Most Business Analysts would have encountered a scenario in their project where a Business Stakeholder might feel like he/she did not get all of what was asked in the requirement deliverable while the Business Analyst might feel he/she has documented and accounted for all of the Stakeholder asks in the requirement deliverable. If we think about how a Business Analyst landed in this scenario – an easy answer that comes to mind may be “What you (Stakeholder) Say is What you Get”. While that may be true to some extent that cannot be the only answer as well. This scenario not only results in an unhappy Stakeholder; it also negatively impacts the project deliverable timelines and may even put the project at RISK. None of this is what any Stakeholder or Business Analyst would want to see happen.
Well then – How can we avoid this scenario? I think the answer would be that the Business Analyst takes the ownership of Bridging the Gap by working closely with the Stakeholder to ensure what is said by the Stakeholder is complete and precise. This can be achieved by using some of the basic yet strong business analysis techniques listed below.
- Effective Communication Skills – Be clear and concise
- Prep in Advance – Review & Understand existing business process flows (if available)
- Brainstorming Sessions – Ask the right questions on the topic to guide through a collaborative session with the Stakeholder about the problem in hand
- Facilitate the sessions but practice Active Listening
- Follow-up Interview/JAD Sessions – Digest the information provided and follow-up with any additional probing questions to ensure the all of the needs are captured
- Review Notes/Flows/Deliverable drafts – Be transparent on the work with the Stakeholder along the way
Implementing the above techniques will give our Business Analyst a deliverable that has a better chance of meeting the Stakeholder expectations and we also have a happy Stakeholder. WIN-WIN !!!
Fun Fact : Even the best requirements gatherer will miss things. Why? The Business Analyst and the Stakeholders are human… There will always be something that the Business Analyst might have forgotten to ask or the Stakeholder might have forgotten to mention or things might change or priorities change … the only way to deal with these are to plan ahead and build in time into the project for requirements management.