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In this article, you’ll learn about the 8-step business analysis process that you can apply whether you are in an agile environment or a traditional one, whether you are purchasing off-the-shelf software or building custom code, whether you are responsible for a multi-million dollar project or a one-week project.
Depending on the size and complexity of your project, you can go through these steps quickly or slowly, but to get to a successful outcome you must go through them. First, take a look at this process flow below which shows how the 8 steps fit together and how you might iterate through them on a typical business analyst project. Often as business analysts we are expected to dive in to a project and start contributing as quickly as possible to make a positive impact.
Clarifying your role as the business analyst so that you are sure to create deliverables that meet stakeholder needs.
Determining the primary stakeholders to engage in defining the project’s business objectives and scope, as well as any subject matter experts to be consulted early in the project. Understanding the existing systems and business processes so you have a reasonably clear picture of the current state that needs to change. It’s very common for business analysts and project managers to jump right in to defining the scope of the project.
Reconciling conflicting expectations so that the business community begins the project with a shared understanding of the business objectives and are not unique to one person’s perspective. Ensuring the business objectives are clear and actionable to provide the project team with momentum and context while defining scope and, later on, the detailed requirements. Discovering the primary business objectives sets the stage for defining scope, ensuring that you don’t end up with a solution that solves the wrong problem or, even worse, with a solution that no one can even determine is successful or not. A clear and complete statement of scope provides your project team the go-forward concept to realize the business needs. Defining a solution approach to determine the nature and extent of technology and business process changes to be made as part of implementing the solution to the primary business objectives. Drafting a scope statement and reviewing it with your key business and technology stakeholders until they are prepared to sign-off or buy-in to the document.
Confirming the business case to ensure that it still makes sense for your organization to invest in the project.

Scope is not an implementation plan, but it is a touchstone guiding all of the subsequent steps of the business analysis process and tasks by other project participants. Your business analysis plan will bring clarity to the business analysis process that will be used to successfully define the detailed requirements for this project. Choosing the most appropriate types of business analysis deliverables, given the project scope, project methodology, and other key aspects of the project context.
Defining the specific list of business analysis deliverables that will completely cover the scope of the project and identifying the stakeholders who will be part of the creation and validation of each deliverable. Without clear, concise, and actionable detailed requirements, implementation teams often flounder and fail to connect the dots in such a way that delivers on the original business case for the project. Eliciting the information necessary to understand what the business community wants from a specific feature or process change. Analyzing the information you’ve discovered and using it to create a first draft of one or more business analysis deliverables containing the detailed requirements for the project. Reviewing and validating each deliverable with appropriate business and technology stakeholders and asking questions to fill in any gaps. Effective business analysts consciously sequence your deliverables to be as effective as possible in driving the momentum of the project forward.
Reviewing the solution design to ensure it fulfills all of the requirements and looking for opportunities to meet additional business needs without increasing the technical scope of the project. Engaging with quality assurance professionals to ensure they understand the business context for the technical requirements. When appropriate, leading user acceptance testing efforts completed by the business community to ensure that the software implementation meets the needs of business end users. Your technology team can deliver a beautiful shiny new solution that theoretically meets the business objectives, but if your business users don’t use it as intended and go back to business-as-usual, your project won’t have delivered on the original objectives. Analyzing and developing interim and future state business process documentation that articulates exactly what changes need to be made to the business process. Training end users to ensure they understand all process and procedural changes or collaborating with training staff so they can create appropriate training materials and deliver the training.

Collaborating with business users to update other organizational assets impacted by the business process and technology changes.
This step is all about ensuring all members of the business community are prepared to embrace the changes that have been specified as part of the project.
Evaluating the actual progress made against the business objectives for the project to show the extent to which the original objectives have been fulfilled. Suggesting follow-up projects and initiatives to fully realize the intended business objectives of the project or to solve new problems that are discovered while evaluating the impact of this project. After completing this step, it’s likely you’ll uncover more opportunities to improve the business which will lead you to additional projects.
We’ll discuss all 8 steps in a lot more detail as part of our BA Essentials Master Class. Your investment includes 8 lessons in PDF and audio mp3 formats covering each of the 8 steps of the business analysis process, weekly guidepost emails to help you stay focused and motivated, and a planning template covering all of the key activities that you can use to create a business analysis plan. This step gets you the information you need to be successful and effective in the context of this particular project. However, this can lead to unnecessary headaches. Uncovering and getting agreement on the business needs early in a project and before scope is defined is the quickest path forward to a successful project. Your business analysis plan is going to answer many questions for you and your project team. Business analysts are increasingly getting involved in this final phase of the project to support the business. We face a lot of ambiguity as business analysts and it’s our job to clarify the scope, requirements, and business objectives as quickly as possible.

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