Join Haydn Thomas for an in-depth discussion in this video Determining when you have enough requirements, part of Business Analysis Foundations.
- Analysis paralysis is the perceived need to continue to examine possibilities and options, to ensure your requirements package is accurate and complete. Tempts many a business analyst. It results in delays and frustration as business improvements are not realized in appropriate time frames. The opposite of analysis paralysis is the "I've got it" syndrome. When you think you understand fully and spend too little time capturing, understanding, examining, and verifying requirements, leaving your business area wanting with unfulfilled needs, or worse yet, doing damage to the business from misunderstood requirements.
So, how do you avoid these two dangerous endpoints and determine when you have collected enough requirements, and have the understanding you need to produce business improvement? Although it isn't an exact science, here are my top tips for determining when you have collected enough requirements. The first is when individuals and groups agree you understand their needs. A great way to ensure you have collected complete and universally understood requirements, is to ensure you work with each department or business are affected by the project.
Then with each area, ensure you talk with key individuals and multiple people in a group. Doing this gives you assurance that you understand any differing perspectives that might exist. Groups will be very quiet or get into debates if people have differing views and approaches to work. After group discussions, individuals will typically share more readily one-on-one, especially if they have differing views than managers or team members. These differing views and the perspectives they bring can surface business opportunities you may not get otherwise.
Secondly, you can describe complete process flows, including steps, decisions, primary and support roles in each step, and any business rules that pertain to each process in the as-is environment, and can draw off possibilities for the to-be processes at the same level of detail. Next, verification exercises consistently yield only minor adjustments. Good requirements practice includes separate and distinct meetings, where the requirements and improvement recommendations you have collected are reviewed for accuracy.
This should be performed in various areas. If you receive only minor adjustments and not major content admissions, you are likely ready to go. Note, given the chance, people will typically think of minor improvements to requirements. Waiting until you have no input from verification meetings is a recipe for analysis paralysis. My final tip for knowing when you have collected enough requirements is you and your team readily produce use cases and scenarios for testing. Crisp and fully understood business environments paint a picture, which will yield use cases and test plans with little or no need for clarification or additional information from your business team members.
The items I've shared with you are more procedural. But beyond that, there are some customer perception tests you should consider as well to ensure your enoughness rating is accurate. First, you need to ensure we deliver what the customer has requested. Requirements need to tie back to specific scope items and deliverables to demonstrate how these specific requirements will create the deliverable and achieve all the scope items of the project. Next, your business team is excited about the possibilities.
Even in areas where business readily seeks change, excitement for that change will drop quickly if they believe the designers of that change do not fully understand them or their business objectives. If your business seems excited to proceed after your requirements gathering, you probably have a requirements package that is ready to go. Finally, your business team has consistent elevator speech capability. If your business team members can readily and concisely describe in 30 seconds or less the business improvements you are proposing, you have a good set of requirements that are probably ready to go.
The requirements you collect through the various solicitation techniques, producing the business rules and ensuring traceability of the requirements back to the project scope and objectives, lay the foundation of ensuring you have captured enough requirements. Following the enoughness indicators of sound requirements and understanding of your business will serve you well, and will steer you away from the dreaded analysis paralysis syndrome.
Discover where business analysis lives in the project life cycle, how to initiate a project, the best way to gather requirements, and smart strategies to monitor results and test outcomes.
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- Understanding what business analysts do
- Defining business opportunities and objectives
- Identifying stakeholders
- Gathering requirements through observation and brainstorming
- Validating requirements
- Developing project acceptance criteria
- Implementing, testing, and closing your project<br><br>
- The PMI Registered Education Provider logo is a registered mark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.