Critical Business Analysis Mistakes That Can Kill Your Software Project

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A big responsibility rests on the Business Analysis Department in your organization for gathering all the requirements from the stakeholders and transmitting them to the technical teams. There is, hence, no way the Business Analysts can go wrong in any of their roles.

While reading the above lines, your mind must have steered you to that situation when your project managers would have been plagued with overload of responsibilities—handling even the project requirements in addition to the development. You kept wondering why things went wrong–costing you time and your mental peace—but you still could not figure out a solution.

A business analyst is, thus, a very crucial resource for your organization. However, in the Business Analysis journey, your team or department is likely to commit mistakes. For learning more on the importance of Business Analysis, read our blog post How Business Analysis Can Transform An Idea Into A Remarkable Software Product.

Consider the following 8 mistakes you may be committing and how to avoid them:

1.Focusing More On User Experience Than Requirements

It is likely for most BAs to start visualizing layouts right after receiving the client requirements. Many would fall into the trap of doing this, without preparing the wireframes and considering the algorithms. This is one the biggest and most common mistakes here. The ideal way of going about it to first prepare wireframes and going further step by step.

2. Not Involving All Relevant Stakeholders

Solutions providers, such as developers, designers and testers, may wish to examine the levels of detail in requirements artifacts. Consequently, they may wish to discuss this topic prior to notifying the client. A business analyst does not gain anything in the complete project life cycle without having these stakeholders from the very beginning of the project. Customers may be fine with the way analysts in your company work, but project stakeholders may not necessarily feel the same way.

One of the most successful ways to improve upon both the quality and communication methods of your analysts is to have standup meetings or scrum meetings, so as to inject some energy into the proceedings. It may also help to have the scrum master be the manager of that particular project.

3. Being Overly Dependent On Templates

A document template clearly sets expectations about which types of requirements are to be focused on in the project. Many templates are solely focused on software requirements, and thus ignore many other areas which could be of use to business analysts. These include factors such as changes to business policies, job functions, relationships, and workflow capabilities. In addition, many document templates tend to be either too broad (which can hamper their usefulness within a specific initiative), or too narrowly focused (which may fail to recognize the differences between projects).

The effectiveness of the document template may diminish as soon as the project is completed. However, it’s important to remember that the software requirements live on for a long while along with the project solution. Take a look at the sample below:

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3. Attempting to Solve Multiple Issues in One Go

Often a business analyst may spread himself or herself too thin when trying to attend to too many matters simultaneously. One can certainly focus on incremental changes in different projects and monitor their status. However, focusing on every little bit in a single project can hamper one’s productivity. It’s important to understand the complexity of the project before attempting to implement some type of far-reaching approach that could backfire.

First, analyze the success of a particular strategy, then try to find the gaps in it in order to improve it for the next time. In addition, be prepared to abandon some of the changes which didn’t work successfully.Always remember: you should tailor your methodologies according to the project scope and size. This is how to get things done right!

4. Failing to Properly Document Discussions

Timely meetings with internal teams are vital, as communication with stakeholders. However, it is most important to document items instead of simply dictating them verbally. Business analysts are known for their communicative skills—especially in the environment of the meeting room. But no matter how convincingly they may speak, it’s still crucial to document these discussions so as to ensure accuracy of instruction, as well as accountability.

5. Lacking Focus On Purpose and Business Objectives

Suggestions, User Experience (UX), the latest trends, most effective practices—all of these are important. Yet focusing too much on just one can lead one to ruin, missing the true objectives that one was supposed to achieve in the project. Instead, one should divide all these demanding factors into phases. This means correctly assessing requirements and suggesting the best practices and latest trends to improve the User Experience as a whole. It’s vital to look at the big picture.

Know this: business analysis is no small undertaking. It can be a highly subjective practice, with unique perspectives and unorthodox strategies. You never know what may click within a customer’s mind to take your company to new heights. Therefore, it’s always important to try—while also having a structure in place to ensure that you, and your project, can achieve the greatest possible result.

7.Doing Analysis Paralysis – Too Much Analysis

Excessive analysis can land you in trouble. When your time investment exceeds the volumes of favourable outcomes, it is clear signal that you are getting into too much of analysis. This, basically, implies that, during brainstorming a BA may go overboard in listing the requirements – to an extent that is beyond the actual scope of requirements raised by the client.

Consider the following example. In project ‘A’ the client had a requirement of creating a video sharing website for his organization. He listed out some basic features which he wanted you to include in the website. These requirements also included the design elements. Here, in a bid to add visual value to the website, you end up asking the designers to add all “unnecessary” elements in the website, which look impressive, but were not listed in the actual requirements raised by the client. Now, imagine your client’s annoyance when he realizes that your excess analysis and subsequent actions resulted into deviation from the core functionality of the features. Hence, abstain from this.

8.Taking Too Long To Bring Everything On Table

This is about holding on to the requirements and not transmitting them in one go. In an attempt to avoid information overload, many a times, a business analyst falls into the trap of disbursing information or requirements in fractions instead of listing them altogether. This, rather casts a shadow on the development since the team doesn’t have all the requirements available at hand.

Conclusion

Business Analysis is one the most crucial units in an organization and no business can run smoothly without having a BA in place. It is very common for BAs to use the phrase “well begun is half done” when they list out the importance of their roles in projects within any organization. Since all the project requirements and initial interactions of a client are handled by BAs, they cannot afford to go wrong in listing any of the project requirements. It is, hence, imperative for them to consider the top mistakes they are vulnerable to and avoid them to yield better business outcomes.

If you are looking for any help on building any digital solution for better customer or employee engagement, please contact us at [email protected].

Also read How a Project Specification Document Can Save Your Project from Disaster.

Sumeet Bajaj

About the Author

Sumeet Bajaj is working as a Senior Business Analyst at Net Solutions.

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