3 reasons why you should plan your business analysis activities

As Business Analysts we must understand the importance of planning.

Without a way to describe our approach, it’s easy to get waylaid on a tangent or stuck in analysis paralysis. Often the overarching project initiation plan – typically written by the project manager – does not adequately cover the business analysis components of a project. If the BA work is not clearly defined, it can present a risk to project outcomes and stakeholder perceptions.

One way to overcome this is to develop a Business Analysis Approach document which describes the activities, deadlines and approach to delivering your work. This document can work in conjunction with a project plan or as a standalone item.

Here are 3 reasons why you should plan your next Business Analysis effort.

1. You improve your communication. A very important part of successfully completing your work is communication with your stakeholders. The BA Approach Document clearly describes what you will deliver and why. It sets expectations on how you perform your work, the resources you need and the types of activities you will engage in, e.g. workshops and interviews. So everybody is on the same page! Planning also increases the transparency of your work as the small processes of your work are better understood. This helps when expectations have to change.

2. You’re better organised. In developing the Business Analysis Approach you’ve laid out all aspects of your work in front of you. Not only does this benefit your stakeholders, but you have a clear and agreed path to follow. This prevents tangents and over analysis. Having a plan also helps when you are working on multiple projects or activities. This is because you need to consider timeframes for your activities, and any other outside work that will impact on them.

3. You’re more focussed on the goal. A project plan is not only important for communication with your stakeholders, it’s also valuable to keep you on track. It’s a way of keeping your work aligned to the finished product. With every activity you perform, you should ask yourself if it is relevant to the end product. Ask yourself, “What value am I adding here? Is this relevant to what I’m delivering? Is this in the plan?”

So if you want to be more effective on your next BA project, it’s worth investing some time in planning your activities and approach.

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