According to the BABOK guide, document analysis is one of the “16 required techniques” for successful business analysts. But so often, I find that it’s a neglected part of the business analysis process.
When it comes to eliciting requirements, you won’t always find everything you need during the interview process. And more often than not, you get stranded with not enough information because the interview process didn’t begin with document analysis.
Before you set foot in that office (or wherever you’re doing the interviews), take some time to go over IT help reports, financial documents, surveys, operational reports, accounting records, etc. The truth is: you may find some hidden gems that make your job 10 times easier and 20 times more efficient.
Find the pertinent documents for analysis.
Not every document will give you a golden nugget of information. Really, it depends on which areas you will focus on during your work. If you’re seeking a technological solution, then pick through the IT reports and user feedback. If you’re creating solutions for employee productivity, look at their comments, reports, and individual case studies.
Understand the processes of the company.
As you review documents and elicit requirements, you’ll begin to form a “big picture” of the company. Eventually, you will have to break that picture into pieces, so that you can create a more robust and comprehensive solution.
Understanding each individual process that you will improve often comes during the document review phase. So don’t think that just because document review is preliminary that it can’t be foundational.
Form questions during document review.
When you study all your material, and search for relevant tidbits, make sure you form questions as you move along. Your goal is almost always to improve efficiency, so if you find yourself struggling through a portion of a document, you’ve found a spot that needs clarification or presents a problem.
Ready to Be the BA Who Has Done it All?