Business Planning and Monitoring

Business Planning and Monitoring is classified as one of the knowledge areas of Business analysts by IIBA in BABOK. Under this knowledge area the business analysts are assumed to perform certain planning activities which should be valid throughout the project life-cycle. The parameters which are defined and set during the planning phase should retain their validity throughout the project phases and it becomes the responsibility of the business analyst to perform the activities classified under this knowledge area precisely.

The activities which are marked under this knowledge area can be broadly classified as below:

  • stakeholder-managementIdentify the stakeholders: Stakeholder is defined as person or group that has stake and interest in the success of the project. Stakeholders are considered as the important aspect of the business and project life-cycle. The inputs from the stakeholders throughout the life-cycle are recommended. This is the task of the business analysts to identify the stakeholders and each one of them should be coordinated effectively as the project proceeds. These stakeholders review the requirements which was elicited, analysed and documented by the business analysts. The business analysts create a list of all the stakeholders associated in the project referring the available information on the type of the project and the skills required in the completion of the project.

  • Define the roles and responsibilities: Once the stakeholders are identified, the next is to define the roles and responsibilities of them. Each stakeholder has a set of tasks which s/he has to perform during the project life-cycle. RACI matrix (also known as RASCI matrix) plays very important role in this process. With the help of this matrix the scope of the tasks and the dependency can be defined easily. RASCI is an acronym of R- Responsible (does the work), A- Accountable (decision maker, only one), S- Support (provides support during any phase of lifecycle), C- Consulted (consulted prior to the work and provides input), I- Informed (informed about the work progress). Depending on the roles of different stakeholders responsibility is shared across them and is well described during the initiation phase of the project.

 

  • Estimate Planning: The estimates related to cost, timings and resources come under business planning and monitoring knowledge area. It is the responsibility of the business analysts to estimate the mentioned factors during the business planning. The estimation done should be supervised by senior managers who are skilled in resource allocation and budgeting in order to avoid any future ambiguities. Estimate planning should be done following the empirical data and methodologies instead of gut feeling of the business analysts in order to avoid sloppy decisions.

 

  • Requirements Planning: The factors affecting the requirements are jot down and they are used in prioritizing, tracing and managing the requirements in the future development processes. The requirement planning includes eliciting, documenting, analyzing, communicating, tracking, validating and verifying the requirements which are finalized by the common opinions of all the stakeholders.

 

  • Communication: Communication plays very important role in any stage of project life-cycle and in order to avoid ambiguity or conflicts in the requirements and end results, the communication should be precise and controlled. The business analysts have to take care of the available resources and adapt communication techniques in order to make maximum utilization of the resources. The communication plan and methods can be changed with the commencement of the project but the main agenda of the same is to make it proper and controlled so that each stakeholder should understand the details of the requirements. WHAT, WHO and WHEN are the important questions related to communication. What need to be communicated, who should be the intended audience and when the communication should be made are the main pillars of any communication plan.

 

  • Monitoring the Business Analysis work: This area can be treated as the evaluation of the business analysts. Under this all the metrics that can be used for monitoring business analysis work are determined. This helps in improving the future business analysis plans, if required. Certain elements like performance measures, reporting and corrective actions play very vital role under it. While performance measures set expectations against the business analysis work, performance reporting helps in continuous tracking of the tasks performed and the details of the work-log. The corrective or preventive actions are performed in order to improvise the existing processes. The general techniques which can be used for performance evaluation are interviewing, lessons learned, root cause analysis and many more.

 

Apart from the above mentioned activities, business planning and monitoring also captures the details of the deliverable which are to be included in the project and the estimation of the same. It also takes care about the business analysis processes and techniques to be followed by the business analysts (or the person seated on the BA chair).

 

Happy Reading!!!!

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