Business Analysis Planning
Table of Contents
- What is Business Analysis Planning?
- Tools and Techniques for Business Analysis Planning
- Business Analysis Plan Example
- What is Business Analysis Monitoring?
- Tools and Techniques for Business Analysis Monitoring
Business analysis planning process helps the business analyst set expectations by encouraging discussion and agreement on how the business analysis work will be undertaken and avoids confusion regarding roles and responsibilities during execution.
Business analysis monitoring ensures that product information remains accurate from the point when product information has been approved through its implementation. Monitoring includes managing changes to product information and determining recommended actions to maintain the quality of the product.
What is Business Analysis Planning?
Conduct Business Analysis Planning includes the activities performed by the business analysis team to obtain shared agreement regarding the business analysis activities the team will be performing, and the assignment of roles, responsibilities, and skill sets for the tasks required to successfully complete the business analysis work.
The outcomes of conducting business analysis planning activities are assembled into a business analysis planthat may be formally documented and approved or may be less formal depending on how the team operates.
Whether the business analysis plan is formally documented or not, the results from all of the planning process should be considered in the overall business analysis approach. Failing to make planning decisions can result in a less than optimal approach when performing the business analysis work.
Business analysis planning process will help you as a business analyst produce an estimation of the level of effort for business analysis activities, and assemble a BA plan from the component approaches and the estimates.
When developing the plan, it is a good practice to provide explanations for the planning choices made. For example, for projects using an adaptive life cycle, the depth and cadence of analysis activities will be planned differently from projects that use a predictive life cycle.
To start business analysis planning in your project, you need to have the project charter and business analysis performance assessment. Business analysis performance assessments may suggest ways to adapt business analysis processes and techniques to optimize their value in working with a group of stakeholders.
A project charter formally authorizes the existence of a portfolio component, program, or project; establishes its boundaries; and creates a record of its initiation. A charter provides an initial understanding of scope and provides the context and rationale for a product development initiative. Together with the business analysis planning approaches, it becomes the basis for identifying which aspects of business analysis should be conducted and for estimating the level of effort involved.
Tools and Techniques for Business Analysis Planning
A range of business analysis tools and techniques is available for developing the business analysis plan in the project,below are some of the commonly used ones:
A burndown chart is a graphical representation used to count the remaining quantity of some trackable aspect of a project over time. Burndown charts help visualize progress, stalled efforts, or backsliding where the remaining quantity of what is being tracked increases over time.
Typically, teams working within an adaptive life cycle use a burndown chart to track the remaining product backlog items in a backlog from iteration to iteration. Some adaptive practitioners track hours of work remaining or tasks remaining, although other adaptive practitioners would be worried that detailed tracking of hours or tasks could lead to micromanagement of the team’s work.
For efforts using an adaptive life cycle, it is common for the work during early iterations to reveal several adjustments for requirements and the product backlog items with which they are associated.
New requirements and product backlog items also tend to emerge in early iterations as more is learned about the solution. This additional work that is uncovered adds to the number of product backlog items remaining, which may cause a bump in the burndown chart.
It is an analysis model used to break down information described at a high level into a hierarchy of smaller, more discrete parts. For estimation purposes, typical objects often analyzed with decomposition may include scope, work products, deliverables, processes, functions, or any other object types that can be subdivided into smaller elements.
For product development efforts where discrete business analysis tasks and deliverables are estimated separately, decomposition models can be used to identify what needs to be estimated and ultimately sequenced into a business analysis work plan.
Business analysis planning relies heavily on estimation techniques, they are used to provide a quantitative assessment of likely amounts or outcomes. Typical estimation techniques for an effort can include one or more of the following: Affinity estimation, Delphi, bottom-up estimation, estimation poker, relative estimation, and wideband Delphi.
While developing the business analysis plan in an adaptive approach, you should use the product backlog. The product backlog is the list of all product backlog items, typically user stories, requirements, or features, that need to be delivered for a solution. Individual items in the backlog are estimated as part of selecting, in prioritized order, those items that the team is about to commit to deliver in an upcoming iteration.
In an adaptive life cycle, the timing of work done by a team to plan and commit to what is going to be delivered depends upon which adaptive approach the team uses. When using an adaptive approach, backlog management and Kanban boards may be used as part of the business analysis planning.
Rolling Wave Planning
This is an iterative planning technique in which the work to be accomplished in the near term is planned in detail, while the work in the future is planned at a higher level.
From the perspective of business analysis planning, business analysts working as part of a predictive life cycle could be responsible for or could work with the project manager to create rolling wave estimates for business analysis tasks at intervals specified within the overall project schedule.
Work Breakdown Structure
A planning technique for projects using a predictive life cycle. WBS is a hierarchical decomposition of the total scope of work to be carried out by the project team to accomplish the project objectives and create the required deliverables.
Often, a WBS is subdivided by project phase and by component or deliverable within that phase. The WBS becomes the basis for creating a schedule that sequences the work that needs to be accomplished, based on estimates, priorities, dependencies, and constraints. For projects using a predictive life cycle, a WBS is typically created initially during business analysis planning and then revised at regularly scheduled intervals, such as phase gates.
From the perspective of BA planning, business analysts would be responsible for the portion of the WBS that focuses on business analysis tasks.
Business Analysis Plan Example
A business analysis plan, if formally documented, may be a subplan of the portfolio, program, or project management plan or may be a separate plan. It defines the business analysis approach through the assembly of the sub approaches across all Knowledge Areas.
A BA plan can include an estimation of level of effort for business analysis activities.It covers the entire business analysis approach, from stakeholder engagement to decisions about how to manage requirements.
It is broader than a requirements management plan, which focuses on how requirements will be elicited, analyzed, documented, and managed. Whether formally documented or not, the plan provides a summary of the agreements reached for all of its components.
Whenever a written business analysis plan is a required document, it should be written in a manner that will be easily understood, because it will be reviewed and may need to be approved by key stakeholders.
The business analyst should build the plan collaboratively with key stakeholders to ensure engagement, achieve alignment, and attain buy in. Planning is an area where project managers and business analysts will find their roles overlapping, especially with respect to stakeholder identification and engagement, communication, risk identification, estimating, and development of work plans.
What is Business Analysis Monitoring?
We cannot mention the business analysis monitoring without talking about traceability. Traceability is the ability to track information across the product life cycle by establishing linkages between objects. These linkages are also known as relationships or dependencies.
Traceability is sometimes qualified as bidirectional, or forward and backward, because requirements are traced in more than one direction. For instance, backward traceability is performed from the requirements to the scope features and business goals and objectives that triggered them; forward traceability is performed from the requirements to design and test components and, ultimately, the final product.
As part of the business analysis planning efforts in the project, the business analysis traceability and monitoring approach should be determined, and included in the BA plan.
The business analysis traceability and monitoring approach defines the traceability and change management processes for the portfolio, program, project, or product. Each should be structured at a level of formality that is sufficient to meet the needs of the portfolio, program, project, and product.
The business analysis traceability approach defines the requirements architecture that will be used to specify how requirements, models, and other product information will be related to one another, including which components of product information will be most appropriate to trace to and how they will be traced to one another.
The traceability and monitoring approach defines how traceability and change management activities will be performed throughout the portfolio, program, or project. The traceability components of the approach include types of objects to trace, types of relationships, the level of tracing detail required, and information about where tracing information will be tracked.
The business analysis monitoring components of the approach include how changes are proposed and reviewed, how decisions are documented and communicated, and how changes are made to existing product information. Both approaches describe the roles and responsibilities and how the information is stored.
Managing changes is part of the business analysis monitoring on the project. It is the process of examining changes or defects that arise during a project by understanding the value and impact of the changes. As changes are agreed upon, information about those changes is reflected wherever necessary to support prioritization and eventual product development.
Managing changes to requirements and other product information entails maintaining the integrity of the requirements and the associated deliverables and work products and ensuring that each new requirement aligns with the business need and business objectives.
The key benefit of a requirements change process is that it provides a process to manage changes to approved requirements while minimizing product and project risks associated with uncontrolled and unapproved change.
Tools and Techniques for Business Analysis Monitoring
A range of business analysis tools and techniques is available for managing changes and monitoring business analysis activities in the project, below are some of the commonly used ones:
It is a technique used in adaptive approaches to maintain the list of backlog items to be worked on during a project. The list is ranked in order of business value or importance to the customer and sized by the development team so that the highest-value items are selected and delivered in the next development cycle.
As part of business analysis monitoring, proposed changes or new stories are added to the bottom of the backlog, where they sit until the next time the backlog is reprioritized. In adaptive life cycles, backlog management is the technique used to manage changes.
Change Control Tools
On projects following a predictive life cycle, change control tools can be manual or automated and are used to manage change requests and the resulting decisions. These tools may already be in place within the organization. When a change control tool is being introduced on a project, the needs of all stakeholders involved in the change control process should be considered.
Group Decision Making
Techniques that can be used in a group setting to bring participants to a final decision on an issue or topic under discussion. Group decision-making techniques can be used in conjunction with other techniques to decide whether proposed changes should be acted on.
Impact analysis is a technique used to evaluate a change in relation to how it will affect related elements. When a change to product information is proposed, an impact analysis is performed to evaluate the proposed change in relation to how it will affect components of the portfolio, program, project, and product, including requirements and other product information.
As a conclusion, business analysis planning and monitoring activities should be performed carefully by the business analyst. Developing the business analysis plan will help you as the business analyst aggregates all of the project approaches into a cohesive set of agreements and decisions about how business analysis will be conducted.
The business analysis monitoring approach includes how changes are proposed and reviewed, how decisions are documented and communicated, and how changes are made to existing product information, roles and responsibilities and how the information is stored.
The Business analysis plan is the roadmap to all later business analysis tasks. It describes the scope of the work, which should include a Work Breakdown Structure, and may contain an activity list with estimates for these activities. It may be a summary or detailed, depending on the size of the project.
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