PMI-PBA® Certification Domain 2: Planning

In the previous article of the PMI-PBA® Certification series, I introduced you to the Needs Assessment domain – the activities it comprises as well as the deliverables it produces. In this week’s edition I will try to explain and provide details regarding the second business analysis domain – Planning.

So why do we need to plan? Can’t we just go with the flow or is it true that if we fail to plan we plan to fail? When do we need to start planning and how much should we plan?

Sure you can build a product without planning, as well as you can build a house without planning. It will take you a lot longer, cost you a lot more and at the end the house and the product will look distorted.

Let’s say the watering in the picture looks ugly and wrong enough to convince you to plan, but when do you need to start planning? The answer is as soon as you are assigned as a business analyst to a project. Of course you might be excited to jump straight into elicitation and documentation, because you already have plenty of experience in this or because the project manager asked you to have the requirements ready in a couple of weeks and there is no time for planning, but without a plan how can you communicate a clear vision to the stakeholders, gain their commitment and readiness to participate?

If planning is so important and we need to do it as a first thing after the project is approved, what does business analysis planning mean and what exactly must be planned from business analysis point of view?

During planning the business analyst must make decisions regarding the following questions:

  • What type of elicitation activities will be conducted – workshops, interviews, focus groups or?
  • What analysis models need to be produced and documented – diagrams, use case specifications or?
  • How requirements will be communicated to stakeholders?
  • What business analysis deliverables need to be produced?
  • What are the roles and responsibilities of the stakeholders participating in the requirement activities?
  • How requirements will be prioritized, approved, monitored and maintained?
  • How requirements will be validated and verified?
  • How the acceptance criteria will be determined for the requirements and solution validation?

Once the answers to the above questions are known, the information is assembled in a business analysis plan. All planning decisions should be documented in a clear and easily understood manner so that stakeholders know what to expect when business analysis activities begin and can review and approve it in a straightforward manner.

When the business analysis deliverables, tasks and activities, timing, dependencies and required resources for completing the work are known, the business analyst must prepare the business analysis work plan. This document can either be a part of the business analysis plan or in a separate document.

The last step in the PMI-PBA® Planning domain is to review the business analysis plan with the key stakeholders and obtain their approval. Additionally the project sponsor, project manager, software development manager, quality assurance manager, and training manager should be included.

In the next article from the PMI-PBA® Certification series I will uncover details around the Elicitation and Analysis domain, the activities it comprises and how to effectively perform elicitation, validation, prioritization and documentation.

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PMI-PBA is a registered mark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.

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