Building a Business Analysis Work Plan

I was kicking off a requirements development effort a while back when the project manager asked me for my Business Analysis Work Plan. My what? My BAWP? Sounds like some earned value variable run amok. Seriously, though, there is such a thing and it is becoming more common on projects that recognize the value that business analysis efforts bring to the overall effort.

Typically, a BA Work Plan is a subset of the project management plan that defines the business analysis efforts and approach for both the overall project as well as for each phase or stage. According the IIBA’s Business Analysis Body of Knowledge® (BABOK®), the BA Work Plan determines the activities needed to complete a business analysis effort for a project. It also governs performance of all business analysis tasks and defines the roles and responsibilities that come along for the ride.

Many activities can take place under the framework of a BA Work Plan, such as identifying key stakeholders, selecting appropriate business analysis techniques, defining the process for managing requirements on the project and deciding how BA work progress will be assessed. After some consideration, I decided that there are really 6 key components of a BA Work Plan: approach, stakeholders, activities/deliverables, communications, requirements and manage/report.

Building a BA Work Plan is much like any project planning effort – you need to describe the scope of business analysis work, build a WBS and an activity list, estimate each activity, allocate and optimize resources and figure out how you will deal with the inevitable changes that will come your way. If all goes well, the BA Work Plan enables the business analysis team to work well with the project manager and to engage the project stakeholders.

Here’s a brief checklist of things to consider when building a BA work plan:

 Define the scope of work

 Plan the activities or tasks

 Generate a task list

 Develop the WBS

 List task attributes and characteristics

 Devise acceptance criteria for tasks and deliverables

 Construct task dependencies

 Identify critical and slack paths

 Make resource and scheduling decisions

 Assign resources

 Assess resource requirements

 Derive the BA-focused schedule

 Calculate the budget

 Integrate with the project plan and schedule

Effective business analysis is essential to defining and completing projects that deliver the right solutions to stakeholders and to the organization. A BAWP is an excellent tool to help us make that happen.

Susan Weese

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