Why proper planning prevents poor performance in your business analysis work

Before I became a business analyst, I was a spatial systems analyst. My major at university was geographic information systems and during that time I was very fortunate to win short-term contract with a research centre.

My role was to define the requirements and implement an online spatial database for a very large pastoral property in the Northern Territory. It was a pilot and, bearing in mind that this was many years ago, the technology was very new for that part of the world.

What was also very new to me was the concept of a structured approach to planning and execution. When I was asked to present my plan to the project board, I went way off the reservation. The feedback was embarrassing. I had spent a lot of time and effort in getting it all wrong.

I was no longer at university. This was real work in the real world, but I had no idea what I was doing and no idea of what questions to ask. Fortunately people who did know surrounded me, and I was put on the correct path.

So here’s the thing.

It’s vitally important to define the objectives of your business analysis project, and show how those objectives are going to be met. Upfront. This is so you are correctly aligned with the expectations and aims of the desired outcome.

Also, every organisation usually has a set of defined procedures and methodologies that informs the way you plan and carry out your business analysis effort. Using the organisation’s framework in conjunction with an understanding of the steps in the business analysis process will help you define the scope, your approach and the primary objectives of your work.

Proper planning and preparation prevents poor performance.

Planning is crucial, and so is checking with your stakeholders that the proposal is on the right path and meets their expectations. So it’s important not to skip it, or imagine that you know what you’re doing. Like I did all those years ago.

If I hadn’t been realigned with my work, I may have wasted considerable time and resources to achieve an outcome that didn’t suit the needs of my employer and their clients.

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