Business Analysis in the times of COVID-19

Business needs that are linked closely with customer needs change dramatically during crises. During lock-down periods the way companies interact with customers has changed.

New technology solutions, methods of delivery and processes change are emerging. Diachronically companies strive to protect their sustainability and survival. A crisis may be an opportunity to evaluate if they are in the correct path towards this. A strong a call for understanding the long-term strategic needs of the organization and the immediate needs of customers signifies the need for high effective business analysis methods and practices.

Business Analysis has as a core activity the elicitation of genuine needs conducting needs assessment and the contribution in maximizing value for the internal and external environment with a viable and effective solution recommendation. Defining accurate the evolving needs and understanding the value will be transmitted via a solution is more critical than ever especially in times of uncertainty, ambiguity and complexity. We have to keep in mind that Business Analyst’s responsibility is to solve the problem, and get that product into the business environment.

A crisis affect certain aspects of BA everyday routine. Business Analysis approach has to be suitable for the specific conditions. Iterative planning may be used as long-term planning is rendered ineffective by rapid change and great uncertainty: the next step in the plan is based on the latest learning. The need for effective solutions delivered with speed and quality is unadaptable during this health crisis. The methods of eliciting requirements has to be tailored to the context’s special characteristics. For example a workshop or a focus group has to be performed via digital tools. Also volatile nature of needs that will be interpreted as requirements result to the need of change, speed and proactive approach. Many iterative cycles of requirement elicitation may be necessary during the shrink projects lifecycle.


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Agile Business Analysis may be a response

The pandemic of the coronavirus has pointed the benefits of agile mindset. As per Agile Extension to the BABOKv2® Guide, Agile Business Analysis is the practice of business analysis in an agile context with an agile mindset. Agile Business Analysis can provide a competitive advantage in fast-paced and complex environments. 

Agility is not only about fast. It’s about going effectively in order not to waste unnecessary assets in the route to complete your project. Agile in no case means to surpass planning but it gives certain levels of flexibility to adjust planning in order to aim to the highest value with the lowest costs. 

Some questions to answer before proceeding with an agile approach:

1. Find if agile techniques are appropriate for the specific type of project.
2. Does the organizational and industry standards allow an agile approach? 
3. Are the people aligned with the agile methodology that will be used? 
4. Are you fully aware of the final products stakeholders’ aspirations?