Tag Archives: business analyst techniques

Gap Analysis

Business Analyst Techniques #4 GAP Analysis

Gap analysis is the technique used to define the difference between the current state and the proposed state of any business and its functionalities. This technique comes under Enterprise Analysis, knowledge area of business analysts. The technique revolves around two basic questions:

1. Where are we?

2. Where do we want to be?

Gap AnalysisUnder the first question, the present situation of the business is explained. It consists of the current factors like business attributes, competencies of the people involved in the business, performance factors etc. And the second question explains the future of these current factors. The delta between these two is known as gap and the technique which is used to fill this gap is known as Gap Analysis. It can also be defined as the process to identify the delta between the proposed and existing functionalities in any application. A gap analysis helps bridging that delta by highlighting which requirements are being met and which are not.

There is no formal method to conduct gap analysis and it can be performed in different perspectives like organization structure (HR processes), business processes, information technology etc. Gap analysis provides a foundation for measuring investment of time, money and human resources required to achieve a particular outcome.

In IT industry, Business Analysts or Project Managers have been given this task of performing gap analysis to identify the variation in the future processes or techniques and comparing it with the current ones. As I mentioned above there is no formal way to conduct this analysis, thus an excel-sheet can be used to draw tables with the details of the current and future processes and the delta found, if any. The same template can be embellished in different ways and many organizations have their set template for this process. The important points to be noted before performing any Gap-analysis can be listed as below:

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Root Cause Analysis

Business Analyst Techniques #3 Root Cause Analysis

RCADo you believe in getting into the roots of any problem or just happy with the work-around? Indeed root-cause analysis plays very important role in getting the exact reason of the problem. Before getting into roots, let’s understand the meaning of problem. An event which hinders the smooth flow of the process can be termed as an issue and recurrence of same issue is termed as Problem. Root cause analysis (RCA) is done to focus on the identifying and correcting the events which results into problem so that the same can be prevented in future.

RCA should be performed as soon as the defect or variance is detected to avoid major problems in future. Also if the process is delayed, there may be a possibility of information get missed. RCA is not the only responsibility of a business analysts but I believe all the stakeholders should be involved to understand the issue and its criticality. Involving stakeholders also help in getting away from the fictionalization or dilution of the facts. Thus it becomes the responsibility of the analysts to explain the purpose of the RCA to all the stakeholders so that they don’t feel hostile or defensive. We also should keep in mind that one corrective action is not valid for all types of the issues and this is also confirmed by the Root Cause Failure Analysis (RCFA).

There are certain techniques followed by different business analysts and organizations for root cause analysis.

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Business Requirements Document: An Overview

Business Requirements Document (BRD)

BRD-documentBRD, an acronym of Business Requirements Document is widely accepted structured document for project requirements which defines what should be delivered in order to gain value in the project. This document is designed to assist with the project management and the implementation during the entire life cycle of the project. Business requirements are consist of both functional and non-functional requirements which lead to creation or update of product, system or a software. BRD mainly emphasize on what should be the end result and it doesn’t bother how the objective is achieved.

There are many variants of BRD known to people like SRS (System Requirement Specification) or SRD (System Requirement Document) and FSD (Functional Specification Document). BRD can be described as a mode of communication in completion of a project. The main objectives of a BRD are as below:

 

  1. It should be simple and all the involved stakeholders should agree to it.
  2. It should contain more business requirements rather than technical requirements, as the main motto of a BRD is what to achieve and not how to achieve.
  3. It should describe the business needs in clear and concise manner.
  4. It should have a logical flow and can be used as an input for next phase of the project.

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Risk Analysis

Business Analyst Techniques #2 Risk Analysis

Risk AnalysisRisk analysis or risk assessment is done to determine if the proposed project carries more risk than the organization is willing to bear. It helps in adjusting the cost and profit projections on the basis of the risks identified at any point. No project comes without risk and it’s totally unrealistic to think otherwise. The analysis activities to prepare the business case are incomplete until an initial risk assessment is performed. Project risk is defined as an uncertain event or condition which has impact at least on time, cost, scope or quality. Risk analysis includes the following processes:

  • Risk Identification
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Response Planning
  • Organizational Readiness Assessment
  • Risk Avoidance
  • Risk Rating

Risk Identification: The cause of risk should be described with its impact. The goal is to identify business, financial, technical and operational risks. The first thing we must do in risk identification is to recognize the areas of the project where the risks can occur. It basically includes scope of the project, cost and schedule decided for the project, change in customer requirements and resource management.

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SWOT Analysis

Business Analyst Techniques #1 SWOT Analysis

SWOT AnalysisThe SWOT analysis can be described as the foundation of developing your strategies and tactics which can later become a road-map for writing any business plan or case. SWOT is the strategic planning used to evaluate Strength, Weakness, Opportunity and Threat involved in a project or business speculation. It is advisable to set the business objective after the SWOT analysis has been performed. This would allow achievable goals or objectives to be set for the organization.

  • Strengths: characteristics of the business, or project team that give it an advantage over others
  • Weaknesses (or Limitations): are characteristics that place the team at a disadvantage relative to others
  • Opportunities: external chances to improve performance (e.g. make greater profits) in the environment
  • Threats: external elements in the environment that could cause trouble for the business or project.

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