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Business Analysis Principles - The Foundation to Build Business Analysis Practices

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A principle can be defined as an underlying fundamental law or concept. Therefore, Business Analysis principles are the basic rules that should be followed to manage changes successfully.


The Business Analysis Body of Knowledge (BABOK) does not currently contain an official list of principles for successful change initiatives. However, IIBA’s Agile Analysis Guide does provide 7 principles. They are:
1. See the whole,
2. Think as a customer,
3. Analyze to determine what is valuable,
4. Get real using examples,
5. Understand what is doable,
6. Stimulate collaboration and continuous improvement, and
7. Avoid waste.

Here are 16 Business Analysis Principles we are proposing:

1. Set clear and objective goals and outcomes. A change without clear objectives is bound to fail.

2. Engage stakeholders continuously. Stakeholder needs are the reason for the change. Stakeholders must work together throughout the project.

3. Include all relevant stakeholders. Successful change management requires all key stakeholders to be included in the change initiative.

4. Think holistically. Changes affect people, process, and technology. All 3 aspects are essential for successful change.

5. Adapt vigorously. Welcome change for competitive advantage.

6. Deliver iteratively. Deliver frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference to the shorter time scale.

7. Encourage change adoption. Motivate stakeholders to change for better.

8. Communicate frequently. The most efficient and effective communication is face-to-face conversation.

9. Measure continually. Better outcomes are the primary measure of progress.

10. Work sustainably. Stakeholders should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely.

11. Pursue excellence. Continuous attention to excellence in business analysis skills, processes, and tools.

12. Avoid waste. The art of maximizing the number of requirements not done is essential.

13. Reflect regularly. Stakeholders reflect on how to become more effective, then change behavior accordingly.

14. Organize dynamically. Best solutions emerge from self-organizing teams.

15. Manage risks proactively. Identify, analyze, and mitigate risks

16. Define roles and responsibilities clearly. Set clear expectations from all key stakeholders.

Do comment on any important principle I missed out.

Thank you for your time.

Inputs from other Business Analysts:

Sean McCarty, MS

It's a good start, but with all due respect Mr. Mishra, I'm not sure this list is substantive enough.

Change requires loss and sacrifice, which usually results in a grieving process for the people affected. Their ability to let go and the change manager's ability to lead them to embrace the future are very psychological efforts. I'm not sure that only a couple principles are enough (e.g. Communication, encouragement, etc.) to deal with that reality sufficiently.

The other principals about organization, stakeholder engagement, and such are important, but secondary to what is really at the heart of change. There is nothing in your list about training, or reframing, for example. Do not leave the ones most affected out of the list. Be compassionate and supportive as well.

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