What Is Tactical Business Analysis and When Do You Need It?
Tactical business analysis starts when the organization initiates a project or initiative that will result in change for some subset of the organization. The purpose of tactical business analysis is effective communication between those affected by the change (typically the business community) and those responsible for instigating the change (typically the IT group). When and where this communication takes place and how you express the results depends on the System Development Methodology (SDM) the project follows. The table below illustrates the impact that the chosen SDM will have on your tactical business analysis process.
|Waterfall SDM||Iterative SDM (RUP)||Agile SDM|
|When||During the Analysis Phase of the project and while assessing each change request||During the Analysis Phase of the initial iteration and during the analysis stage of each iteration||On-going, especially during Release Planning, Iteration or Sprint Planning, and during User Story Elaboration meetings|
|Where||Ideally at the SME’s workplace||Ideally at the SME’s workplace||In the project team room for co-located teams, via video conferencing for distributed teams|
|Results||Expressed in refined Business and Stakeholder Requirements which are maintained in a Requirements Definition Document||Expressed in User and System Requirements which are maintained in a Requirements Repository||Expressed in User Story Epics, User Stories, and Work Items maintained in appropriate Product, Release, Iteration and Team Backlogs|
Fundamentally, the choice of SDM does not change what tactical business analysis is and which techniques fulfill its purpose.
Regardless of the Chosen SDM, You Need To:
- Understand business goals, objectives, strategies, and the business requirements that drive the project
- Enforce the project vision and scope
- Identify and maintain contact with a wide range of project stakeholders
- Express business needs in terms appropriate for the chosen SDM
- Interview various stakeholders to capture user stories, epics, and/or individual requirements
- Translate business problems and opportunities into desired project outcomes
- Analyze epics/user stories and/or stakeholder requirements to ensure compliance with business requirements
- Manage and communicate the intent and consequences of epics/user stories and/or stakeholder requirements to the business and technical community
- Use diagrams or models to ensure effective communication between all involved parties at the appropriate level of detail
Tactical Business Analysis in Your Organization
The “Business Analyst” or “Business System Analyst” in many organizations performs tactical business analysis under the generic term “business analysis”. In my opinion, the use of the generic term is insufficient to communicate the scope and intent of the activity and causes confusion. In the absence of a clearly articulated and enforced policy, people with job titles such as “Manager”, “Project Manager”, “Scrum Master”, “Product Owner”, “Product Manager”, “Developer”, “Tester”, and many others actually do business analysis without calling it such.
Since a prime directive for business analysis at any level is clear and concise communication, we at BA-EXPERTS add the differentiator “tactical” to clarify the level of detail and common set of techniques representative of this crucial activity.
The ultimate outcome of tactical business analysis is a result consistent with the evolving business goals and objectives of the organization and all affected stakeholders. Effective execution reduces the time and effort it takes to deliver the result and eliminates unnecessary stress for all involved.