Requirements management is a fundamental component of how organizations manage change. Yet, while program and project management receive significant attention, funding for training and tools, requirements management often lags. As a result, projects often manage requirements in a silos which results in conflicts, inconsistent functionality, and resources spent on rediscovering information that could have been shared.
What should a smart organization do to create a sustainable requirements management process?
Starting with the following three steps is doable and realistic. This will help set the stage for further development of the business analysis capability.
1. Acknowledge the importance of business analysis
Any organization that changes and evolves performs business analysis, explicitly or implicitly. Business analysis capability is crucial for making the change successful. Even non-technological improvements and process changes benefit from applying analysis techniques to solve business problems.
Having an experienced business analyst on a team significantly improves the chances that the team will work on the right things and the results will match stakeholder expectations.
2. Recognize that requirements management is wider than any individual project.
Requirement artifacts represent knowledge about the organization. Context and conceptual data models, process flows, decision trees and user journey maps can tell us how the organization is managing its business. Captured user stories, business rules and scenarios create structured information that can be used to develop training, procedures, audit requirements, test beds, and business continuity planning.
If a company creates a structure around requirements management that allows efficient reuse and refinement, each subsequent initiative will benefit from this baseline knowledge. This will also contribute to the alignment of various initiatives around common goals, business rules and procedures, and can prevent siloed solutions that don’t integrate.
Requirements captured by previous projects may (and should) be revisited by new initiatives for reuse, relevance, and avoiding conflicts.
3. Initiate a business analysis practice.
If your business analysis capability is not very strong, then start with small steps, for example, with a Community of Practice (CoP). Anybody practicing business analysis activities (regardless of their titles) can participate. The main objective would be sharing knowledge, experience, and good practices. Eventually, this could grow into a Business Analysis Centre of Excellence (CoE), especially if the organization has an aggressive growth strategy or is planning major digital transformation initiatives.
The next three steps will take more work and will require collaboration and buy-in in your organization:
4. Start with sharing of knowledge, experience, and good practices
5. Develop requirements sharing and reuse
6. Develop enterprise requirements management
This will be covered in subsequent BA practice posts.
If your organization struggles with assessing the value of business analysis, setting the right expectations, or getting started with developing a BA Practice, reach out to me for express corporate training “Business Analysis in One Day” or customized consulting.