Risk Management: Business Analysis is a Huge Risk for Organizations

Business analysis is at a dangerously low level of maturity for most organizations.  According to Standish Group Research, the top five reasons for failed or challenged projects are: 1. Lack of user involvement 2. Lack of transparency 3. Poor or incomplete requirements 4. Changing requirements 5. Lack of business alignment Look at all these problems carefully; all of these are related to poor business analysis.  Looking at this and other research, poor business analysis is the number one cause of failed and challenged projects. A vast majority of business analysts only write solution requirements and do not perform other activities as specified in IIBA’s Business Analysis Body of Knowledge. Many are not involved in activities such as Enterprise Analysis and Solution Assessment and Validation.  Many only write solution requirements and have not idea about the importance of other requirement types defined in BABOK. A mature business analysis function will perform the following types of activities: Focus on achievement of business outcomes and enablement of business change. Perform analysis and evaluation, not simply taking notes. Work with Business SMEs to analyze the problem and root cause. Work with Business SMEs to redesign business process to decrease cycle time, reduce errors, and reduce waste. Serve as the knowledge manager for the solution by providing advice, facilitating discussions and decisions, and promoting collaboration between business and technical stakeholders. Responsible for defining and managing solution scope. Work with stakeholders to simplify solutions and eliminate non-value added features and functions. Write high quality requirements that are concise, clear, complete, testable, and valuable. Assess and validate the development and deployment of the solution to ensure...

How PMs Can Use Lean Startup to Increase Project Success in Any Organization

Even though it’s a methodology designed for product management teams, Lean Startup provides a lot of good concepts and principles for project managers looking to make sure their projects are successful. And while the word “startup” is in the name, its core tenets can actually be applied to any organization, whether a startup or a Fortune 500 company. “The goal of a startup is to figure out the right thing to build—the thing customers want and will pay for—as quickly as possible. In other words, the Lean Startup is a new way of looking at the development of innovative new products that emphasize fast iteration and customer insight, a huge vision, and great ambition, all at the same time.” – The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses by Eric Ries If we take this quote from author and Lean Startup pioneer Eric Ries and replace the phrases “a startup” and “Lean Startup” with the phrase “an organization,” the statement would still be true. Any organization wants to figure out the right thing to build as quickly as possible, not just startups. With agile development being the latest craze, we all want to emphasize fast iteration, and experience has taught us all that customer insight is at the core of success. Many of the lessons and principles in Lean Startup are indeed tailored to the needs of entrepreneurs and new endeavors; however, many of them also apply to project management initiatives in any company. 50% of features and functions are rarely or never used, while 30% get used sometimes or infrequently, according to...