Business analysts have different methods of approaching a project. However, there are some common do’s and don’ts and recommended courses of action that many business analysts should follow to achieve the best results.
To ensure that groups are reaching a consensus on a difficult decision, it could be beneficial to understand how far away the group is from a definitive decision. This can be done by using a scale to judge where each member of the group stands on the decision, from endorsing the decision to vetoing the decision. Using the scale can help the analyst understand the level of commitment that the analyst can expect from the group and how much more negotiation would have to happen before a decision can be reached.
Use cases are almost guaranteed to be used in every project. As such, it can only bring benefit if a business analyst masters the ability to write use cases or requirements that can provide the best information to a reader. A use case should be short and concise so that the reader can easily understand the information and there is a logical flow to the actions described in the use case. A data dictionary can be used to describe the data requirements and a pointer can be used as a reference whenever data of the same type is needed. The data dictionary definition can be edited whenever a change in the data fields are required. For example, an example of ‘Student Details’ would have student first name, student last name, student address and student phone number categorised under it. Doing this will help the reader understand the information in the use case better as it doesn’t detract attention from the important details.
During the business analysis process, an analyst would need to gather information and requirements from stakeholders. This can be done using interviews. To gather as much useful information as possible in an interview, there are some things an analyst can do such as to begin the interview with an open-ended question about the current state as well as a question about their ideal future state. The analyst should also make a conscious effort to focus more on listening than responding to the interviewee. After a sense of the issue has been understood, the analyst can then move on to more in-depth close-ended questions. The use of pairing questions such as the fastest/slowest, easiest/hardest helps the analyst understand the depth of the issue and not jump to wrong conclusions. Before the interview ends, the analyst can also give the interviewee the initiative to bring any other issues to the fore by asking a closing questions such as “is there anything you think I should know about?”.
These are only some of the tips business analysts can use to give themselves an advantage and a helping hand when conducting business analysis. There are many other ways a business analyst can get the most value out of business analysis activities that are yet to be discovered. With time, there may yet be more techniques and methods future business analysts may see as common practice in the field of business analysis.