A Business Analyst is someone whose role and function is ever changing with organizational evolution. The pace of change has increased over the last few years as more and more organizations shift towards a technology enabled future. Technology does provide the opportunity to harness efficiencies in process automation/removal as well as improved speed to change.
To allow for the change it is important for the organization to understand the pivotal role the Business Analyst plays within the realization of organizational development.
The Business Analyst role has developed into a mix of an internal consultant to a financial expert. When I consider the Business Analyst it is with the mindset of an internal consultant supporting the organization throughout the project life cycle.
With this said, I propose the following definition of Business Analyst:
"A business analyst is someone who analyzes and documents business, processes or systems. Assesses and recommending the business model or its integration with technology."
There were a number of key questions posed whilst conducting research:
- What are the key questions Business Analysts need to ask?
- How can a Business Analysis plan be effectively communicated?
- What supporting documentation would assist all Business Analysts?
- How can a book become a playbook to support current and future needs of Business Analysts?
Extensive research, personal experience, group work, and collaboration have answered these questions. Each section of this book seeks out to provide insight to the Business Analysis activities to support the Business Analyst complete their duties more efficiently.
The CANVAS is not a magic pill that will resolve all your Business Analysis concerns/issues. It is a flexible approach to complex matters.
That sounds rather grand, what is meant by this statement is the fact that the CANVAS is a robust or troubleshooting tool that can be applied to the most complex of Business Analysis activities in a simple, yet refined manner. The CANVAS is repeatable and easy to share with subject matter experts (SME’s) and other stakeholders.
There are some suggested questions in the sections to follow that will help you build our your Canvas for sharing and communicating with project stakeholders.
Section - Project Objectives
- What are the high-level expectations of the project?
- What is the project trying to change/improve/remove?
- Is this project part of a larger program, if yes, what is the expectation of the program?
- Has there been a project plan development for all project activity (beyond Business Analysis activity)?
- Is the business edging towards a specific outcome (try to identify embedded bias within the organization)?
- What systems/processes are affected by this project engagement?
Section – Stakeholders
- Who are the Stakeholder groups affected by this project?
- Where are these Stakeholder groups located?
- How complex is each Stakeholder group?
- What is the Attitude / Influence of each Stakeholder?
- What is the impact of the project on each Stakeholder?
- What is the Decision-making Authority of each Stakeholder?
Section – Deliverables
- What is the Deliverable key area(s)?
- How detailed is the Deliverable required to be?
- Is there an opportunity to review previous Deliverables?
- What is the approval/sign off expectations for each Deliverable?
- What is the sequence of the Deliverables (if more than one)?
- What are project dependencies aligned to each Deliverable?
Section - Communication Approach
- Who needs to be communicated?
- What does each group need to understand in the communication?
- What form does each group require?
- Who is the owner of this communication transmission?
- How often does each communication need to be sent?
- Is this communication part of the larger project communication approach?
Section - Key Dates
- What is the overall project completion date?
- What is the sequence of the project (key tasks/phases)?
- When do we expect each key task/phase to be completed?
- What are the elements of the key tasks/phases relating to Business Analysis activity?
- When is the Business Analysis resource expected to be off boarded from the project?
- What is the expected Business Analysis resource availability/allocation on the overall project?
Section – Responsibilities
- Who is the project sponsor and steering committee (if available)?
- Who are the SME identified for each key Business Analysis Activity?
- What are business units in which the Business Analysis activities will take place?
- Who are the Talent allocated to the Business Analysis project (who is doing work and producing deliverables)?
- Who is accountable for the overall deliverables / Business Analysis Activity and does this person(s) change depending upon the deliverable?
Section - Target Operating Model (TOM)
PEOPLE QUESTIONS –
- Will the project affect staffing hours of operating?
- Will labor structure change (number of people required to complete the role(s))?
- Does the skills/capabilities of the resource base change?
- What processes are effected within the future state?
- How do these processes change the overall organization value stream?
- What are the process dependencies?
- What is the customer journey impacts of the change to process?
TECHNOLOGY QUESTIONS –
- Which Legacy systems will be impacted by the change?
- How is the enterprise architecture impacted by the project activity?
- What are the process touch points impacted with technology changes?
Section – Scheduling
- How long is the Business Analysis project activity (i.e. when is it starting and expected completed date)
- What resources are available to support the Business Analysis activity?
- What percentage of the time are these resources allocated to the Business Analysis specific activity (be mindful the resource may be working on other elements of the project beyond the Business Analyst activity)?
- What are the deliverables or their sequence?
Explore more of the Business Analysis Canvas:
The Business Analysis Canvas has been designed to quickly be adapted to meet your project needs. The questions help guide the Business Analysis through the steps of gathering and completing the information required to effectively kick off the Business Analysis project.
You can explore more of the CANVAS by downloading CANVAS templates, tools, PowerPoint side decks and additional information from www.BusinessAnalysisCanvas.com