award, a global award given to one professional a year for contributions to the Data Management profession.

Alec's popular workshops “Business-Oriented Data Modelling,” “Working With Business Processes,” and “Requirements Modelling,” are conducted (pre-COVID) on multiple continents each year, at many of the world's best-known organisations. His classes, now available virtually, are practical and energetic, consistently earning “excellent” ratings.

Event Location

Webinar details will be provided half-hour prior to the event to the registrants. 


  • Free for IIBA Vancouver Chapter members
  • $5 for non-members

Please register only if you intend to attend the session. 


Special thanks to our Platinum Sponsor! 


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Event Details: 
Event Location: 
0.00 CAD