A good business analyst is essential to accurately define the scope of the project. Without an accurate scope, there is no way for you to complete the project to the client’s specifications, even if the client is the one who proposes the solution.
However, the problem is that many business analysts take what the client says at face value and do not delve deeper. Many clients aren’t really sure what they want or have an idea that might not actually meet their needs, but they heard someone used the system successfully for their own business so they think it’s a perfect fit for them.
That’s why you should never simply accept the client’s solution without ensuring you have a good understanding of the underlying problem. If you aren’t aware of the real issues that need to be resolved, you can end up with a deliverable that doesn’t solve the problem or is only a temporary solution, which will lead to the client blaming you.
By understanding the real problem you are able to more accurately define the scope of the project, which leads to fewer changes down the line, making life easier for you and resulting in a real solution to the problem.
If you simply accept the client’s proposed solution you can expect to spend a lot of time redoing work, and changing the project mid-stream, because none of the parties involved actually understand what the real goal is.
You must be able to accurately articulate and have the client sign-off on:
Problem Statement: What is the real problem you’re trying to address? E.g. there is no way to track and manage trends of injuries on our ships.
Success Factors: It is important to be able to articulate what success looks like with a measureable description so you can test that the resulting solution links to the success factors description, e.g. we will have a means to identify areas of high risk and reduce injury occurrence on all ships.
Objectives and Goals: What are the key objectives of each stakeholder? E.g. Stakeholder one would like to reduce broken arms by 10%, Stakeholder two would like to see all injuries gained on the masthead.
The answer is to question the client intensively and ensure that you have a good grasp of all the project aspects, including the problem and the desired solution.
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