Introduction to the Business Analysis Process
How a business analyst conducts his work is based on many factors or variables. Business analysis is influenced by the culture of the organization, the maturity of the organization, the product development life-cycle and the project management life-cycle. There are many business analysis process concepts that we can use to describe the work of the business analyst. Most business analyst processes are not linear or sequential. However, they are quite interactive.
We will use the process described in the figure below. This process on the surface looks very sequential and linear.
Step 1 – Investigate Situation
The business analysis work will start after the appropriate consideration and search for the business problem and the business need. Elicitation and collaboration techniques can be used during this step of the process. Investigation in the early stages consist of finding out what the needs or problem that is introduce at the beginning of the initiative. What are the business needs and the business objectives that need to be researched. The Business Analyst at this time, may not know the real problem hat is being presented.
Step 2 – Consider Stakeholder Perspective
A stakeholder is defined as anyone that is impacted by the project or solution in a positive or negative way. This step in the business analysis process reminds us to consider the stakeholder. We have to know who they are, what needs they have, what their attitude is and what is of value to them. In analyzing any problem, we will want to see things from the stakeholder perspective. The business worldview of the stakeholder will help us understand and define the problem and help us in looking for a solution to solving their problem. Working with the stakeholder requires us to do a few things:
Stakeholder Identification: Identify them. People are involved, someone will be affected by what we recommend. Stakeholder will fall into two major areas: Business Area or the Technical Area. The business area is where the problem, need and opportunity exist. The technical area is where the solution designed, developed and is built. In most cases the business people are the one that receive and benefit from the value of the solution. The technical area have the skills needed in order to build the solution and solve the problems. The Business analyst can use checklist, workshops, brainstorming, surveys and organization charts and other documents and elicitation method to identify the stakeholders.
Elicitation: Elicit Information from the stakeholders. Elicitation as we know is the process of extracting information. Information is needed to understand the current state and define the future state. Information is needed in order to understand the problem,its scope and impact and in order to determine the best solution to solve the problem. The business analyst can use interviews, workshops, surveys, walk through to pull out the information they need to complete the business analysis process.
Collaboration: Collaborate with them. Interaction with stakeholders cannot be taken lightly. How you collaborate, when you collaborate and who you collaborate with should be part of the early planning process of the business analysis.
These first two steps from the IIBA BABOK takes place in the Business Analysis Planning and Monitoring Knowledge Area.
Step 3 – Analyze Needs
This can be done in area of the business analysis process. When the business analyst get the information from the stakeholders, their work consist of being able process that information to determine what are the requirements. Keeping in mind that the requirements describe the gap between the need and the desired solution. Analysis of needs is carried out by either categorizing of the information into the right buckets or modeling the information using a data, process or behavioral concept.
Step 4 – Evaluate the Options
In most cases there will be more than one option to take care of a problem or need. Even if there is only one solution, there is two options: develop the one solution or do nothing. We often have to determine which option is the best based on the criteria we will use to determine the value of that option. For every option we consider the business feasibility and the technical feasibility of each option. We often will evaluate each option based on the acceptance criteria that have been established by our key stakeholders.
Step 5 Define Requirements.
This is the last step of this process, but is not the last step a BA will conduct in the business analysis life-cycle. Defining requirement is one of the primary task of a business analyst. The BA becomes keen in finding and communicating the needs of the organization. A requirements is a condition or capability that satisfy the needs of the stakeholders.