Understanding the end game of your business analysis effort

When starting a new initiative, ensure you have an understanding of the project’s end game. For instance, are you documenting business processes to enhance business efficiencies, developing or purchasing a software system to support a changing business environment, or developing an enterprise architecture to support an organisation’s strategic process?

Understanding the end game helps you define the scope of information gathering, modelling and analysis to be undertaken. For example, detailed functional and non-functional requirements should be developed for software that will be custom developed. However, software that will be purchased, requires just enough detail to inform a software vendor of the business requirements and the main functional components.

Identify some of the key stakeholders such as the project’s business owner, the project manager, and the information technology business manager. Discuss with them their thoughts for the proposed initiative. If you do not ultimately recommend their preferred approach, you need to demonstrate the reasons for your decision.

The outcome of these discussions should be:

  • The business drivers, or the reasons why, for the proposed initiative. These help formulate the high level business requirements which determine the scope and purpose of the project.
  • The problem statement describing the reasons for the project in practical business related terms using real examples to emphasise the need for the new initiative.
  • An understanding of the key strategies, policies and legislation that govern these business drivers. This will be useful later if you need to formulate a business case for implementation as you will be able to link your recommendations to the organisation’s primary purpose, goals and aims.
  • list of stakeholders required for further consultation. It is useful at every meeting to provide an overview of your discussions held thus far, including who you plan to meet with next, to ensure good coverage of the business.

This strategy can be implemented in the project’s initial set up and analysis phases irrespective of the methodology (i.e., Agile or Waterfall) being utilised.