The Three Most Important BA Factors

“Location, Location, Location” is a phrase used by Real Estate experts regarding the three most important factors in determining the desirability of a property. I have a phrase for the three most important factors in determining desirable business analysis, “Iteration, Iteration, Iteration.” This thought hit me yesterday when I was facilitating a meeting. There I am up in front of 20 people in a conference room and I see someone sleeping. Eyes shut, head bobbing…out! It happened to be my PM…yikes. Side note – I don’t worry if one person falls asleep in my meetings. When two or more start crashing I know I need to switch things up!

“Sleeping Beauty” reminded me of my requirements reviews earlier in my career. Participants did not fall asleep, but they told me those meetings were a bear to get through and mentally checked out 20 minutes into them. In the past I would wait until I had everything documented before having a review. The old throw it over the fence mentality. Knowing the importance of having key stakeholders review the requirements, I adapted my approach and started reviewing small chunks of requirements at a time. Then when all the requirements are complete a final review is painless.

Here is an illustration of a basic flow to explain the process.

3mostimportant_sml
Click for larger image

There are two huge benefits with this approach in addition to avoiding people falling asleep in your meetings.

  1. You validate that you are headed down the right path. By reviewing a draft you ensure you are headed down the right path. If you wait until the end to review what you captured a lot of time will be wasted if you missed the mark.
  2. Stakeholders can absorb small chunks. It is very hard in one sitting to absorb and consume an entire project’s requirements. By reviewing in iterations, it allows the stakeholder to focus on one area and really review the document.

When I speak to BAs about this approach a common reaction is, “I don’t like showing a customer something that is not perfect.” My response: “Get over it!” Requirements do not need to be perfect. They need to be accurate and enough for the team to build the right solution. It is better to find any issues early and make corrections.

I have also run into QA analysts and developers who don’t want to be bothered reviewing requirements before they are “complete”. You know what I tell them? Right, “Get over it!” Requirements definition is a team activity. All team members and business stakeholders need to work together to elicit, clarify and communicate requirements.

If you want to be a desirable business analyst …iterate, iterate, iterate! You’ll stay on track, and you’ll have a higher rate of success, making sure the entire team understands and agrees on the requirements, which will lead to successful projects.

All the best,

Kupe

Don’t forget to leave your comments below


Jonathan “Kupe” Kupersmith is Director of Client Solutions, B2T Training and has over 12 years of business analysis experience. He has served as the lead Business Analyst and Project Manager on projects in various industries. He serves as a mentor for business analysis professionals and is a Certified Business Analysis Professional (CBAP) through the IIBA and is BA Certified through B2T Training. Kupe is a connector and has a goal in life to meet everyone! Contact Kupe at [email protected].