Sometimes project stakeholders I work for or with aren’t familiar with the role or the value of the business analyst. I’ve posted about Karl Wiegers’ Bills of Rights previously, and think those are a great way to introduce the role to a new business stakeholder who may not be familiar with the types of value a BA can provide, and what he/she should do to help the process along.
A few days back, while waiting for a meeting to begin, I jotted down a few quick ideas of my own that I thought I might share with stakeholders with whom I hadn’t previously worked if questions arose over what help and services I can provide by fulfilling my role as a BA.
I didn’t put a great deal of time into this list, and it is by no means conclusive, but I thought I’d share in case it may be of value to someone.
As a business analyst, I can help you:
- Develop your business case, and determine whether your business case is viable and warrants investment of company resources.
- Distinguish a business problem’s symptoms from its root cause, and help you discover the true root cause.
- Ensure that all of the key questions have been asked, and their responses documented.
- Ensure that issues are captured, resolved, and their resolutions documented.
- Provide you with the honest perspective of a disinterested “third party” who is beholden to no particular business unit or stakeholder.
- Make sure that the right decision makers are involved in the project and have an opportunity to provide input.
- Identify all the systems, processes and users that are impacted by the business problem, and/or the solution.
- Ensure that the system/process users’ interests are known and communicated to other project stakeholders.
- Fill in gaps in your current-state process documentation. You need to understand how things work today if you’re goal is to fix today’s problem.
- Understand the solution options that are available, and help you and the other project stakeholders prioritize those options based on their merits, and eventually select the best option.
- Feel confident that those who will implement the solution understand what is required of them and of the systems or processes under their purview.
- Provide you with quality specifications and process documentation that will serve as a valuable reference regarding decisions made and solutions implemented.
As I said, this is a quick-hit list. Some of the items are rather specific; others could be decomposed into numerous other sub-items. What items might you add? Are there items included here that you think fall outside of the normal responsibilities of a business analyst?
By Jonathan Babcock