As the ancient Bengali saying goes, “A rice husker will still husk rice even if you send it to heaven”

So it was another fine Saturday morning, and a buddy coaxed me into joining him on his quest to a Unisex Salon (also called Beauty parlor in this part of the world LOL) . I was hell bent against surrendering myself to the onslaught of fragrant periodic table, so this meant I was to sit there and get bored to death while this friend of mine would go about getting his pamper rituals on his face and hair.

While sitting on an empty bench by the corner and reflecting upon life changing thoughts like whether I’ll live long enough to see the next installment of Batman in theaters etc., my train of thought was interrupted by a commotion. I glanced across to see a blonde lady struggling to explain something to the stylists (that’s plural because by then, at least 3 stylists had gathered around and sincerely trying to decipher their customer’s ask). While amused, I thought maybe I can take a peek into the conversation to see if I could help.

So here’s the thing: A customer whose hair, halfway from root is natural blonde, and then the rest is colored in a gradient of brown. Surrounding her are three – by now completely puzzled – stylists holding two huge Style Catalogs in hands

As I stood by and observed, I could see that the problems are:

  • The stylists have a limited but somewhat manageable sense of English vocabulary
  • They are more objective in their understanding of the situation. I overheard their conversation among themselves which were in the lines of “Mone hochhe uni dark shade korte bolchhen gota chul ta” (“I think She is asking for a dark shade of hair color”) . So what they are waiting for is a clear set of instructions – sans the discussions – and they’ll crack on with their work.
  • The customer, I am guessing a tourist from a Non English speaking European country, also has her own version of English which is not immediately comprehensible in a flash.
  • She was more interested to evaluate, discuss, and assess various options and was open for recommendation, guidance and advice before plunging into whatever she thought she was looking for.

At this point the conversation had gone totally crazy. Excerpts:

Stylist – “Ma’am you want dark hair color?”

Customer – “Wait, no! I already have Dark color, halfway through to the end right? I came just to change that!”

Stylist – “Okay you want light color! (about to start chewing on his comb in anxiety)”

Customer – “Oh come on I did’t do my earlier highlighting for nothing. I am naturally blonde from the roots. Just make it one shade in between them”

Stylist -“(Sigh of relief) Oh You want medium shade in between these two! Okay…. “

Customer – “Good God! No I mean, that would look stupid on me!”

It is at this point that I thought I must intervene, lest I be never forgiven by history of mankind. I walked up and greeted the lady and asked what is it that she wants.

I tried to arrive and agree with her upon the AS-IS system landscape

  • Her hair, half of which is blonde
  • The other half is brown

Up next, I tried to collate her asks

  • She wants to retain her natural color of the roots
  • She wants to retain the gradient pattern from halfway onwards (because otherwise it would look stupid. Err.. okay.)
  • She doesn’t like the brown part of her hair because it’s too much in contrast with the blonde part. (AS IS system was developed earlier and then the end result didn’t meet expectation)

Up next, I tried to offer her the possible tools and products

  • We have at our disposal a humongous array of colors and hair samples attached in the Style Books that pretty much covers the whole visible spectrum and may be some even beyond that

By now she was somewhat relaxed and started articulating about her envisioned makeover. I discussed the problems with the stylists and they promptly provided me with various solutions that can be provided. They were back in their zones of expertise. We provided the customer with two possible solution options :

  • Either color the upper part (starting from the root) of her hair with a darker shade of blonde, keeping the lower part intact, thus closing in the huge contrast in color profiles
  • Or color the brown (lower) part with a lighter shade of brown from halfway through to the end, keeping the roots and the upper part intact so as to achieve pretty much the same purpose, which is to reduce the contrast.

The lady thought about it, and decided to go with with the second option. The stylist went off to a start, working his magic, and in some time, pushing the glass door on her way out was a happy customer.

No but seriously, it was fun! (and in retrospect, may be a realization..)

I think one of the reasons why business analysis is a cool thing to learn is because it mirrors the real world, and the principles apply to all practical situations, no matter where you are.

Cutting through all the noise of awe inspiring certification names, heavy jargons and methodologies, i think IT business analysis is just about assessing the need of the customer, distilling them into a technicaly nuanced form that the developers can understand, figuring out the possible options, and then arriving at the best fit through discussions with all stakeholders.

Business Analysis doesn’t need to be rocket science – it’s just a reflection of a real, human world.

I am sure you have faced similar situations too, where you applied the principles of business analysis in real life away from work? Let me know in the comments. Cheers! 🙂