A BA’s understanding of how business stakeholders do their work is very critical to gathering the right requirements to meet their business goals. A BA, like a detective, investigates until he or she has uncovered the details about how the business operates: the good, the bad and the ugly. It’s true we need to understand the business vision and high-level business goals but the BA also needs to elicit a detailed understanding of the business processes. If not, this leads to missed requirements, rework, increased costs, and unsatisfied stakeholders. Some BAs may have experience in the business area under analysis while others do not. Whether you start with lots of insights or are completely new to the industry, there are a variety of ways to gain this understanding. Depending on the situation some apply better than others:
- Existing documentation (document analysis)
- Job shadowing/observation
- Facilitated requirements work sessions
- User task analysis or process walkthroughs
- Conference calls using collaboration tools
- Focus groups
These along with some others are mentioned in the IIBA BABOKTM. The better understanding a BA has about the essential business operations, the more effective he/she can be in assisting the business to create more cost-effective, time-saving, and powerful solutions. Write and tell us about which techniques work best for you and why.