By “personal” I don’t mean that you need to keep your requirements planning to yourself.  No secret diary should be used requiring your project manager to snoop around your desk late at night to discover when you will be done with your requirements tasks.  Your requirements plan needs to be shared with the project team and all stakeholders involved in the project.  What I mean is that no two Business Analysts will have an identical plan and that is OK.  There are a variety of skills you need to be an excellent BA and every BA has different strengths and weaknesses.  Estimating the tasks to complete should be similar from BA to BA, but the time to complete each task is personal.

Consider this analogy.  The requirements tasks are like a person’s hand and the BA’s time estimate is like a person’s finger print.  For the most part, we all have the same basic hand structure, but no one has the same finger prints.

BAs work on projects that have many variables impacting the decision of which requirements tasks should be included and determining time estimates for those tasks.  They include the type of project, the business and project risks, the time frame allotted for the project, the stakeholders involved, the number of integration points with other systems, etc.  Over time a Business Analyst can look over all of those factors and confidently determine the tasks needed to be accomplished for a project.  Planning the right tasks can be done with little regard to the BA resource working on the project.  The individual Business Analyst needs to be considered to determine the most accurate time estimates.

As an excellent BA you need to track the actual time it takes to complete each requirement task for your projects.  The more history you accumulate the better you will be able to estimate how long each task will take to complete.  When you are planning the next project refer back to the actual data to better estimate your time.

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