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Business Analysis Techniques

This page contains a list of basic Business Analysis techniques that every good business analyst have to use. Here you will see what is Brainstorming, Document analysis, Focus group, Interface analysis, Interviews, Workshops and Observations.

A list of Business Analysis Techniques for Every Business Analyst

  • Brainstorming

Brainstorming is one of the most known and used business analysis techniques. Brainstorming works by focusing on a topic or problem, and then gathering many possible solutions to it. Brainstorming is best applied in a small or medium group as it draws on the skills and creativity of all members of the group. In the absence of a group, one could brainstorm on one’s own to spark new ideas.

  • Document Analysis

Document analysis as  one of the main business analysis techniques may include analysis of strategic plans, market research, contracts, requests for information and proposal, statements, minutes of meeting, memos, existing procedures, help guides, competing product documentation, comparative product reviews, problem reports, customer suggestion report, and existing system documentation, among others.

  • Focus Group

A focus group is composed of pre-qualified individuals whose objective is to discuss and comment on a specific topic. This is an opportunity for individuals to share their own perspectives and discuss them in a group setting. This could lead participants to re-evaluate their own perspectives in light of others’ experiences. Business analysts manage the administrative pre-work, facilitate the session and produces the report. Observers may record or monitor the focus group but to not participate.

  • Interface Analysis

Interface Analysis is among the basic business analysis techniques too. An interface is a connection between two components. Most software applications require one or more interfaces. Interface types include:

  1. User interfaces, including human users directly interacting with the software applications, as well as reports provided to the user.
  2. Interfaces between software applications
  3. Interfaces to and from external hardware devices
  • Interviews

In an interview, the Business analyst formally or informally directs questions to a stakeholder in order to gather answers that will be used to define requirements. One-on-one interviews are typically most common.

Interviews are of two basic types:

  1. Structured Interview – the interviewer has a pre-defined set of questions and is looking for answers.
  2. Unstructured Interview – without any pre-defined questions, the interviewer and the interviewee discuss topics of interest in an open-ended way.
  • Workshops

A requirements workshop is a highly productive focused event attended by carefully selected key stakeholders and subject matter experts for a short, intensive period.

The stakeholders and subject matter experts reviewed and discussed the requirements and generating new ideas.

Requirements workshop success depends on a few important factors such as executive commitment, reasonable scope, stakeholder’s commitment and preparation and equal participation. If correctly executed a requirements elicitation workshop will contribute immensely to the requirements definition and management process and to the success of the system development project.

  • Observations

The last of the business analysis techniques that we will see here is observation. Observation is an approach of gathering requirements by conducting an assessment of the stakeholder’s work processes. This technique is appropriate when documenting details about current processes or if the project is intended to change a current process.

Observations are of two basic types:

  1. Passive observations – Business analyst “invisibly” observes the current process.
  2. Active observation – Business analyst “actively” takes part in the current process

See also what is business analysis and what are the main business analysis tools.

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