Complementary to, and often running along side project and change management, good business analysis is vital to understanding and defining what needs to be done.
Understanding the technical – what there is, what there needs to be. The problem solver that finds the solutions.
“The practice of enabling change in an organisational context, by defining needs and recommending solutions that deliver value to stakeholders.”International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA)
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Business Analysis in two contexts
- In Business – Identifying issues and potential solutions and proposing change.
- In Projects – Analysing for change in processes and systems.
- Enabling positive change for clients.
- Pre-project strategy analysis.
- Analysing tactical business problems.
- Financial resource analysis.
- Projects – Identification of requirements.
- Documenting for change specification.
- Modelling. Process flows, use cases, data flow, entity relationships, state transition.
The best outcome from ‘No Change’ is likely stagnation. Without solutions we have no paths to success and there lies business failure.
Few things are ever quite as simple as a first glance suggests. Defining the needs in detail is time and money well spent. Building of new processes, systems and infrastructure always benefits from a blueprint backed by well thought through analysis. Without the analysis we see poor decisions, confusion, wasted time, effort and money. The analyst’s role is, to some extent, not to bring the solutions, but to discover them from the stakeholders involved. That said, we can also bring a different perspective which can help in creating a better solution.
The solution could be a new business process, a new system or system feature, or even different policy or training. We seek to identify and involve all stakeholders who are impacted by the current situation and any proposed solution. We are looking to avoid poor or incomplete solutions where stakeholders are missed.
Gathering, eliciting, documenting, analysing, modelling. A BA’s lot is a lot about requirements.
“ A requirement is a usable representation of a need. Requirements focus on understanding what kind of value could be delivered if a requirement is filled. The nature of the representation may be a document (or set of documents), but can vary widely depending on the circumstances.”BABOK ver 3. (Business Analysis Body of Knowledge)
Typically gathered into a document or in-house system specific to the purpose, the requirements provide the roadmap. They are the valuable detail, presented in a clear, useable format.
Three steps in a Requirements process:
- Form – brainstorming, research, gathering – a first draft.
- Transform – work through drafts, get verifications, analyse and model – build a sound set of requirements.
- Finalise – a complete set of documented and approved requirements.
Three types of Requirements:
- Business and user requirements – what the product is going to do.
- Functional requirements – how the product is going to do it.
- Non-functional requirements – qualities that the system needs (not functional). Considerations of usability, performance, availability, disaster recovery, data privacy, security, legal/compliance.