New to Business Analysis? Don’t worry. Here are few steps that can act as a guideline for effective analysis. Every organization has different roles for a business analyst based on their needs and most of them define Business Analysis as just gathering requirements. Though, that is the final outcome that a business analyst must provide, many fail to understand the number of steps that need to be followed before reaching that stage. Below are the steps in a general Business Analysis process model, as defined by the BCS, the Chartered Institute of IT:
- Investigate Situation
- Consider perspectives
- Analyze needs
- Evaluate Options
- Define requirements
- Delivering the requirements
Investigate Situation: This is very important step in business analysis, as problems are identified in this stage. A business analyst needs to have a holistic view and consider the business objectives. There are a lot of investigation techniques that can be used by a business analyst to determine if a real problem exists or not. Documenting a high level overview of the situation can also help in identifying the cause of the issue.
Consider Perspectives: Different people have different views and ideas about the solution to a problem and so it is important to identify all the stakeholders of the project and consider all their perspectives. There might be conflicts in their views and a business analyst should be able to sort them out and make recommendations considering the business interests. A consensus Business Activity Model needs to be developed by the Business Analyst which is a conceptual model built considering all the perspectives and approved by all the stakeholders.
Analyze Needs: This stage is where the existing situation and the desired situation needs to be compared and the differences needs to be analyzed. A business activity model can be used for the current business situation and can be compared against the consensus Business Activity model. This process is usually known as GAP analysis. This helps in listing out business improvements where required.
Evaluate Options: This step is where the above listed improvements are analyzed for their feasibility. There are many techniques that can be followed such as Risk Analysis and Impact Analysis and provide a business case which defines the shortlisted business recommendations that needs to be carried out.
Define Requirements: This is the final step which is the whole responsibility of the Business Analyst to gather and document the requirements. Here the requirements are elicited and validated for them to be unique, unambiguous and without any conflicts. Requirements need to be formatted in such a way that they can be traced backwards as well as forward, when required.
Deliver Changes: This is a step where it is not the whole responsibility of the business analyst, though he is involved in few of them. Most cases, a business analyst would be involved in user acceptance testing, providing necessary training to users or clients and also in benefits realization review, which would be done after the project is live for few months.
We can see that Defining Requirements comes in the last stage of Business Analysis process model and all the previous steps are equally necessary before the requirements are elicited.
All the above steps have detailed techniques and tools that can be used to effectively elicit the requirements considering all the above aspects. This is for a basic understanding of the steps involved in Business Analysis and what role does an analyst play in each of the steps involved.
Reference used for the above steps mentioned is from the book “Business Analysis”, published by the BCS institute, which also provides globally recognised certifications in business analysis field.