About this Business Analysis eBook
In this business analysis e-book I will give you an overview of a structured approach to commencing and planning a business analysis effort. I will give you the exact steps I take from the very first day through to the end of the planning stage.
The first day on a new project can sometimes be unproductive while you’re waiting to meet with people and receive information.
Don’t arrive empty handed!
Commence the project with a structured and proactive approach that will establish your credibility as a business analyst.
How to Start a Business Analysis Project
Here are the steps I take from the first day through to the end of business analysis planning. The are described in detail in my business analysis ebook, The First Bite.
1. Arrive on the first day with pre-prepared questions.
These are the questions I use on the first day help me understand the scope, objectives and required deliverables for the project.
- What is required of me?
- When does the project need to be delivered?
- Do you have an outcome already in mind?
- Who will be involved in this process? What are their names and roles?
- When do you expect workshops to begin?
- What are the expected deliverables?
- In what format do you expect deliverables to be produced?
- What methodologies do I need to follow?
- What existing documentation can I review?
2. Schedule the project kick-off meeting.
The project kick-off meeting is very important, as it’s where you make your next impression with a small but principal audience. This meeting usually occurs for all types of business analysis initiatives to establish the scope and boundaries of the proposed initiative. However, I take the opportunity to ask a number of other questions that will provide an overview of the business functions, processes, issues, risks, values, drivers and success criteria. I do this without going into a-day-in-the-life of my project sponsor but with enough detail to write a plan. You need to be organised and willing to ask questions to pull this off successfully.
3. Start a desktop analysis.
The purpose of the desktop analysis is to research existing documentation for valuable information including organisation structure, business requirements, issues and drivers.
4. Write down as much as possible.
Ensure that you write down as much as possible so that the information found in the desktop analysis can be later verified in interviews and workshops.
5. Attend the kick-off meeting with more pre-prepared questions.
I have ten core questions that give me a solid beginning to my information gathering activities. These questions are described in my free eBook which you can download below. In this eBook I list these questions and explain why they are important.
6. Write the business analysis approach document.
The information gathered in the kick off meeting is just a quick summary but it’s enough detail to write the business analysis approach. This document outlines the fundamental business analysis activities that will be performed throughout the life of the project and is the definitive statement for your planned activities. It includes a summary of the project, problem statement and target condition, planned activities and deliverables, and stakeholder engagement activities and communications.