- absorbing involvement
- instruction based on extensive exposure to surroundings or conditions that are native or pertinent to the object of study
Immersion methods are touted as the best (or the only) way to learn spoken foreign language. The process of immersion is intense and involves all your senses and a constant flow of information. Sometimes, this may be just the recipe for learning the business basics in a short time. Learning new business process from someone’s explanations and documents will always be limited by diligence of the documentation or perspective of the person explaining the process to you.
Observing the actual process will enrich your discovery process and will show you what people actually do, rather than what they say they do, or what their managers think they do.
This method is often called “job shadowing” – the main idea being that one person “shadows” another during all work activities, staying close, observing, absorbing and asking for explanations. The best job shadowing experience involves a running commentary from the expert, providing clarifications, descriptions and reasons for doing certain tasks in certain way and certain order.
Job shadowing can be exhausting but also incredibly productive. If approached correctly, it can give you a valuable insight into the “real” business process, rather than the one existing on paper. It is wise to plan some immersion activities as part of every discovery phase.
How do you approach the immersion into a job function and put yourself in a job shadowing frame of mind?
Check out the new video for what to do and not to do, immersion best practices, and questions to ask.
Based on the book Business Analyst: a Profession and a Mindset.
Interested in other BA techniques? Check out this article or find the full recording of the Business analysis tools & techniques – webinar on YouTube.