How to get your projects started on the right foot by predicting and avoiding pitfalls – a BA's perspective on planning

Starting a project can be a daunting and challenging task. The odds of success are certainly not on our side and with greater pressure to get things done faster, the spotlight is on us to deliver value.

To be a great Business Analyst you must ensure your projects kick-off with the best possible chance of success. One of the activities that will be critical for success is to plan your approach to the business analyst's work.

In this webinar, our experienced BA community panel will answer your questions, share their experiences, and discuss:

+ The key activities you need to think about as a BA when starting a project,
+ How to get project manager and executive buy-in to Business Analysis activities,
+ The value of BA planning and why a little bit of planning and structure upfront can save your project,
+ Common problems and how to avoid them, and
+ Tools available to help and if they are appropriate to your situation
Questions
  • What is BA Planning and why does it matter? Shouldn't the project manager do this?
  • What if the Ba's are not involved at the start?
  • What about elicitation when the industry is new to the BA role?
  • How do you deal with unrealistic timescale or other expectations?
  • What are the major things that can cause slippage on a deadline?
  • How can we correct unSales doesn't properly set expectations with the new client, this?
  • How can we ensure the bigger picture is considered?
  • How can you speed up the business case approval process? (and clarification on business case/SOW)
  • How do you most effectively negotiate the time required for 'Iteration Zero' or initial requirements elicitation?
  • Do you recommend always having a project vision?
  • What should be presented in the kick off meeting?
  • What do you do if the sponsor does not engage in the project?
  • How do you start off on the right path when assigned to a project?
  • How do you start planning ahead of time?
  • How do you make sure your project is successful from the beginning?
  • Is there a base set of questions to use as a starting point?
  • When is the proper time to elicit business requirements?
  • How do we consider all the stakeholders in our approach?
  • How do you choose appropriate team members? - Sometimes a project has some obvious stakeholders who the project sponsor doesn't want to involve (often for political reasons). Is there any easy way to convince them of the merits of including these stakeholders? - How to get effective communication in addition to pm, ba, stakeholder, influencer matrix? - How do we decide on our approach? - The project charter has been agreed and signed off, what steps will the business analyst take in order to translate this document into functional requirements? - How do I keep track of all of the details in the beginning? Should I just brainstorm and start a checklist? - How NOT to feel so overwhelmed (yet excited) that you just don't get started in an organized fashion, but more so out of necessity - Is there a Clear definition of tasks that a BA should undertake in the Discovery phase of a project in a NORMAL waterfall and Agile environments like Scrum? - How do you avoid lack of clarity in the scope of the business functions? - How do you plan efficiently and quickly under pressure to get the project under way? What short cuts are save to take? What standard planning activities are of low value and could stop doing? - How do we plan to manage change? - How can we avoid the outputs of BA Planning & Monitoring (BA Approach, Comms plan etc) from becoming "stale"? - It seems like for any project, something happens that the estimated completion is not being realized. How can a business analyst identify this occurrence ahead of time and be able to tell or recommend to extend expected ETA? - How can you plane when the requirements are not finalised and everything is changing? - What are the top 5 pitfalls (for planning)?

Panelists

Peter Ebborn

Peter is a consulting director of Business Analysts Pty Ltd with over 23 years experience across a comprehensive range of IT roles including Senior Business Analyst, Project Manager, Systems Analyst, Information Architect, Development Team Leader, Tester and Programmer in the utilities, telecommunications, transport, financial services, pharmaceutical, mining and government sectors.

He has expertise in requirements elicitation and analysis, requirements planning, requirements management and traceability, business process modelling and re-engineering, business case development, tender preparation and evaluation.

Peter has designed, created and delivered business analysis courses based on the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge (BABOK®). He has established Business Analysis Communities of Practice, developed a Business Analyst Competency Program including the competency assessment, individual training and development plans, mentoring modules.

He has also practical experience and understanding in all phases of the software development life cycle with formal training and substantial practical experience in Object Oriented and Relational methodologies and architectures. Peter has undertaken post-graduate studies in Internet and Web Computing and has a degree in Accounting and Business Computing.

James Shields

Highly experienced and enthusiastic business analyst. Worked mainly in financial services for major institutions, also has experience of other sectors. Equally at ease in dealing with business and technical people, at all levels.

Coming from a systems development background, has in-depth experience of most roles in the development life cycle including project manager, business analyst, systems analyst, tester, and developer – now specializing in business/systems analysis.

Particularly adept in gathering system requirements from the business, communicating them to the developers, testing that they have been implemented as expected, and then integrating the changes into the business processes.

Real believer in the power of teams. Acted as mentor to help develop other business analysts.

Specialties:

  • Requirements Engineering
  • Business Process Modelling
  • System Modelling using UML
  • Software Testing

Ana Vasilescu

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