Common Business Analysis Problems
One of the fortunate things about being a training company is that over the course of a year we get to hear from hundreds of business analysts about their problems and frustrations. It doesnít seem to matter whether the analyst works for a finance company, in manufacturing, energy, utilities, telecommunications or for a government department, the same issues crop up time and again.
Interestingly, the issues raised by business analysts are less to do with project methodology or personal skills but rather people and organisational problems. Take a look at the following issues list from just one course. The analysts were from government, health, energy, consulting and financial services organisations. How many similar problems do you come across in your job?
- Conflicting views and opinions from stakeholders
- Resistance to change from end users
- Unrealistic timeframes
- Lack of access to subject matter experts
- Unrealistic user expectations of a solutionís capability
- Poorly defined business needs and objectives
- Incomplete/missing documentation on current systems
- No planning or (or over planning) in the business analysis process
- Under estimation of scope, funding and necessary resources
- Information silos across user departments
- IT (not business) driven solutions
- Lack of big picture vision by users and stakeholders
- Lack of expertise on the project team
- Scope creep and/or shifting requirements
- Not asking the right questions
- Poor communications between analysts and developers
- Lack of ownership (sign off reluctance) by users
Notice that none of the issues on this list refer to expertise in a particular industry or specialisation. Sure it helps if you can talk in the same language as a subject matter expert, but knowing how to tackle and resolve these sorts of problems relies on good business analysis skills rather than specific knowledge of trading systems, call plans or whatever your employer specialises in. After all, your employer can teach you all you need to know about trading systems but will this make you a good business analyst?
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