Tuesday, 21 November 2017 07:08

A Project Full of Business Analysts

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If you are your company’s only Business Analyst, you might have it easier than the rest of us.

You make the BA rules and you are always on the same page with yourself. You read all the articles on how to gather requirements and you have the documentation down pat. From beginning to end, you have all the answers, you understand the business need perfectly and you know things will go as planned. In your “the only BA” world, there are no surprises for you unless you forgot something or you assumed something or the change failed. My point is, you have the control and the full responsibility.

When BAs share a change or a project, things can get tricky … fast:

  1.  Get the BIG picture: If all of the BAs who will be involved in the project do not know the why, what and when, problems are a sure thing. For this reason, we want to avoid coming in late to a project or miss a kick-off meeting at all costs. We may not be good at having the right people in the room, so BAs need to be aware of initiatives coming down the road and make sure we are included day one. Every BA involved needs to start on the same page and begin communicating with each other right away. “Here are my take-aways” and “My change starts when you are done, but before ….” etc. I know, the big picture changes, but multiple BAs need to know where they fit in relation to different requirements. Chase that moving target down!
  2. It’s all about Bandwidth: We are assigned to the same project, but I am ready to go and you are still finishing a different project. This means we have to talk about our bandwidth and our calendars – business and personal. We can agree on a date to start, but if you are OOO two weeks later for four days, I need to know this. My testing may need to be put on hold, I may start another task early while waiting for you to return. Share calendars!

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  4. The Multiple requirements: Our individual requirements may be different in why we need to make a change or build a new process, but we know for a fact that we are linked together by a common project. BAs that try to run alone during a multiple BA project end up taking everyone down because the loner was positive their changes did not impact anyone else. We need to look for those points where our process starts, updates, communicates and hands off to the next step in the big picture process. Meet with the BA that is making changes that flow into yours or just before your changes. Document this info. If you are updating, find the BA who supports what you are updating/adding/cancelling/communicating and make sure the format is expected and the timing is correct. Document this info. Understand what happens when your personal process change ends. Find the BA who takes it from there and make sure they have what they need from you. Document it.
  5. We got test plans! : My test plan tells me I have my ducks in a row, just the way I planned. What it doesn’t tell me is how my changes fit in with anyone else’s changes or an existing process. Reach out to the other BAs on the project and ask them to let you know when they are ready to test with you. Don’t be surprised when that BA who is used to working in a silo pushes back. This is our opportunity to make all the BAs better by saying we want our project to run smoothly. ;)
  6. Uh-oh: Such a great feeling when the changes move to production and things are working as expected! Yes, but when something goes wrong it is also a great feeling having BAs working together to solve the problem. Nothing is your fault. You worked together and communicated about the why, what and when. You all built the new process together and a hiccup anywhere along the line means everyone has the hiccups. You can hear the conversation now – “We tested this piece, right?”, “What did we miss here?” and (my favorite) “Umm, I never heard that was a must have, did you?”
    A team failure is quickly another team win when the group solution is found and the lessons learned are discussed after the fix is in. This kind of win is huge!

So, get on the same page, communicate regularly, support each other and provide a second set of eyes. Know your peers that are involved and what kind of knowledge they can share with you and let them know you are available to return the favor! BAs working together on requirements and changes make for a strong project.

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Janet Walker

Janet Walker is a Business Analyst with 25 years of experience in the mortgage and technology business.  She is currently on the technology team supporting a national online mortgage and technology company.  Janet’s focus continues to be supporting every client, every time, no exceptions, no excuses.  You can reach out to Janet on Twitter @JanetWalker_BA or email her at  JWalker55555@outlook.com

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