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What is a Black Box?

 , updated on July 12, 2023
A black box is a business function, service, product, machine or process that can be viewed in terms of its inputs and outputs. In other words, it is a simplification that is often made in the process of problem solving, decision making or everyday thought processes that views unneeded complexity as a black box.

Example

The average motorist may view a car engine as a black box that takes inputs such as electricity and delivers power to a vehicle as an output.

Value

Simplifies great complexity down to a concept based on inputs and outputs.

Fixing a Black Box

When a black box breaks you might have few options because you have no idea how it works. For example, you might reboot it and if that doesn't work you might simply replace it. Alternatively, you might call in a specialist who understands the black box.
Overview: Black Box
Function
Definition
A black box is a simplified view of complexity that hides implementation details behind an interface.
Related Techniques
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Business Analysis

This is the complete list of articles we have written about business analysis.
Audience Analysis
Baseline
Behavioral Requirements
Benchmarks
Best In Class
Black Box
Bottleneck
Bottom-Up
Brand Analysis
Budget Planning
Business Analysis
Business Architecture
Business Attributes
Business Case
Business Conditions
Business Models
Business Needs
Business Needs Analysis
Business Plan
Business Requirements
Business Rules
Business Strategy
Business Swot
Business Theory
Capabilities
Capacity Planning
Choice Architecture
Competitive Intelligence
Context Of Use
Cost Benefit Analysis
Success Factors
Data Analysis
Data Dredging
Data Mining
Decision Analysis
Estimates
External SWOT
Feasibility Analysis
Fishbone Diagram
Forecasting
Gap Analysis
Ishikawa Diagrams
KPIs
Management Accounting
Market Research
Mece
Metrics
Needs Analysis
Net Present Value
Operations Analysis
Organizing Principle
Pain Points
Performance Analysis
Premortem
Problem Analysis
Productivity Analysis
Project Charter
Proof Of Concept
Qualitative Analysis
Quantification
Requirements
Requirements Gathering
Scenario Planning
Situation Analysis
Specifications
Statement Of Work
Statistical Analysis
Story Points
Strategic Drivers
SWOT Analysis
Technology Analysis
Terms Of Reference
Total Cost Of Ownership
Use Case
User Stories
Voice Of The Customer
What-if Analysis
Workflow Analysis
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Business Analysis

A list of business analysis techniques and deliverables.

Requirements

The common types and formats of requirements.

Business Analysis vs Business Architecture

The difference between business analysis and business architecture.

Process Gaps

A few examples of common process gaps.

Best In Class

A definition of best in class with examples.

Data Analysis

The common types of data analysis.

Technical Feasibility

Common types of technical feasibility.

Requirements Elicitation

The common types of requirements elicitation.

Requirements Management

A definition of requirements management with examples.

Specifications

The common types of specification.

Problem Solving

An overview of problem solving with examples.

Thought Processes

A list of thinking approaches and types.

Workaround

A definition of workaround with examples.

Creative Thinking

A list of common creative thinking techniques.

Problems

A list of common types of problems.

Analysis Paralysis

The definition of analysis paralysis with examples.

Arrow Of Time

The definition of the arrow of time with examples.

Business Problems

An overview of common business problems.

Decision Framing

The definition of decision framing with examples.

Research

The common types of research.
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