Business analysis is an important aspect for succeeding in product engineering projects. By identifying problems and implementing solutions to overcome the shortcomings. In this blog, we discuss the nuances of business analysis.. What exactly is business analysis or BA? It is basically all about understanding the business needs. BA uses a specific set of tools and techniques to reveal and analyze the needs or potential opportunities of stakeholders or customers. The right BA process can determine the details behind a user story, or those requirements that were collected as part of the scope of a project and elevate it by elucidating additional meaning.
What is Business Analysis?
IIBA defines the role of business analyst as “an agent of change… Business analysis is used to identify and articulate the need for change in how organizations work, and to facilitate that change. Business analysts identify and define the solutions that will maximize the value delivered by an organization to its stakeholders.” As change agents, analysts can impact in deriving solutions for business problems by having an innate curiosity about the problem at hand.
The Project Management Institute takes a different approach in defining business analysis. According to PMI, business analysis is the application of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to determine problems and identify business needs, identify and recommend viable solutions for meeting those needs, elicit document and manage stakeholder requirements in order to meet business and project objectives, and facilitate the successful implementation of the product, service, or end result of the program or project. PMI takes a view from the project manager point of view.
Role of Business Analyst in Product Engineering
By combining both these views, we could say that business analysts are change agents in an organization who are focused on understanding the current needs in relation to the overall objectives and goals of the organization, and then helping achieve these goals. They help in bringing about changes in the organization and for clients who are looking to advance their operations. After carefully analyzing the present situation, they craft solutions which can better equip organizations to overcome current problems. Business analysts will be able to explain the how and why of the proposed solution, after considering the goals and objectives of the project & organization, its impact on various stakeholders and the implementation strategy.
Needs Assessment for Product Development
The business analysis process helps organizations, or customers to reach their future goals and aspirations. Business analysts closely work with organizations to understand their vision for the future state. Then, they carefully analyze the current state and then determine gaps between the present and the future. If these gaps are fairly large, the product engineering process to arrive at the future state takes an incremental approach. Business analysts may propose interim solutions to reach the final goals, and this approach helps organizations to absorb change better. This process of achieving future state through current state assessment and determining gaps is called Needs assessment. This will help business analysts to clearly define the situation and the current impact, and then begin to craft a solution.
Situation and solution statement to bridge the gap.
After completing needs assessment with the help of data of present scenario and future aspirations of the client, the business analyst drafts a situation statement that encompasses the solution and its impact on the organization. This statement will play the role of a guide in the product engineering process to always handle the problem at hand to arrive at the future state, and analyse the impact on various stakeholders while doing that. The first part of a situation statement states the current problem to be solved or the opportunity that needs to be explored in a structured manner. The second part then identifies the impact of that situation on the organization. The format of this statement is, “ the problem or opportunity has the effect of x on the organization with the resulting impact of y.”
Solution Statement and Stakeholder analysis
After capturing the current and future situation clearly, we need to narrow down the stakeholders that the proposed solution may impact. The stakeholders have to make sure business analysts have captured the situation correctly. One of the most commonly used tools to help correctly understand the situation is an Ishikawa diagram for documenting a root cause analysis of the problem.
Another tool which is used in adaptive or agile projects is the Five Whys. Process models can also help to discover where problems might exist, and then recommend solutions. Product engineering analysts could even recommend a solution by modifying the current process without any additional resources required.
The solution is something that delivers measurable business value. It could be a new product, components of a product, an enhancement of an existing product, or just a modification. The solution statement recommends the most viable option to meet the need. The solution statement or approach defines at a high level the areas to be included or the initial scope, and possible steps to move from the current situation or state to a future state.
By following these steps, product engineering success can be achieved by careful analysis of the situation at hand and the future goals of organizations. Before proposing a solution, it is important to first identify the stakeholders and analyze the impact of solutions on various stakeholders. It is also crucial to give alternative approaches for a difficult situation at hand, and how each solution can handle the different scenarios. The outcomes of each solution has to be mentioned in generating a tangible business value – the results should be measurable.