Skip Navigation

Projects

Now Bringing Business Analysis Services to You

2013/10/02

ShellyMs. Sentyrz helps businesses, agencies, and organizations position themselves to thrive in changing conditions. Her constellation of work includes Business Analysis and Project Management for retail, hospitality, service delivery, manufacturing, engineering, physical/biological sciences, IT, emergency management, and governance.

Shelly specializes in bridging gaps between ideas, people, and knowledge. She believes that effective leadership provides more than just direction–it provides momentum and cadence, too. Clients appreciate a blend of consultation, implementation, teaching, and mentoring tailored for their organizations.

Michelle Sentyrz, PMP, ACP, and CBAP (pending)


Business Analysis: The Better Way to Change

2013/10/01

by Michelle Sentyrz
Business Analyst, Project Manager, and Agile Practitioner

“THERE ARE TOO MANY VARIABLES IN THE WORLD FOR SITUATIONS NOT TO CHANGE.”Irene Schwartz, age 98

BUSINESS ANALYSIS is the link between identifying and carrying out change. It can be used by organizations or individuals for nearly every decision made in a given day. Business Analysis might include deciding what model of car to buy, developing a new product, growing a customer base, or determining a career path.

A Business Analyst (BA) is a change agent: their task is to clearly define a business issue or opportunity and manage its solution. They are facilitator, communicator, and problem solver.

NUTS AND BOLTS

Screen Shot 2013-09-24 at 8.38.06 AM

There are six categories of Business Analysis tasks and about two dozen primary techniques. Applying the techniques in combinations suited to an organization’s need is what brings effective change. Interestingly, people recognized for their business acumen use these techniques throughout their workdays, often without a conscious effort of doing so.

THE EARLY STAGES

Some Business Analysis techniques are used early on to identify issues or opportunities. Root Cause Analysis uncovers the crux of an issue. SWOT Analysis identifies group strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Organization Modeling maps the roles, responsibilities, and reporting within an organization. Decision Analysis evaluates the benefits and detriments of solutions.

IN THE THICK OF THINGS

Other Business Analysis techniques are used to implement and manage the change. User Stories are brief descriptions of what a user or group needs from a solution. Process Models illustrate how workflows will differ after the change. Functional Decomposition breaks the steps leading to change into explicit tasks.

A NEW REALITY

Many Business Analysis techniques are visited repeatedly during and after change to ensure a new norm materializes.

Risk Analysis identifies and monitors events to avoid, accept, lessen, or take advantage of. Metrics and Key Performance Indicators establish tangible measurements to confirm change is occurring and is moving an organization toward its objective for the change.

AGILITY

A business buzzword these days is agility–how an organization can remain poised and ready to adjust to changing conditions. A Business Analyst helps position an organization for change and prepares the route through it.

PERSPECTIVE AND AGILITY

Oftentimes a “fresh set of eyes”, or direction from an impartial source, is needed to jump-start change in an organization. But existing staff can perform business analysis if they learn the techniques and are granted the workday time it requires. Many organizations hire a Business Analyst on contract to first manage a particular change, and then to mentor staff performing business analysis.

For more information about how Business Analysis can contribute to your organization, contact:

Kerry Ross at (218) 755-4902 or email KRoss@bemidjistate.edu


Ethanol Powered ATV

2013/07/09

The idea behind this project was to demonstrate the potential benefits of modifying a small engine (like those in ATV’s) to better utilize ethanol-blend fuels. While E-85 is readily available for flex-fuel vehicles (FFV) at lower cost than standard gasoline, FFV get lower mileage burning E-85. But, this lower mileage is not entirely due to the lower BTU content of ethanol. FFV engines are designed to run most efficiently on gasoline. Their design and tuning are suboptimal for E-85. Engine modifications would make engines more efficient burning E-85 exclusively.

The higher octane of E-85 (100+) allows it to be used in a high-performance engine, which produces more output from a given BTU input. Performance-enhancing engine modifications make the engine more optimal for E-85 and realize benefits of ethanol fuel. The hope was to modify the engine so that it would produce more horsepower and torque while decreasing fuel consumption.

In September Arctic Cat donated a Prowler Utility Terrain Vehicle (UTV) and a spare engine to be used for modification and testing. Research was conducted as a partnership between Northwest Technical College’s (NTC) High-Performance Engine Machinist Program and Arctic Cat, involving faculty, students and Arctic Cat employees. A baseline test of the stock engine was conducted using regular unleaded gasoline and a dynamometer (dyno) to test the fuel consumption, horsepower, and torque.

After the baseline performance of the machine was established the engine was disassembled and modified to run using E-85 fuel. Repeating the same tests as before, the modified engine produced more horsepower and torque. Fuel consumption was also calculated in the same manner as before.

The engine was then modified to raise the compression ratio to approx. 11.58:1. The engine was then reassembled and the program from Speedwerx was installed. The engine was then tuned to run on E-85 for maximum power.

Our mileage test was done on a mustang chassis dynamometer by running the vehicle at 30 mph in high gear for exactly one minute at 55 percent throttle and weighing the fuel tank throughout the test to determine fuel consumption. This was done by having a spare tank to have placed on a scale.

The throttle position was determined using a Speedwerx programmer that was borrowed for this project. The baseline test using gasoline netted a 5 gram consumption average over 4 tests. On gasoline, the prowler made a consistent 33 HP, and 32 lb. ft. of torque.

The engine was then disassembled and machined .040 off the bottom of the jug to raise the compression ratio to approx. 11.58:1. The engine was then reassembled and the Speedwerx programmer was installed again. The engine was then tuned to run on E-85 for maximum power. Upon driving the prowler on the ethanol fuel, it accelerated much faster and seemed to have more power in the lower RPMs. It had an average consumption over 4 tests of 8.2 grams of fuel consumed on ethanol and it produced a solid 36 HP and 34 lb. ft. of torque.

The overall impression of the performance of the vehicle after the modifications were done was positive. The person who test drove it reported that it had much more power in the lower RPMs and had quicker throttle response.