When starting a new project, it can be difficult to know where to begin. Business analysts use business analysis steps to help them begin a project and identify the activities needed to complete the project successfully. Using these techniques and practices helps to lessen the many risks that can threaten a project’s successful completion such as scope creep, overbudgeting and not having enough time.
While there are different business analysis plans with different number of steps, they all have the same steps in common. The first step is always for the business analyst to orient themselves with the business and gather information about the project. Ways to perform an analysis can include using a PESTLE analysis or Porter’s Five Forces framework. Understanding and documenting the project and any existing systems that need to be accounted for will allow the project to be completed smoothly.
The next step is finding out who the stakeholders in the project are. It is important to know which stakeholders are the people who are the decision-makers in the project and who the project is catered towards, the sponsors and the end-users. A stakeholder matrix can be created to document each group of stakeholders and their classification.
The third step is to discover the business objectives, this can be done by communicating with stakeholders and finding out what the expected outcome is for each of them. This can be done using techniques such as brainstorming, interviews and reviews to understand what the business objective is. The information can then be documented by their outcomes, measurables, achievables, relevancy and timeframes.
After a business objective is defined, the objectives must be turned into specific requirements for a solution. The business analyst can look at the elements of the business such as its infrastructure, environment, strategy and location evaluate the options available to the organisation. Can the objective be completed by enhancing an existing solution? Would a new solution have to be purchased or built from scratch? Many factors impact the decision-making process such as budget availability, acceptable return on investment and feasibility. A business analyst can use techniques such as a cost-benefit analysis or risk analysis to help them and the stakeholders decide.
The next step is to define a scope so that the development team has a list of project development goals that they can use to complete the project. A scope definition document would be produced to define the items in scope and items out of scope.
Following scope definition, the analyst’s next course of action would be to provide a delivery plan with a detailed timeline for delivering the requirements to the project team. Dividing the requirements and providing realistic completion dates for each of them will help the team plan resources and time accordingly.
The requirements should then be clarified with the stakeholders and sponsors and then development would begin. Different development techniques can be used such as the waterfall method or an Agile method. The project team would follow documentation such as non-functional requirements and functional requirements.
Following the development of the project, the business analyst would then involve themselves in the life cycle of the project to ensure that everything is going as planned, engaging with the stakeholders to ensure every requirement has been delivered.
Finally, a constant evaluation of the value-added to the organisation through the completion of the project and to find more opportunity for more changes and improve the project in the future.