It’s the Business Analyst’s responsibility to decide which tools and techniques to use in their work. Given the huge number available, how do you decide which are the most relevant? Also, how do you determine your team’s skills, their understanding of the different techniques and their confidence in executing them? It can be difficult to know where to begin.
Luckily, help is at hand. Jamie Clouting, an experienced Business Analyst specialising in agile transformation projects, has developed the BA Techniques Triage, an ingenious prioritising tool.
As its primary source, it uses the book Business Analysis Techniques by James Cadle, Debra Paul and Paul Turner, a comprehensive compendium of 123 essential business techniques, the third edition of which is out now.
The BA Tools and Techniques Triage guides your BA team through defining your toolkit, understanding your collective skills set, identifying your priorities and drawing up an action plan.
With permission, below is a short summary of the three-step process, as presented to the BA Manager Forum by Jamie Clouting and Ayo James.
STEP ONE – DEFINE YOUR TOOLKIT
Start by printing out the Business Analysis tools and techniques covered in the book. This is about finding out what you already know and what you need to know, ultimately saving time and effort. You can find printable mail-merge labels, and all other materials needed for the Triage, here.
As a team, decide which of the techniques are relevant to your up and coming work and either ‘keep’ or ‘park’ them. As there are now so many techniques to choose from, for speed consider spitting up into sub-teams for this task, then discussing and checking your decisions with the wider team.
STEP TWO – PLOT YOUR TOOLS AND TECHNIQUES
Create a matrix with one axis low to high ‘importance’ and the other low to high ‘confidence’. This rates each technique in terms of your confidence in your team’s ability in and understanding of the technique and the importance and relevance of the technique for the work in hand.
You can create the matrix on a white board or as a large piece of paper laid flat on a table-top. As a team, arrange your chosen techniques on the matrix, going with the average for the team as a rule, but making a note of instances where one person has lots of experience in a tool or technique, but the rest of the team does not.
STEP THREE – AGREE NEXT STEPS
Where the tools and techniques fall in the matrix should determine your priorities and next actions.
- High importance and high confidence. These are the techniques you can take immediate action with.
- High importance and low confidence. As they are important to complete on planned work, these are the techniques you need to organise training in as a high priority.
- Medium importance and medium confidence. A lunchtime peer-to-peer knowledge sharing session might be appropriate, if one person in the team has more understanding than others and can bring everyone up to speed.
- Low importance and high confidence. You may need to ask yourselves, as a team: ‘Has this technique become a habit because it is comfortable to use it, but actually it is not so relevant for the project? Should we think about weaning ourselves off using it as our ‘go to’ technique?’
That’s it in a nutshell. We hope you’ve found it useful. If you want to know more, see Jamie Clouting’s Tools and Techniques Triage workshop notes and materials here. And don’t forget that the third edition of Business Analysis Techniques is out now.