Identify root cause of the problem. Reduce fraud and theft. Improve accountability for financial transactions. Protect company property and inventory. Minimise the risk of hiring an employee with a history of workplace fraud or theft.
Year: 2005 (3 months)
Type: Medium Size Business
Region: Sydney, Australia
The client, a warehousing business with approximately 75
employees, had been experiencing issues with workplace fraud and theft. This
business investigation and analysis project aimed to investigate the root
causes of the problem and develop a solution to mitigate the occurrence of
fraud and theft in the workplace.
Reporting to the CEO, I researched and analysed the
business, industry, and market to identify and define the problem. Through interviews
with employees and management, reviewing company documents and policies, and
analysing data on fraud and theft incidents, I gained a deeper understanding of
the nature and extent of the problem.
I worked closely with the client to understand their project
goals and objectives and ensure that any solution developed would align with
them. The outcome of this project was to provide an actionable solution that
the client could implement to mitigate fraud and theft in the workplace.
I developed an Information Investigation Plan (IIP) to
collect and analyse relevant data and information to understand the problem
domain and identify the root cause of the problem.
The IIP included the following:
the project’s duration, I continued to add to the IIP. It’s a necessary foundation
document for all business investigation and analysis projects. The IIP was a
critical component of the investigation and definition phase of the project,
and it provided me with a roadmap to develop a solution to mitigate workplace
fraud and theft.
Following the IIP, I conducted a thorough investigation into
Document Analysis: I reviewed company documents such
as incident reports, policies, and procedures related to fraud and theft. I analysed
data on incidents of fraud and theft. This data included the frequency, types,
and locations of the incidents, as well as the impact on the business.
Employee Interviews: I interviewed employees and
management to gather information on their experiences, perceptions, and
insights related to the problem.
Through this investigation, I identified several causes
of the problem, including:
I developed a problem statement that clearly defined the
scope of the problem and identified the critical issues for the project to address.
Problem Statement: “The problem at hand is a
persistent issue of workplace fraud and theft. The root causes of this problem
include the lack of clear policies and procedures for reporting and addressing
such incidents, inadequate employee training on detecting and preventing fraud
and theft, and insufficient oversight and monitoring of warehouse activities.
As a result, there has been a significant financial loss and a negative impact
on the company’s reputation”.
Vision Statement: ”The vision for this project is to
create a secure and trustworthy work environment. By effectively addressing the
root causes of the problem, the company will have clear policies and procedures
in place for reporting and addressing fraud and theft. Employees will be
well-trained in detecting and preventing fraud and theft. There will be effective
oversight and monitoring of warehouse activities. Implementing the above measures
will significantly reduce financial loss and protect the company’s reputation.
Employees will have a sense of security and trust in the company, and it will
be a safe workplace”.
We used the Problem and Vision statements to guide the rest
of the project, helping to ensure that the solution developed would effectively
address the root causes of the problem.
I undertook the following activities to develop a clear
understanding of what the solution would include and what its limitations were,
as well as the objectives and expected outcomes of the solution:
Based on this information, a solution was proposed that
included the following components:
I defined the product scope of the project to include the
The scope of the project was defined and communicated to all
stakeholders. The proposed solution was agreed to be the best approach to
address the problem at hand, meeting the objectives and expected outcomes of
I analysed company documents to ensure that the proposed
solution aligned with the company’s strategic goals and objectives. In addition,
I conducted a financial analysis to ensure that the investment in the solution
was financially justified.
The financial analysis included the following:
To determine the financial justification, I analysed the
costs of implementing the solution, including the cost of any new technology or
equipment and the ongoing maintenance and support costs.
I also evaluated the expected benefits of the solution, including
the projected reduction in workplace fraud and theft incidents and any other
potential benefits, such as improvements in overall business efficiency and
I packaged the results of my investigation and analysis into
a report, which I would call a Business Case today. Based on my report, the CEO
and Senior Management Team determined that the proposed solution was financially
and strategically viable and that the expected benefits would outweigh the
implementation costs. This information was then used for budget allocation and support
for the project moving forward.
Completing the above four steps and delivering the report was
marked Checkpoint Alpha. The CEO and Senior Management Team decided I should
continue the following three steps to Checkpoint
Building on the previous steps, I analysed relevant data and
information to understand the “big picture” problem domain and create a Problem
Domain Model (PDM). This analysis included reviewing past incidents,
conducting interviews with employees, and analysing internal processes and
systems. It helped me to understand the conditions that cause the problem.
I used this information to create a Current State Baseline
(CSB) of the problem domain, which included a detailed understanding of the
company, departments, processes, and people affected by the problem and solution.
With a clear understanding of the problem domain, I developed
a targeted and effective solution to address the problem’s root causes.
I thoroughly reviewed current processes and procedures
within the warehouse and the business. Identified vulnerabilities, weaknesses,
and areas to be improved. From there, I developed different elements of the
solution that could address these issues.
Elements of the solution included the following:
I presented my findings and recommendations to the CEO and
Senior Management. After a review, they agreed on the solution, developed a
plan for the implementation and set a date for it.
I created detailed documentation to outline the proposed changes
to the company’s current processes and systems. Included in the documentation
was a Project Plan outlining the key milestones and deliverables and a
detailed implementation plan outlining the steps required to roll out the new
solution to the entire company.
In addition, user documentation was created to assist
employees in understanding the new processes and systems and how they should be
used in their day-to-day work. This included procedure manuals, training
materials, and user guides.
I wrote technical documentation to assist the IT team in implementing
and maintaining the new systems and technology. The self-assessment aspect of
the SAFE program was designed to be built using Microsoft Visual Studio 2005
and C++. This included system architecture diagrams, data flow diagrams, and technical
Overall, the solution documentation provided a comprehensive
and clear picture of the proposed solution and served as a valuable reference
for all stakeholders throughout the implementation and roll-out of the new
processes and systems.
Completing the above four steps was marked Checkpoint Bravo.
The CEO and Senior Management Team decided I should continue the following
three steps to Checkpoint Charlie.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get to implement this solution.
Instead, I completed the investigation and analysis and wrote the project
documents. My role was to investigate, analyse, and design the solution. The
client was to implement the solution.
I developed a detailed Implementation Plan outlining
the specific actions needed to roll out the solution throughout the organisation.
This plan included timelines, budgets, and resource allocation.
The plan included the following:
In the last contact I had with this client, the CEO said
they had implemented my recommendations (except for building the SAFE self-assessment
in C++). The CEO informed that the solution had a positive impact, with a
significant reduction in incidents of fraud and theft.
The solution worked as intended, and the business problem was
effectively solved. For this client and problem, a big part of the solution was
the visibility of my investigation and analysis. My activities during the three
months of the project raised awareness of the problems. They signalled to all
employees that the company was taking the problem seriously and was doing what
was necessary to solve it.
To measure the solution’s effectiveness, I recommended that the
company track performance metrics. These metrics included the following:
By tracking those metrics (and others), the company could
determine if the workplace fraud and theft problem was successfully solved or
mitigated. Also, the company could measure if the overall security of the
workplace had improved.
To ensure a smooth transition to the new processes and
solutions implemented to mitigate fraud and theft, I recommended that the
company take the following steps:
Overall, the transition and change management plan should be
designed to minimise disruptions to business operations and ensure that the new
solutions are adopted and integrated effectively into the company’s day-to-day
When we talk, we can discuss your business and work out the best place to start. Every business needs different things, so we can mix and match elements of the systems to suit your business. Installing the systems follows the three stages below.
There are Ten Steps in the Business Investigation and Analysts System and Three Checkpoints when a decision is made to stop at that Step or continue onto the next Checkpoint.
Prepare an information-investigation plan to determine the solution. First, we identify the information needed to define the problem and solution. Then, where can we find the information? Next, how can we obtain the information? Finally, what order to get the information?
Output: Document Analysis. Information Investigation Plan (IIP).
In this step, we define the problem owner, prepare an information-gathering plan to determine the problem, and elicit information about the problem. We then analyse the information, determine the real problem to be solved, and confirm that with the problem owner.
Output: Root Case Analysis. Problem Statement. Vision Statement.
We develop a vision of the solution and acceptance criteria with the problem owner and determine stakeholders. Then, conduct risk analysis and justification for solving the problem. Finally, we identify solution constraints, functional goals, and business objectives.
Output: Decision Documents (product scope, business case, project charter).
We review organisational vision, mission statements, strategic and business plans, and policy to ensure the solution or product aligns and supports achieving goals and objectives. In addition, we provide financial justification for solving the problem.
This step if Checkpoint Alpha, a decision is made stop here or continue to Checkpoint Bravo.
Output: ROI Analysis. Cost/Benefit Analysis. Risk Analysis. Feasibility Study.
Obtain information to describe and diagram the problem domain. First, we understand completely why the problem exists and what conditions cause the problem. Then, we determine the functional areas impacted by the problem and its solution. Finally, we identify neighbouring constituencies, intersecting processes, and ancillary benefits.
Output: Current State Baseline of the Problem Domain. Problem Domain Diagram or Model.
Analyse the information to determine potential solutions for the problem. First, we analyse and model the solution. Then, we create the necessary models and diagrams. Finally, we confirm our analysis with the affected product stakeholders that the part of the solution that affects them will work and is acceptable.
Output: Entity Relationship Diagram. Data Flow Diagram. Activity Diagram. Use Cases.
Confirm with the stakeholders that the solution completely and accurately solves the problem. First, we get parts of the solution confirmed as they are defined. Then, we check the technical and project feasibility and validate requirements with the solution team and stakeholders. Finally, we get the solution document approved by the executive decision-maker.
This is Checkpoint Bravo, a decision is made here to stop here or continue to Checkpoint Charlie.
Output: Solution Diagram, Data, Process & Behaviour Models. Requirements Documents. Business Rules. Event Analysis. Gap Analysis. User Stories.
Turn the solution definition into an operational system or process. First, we work with the solution team throughout product implementation. Then, we make sure the solution document matches the solution, and document, evaluate and review any changes. Then, we prepare user test cases and ensure the solution successfully transitions into the business environment.
Output: Requirements Changes. Acceptance Testing.
Prove that the product has achieved an acceptable level of confidence that it will behave as expected under all circumstances of interest. First, we establish the basic criteria against which quality assurance judges the quality of the product. Then, we confirm that the final definition of correct behaviour (the solution document) matches the delivered product. Finally, we make sure the product solves the original problem and proves the solution is effective and stays effective by measuring the results.
Output: Unit, Integration, System, and Acceptance test results. Bug/Defect Report.
Prepare the business for a successful transition to the new process. First, we create a sense of urgency for change, create a guiding coalition, and develop a vision of the changed environment. Then, we communicate the change vision and empower action to affect change. Finally, we generate short-term wins, consolidate gains, produce more change, and anchor new cultural approaches.
This is Checkpoint Charlie, it marks the end of the project. At this stage Lessons Learned regarding the Business Investigation and Analysis Project should be conducted.
Output: Change Management Plan. Change Impact Diagram. Training Plan. User Manuals. Help-desk. Updated Baseline Requirements Document. Lessons Learned.
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