Discover - Business Analysts

Waterfall - Discover

1. Needs Analysis

Needs analysis forms the initiating task in the plan-driven discovery phase. It focuses on the goals, aspirations and needs of the users/stakeholders. It identifies the problem or the potential opportunity. These needs feed into the stakeholder requirements analysis in the plan-driven design phase.

1.1 Techniques


Business Needs Assessment – Simply put, a business analyst performs business needs analysis to understand the needs of the business. It helps to understand the key issues and opportunities triggering the change needed by the business and targets the 6 interrogatives (Who, What, Where, When, How and Why).

Business Model Canvas – A business analyst can develop a business model canvas that describes how the organisation creates, delivers and captures value for and from its customers. The business analyst can gather and plot information in nine building blocks. These building blocks describe how the organisation aims to deliver value. The business model canvas serves as a blueprint for implementing a strategy.

1.2 Stakeholders

Everyone from the organisation who has a direct (& sometimes indirect) relationship with the business need/problem or opportunity is a stakeholder when identifying the business needs.

1.3 Templates


Business Needs Template

Business Model Canvas Template

2. Project Justification

Project justification is an attempt made by the business analyst to explain to the business stakeholders why a particular solution or a system needs to be implemented and to outline how it can be implemented. It also covers outlining the benefits the organisation will get through the proposed solution. It helps assure the stakeholders that the project implements a particular solution to the problem and explains why this solution is best, as compared to other alternative solutions.

2.1 Techniques


Business Requirements Analysis – Analysing requirements is the decomposition of requirements to satisfy the level of detail to be specified and/or understanding of the audience reviewing or confirming the requirements. It is used to identify changes, missing or unnecessary components of a process.

Value Streaming – Value streaming is all the steps (both value-added and non-value-added) in a process that the customer is willing to pay for in order to bring a product or service through the main flows essential to producing that product or service.

Context Diagramming – Whilst there are a number of context models, often a system context diagram is used to capture the key business functions or groups, the main systems and databases, customers and external parties, and the information that is passed between them.

Benefits Identification and Management – Delivering benefits is the primary reason why organisations undertake change. Benefits can be tangible (e.g. money saved, jobs created) or intangible (e.g. corporate reputation, capacity for change). They may, or may not, also be quantifiable in cash terms (e.g. reduced costs or greater customer satisfaction). Benefits identification and management is the most valuable exercise an organisation can do when delivering any kind of change, or are involved in significant investment that includes anything of a project (or product) nature.

Financial Analysis – Financial analysis is used to understand the financial viability, stability and benefit realisation of investing in the proposed solution. A business analyst uses financial analysis to make a solution recommendation for an investment in a solution by comparing one solution against other alternatives based on analysis on the:

  • Initial and ongoing costs and the time frame in which those costs will be incurred
  • Expected financial returns and time frame in which they are expected to be realised
  • Risk associated with the financial investment in the proposed solution

Change Impacts – Change impacts is assessing the effects that change has on a product, organisation and people. It essential to understand the nature of the change in terms of context of the change. It is important to have a strategy for change, which supports why decisions were made and the actions that will be taken to address the impacts.

Balanced Scorecard – The balanced scorecard is used to manage performance in any business model, organisational structure or business process. The premise of the balanced scorecard is that the drivers of value creation are understood, measured and optimised in order to create sustainable performance.

SWOT Analysis – Identify the market strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.

Requirements Traceability – Requirements traceability is used to trace a requirement through the project lifecycle and helps manage the scope, identifies how requirements support the project and organisation goals, and aids with the impact analysis for changes. Tracing requirements allows the business analyst to easily see the relationship and dependencies between requirements and should align with the original business objectives.

2.2 Stakeholders


Senior members through to subject matter experts of an organisation are stakeholders during project justification. They need to be involved in discussions as to why the project/change is needed for the organisation and what the benefits will be.

2.3 Templates


Business Case 

Benefits Realisation Plan

Organisational Change Impact

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