I recently read a sales blog post, Why Sales Scripts are a Waste of Time, where the author talked about the need for sales professionals to adapt their approach based on the customer they are selling to and not follow a standard script or process they learned through sales training. Rather than follow a process step by step a sales professional should use the steps as a framework.
The same applies to the business analysis community and a business analysis process. There are techniques, skills, tasks and approaches you have at your disposal. It is the collection of those that will help you adapt your approach for each project. The projects our community works on are not to build widgets. The Ford Motor Company requires a consistent manufacturing process. Ford wants to make sure every Ford Fusion that is built looks and acts the same. They fine tune their manufacturing process and make sure it is as repeatable as possible. There are steps that are followed A to Z with no deviation to ensure consistency. Yes, different lines of a model include different steps, but you get the picture.
In manufacturing following a process step by step is a good thing. In our world this is not the case. Following an A to Z process for every project is a bad thing. Every project is different. Different people, different risks, different priorities, etc. You need to adapt your process to meet the needs of the project. With that said there are two must steps. One, plan your approach for the initiative and two, conduct a retrospective to learn and adapt for future initiatives. There should be a consistent start and a consistent end. Everything in between should be flexible.
At the beginning of a project or iteration you and the team need to plan the approach. The team needs to determine what steps you’ll take during the project. You as the expert need to provide your thoughts and advice for the analysis steps, but you should not determine your approach in a vacuum. Your team needs to buy-in to the approach and ensure their needs will be met to ensure a successful project.
Things never go perfectly, so you should be inspecting your approach as you go and make adjustments. At the end of a project or iteration you should inspect and learn to improve for your next initiative.
Let me end by stating I don’t think you should have to make everything up in between your plan and retrospective for every project. You should have a base approach that you use as a framework. Just use that as a starting point to add and/or remove steps to customize your approach for the specific project.
All the best,
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