Recommended PM and BA Technique: Functional Decomposition

The BABOK® Guide recommends that business analysts use the functional decomposition to break down the high-level solution scope on a project into its component parts. You can then create a model of what needs to be done to deliver all or part of the solution. Functional decomposition is an excellent way to break things into manageable pieces and to understand the relationships between those pieces.  It’s not only business analysts that use this technique – effective project managers use it as well when building a WBS for ther project and decomposing the project scope into its pieces and parts.

Functional decomposition is typically used during the requirements analysis phase of a project to break either an organizational unit or the solution scope into its component parts.  Each resulting part may have its own set of requirements. This is very similar to building a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) for a project where you break down or decompose the project scope into phases, work packages and deliverables. The BABOK® Guide recommends breaking things down until the parts found at the lowest level cannot be broken down further.  You should then analyze each part independently.

I also find myself using this technique in my day-to-day tasks and it works very well when building my grocery shopping list after breaking down the dishes I plan to cook and serve into their component parts!  Give me a shout if you have another BABOK® technique you would like to explore in more detail!

Susan Weese

Business analysts are increasingly becoming the critical liaisons between business and solution development (oftentimes IT), so they must communicate and relate with equal effectiveness throughout all levels of an organization. Download this free White Paper to see which five common obstacles business analysts face and how to address them to

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