Monday, January 27, 2014

Business Analysis Communication (BA Planning & Monitoring)

Communication is something that cannot be separated from business analysis. As a BA, we have to prepare and plan for communication method in managing business analysis activities. BABOK will tell us about how and when the BA will work with stakeholders.

2.4 Plan Business Analysis Communication

A business analysis communications plan describe the proposed structure and schedule for communications regarding business analysis activities. Record and organize the activities to provide a basis for setting expectations for business analysis work, meetings, walkthroughs, and other communications.

Planning business analysis communications includes determining how best to receive, distribute, access, update, and escalate information from project stakeholders, and determining how best to communicate with each stakeholder.

Considerations for the business analysis communications plan include:
  • What needs to be communicated.
  • What is the appropriate delivery method.
  • Who is the appropriate audience.
  • And when the communication should occur.
Stakeholder needs and constraints relevant to communication include:
  • Physical location/ time zone of the stakeholders.
  • Communication approach for the stakeholder.
  • What types of communications will be required(e.g. status, anomalies, issues and their resolutions, risks, meeting results, action item,s etc.)
  • What type of requirements will be elicited (business, stakeholder, solution, or transition; high level vs. details) and how best to elicit them (see the Elicitation KA for options).
  • How best to communicate requirements conclusions / packages, including authority level (sign-off authority, veto authority, or review only).
  • Time and resource availability constraints.
Business Analysis Approach : May include standards and templates used for communication, and expectations regarding when and how communication should be occur.

Business Analysis Plan(s) : Determintes when work will be performed and the deliverables that will produced, and which need to be communicated.

Organizational Process Assets : May include a defined set of templates for use in business analysis communication, including presentation formats, requirements documentation templates, and others.

Stakeholder List, Roles and Responsibilities : Used to identify the stakeholders who will require information regarding business analysis work, determine when information needs to be provided, and how a stakeholder is expected to use that information.

1. Geography
The communications needed for a team that is collocated will be different from communications required for a project with geographically dispersed stakeholders.

2. Culture
Cultural diversity should also be taken into account when planning communications.

 --Relationship to time.
Some cultures view deadlines as firm commitments, while others may view deadline as a goal to be balances against other concerns and interest.

 --Relationship to task completion.
Some cultures complete tasks because they have committed to the planned activities. Others complete tasks primarily when trust and the human relationship have been built.

 --Relationship to contracts.
Some cultures believe in the letter of the law, others in the spirit of the contract. This difference might surface when creating Requests for Proposal, for example.

 --Relationship to formal and informal authority.
Some cultures prefer a centralized power structure where decisions.

3. Project Type
Different projects will necessitate different deliverables, and the extent of documentation that is need in a requirements package will vary depending on the project. Some examples are :

 --A new, customized in-house software development project. 
In this scenario, all requirements may need to be included.

 --Upgrading the technology or infrastructure of a current system. 
In this scenario, only the technical requirements may need to be included in the package.

 --Change in a business process or new data for an existing application. 
In this scenario, the process and data requirements, business rules,functional and technical requirements will be needed.

 --Purchase of a software package. 
This type of project will likely require a request. For Proposal, and the package will need to include the business requirements, technical requirements, limited functional requirements and other vendor specification.

 --Short, focused, agile style iterations of software development. 
Agile focuses on creating the minimum necessary of documentation to deliver the requirements, and many agile teams will prefer to document the solution after it has been delivered.

4. Communication Frequency
Investigates the frequency required by various stakeholder for each type of communication.

5. Communications Formality
Planning communications requires taking into consideration the level of formality that is needed.

Communication tends to be more formal under the following circumstances:
  • The project is unusually large (by organizational standards) and will be delivered in phases.The level of communications formality tends to increase as the scale of project increases. This is because more stakeholders are typically involved and more communication is required.
  • The domain involved is very complex. Note that the domain affected by the project may span departmental and divisional boundaries within the organization.
  • The technology employed, if any, will be new, or new to the organization.
  • The project is considered to be mission critical, in that it is tied directly to strategic objectives.
  • The executive sponsor and/or key stakeholders require formality.
  • The requirements are likely to be subject to regulatory review.
  • The requirements will be presented to suppliers in an RFQ/RFI/RFP.
  • Prepare Requirements Package (4.4)
  • Communication Requirements (4.5)
  • Communication Skills (8.4)
  • Structure Walkthrough (9.30)
Customer and Supplier : Major customers of an organization or suppliers to that organization (particularly institutional customers) may need to b e informed of planned changes well in advance of implementation.

Domain SME : May be involved in review and approval.

End User : May be involved in review and approval.

Implementation SME : May be involved in review and approval.

Operational Support : May be involved in review and approval.

Project Manager : In a project, the business analysis communication plan will generally be integrated into the overall project communications plan.

Tester : Will primarily be involved in verification and validation of the requirements.

Regulator : Regulators may require that requirements, decisions, and other regarding the execution of business analysis processes or the definition of the solution be retained and made available to the for review.

Sponsor : Communication needs for the sponsor are likely to focus on business requirements and high-level stakeholder and solution requirements.

Business Analysis Communication Plan : Describes how, when and why the BA will work directly with stakeholders. Components can include :
  • The stakeholder communications requirements for business analysis activities.
  • Format, content, medium, level of detail.
  • Responsibility for collection, distributing, accessing, and updating information.

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