During my business analysis training workshops, I keep getting requests for documenting the tips for BA documentation.
Finally, here it is for benefit of all my past and future participants and my fellow business analysts.
Documentation is the ONLY way we business analysts reach out to a much wider set of stakeholders. One may physically interact with 50 stakeholders but our documents may be read by 500 stakeholders. Hence, it makes immense sense to spend additional small effort in ensuring business analysis documents. They should be prepared in a way that stakeholders find it easy to understand and find it professionally done. Good documentation reflects competency of the business analysis community.
Here is a simple list of 20 useful tips that I have found useful in my 2 decade plus of business analysis experience.
1. Always write in simple and short sentences.
2. Do not use more than 10 words in a sentence.
3. Explain jargons / acronyms if used.
4. Use active voice.
5. Check spelling and grammar. MS Excel does not do automatic spell checking unlike MS Word.
6. Ensure font consistency.
7. Ensure readability.
8. Use images to communicate.
9. Put header and footer in all documents.
10. Check document properties to ensure correct entries appear.
11. Maintain versions of your documents.
12. In MS Excel, always top align cells. This helps in easy readability.
13. In MS Excel, Do wrap test.
14. In MS Excel, Do freeze panes if your excel table has many columns.
15. If you would like users to print the excel workbook, ensure printability of the document.
16. In MS Word, use styles appropriately so that one can generate Table of contents properly.
17. In MS PowerPoint, use a black / dark background as it does not reflect light back on a white board.
18. In MS PowerPoint, use animations to make the presentation interactive.
19. In MS PowerPoint, do not show more than one concept / topic of discussion on a single slide / show.
20. In MS PowerPoint, a good size image with short text is a pretty good option to capture attention from audience.
Hope this list is a good starting point.
Do add your own experience so that we all do a better job at documentation.