Business analysis planning determines how a business analyst will gather, analyze, and communicate requirements, as well as the deliverables to be developed. A business analysis plan is an output of the process and consists of information such as how to plan the business analysis approach, plan for requirements management, define other’s roles and responsibilities, and understand the project context. It’s essential to conduct stakeholder analysis, plan for business analysis approach, process, activities, and factor in business analysis planning considerations, and collaborate with the project manager as outlined below.
Let’s start by looking at the approach to take and some of the business planning processes or activities.
The business analysis approach
The business analysis approach is an outline of how a business analyst is going to execute business analysis activities. The approach also defines the project methodology, project life cycle, deliverables, activities, and timelines to be considered. It also includes the roles and responsibilities, requirement gathering and analysis approach, tools and techniques, change control procedures, reviews and approval methods, as well as stakeholder engagement.
Business Analysis Planning Processes and Best Practices
Plan for requirements management
Requirements planning is part of business analysis planning and defines how requirements will be gathered, elicited, and documented. The Requirements Management Plan documents all the necessary information that is essential to effectively manage project requirements. The plan includes the project definition, prioritization, traceability, and delivery. Requirements can also be prioritized for implementation, using a requirements prioritization approach such as MoSCoW, which is short for Must have, Should have, Could have, and Won’t have.
Define roles and responsibilities
A business analyst is responsible for allocating and communicating business analysis responsibilities to project team members. Common responsibilities to be allocated on an information technology project include the developer, trainer, tester, etc. By making use of the Responsibility Assignment Matrix (RAM), also known as the RACI matrix, different levels of involvement a particular stakeholder has in the project can be represented. The model defines each role’s level by responsible (R), accountable (A), consulted (C), and informed (I).
Understand the project context
Business analysts should understand the project life cycle this shows the phases involved in the implementation of the project. The project methodology used, such as PMBOK, PRINCE2, and Scrum, will have an effect on the business analysis activities. Tools such as SWOT analysis should also be used to perform an analysis of the internal (Strength and Weaknesses) and external (Opportunities and Threats) that may affect the project. A business analyst should also understand other aspects such as project size, budget, risk, and schedule that may have an impact on business analysis activities.
Conduct a stakeholder analysis
A stakeholder is a group or person who will be affected by or may have influence over a project. The Stakeholder analysis process identifies project stakeholders, determining how they may impact the project and how they will contribute to the requirements gathering and analysis process. Stakeholder identification and understanding of their roles and responsibilities will be essential for the business analyst to be able to identify the engagement levels. Tools that can be used in stakeholder analysis are the stakeholder register and the stakeholder engagement assessment matrix.
Plan for business analysis activities
Planning of business analysis activities involves determining the scope of work for business analysis activities, activities to be performed, efforts required to perform the work, identifying deliverables to be produced, and methods of measuring the progress. A task list created in Microsoft Excel is one way of representing the list of activities to be performed as well as the resources needed. Other software tools such as Microsoft Project can be used for graphical representation of the business analysis work to be performed on a project in the form of a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS), Gantt chart, and network diagram.
Plan for business analysis communication
Planning for business analysis communication involves determining the information to be communicated, the delivery method, the audience, the format, and the frequency of communication for stakeholders. A business analysis communications plan describes the proposed structure and schedule for communications regarding business analysis activities for the benefit of the stakeholders. Typical communications by a business analyst on a project will include providing status updates on business analysis work as well as information on any issues or risks encountered.
Collaborate with project managers
Project managers and business analysts work with project stakeholders from the initiation of a project to its closure. Project managers and business analysts work together to define the project scope, business needs, deliverables, and acceptance criteria. The project manager develops the project plan, and the business analyst develops the project scope, business analysis plan the requirements management plan that will be agreed upon by the project manager and stakeholders before implementation. The business analyst can also be involved in performing User Acceptance Testing (UAT) to ensure that system requirements meet the business needs.