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business analysis project planning

A Checklist for Business Analysis Planning

Written by Edmund Metera on February 18, 2021 . Posted in Articles .

Use the Universal Business Analysis Planning Checklist as You Plan Your Business Analysis Approach.

Every project is a unique, temporary endeavor.

The business process management, regulatory compliance and digital transformation projects that business analysts may play a role in all come with different goals, scopes, teams, timelines, budgets dependencies and risks.  Though many projects follow similar methodologies they are all tailored for project scope constraints and to take advantage of available resources, opportunities and lessons learned from prior work. 

Each business analyst also comes with a unique set of skills and experiences. Almost all business analysts have great communications skills and at least some experience-based business domain knowledge. That’s why they became business analysts in the first place. Every business analyst has uniquely acquired knowledge of business analysis techniques and business domains through personal study, practice and experience. Many have also been trained in elicitation, requirements management, modeling, measurement, analysis and documentation techniques. An ever-growing number have received professional certifications, such as the IIBA Certified Business Analysis Professional (CBAP) or the PMI Professional in Business Analysis (PMI-PBA).

What is Business Analysis Planning?

The most skilled business analysts are not only competent in many business analysis techniques but also consciously tailor their business analysis approach for each project that they engage in.  They have learned to consider key project dynamics along with their own competencies and to tailor their planned business activities and deliverables to suit each project’s unique dynamics. Regardless of your own level of business analysis experience, maturity, and whether you are formally trained, certified or not, you can still consciously assess each project’s dynamics and tailor your forthcoming business analysis work to get the most productivity and value out of your business analysis efforts in each project.

The most significant project dynamics include:

  • The methodology, or sequence of stages or major milestones, and the business analysis products or outcomes that are expected by the end of each stage/milestone (and before starting the next).
  • The budget and schedule, not only to meet them, but to take advantage of contingency or schedule slack opportunities, to increase the value, quality or to learn.
  • The key project stakeholders and relationships that are new and changed and forming, to take a proactive role in fostering and building relationships with and among that team.
  • The types and combinations of elicitation techniques that will be best suited for producing or validating business analysis deliverables. 
  • The business domain knowledge and experiences of the diverse key project stakeholders, including your own unique set of business analysis competencies.

The Universal Business Analysis Planning Checklist

You can be more effective in planning your business analysis approach if you follow a consistent, clear agenda that considers the common project dynamics.

The Universal Business Analysis Approach Planning Checklist covers the most common project dynamics. You can use this as an agenda to elicit and discover a comprehensive view of a project’s key dynamics, its opportunities and use what you discover to adapt/tailor your business analysis approach.

As an exercise, think of a project that you have recently worked on, you are currently working on, or will soon be working on.  Answer questions in the following checklist for yourself.

Project Life Cycle

  • What are the planned stages of this project?
  • What stage are we currently in?
  • What is the business analysis deliverable (or set of deliverables) that I am responsible for producing in this stage?
  • What is the intended use of my business analysis deliverable(s) and who will use it?

Schedule and Effort Budget

  • How much effort can I spend and by what target date am I expected to produce my business analysis deliverable(s)?
  • Is that about what I also estimate it will take?
  • Is either my effort or date estimate higher than the effort budget or target date? If so, how might I adapt my effort, scope, activities or configuration of my deliverable(s)?

Project Stakeholders and Relationships

  • Does this project have an executive sponsor, project owner or product owner, project manager, specialists and business subject matter experts?
  • What are the names and titles the persons in these project roles?
  • Who’s new to each other on this team?
  • Are there local and who’s remote team members?
  • Who is responsible for producing, accepting or needs to be consulted or informed of each of the project’s key deliverables, particularly the business analysis deliverable(s)?

Elicitation Techniques

  • Documentation Reviews – What documentation or prior work products are available to review?
  • Interviews and Workshops – Who can I interview or include in a workshop, and what questions would I need to ask?
  • Observations – Where and what kinds of observations may be needed and how could I arrange for them?
  • System reviews – What system(s) are available to review and for what information?
  • Surveys – Who could I engage in a survey and using what types of questions?
  • Considering this project’s stakeholders and relationships, the elicitation techniques available to me, and my own core competencies, which elicitation techniques are best suited gather and validate my business analysis information?

Organizational Assets

  • Collaboration tools, facilities, survey tools?
  • Diagramming or modeling software?
  • What prior business analysis work (e.g., documents, models) that I can draw from?
  • Does my organization offer training in the subject business domain?

Competencies and Knowledge

  • Who on the project team has what expert business domain knowledge?
  • What is my own business domain knowledge?
  • What are my strongest core business analysis competencies?
  • Where can you take advantage the team’s diversity of knowledge and competencies?
  • Who are the best stakeholders in this project to engage in elicitation of content or validation of business analysis deliverables and what is or are the best elicitation techniques to use?

On reflection, are you able to answer these questions for yourself? When you go into your project workplace, who will you include in this conversation?


Business analysis planning is a recognized business analysis activity. The IIBA Body of Knowledge (BoK) includes the Plan Business Analysis Approach activity within its Business Analysis Planning and Management process. The BoK also lays out the scope of what should be covered by a Business Analysis Approach as “The set of processes, templates, and activities that will be used to perform business analysis in a specific context.”

The time and formality that you apply to business analysis planning is up to you. At the financial institution where I work as a project and program manager, our business analysts typically tailor and document a business analysis plan for each new project to which they are assigned. 

I think of business analysis planning as a form of insurance. Spend a little time upfront to assure that the bulk of the rest of your business analysis efforts will be as well spent and effective as possible. Expect the benefits of tailoring a business analysis plan for every project to be that:

  • It will help you to align your own core business analysis competencies to each project, and
  • You and the project will gain the most value from your business analysis efforts.

That’s a value-adding proposition. You are welcome to contribute comments about project dynamics that impact business analysis plans or about the checklist presented through the Contact Us page at www.ProcessModelingAdvisor.com.

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The Ultimate Guide to Business Analysis Planning

Why proper planning prevents poor performance.

It’s vitally important to define the objectives of your business analysis project, and show how those objectives are going to be met. Upfront.

Before I became a business analyst, I was a spatial systems analyst. My major at university was geographic information systems and during that time I was very fortunate to win short-term contract with a research centre.

My role was to define the requirements and implement an online spatial database for a very large pastoral property in the Northern Territory. It was a pilot and, bearing in mind that this was many years ago, the technology was very new for that part of the world.

What was also very new to me was the concept of a structured approach to planning and execution. When I was asked to present my plan to the project board, I went way off the reservation. The feedback was embarrassing. I had spent a lot of time and effort in getting it all wrong.

I was no longer at university. This was real work in the real world, but I had no idea what I was doing and no idea of what questions to ask. Fortunately people who did know surrounded me, and I was put on the correct path.

Here’s the thing. It’s vitally important to define the objectives of your business analysis project, and show how those objectives are going to be met. Upfront. This is so you are correctly aligned with the expectations and aims of the desired outcome.

Also, every organisation usually has a set of defined procedures and methodologies that informs the way you plan and carry out your business analysis effort. Using the organisation’s framework in conjunction with an understanding of the steps in the business analysis process will help you define the scope, your approach and the primary objectives of your work.

Proper planning and preparation prevents poor performance.

Planning is crucial, and so is checking with your stakeholders that the proposal is on the right path and meets their expectations. It is important not to skip it, or imagine that you know what you’re doing. Like I did all those years ago.

If I hadn’t been realigned with my work, I may have wasted considerable time and resources to achieve an outcome that didn’t suit the needs of my employer and their clients.

3 reasons why you should plan your business analysis activities

If you want to be more effective on your next BA project, it’s worth investing some time in planning your activities and approach.

As Business Analysts we must understand the importance of planning.

Without a way to describe our approach, it’s easy to get waylaid on a tangent or stuck in analysis paralysis. Often the overarching project initiation plan – typically written by the project manager – does not adequately cover the business analysis components of a project. If the BA work is not clearly defined, it can present a risk to project outcomes and stakeholder perceptions.

One way to overcome this is to develop a Business Analysis Approach document which describes the activities, deadlines and approach to delivering your work. This document can work in conjunction with a project plan or as a standalone item.

Here are 3 reasons why you should plan your next Business Analysis effort.

1. You improve your communication.

A very important part of successfully completing your work is communication with your stakeholders. The BA Approach Document clearly describes what you will deliver and why. It sets the expectations on how you perform your work, the resources you need and the types of activities you will engage in, e.g. workshops and interviews. So everybody is on the same page! Planning also increases the transparency of your work as the small processes of your work are better understood. This helps when expectations have to change.

2. You’re better organised

In developing the Business Analysis Approach you’ve laid out all aspects of your work in front of you. Not only does this benefit your stakeholders, but you have a clear and agreed path to follow. This prevents tangents and over analysis. Having a plan also helps when you are working on multiple projects or activities. This is because you need to consider timeframes for your activities, and any other outside work that will impact on them.

3. You’re more focussed on the goal

A project plan is not only important for communication with your stakeholders, it’s also valuable to keep you on track. It’s a way of keeping your work aligned to the finished product. With every activity you perform, you should ask yourself if it is relevant to the end product. Ask yourself, “What value am I adding here? Is this relevant to what I’m delivering? Is this in the plan?”

The number one thing Business Analysts should avoid

By adequately considering the goals and objectives of a project, the problem you’re solving, and the desired organisational outcomes, you will be better placed to focus your activities in the right direction.

There’s a lot written on the topic of common mistakes made by business analysts. That’s because considerable thought is given to how good business analysis practice can add value to an organisation, which is important for sustainability and growth.

Some of the bigger issues for business analysts are:

  • Failure to see the bigger picture and the problem that needs to be solved, which results in poorly aligned deliverables,
  • Being too solutions focussed, which leads to requirements written for a solution that does not satisfactorily meet the needs of the organisation,
  • Missing requirements in the specification or requirements are poorly expressed, which causes misinterpretation and wasted time in rework,
  • Poorly managed requirements due to inadequate tool support (i.e. no traceability), and
  • Inadequate stakeholder involvement, which results in signing off requirements without sufficient collaboration and verification from all user classes.

In my experience, the risk of these issues occurring can be significantly reduced with good planning . In my opinion, not planning your work is the one mistake that business analysts must avoid from the outset.

By adequately considering the goals and objectives of a project, the problem you’re solving, and the desired organisational outcomes, you will be better placed to focus your activities in the right direction. And you’ll mitigate the larger risk of some of those common business analysis mistakes occurring.

Of course there’s no guarantee, but you are putting your best foot forward by taking the time to think through your approach. And that gives you the comfort of knowing that you’ve done your best to communicate and mitigate any identifiable risks to the project at the level of your work.

Recommended resources

Business Analysis Approach Planning Template

Business Analysis Approach Planning Template

Make a great start on your next project with the Business Analysis Approach Template. This template helps you set the expectations on how you perform your work, the resources you need and the types of activities you will engage in, e.g. workshops and interviews. So everybody is on the same page! Planning also increases the transparency of your work as the small processes of your analysis are better understood. This helps when expectations have to change. A well written plan will help you communicate exactly what’s required of you and your stakeholders to produce the necessary deliverables for your business analysis effort, and why.

business analysis project planning

Bridging the Gap

The Business Analysis Process Framework: Step-By-Step Guide

One of the most common challenges I see in the business analysis profession is a struggle to help stakeholders understand the value of the business analysis process framework on any type of project, and, quite honestly, gaining credibility for the role.  

  • Lack of Awareness of How to Do Business Analysis
  • Step 1 – Get Oriented
  • Step 2 – Discover the Primary Business Objectives
  • Step 3 – Define Scope
  • Step 4 – Formulate Your Business Analysis Plan
  • Step 5 – Define the Detailed Requirements
  • Step 6 – Support the Technical Implementation
  • Step 7 – Help the Business Implement the Solution
  • Step 8 – Assess Value Created by the Solution
  • Knowing the Business Analysis Steps Cultivates Confidence & Credibility

Let’s Get Started!

There is a lack of awareness of how to do business analysis.

Let me just say that I know what it is like to feel that you constantly have to be paving a path for how to do business analysis, and guiding your stakeholders through the business analysis steps.

I also get the pressure you feel to just get “things” done without the proper time and analysis. I’ve succumbed to it many times in my career – and always to my ultimate regret.  

It’s incredibly difficult to always be the one pushing back, and it can be wicked hard to keep asking questions when it feels like everyone else has things figured out.   

(Spoiler alert: They don’t.)  

But you and I – we also know, deep in our souls, that we’re doing our projects, our teams, and our companies a disservice if we don’t do the right analysis and keep asking questions.  

When self-doubt creeps in, you need a structure to fall back on. A business analysis process framework to guide you forward and re-affirm that you are on the right track.  

And that’s what the 8-step business analysis process framework that we teach at Bridging the Gap is all about.  

By the way,  I cover these 8 steps in more detail in our free Quick Start to Success Workshop .

Business Analysis Process Framework - Step-By-Step Guide

Now let’s look at each of the 8 business analysis steps in more detail.

Business Analysis Process Framework Step 1 – Get Oriented

Often as business analysts, we are expected to dive into a project and start contributing as quickly as possible to make a positive impact. Sometimes the project is already underway. Other times there are vague notions about what the project is or why it exists. We face a lot of ambiguity as business analysts and it’s our job to clarify the scope, requirements, and business objectives as quickly as possible.

But that doesn’t mean that it makes sense to get ourselves knee-deep into the detailed requirements right away. Doing so very likely means a quick start in the wrong direction.

Taking some time, whether that’s a few hours, few days, or at the very most a few weeks, to get oriented will ensure you are not only moving quickly but also able to be an effective and confident contributor on the project .

Your key responsibilities in this step include:

  • Clarifying your role as the business analyst so that you are sure to create deliverables that meet stakeholder needs. (To better understand the BA role, be sure to check out our free workshop – Quick Start to Success as a Business Analyst .)
  • Determining the primary stakeholders to engage in defining the project’s business objectives and scope, as well as any subject matter experts, to be consulted early in the project.
  • Understanding the project history so that you don’t inadvertently repeat work that’s already been done or rehash previously made decisions.
  • Understanding the existing systems and business processes so you have a reasonably clear picture of the current state business process that needs to change.

This is where you learn how to learn what you don’t know you don’t know, so to speak. This step gets you the information you need to be successful and effective in the context of this particular project.

Business Analysis Process Framework Step 2 – Discover the Primary Business Objectives

It’s very common for business analysts and project managers to jump right in to defining the scope of the project. However, this can lead to unnecessary headaches.  Uncovering and getting agreement on the business needs early in a project and before scope is defined is the quickest path forward to a successful project.

  • Discovering expectations from your primary stakeholders – essentially discovering the “why” behind the project. (Our BA Essentials Master Class covers 7 different business analysis techniques that can be used as part of this discovery.)
  • Reconciling conflicting expectations so that the business community begins the project with a shared understanding of the business objectives and are not unique to one person’s perspective.
  • Ensuring the business objectives are clear and actionable to provide the project team with momentum and context while defining scope and, later on, the detailed requirements.

Discovering the primary business objectives sets the stage for defining scope, ensuring that you don’t end up with a solution that solves the wrong problem or, even worse, with a solution that no one can even determine is successful or not.

Business Analysis Process Framework Step 3 – Define Scope

A clear and complete statement of scope provides your project team the go-forward concept to realize the business needs. Scope makes the business needs tangible in such a way that multiple project team participants can envision their contribution to the project and the implementation. 

  • Defining a solution approach to determine the nature and extent of technology and business process changes to be made as part of implementing the solution to the primary business objectives.
  • Drafting a scope statement and reviewing it with your key business and technology stakeholders until they are prepared to sign-off or buy-in to the document .
  • Confirming the business case to ensure that it still makes sense for your organization to invest in the project.

Scope is not an implementation plan, but it is a touchstone guiding all of the subsequent steps of the business analysis process and tasks by other project participants.

Business Analysis Process Framework Step 4 – Formulate Your Business Analysis Plan

Your business analysis plan will bring clarity to the business analysis process that will be used to successfully define the detailed requirements for this project. Your business analysis plan is going to answer many questions for you and your project team.

  • Choosing the most appropriate types of business analysis deliverables, given the project scope, project methodology, and other key aspects of the project context.
  • Defining the specific list of business analysis deliverables that will completely cover the scope of the project and identifying the stakeholders who will be part of the creation and validation of each deliverable.
  • Identifying the timelines for completing the business analysis deliverables.

In the absence of defining a credible and realistic plan, a set of expectations may be defined for you , and often those expectations are unrealistic as they do not fully appreciate everything that goes into defining detailed requirements.

If you are facing unrealistic requirements deadlines – here’s a video with more detail on exactly how to respond.

Business Analysis Process Framework Step 5 – Define the Detailed Requirements

Detailed requirements provide your implementation team with the information they need to implement the solution. They make scope implementable.

Without clear, concise, and actionable detailed requirements, implementation teams often flounder and fail to connect the dots in such a way that delivers on the original business case for the project.  

  • Eliciting the informatio n necessary to understand what the business community wants from a specific feature or process change.
  • Analyzing the information you’ve discovered and using it to create a first draft of one or more business analysis deliverables containing the detailed requirements for the project.
  • Reviewing and validating each deliverable with appropriate business and technology stakeholders and asking questions to fill in any gaps.

Effective business analysts consciously sequence your deliverables to be as effective as possible in driving the momentum of the project forward. Paying attention to the project’s critical path, reducing ambiguity and complexity, and generating quick wins are all factors to consider when sequencing your deliverables.

Defining the detailed requirements requires a broader toolset of business analysis techniques and business analysis skills . You can learn more about the skills required to be a business analyst here:

Business Analysis Process Framework Step 6 – Support the Technical Implementation

On a typical project employing a business analyst, a significant part of the solution involves a technical implementation team building, customizing, and/or deploying software.  During the technical implementation, t here are many worthwhile support tasks for you to engage in that will help drive the success of the project and ensure the business objectives are met.

  • Reviewing the solution design to ensure it fulfills all of the requirements and looking for opportunities to meet additional business needs without increasing the technical scope of the project.
  • Updating and/or repackaging requirements documentation to make it useful for the technology design and implementation process.
  • Engaging with quality assurance professionals to ensure they understand the business context for the technical requirements. This responsibility may include reviewing test plans and/or test cases to ensure they represent a clear understanding of the functional requirements.
  • Making yourself available to answer questions and help resolve any issues that surface during the technical design, technical implementation, or testing phases of the project.
  • Managing requirements changes to ensure that everyone is working from up-to-date documentation and that appropriate stakeholders are involved in all decisions about change.
  • When appropriate, leading user acceptance testing efforts completed by the business community to ensure that the software implementation meets the needs of business end users.

All of these efforts help the implementation team fulfill the intended benefits of the project and ensure the investment made realizes a positive return.

Business Analysis Process Framework Step 7 – Help the Business Implement the Solution

Your technology team can deliver a beautiful shiny new solution that theoretically meets the business objectives, but if your business users don’t use it as intended and go back to business-as-usual, your project won’t have delivered on the original objectives . Business analysts are increasingly getting involved in this final phase of the project to support the business.

Your key responsibilities in this step may include:

  • Analyzing and developing interim and future state business process documentation that articulates exactly what changes need to be made to the business process.
  • Training end users to ensure they understand all process and procedural changes or collaborating with training staff so they can create appropriate training materials and deliver the training.
  • Collaborating with business users to update other organizational assets impacted by the business process and technology changes.

This step is all about ensuring all members of the business community are prepared to embrace the changes that have been specified as part of the project.

Business Analysis Process Framework Step 8 – Assess Value Created by the Solution

A lot happens throughout the course of a project. Business outcomes are discussed. Details are worked through. Problems, big and small, are solved. Relationships are built. Change is managed. Technology is implemented. Business users are trained to change the way they work.

In this flurry of activity and a focus on delivery, it’s easy to lose track of the big picture. Why are we making all these changes and what value do they deliver for the organization? And even more importantly, are we still on track? Meaning, is the solution we’re delivering actually delivering the value we originally anticipated?

Nothing creates more positive momentum within an organization than a track record of successful projects. But if we don’t stop and assess the value created by the solution, how do we know if we are actually operating from a track record of success?

  • Evaluating the actual progress made against the business objectives for the project to show the extent to which the original objectives have been fulfilled.
  • Communicating the results to the project sponsor, and if appropriate, to the project team and all members of the organization.
  • Suggesting follow-up projects and initiatives to fully realize the intended business objectives of the project or to solve new problems that are discovered while evaluating the impact of this project.

Business analysis creates tremendous value – and you can learn all about how to position your value in this video!

Knowing the Business Analysis Steps Cultivates Confidence and Credibility

As you leverage this process framework, you’ll gain increased recognition for the value of business analysis , and you’ll start to get pulled into more interesting projects, earlier in the process.  

I see BAs resist having a process because it seems like every project is different but without a process, you really feel like you have to make things up as you go along. While there are nuances of each project that are different, this is a framework you can fall back on to guide you.  

It’s both structured AND flexible.  

I invite you to start applying this process.  

If you want to learn more, join my Quick Start to Success workshop , where I teach you the ins and outs. We also do a deeper dive into each step of the process in our online business analyst training programs .

And, again, this is about you increasing your effectiveness, and finding the confidence to do what’s right for your project and your team, even when there can be pressures to “just get things done.”  

We build our profession one business analyst at a time, and success starts with you. 

Now that you understand the business analysis process framework, the very first step to get started on just about any project involves analyzing the business process . Here’s a great video to help you explore this essential business analysis skill set in more depth!

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Planning the Analysis Phase: using a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) and a WBS Dictionary

business analysis project planning

The purpose of this article is to show how a business analyst can use a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) for planning the analysis phase of a project; note, this is a follow-up article to my previous publication in Modern Analyst entitled: The Initial Conversation with Your Project Manager .

The WBS is a hierarchical structure used to decompose all the tasks associated with a project. These tasks are the basis for developing a project schedule, e.g., Precedent Diagram, PERT Chart and/or Ghant Chart. In addition, project managers use an Organizational Breakdown Structure (OBS) along with the WBS to map an organization’s resources with the tasks and to setup control accounts for the project. However, this article is limited to the WBS use by the BA in the context of planning the analysis phase.

Some History

The Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) originated with the United States Defense Department in 1957 and continues to be a Department of Defense (DoD) standard to this day. If you want a project contract with the US Government, a WBS is a most likely a requirement. Thirty years later, the Project Management Institute (PMI) adopted the WBS for planning all types of projects (public and private).

  The Work Breakdown Structure

 The WBS is a hierarchical graphic method for decomposing project tasks (parent-child tree branches) into small work packages of 40-80 hours of work. It has several design and guideline principles: 

  • Decompositions consist of at least 2 parent-child tasks. A decomposition with only one child is really the same as the parent.

Figure 1. Do Not Decompose a Parent Task into one Child

Figure 1. Do Not Decompose a Parent Task into one Child

  • Parent-child tasks do not have to be in sequence; the objective is to capture all the tasks – 100% rule. 
  • The lowest level parent-child tasks for each branch are work packages. These work packages are the basis for the schedule. 
  • Parent-child tasks are action oriented using an “action verb-optional qualifier-noun” format.

WBS Decomposition Process

Figure 2. WBS Decomposition Process  

  • Risks are derived from task assumptions, constraints, and possible resistance to build a risk register 
  • Cost(labor and expenses) plus contingencies to develop a budget 
  • Duration (estimated work time to complete a task) plus contingencies to develop a schedule; note a schedule considers when resources are available to work tasks. 
  • Resources (types and number)needed to complete the task to develop a schedule 

Below is a partial generic WBS (Figure 3) for the top-level tasks of an analysis phase of a software project. Note that I started the reference scheme with the number 2.1; this was subjective. Most people would have used the number 1.1.If you are interested in a completed generic WBS see references[1].

business analysis project planning

Figure 3.Partial Generic WBS for a Software Project Analysis Phase

In planning the analysis phase of a project, the business analyst develops a Requirements Work Plan (RWP). The plan contains a schedule, cost, and resources needed to conduct the analysis. To help produce this document, the BA can utilize a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS). Just as the project manager develops the project plan, the BA uses a WBS. However, instead of covering all the project tasks, the BA covers only the analysis tasks; see Figure1.After the BA team develops the WBS and WBS Dictionary, the BA team constructs the analysis schedule which the project manager typically incorporates into the project plan. To facilitate this incorporation, use the same project schedule software as the project manager.

Figure 4 depicts the stages of developing the RWP. Note that the RWP includes an analysis risk register, budget, a proposed schedule, and resources needed for the analysis phase. The WBS and WBS dictionary are the basis for all this information.

RWP Development process

The BA presents the RWP to the project manager and sponsor for approval. The main topic being the time and money required for the analysis phase. If the project manager and sponsor approve less/more time, money, and/or resources, the BA adjusts the analysis risk register and schedule accordingly. With approval, the project manager allocates the needed resources. The BA then adjusts the proposed schedule based on resource availability and proceeds with the planned analysis.

business analysis project planning

Mark is the President of Monteleone Consulting, LLC and author of the book, The 20 Minute Business Analyst: a collection of short articles, humorous stories, and quick reference cards for the busy analyst. He can be contacted via – www.baquickref.com .

1. http://monteleonepmp.com or http://www.baquickref.com/

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Roles and Responsibilities of Business Analyst in Project Management

Editorial Team

business analyst roles

The roles and responsibilities of business analyst are fundamental in satisfying stakeholder expectations and delivering a viable solution. Project management and business analysis are strategic processes that assume different perspectives on a project. Basically, project management aims at creating the services, products, or results of a project to achieve the set objectives. On the other hand, business analysis focuses on understanding stakeholders’ needs and defining solutions that will meet those needs.

While these two processes can exist independently, a project cannot be implemented successfully according to stakeholders needs if thorough analysis is not done throughout the lifecycle of the project. This underscores the fact that project success is as a result of strategic and high-level coordination between different professionals.

The process of analyzing project activities for possible breaches in business needs and inadequacies in solution delivery is performed by a business analyst (BA). To understand the ways in which business analysis plays out in projects’ lifecycle, it is important to understand how business analysts support the success of projects.

Here are the critical roles and responsibilities of a business analyst in project management.

business analysis project planning

1. Requirements Gathering

Requirements are an essential ingredient in any project because they form a foundation upon which projects are built. The requirements gathering process is pretty much a partnership between the business analyst, stakeholders, and the development team. The stakeholders need to communicate their needs and at the same time, the developer should anticipate needs.

The role of a business analyst, in this case, is to compile those needs while documenting questions relating to business requirements. Some business customers tend to think that developers are mind-readers who can design a viable product based on unknown or unspoken requirements. However, this is not practical. All requirements should be provided and captured in a reference document.

A business analyst needs to understand the needs within a certain context and align them with business objectives. Furthermore, the analyst should effectively communicate those requirements to the development team and stakeholders. To accomplish this, the needs should be gathered and then written in a language that both groups can understand.

2. Elicitation of Requirements

Discovering business requirements is not always at the disposal of a business analyst. It’s not easy for one to look up these requirements because they are not recorded anywhere. This is because business requirements reside within the minds of clients and stakeholders. Other sources of requirements constitute feedback from end users and surveys that are yet to be conducted.

So, business analysts must elicit business and technical requirements from stakeholders. Requirements elicitation is a linchpin to any project because mistakes made at this phase are many times linked to project abandonment or failure. Adequate preparation and study for requirements elicitation play an essential role in preventing such mistakes.

The purpose of elicitation is to thoroughly determine business requirements, needs, risks and premises linked to a given project. A business analyst must identify relevant stakeholders to guarantee effective understanding of business requirements.

3. Determines Functional And Non-Functional Requirements

Ensuring that a satisfactory end product is attained is one of the roles and responsibilities of business analysts. Functional requirements constitute what the desired project should do while non-functional requirements establish how a project ought to work. As a business analyst, one is responsibility for determining, extracting, and anticipating these requirements.

To accomplish this, one should research and interact extensively with both current and future end users. Additionally, an efficient business analyst should consider future technological changes and how they might impact the project.

The functional and non-functional requirements can offer great insights regarding the capabilities of the final product. As the project is being implemented, the non-functional requirements gain more importance. This is because the operation of a project can be improved once it is delivered in the real environment.

4. Requirement Analysis

Analysis of requirements encompasses organizing and prioritizing collected requirements. Sometimes, business requirements are too huge to handle as a whole. Thus, the business analyst engages in a set of tasks and activities that are aimed at dividing and sorting business requirements.

The aim of requirement analysis is to discover, define, document, and analyze requirements that are associated with specific business objectives. This facilitates business analysts to come up with a precise and clear definition of the scope of a project. In doing so, you can assess the resources and timescales required to complete a project.

Accurate business requirement analysis translates to a better understanding of business needs. In addition, it helps a business analyst to break down those needs into specific and detailed requirements that all stakeholders can agree on.

5. Translates Business Needs Into Detailed Requirements

A business analyst is tasked with translating the business needs of stakeholders into detailed and functional requirements that make sense to both the tech and business side. To accomplish this role, the analyst begins by compiling all the business needs.

As the BA, you need to elucidate business problems and confirm every detail with stakeholders. To do this, all stakeholders should be identified together with their needs. Following this, the BA determines business objectives, strategic mission, vision, and processes, and analyses them against identified needs and problems.

By conducting this analysis, the BA assesses opportunities and develops solutions that will address business problems. The proposed solutions are forwarded to appropriate persons for review, and their feedback is analyzed and incorporated as required. Ultimately, a list of detailed requirements is created.

6. Documenting Business Requirements

Requirement documentation is among the integral roles performed by a business analyst. Throughout a project life cycle, business analysts create many documents to satisfy different project needs and communicate with different professionals and stakeholders. There are many parameters that determine the type of document to be created and specifications to be included in each.

These include the type of project, stakeholders’ requirements and expectations, needs of a business, and organizational policies and processes. Some documents that business analysts create and utilize throughout the project’s life cycle include requirements management plan, use cases, user stories, and project vision document.

Although there are many documents associated with projects, business analysts do not create all of them for each project. In practice, most BAs chose to create only the essential documents depending on the nature of a project. Through documentation, business analysts maintain a list of requirements at every phase. Additionally, they offer regular updates to the technical and business teams.

7. Functions As The Liaison Among Stakeholders

A business analyst cannot develop detailed requirements independently. Instead, the BA works with business stakeholders and experts such as executives, IT professionals, and end users to analyze, elicit, and validate requirements. The analyst communicates with the client or organization that has requested a project and the development team.

As such, strong teamwork and communication skills and efficient negotiating abilities are absolutely essential in this role. The development team, for example, may have questions concerning some aspects of a project. Usually, they cannot inquire directly from the client. As per protocol, they should communicate the matter to the business analyst who ought to obtain the required information from the client.

Although not mandatory, a BA needs to have some knowledge about various sectors including IT. Such familiarity enables the analyst to be efficient in performing analysis tasks and communicating issues and requirements to stakeholders and specialists.

8. Elaborates Project Details

One of the crucial responsibilities of business analysts is to clarify the details of a project. This involves assessing the needs and ensuring that the project implementers have and understand every detail they require to create and implement processes and solutions. To achieve this, the BA works with all stakeholders in order to guarantee their requirements.

Similarly, the analyst engages the development team into a detailed conversation regarding the underlying problem and what they need to build. Notably, this conversation is done in all the phases of project development to guarantee that all business needs are identified and the final product is satisfactory. Obscurity is a key contributor to the collapse of many projects. Thus, the BA needs to elaborate project specifications to both stakeholders and developers so that both sides understand what needs to be implemented.

In most cases, the BA prepares the detailed requirements that have been approved by stakeholders and communicate them to the development team. A business analyst ought to ensure that solutions are communicated effectively to realize the projected results.

9. Supports Project Implementation

Generally, a business analyst is indirectly involved in projects implementation process. Nonetheless, the analyst is naturally called on whenever concerns or problems arise during implementation. This is because some issues may bring about new or additional needs that should be communicated to stakeholders.

Business analyst support may involve coordinating a problem-solving meeting to deliberate on and determine how certain needs can be satisfied alongside newly acknowledged constraints. Sometime, proposed processes and procedures may require review during implementation stage because of technological, functionality, or compatibility issues. Such cases require the business analyst to engage the concerned stakeholders and the development team to device new ways of achieving projected results while saving on available resources.

As implementation task gets to completion, business analysts become more active in some projects. They are liable for supporting clients in accepting the product that is being finalized. This role can comprise testing the new product, training clients, and obtaining feedback. It can also involve analyzing how the client will apply the solution to complete different tasks and activities.

The business analysts’ role of supporting project implementation ends when the solution is delivered to the client and users can access and utilize it successfully. When new needs, as well as requirements, are discovered, the analyst is brought in and the entire cycle for a new project begins.

10. Aids in User Acceptance Testing

The roles of business analysts are not just concerned with determining business needs and project implementation. Testing the deployed solution is among the key responsibilities of a business analyst. User acceptance testing constitutes the last phase of the testing process. Through testing, the BA seeks to guarantee that the new product functions as envisioned by stakeholders.

Moreover, testing is carried out to ascertain that the user requirements are fully satisfied. Notably, the only possible way to determine these aspects is through user acceptance testing (UAT). Its core objective is to ascertain whether the new solution can execute the required tasks in the real setting.

During the product development and deployment stages, a business analyst should employ testing approaches to create user-testing scenarios that will facilitate the process of UAT. If the new product does not offer expected results, it means that developers built the product based on their own understanding because some requirements were not communicated effectively.

11. Problem Solving

Pro business analysts perceive problems as opportunities that can be leveraged to give value to businesses and customers. To solve a problem, a BA breaks it down into its primary components. Following this, each constituent is analyzed carefully to identify the component with a problem. Critical thinking is among the skills employed by business analysts in examining a problem.

Besides thinking critically, problem-solving encompasses the application of analytical and logical techniques to recognize underlying causes. In doing so, a business analyst is able to propose solutions that guarantee the elimination of identified problems. Problem-solving process encompasses defining a problem scope, which helps a business analyst to establish whether the issue can be addressed satisfactorily.

Any possible solution is dependent on the scope. Eliciting information from stakeholders and resolving ambiguities are critical processes that business analysts undertake to determine a viable solution.

Therefore, problem-solving is not a black art; rather, it’s a logical and analytical process, which can be analyzed, qualified, and broken down to determine root causes.

Business analysts do not just help companies to identify their needs and problems but also improve their products and services. This underscores the roles and responsibilities of a business analyst in the management of projects . They are valuable assets whose roles are indispensable for the successful implementation of viable solutions.

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October 13, 2020 Scott Bennett, Manager, Business Analysis, International Institute of Business Analysis™ | IIBA® back to all blogs -->

BA Planning and Monitoring |  Learning BA Planning Skills

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As the Manager of Business Analysis here at IIBA, I’m responsible for organizing work for my team. With several decades of business analysis experience, I’ve learned that planning is critical for each and every project, regardless of the size. For a small initiative, it could involve a few short conversations to organize the work. For a large project, with multiple BA’s, it requires a much more involved planning effort.

I’m now managing my third BA team in my career, and when I coach team members about business analysis planning, it’s not a one-size-fits-all type of conversation. Working with junior BAs, I often find there are concepts they have never been exposed to. For senior BA’s I coach based on their years of experience and get deeper into the details based on their familiarity with tools and techniques that they need to be successful and independent in planning the business analysis work. I will cover the basics in this blog.

Planning and Monitoring

What is Business Analysis Planning?

My favourite saying about planning is “we don’t plan to fail; we fail to plan.” For every initiative, there is a need to plan before digging into the work. The key parts I focus on are:

  • Stakeholder Engagement – who are the stakeholders, how will they be involved with the project, and how will you communicate with them?
  • Project Approach – organizations are more frequently using multiple approaches for their projects, so you need to determine the best project approach for your initiative
  • Documentation – communicating clearly and concisely is critical for any initiative. The project approach will influence how you create, share, and manage the documentation

These areas shape how your project is setup, to they’re the foundational elements you need to understand. If you’re not planning, you risk running into challenges during the project where you have to redo work, increase the project budget, or even worse, cause the project to fail.

Why is Stakeholder Engagement Important?

The purpose of a project is to introduce change and the change needs to be articulated by stakeholders. In business analysis work, this is where soft skills come into play to understand who should be engaged to articulate the needs. This is influenced by your organizational structure, culture, and your organization’s approach to projects. Selecting the stakeholders is a detailed topic, which is beyond the scope of this blog.

Once the stakeholders are identified for the project, you need to meet with them to:

  • Understand and clarify the purpose of the initiative
  • Obtain their buy-in to provide approvals throughout the project
  • Obtain their commitment to provide subject matter experts to work with for defining the requirements and conducting user acceptance testing to prove their requirements are met

Please don’t dismiss this step as theoretical and not relevant to your project. I’ve witnessed projects that failed to do this step and they have always suffered in some way; poor stakeholder relationships, loss of reputation, increased project budgets, and in some cases failed projects. I’ll repeat one of my favourite sayings again “we don’t plan to fail; we fail to plan.”

What Project Approach?

I generally think of projects as either waterfall or agile/iterative. Regardless of the terminology used to describe these, my core thought process is how to organize the business analysis work in the context of the organization and the project.

There are many organizations who have transitioned to agile project practices, but there may still be needs to use a waterfall project methodology. I don’t see either of these going away in the future. In my previous work experience, working in an organization with high priority on cost controls, waterfall projects were dominant to clearly define all the needs up front before building a solution. In my current work, we’re using agile/iterative project practices to deliver value sooner than what can be done in waterfall projects.

There is no right or wrong answer for choosing a project approach as it depends on the work environment and the systems or processes, you’re changing. What is important is that you determine up front what approach you are using as it will impact the stakeholder communication and your documentation.

How to Document?

The third element of planning I want to cover is documentation (referred to a Business Analysis Information Management in the BABOK® Guide). I teach my team members that “our documentation is the contract with the customer that defines what success looks like.” We want to be clear on what needs to be satisfied so we are all aiming at the same target. The approach for documenting will be different depending on the project approach. It wouldn’t make sense to define 100% of the requirements up front for an agile project, just as it would be impossible to run a successful waterfall project with requirements trickling in over the life of the project. The documentation approach must align with the project approach.

Admittedly, my go-to documentation tool is Word. It’s the first thing I open to write down my thoughts. I have requirement templates in Word. But the world of technology has evolved over the past decade and there are a variety of tools available. For example, JIRA may be used to document stories for an agile project. Selecting the method and tool for documentation is key so the subject matter experts and stakeholders you’re working with understand how you will be communicating with them and aligning with them. Documentation is the communication “glue” that holds a project together and it’s critical to every project.

I hope you find this helpful as an introduction to Business Analysis Planning. If this topic interests you, I suggest seeking out a mentor who can provide some coaching. Perhaps it’s a senior resource in your team or your manager. The sooner you learn this skill, the more prepared you will be to tackle you next challenging project.

Did you know?

Organizations can align training and development with business needs utilizing the business analysis competency model. iiba’s global corporate program provides the support and resources to assess, set benchmarks and align competencies to roles and mandates. learn more about the business analysis competency model and how you can gain enterprise access for better resource management, training, and development., about the author:.

scott bennett.jpg

Scott shares his passion for leading Business Analysis teams to drive organizational value in his role as Manager, Business Analysis with IIBA. You can also find Scott on YouTube applying his skills and experience to his second passion designing, building, and repairing woodworking pieces.

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Project Plan Template for Business Analysis

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  • Stakeholders

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Breaking down business analysis: a step-by-step guide to the stages involved.

business analysis project planning

Are you ready to dive into the world of business analysis? Whether you’re a seasoned professional or just getting started, understanding the stages involved in this critical process is key to success. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll break down each stage step-by-step, giving you the tools and knowledge needed to excel in your business analysis endeavors. From defining goals to implementing solutions, join us as we explore the ins and outs of effective analysis techniques that drive business growth and innovation. Let’s get started!

What is Business Analysis

Business analysis is a crucial practice in any organization, whether it be a small start-up or a large corporation. It involves identifying, understanding, and improving business processes and systems to achieve organizational goals and objectives. The goal of business analysis is to help businesses make informed decisions that lead to growth and success.

Business analysis can be broken down into several stages, each with its own specific purpose and tasks. In this article, we will dive into each stage of business analysis, providing you with a step-by-step guide on how to effectively analyze your business.

Stages Of Business analysis

1. Planning and Scoping

Before beginning any business analysis project, it is crucial to have a solid plan in place. This involves thoroughly understanding the goals and objectives of the project, as well as identifying key stakeholders and their needs. The planning and scoping stage sets the foundation for successful business analysis by outlining the scope of the project and defining a clear path forward.

Understand Business Objectives: The first step in planning and scoping is to gain a thorough understanding of the business objectives of the project. This includes understanding why the project is being undertaken, what problems are being addressed, and what outcomes are expected. It is important to involve key stakeholders in this process to ensure that everyone has a shared understanding of the project’s goals and priorities.

Identify Stakeholders: Stakeholder identification is an essential aspect of planning and scoping. This involves identifying all individuals or groups who will be affected by or have an interest in the outcome of the project. These stakeholders can include employees, customers, suppliers, shareholders, regulators, etc. Understanding their needs, expectations, and concerns will help guide decisions throughout the business analysis process.

Define Scope: Defining scope refers to setting boundaries for what will be included or excluded from the project. This can range from specific processes or systems that need improvement to larger organizational changes that may impact multiple departments or areas within a company. Clearly defining scope ensures that all team members have a shared understanding of what aspects are within the scope of work for this particular project.

Establish Project Plan: Creating a detailed plan is crucial for effective business analysis. It outlines tasks, timelines, resources needed, deliverables expected at each stage of your work as you conduct your research into potential solutions/areas identified as trouble spots as compared against data collected during this early planning phase (perhaps also augmented with some outside market research), so even before considering any other factors related such as development teams’ feedback on technical feasibility reviewing preexisting data to make informed decisions. A well-thought-out plan helps keep the project organized and on track, while also allowing for flexibility in case of any unexpected changes.

Once the planning and scoping stage is complete, it is important to review the plan with all stakeholders involved to ensure everyone is aligned with the proposed approach. This will help avoid potential issues or misunderstandings as the project progresses. With a solid plan in place, you can move on to the next stage of business analysis – gathering and analyzing requirements.

2. Gathering Requirements

The second stage of business analysis is gathering requirements. Once you have defined the problem in the first stage, it is important to gather all the necessary information and requirements to formulate a solution. This step involves understanding the needs and goals of all stakeholders involved in the project.

1. Identify Stakeholders: The first step in gathering requirements is identifying all the stakeholders who will be impacted by the solution. These may include end-users, customers, managers, and anyone else who has a vested interest in the project’s success. It is essential to involve all relevant parties from the beginning to ensure that their needs and concerns are addressed.

2. Conduct Interviews: Interviewing stakeholders is an effective way to gather requirements as it allows for direct communication and understanding of their perspectives. These interviews can be conducted through one-on-one meetings or group discussions depending on the number of participants.

3. Use Surveys: Surveys are another useful tool for gathering requirements as they allow for collecting feedback from a large number of people in a structured manner. They can be used alongside interviews and help to get more specific information about certain aspects of the project.

4. Analyze Existing Documentation: Documentation such as reports, business plans, process maps, and other relevant materials can provide valuable insights into current procedures, systems, and past issues that need to be considered while formulating solutions.

5. Organize Requirements: Once all relevant information has been gathered through different means, it should be organized according to its source or priority using tools like spreadsheets or requirement management software systems (RMS). This makes it easier for further analysis and ensures that no requirement gets overlooked.

6.Monitor Changes: Requirements are not set in stone; they may change during any stage of a project due to various factors such as market trends or technological advancements. Therefore it is crucial to constantly monitor changes throughout the project lifecycle so that adjustments can be made accordingly.

7.Validate Requirements: Validating requirements is an important step to ensure that they are complete, accurate, and feasible. This can be done through reviews with stakeholders, prototypes or mockups, or by conducting feasibility studies.

This stage of gathering requirements lays the foundation for developing a solution that addresses the identified problem. By involving all stakeholders and gathering comprehensive information, business analysts set themselves up for success in the upcoming stages of business analysis. In the next stage, we will discuss how this gathered information is analyzed and translated into actionable insights for developing solutions.

3. Analyzing Data and Information

After gathering all the necessary data and information, the next crucial step in business analysis is to analyze it thoroughly. This process involves examining the collected data and drawing meaningful insights from it that can guide decision-making and help achieve business goals.

1. Cleaning and Organizing Data: The first step in analyzing data is to clean and organize it properly. This includes removing any irrelevant or duplicate data points, correcting any errors, and categorizing the data into relevant groups. This ensures that the data being analyzed is accurate and reliable.

2. Identifying Patterns: Once the data is cleaned and organized, the next step is to look for patterns within the data. These can be trends, correlations or anomalies that may reveal important insights about a particular aspect of the business. Tools such as charts, graphs, and pivot tables can be used to visualize these patterns more effectively.

3. Conducting Statistical Analysis: Statistical analysis involves using mathematical formulas and techniques to interpret quantitative data accurately. It helps identify relationships between different variables, measure their level of significance, and make predictions based on historical trends.

4.Leveraging Data Mining Techniques: Data mining involves using complex algorithms to extract useful information from large datasets quickly. This technique helps discover hidden patterns or relationships that may not be apparent through manual analysis.

5.Interpreting Qualitative Data: In addition to quantitative data, qualitative information such as customer feedback or employee opinions also plays a crucial role in business analysis. Interpreting this type of (subjective) information requires a different set of skills such as critical thinking and intuition.

6.Visualizing Insights Through Reports: Once all the data has been analyzed thoroughly, it needs to be presented in an easy-to-understand format for stakeholders who may not have a background in analytics or statistics. Business analysts use various reporting tools like dashboards or infographics to convey insights derived from the analyzed data effectively.

By thoroughly analyzing data and information, business analysts can uncover critical insights, identify potential areas for improvement, and make data-driven decisions that can have a significant impact on the organization’s success. This step is crucial in bridging the gap between raw data and actionable insights and forms the backbone of effective business analysis.

4. Designing Solutions

Designing solutions is the fourth stage of the business analysis process, and it involves taking all the information gathered from the previous stages and using it to develop potential solutions to address the business problem or opportunity.

1. Identify Alternatives

The first step in designing solutions is to identify all possible alternatives that could potentially solve the identified business problem or capitalize on the opportunity. This can be done by brainstorming with stakeholders, conducting research, and considering different perspectives.

2. Evaluate Alternatives

Once a list of alternatives has been generated, they need to be evaluated against predefined criteria such as feasibility, cost-benefit analysis, and alignment with organizational goals and objectives. This evaluation will help determine which solutions are most viable for further consideration.

3. Recommend a Solution

Based on the evaluation of alternatives, a recommended solution should be selected by the business analyst in consultation with stakeholders. The recommended solution must address both short-term and long-term needs of the organization and should align with its overall strategy.

4. Define Scope

Once a solution has been chosen, it’s essential to clearly define its scope to avoid potential scope creep later on in the project lifecycle. Defining scope involves determining what is included in the solution and what is not included.

5. Develop Requirements

With a clear understanding of what needs to be accomplished through the chosen solution, requirements can now be developed based on stakeholder feedback and input. These requirements will serve as guidelines for development teams to follow when building or implementing the solution.

6. Create a Solution Design

Using all available information about the business problem or opportunity and its associated requirements, a detailed design document can be created outlining how exactly the chosen solution will work from a technical perspective or process flow perspective.

7.Validate With Stakeholders

Before moving forward with implementation or further development of the solution design, it’s crucial to validate it with stakeholders once again. With their approval, the design can then serve as a blueprint for the implementation phase.

5. Implementing and Evaluating Changes

Once you have identified the changes that need to be made, the next step is to implement and evaluate them. This stage involves putting your proposed solutions into practice and assessing their effectiveness.

1. Develop an Implementation Plan The first step in implementing changes is to create a detailed plan outlining how each solution will be put into action. This plan should include a timeline, budget, resources needed, and any potential risks or challenges that may arise during the implementation process. It’s important to involve all stakeholders in this planning stage to ensure buy-in and cooperation throughout the process.

2. Communicate Effectively Effective communication is crucial when implementing changes in a business setting. All parties involved should be kept informed about the changes being made, why they are necessary, and what their role will be in the implementation process. This helps build trust and transparency among team members, which can lead to smoother execution of changes.

3. Monitor Progress Monitoring progress during implementation allows for early detection of any issues or delays that may arise. Regular check-ins with team members involved in various aspects of the change can help identify any roadblocks and allow for timely adjustments to keep things on track.

4. Collect Data for Evaluation As you work through implementing changes, it’s important to collect data related to key performance indicators (KPIs) that were established earlier in the analysis stage. This data will serve as a baseline for evaluating the success of your implemented solutions and identifying areas for improvement.

5.Evaluation Process Evaluation involves measuring whether or not desired outcomes were achieved from implementing the proposed changes. Key questions to ask during this stage include:

– Did we achieve our KPIs? – Was there any deviation from our planned timeline or budget? – How did stakeholders respond to the implemented changes? – What challenges were encountered during implementation?

It’s essential to be open-minded when evaluating your efforts – it may be necessary to revisit previous stages if certain goals were not met. This process also provides valuable insights for future business analysis projects.

Tools and Techniques Used in Each Stage

The process of business analysis involves several stages, each with its own set of tools and techniques to help achieve the desired outcomes. In this section, we will discuss in detail the tools and techniques commonly used in each stage of business analysis.

1. Planning Stage:

This is the first stage in business analysis and lays the foundation for all subsequent stages. During this stage, a business analyst identifies the purpose and objectives of the project, defines stakeholders, gathers requirements, and creates a detailed plan for conducting the analysis.

Tools used in this stage include mind mapping software, stakeholder maps, Gantt charts, and various planning templates. These tools help organize information and visualize project timelines and dependencies. Techniques such as brainstorming sessions are also utilized during this phase to gather ideas from stakeholders.

2. Eliciting Requirements:

The second stage involves gathering requirements from various stakeholders through interviews, surveys, workshops or focus groups. The BA collects information regarding the current processes and systems being used by the organization as well as their pain points and needs.

Some of the common tools used in this stage include questionnaires, use cases diagrams, prototypes or wireframes to capture user requirements accurately. To ensure thorough understanding of requirements BAs employ techniques like root cause analysis , document review , observation etc .

3. Analyzing Requirements:

Once all relevant information has been gathered through elicitation techniques it is then analyzed to identify any inconsistencies or gaps between what is needed by stakeholders versus what is currently available within an organization’s framework.

Tools used during this phase may include requirement traceability matrix (RTM) which helps track requirement changes , decision tables for rule evaluation , prioritization matrices etc .

4.Managing Requirements:

Requirements management aims at managing expectations between different stakeholders while ensuring that all parties involved have a clear understanding of what is required throughout every step of development . Some key activities carried out at these stages involve requirement conflict resolution solutions; change control mechanisms ; monitoring and addressing risk etc .

Tools used during this stage include change management software, traceability tools, and collaboration platforms. These help in tracking changes to requirements, managing conflicts between stakeholders, and ensuring adherence to project timelines.

5. Communicating Information:

Effective communication is crucial in every stage of business analysis. The BA must convey complex technical information in a clear and concise manner to various stakeholders involved in the project. This ensures that everyone understands the requirements and their roles in achieving them.

To facilitate effective communication, BAs may use tools like visual aids (charts, diagrams), presentations, status reports or even data visualization techniques. Techniques like active listening and effective questioning are also employed by the BA to ensure that all parties understand the information being communicated.

6. Evaluating Solutions:

During this stage, potential solutions are identified based on the gathered requirements and analyzed for feasibility against organizational goals and objectives. To evaluate solutions effectively, BAs utilize techniques such as cost-benefit analysis or SWOT analysis. Some common tools used during this phase include decision-making matrices and prototype testing software.

Key Skills and Qualifications of a Business Analyst

As a business analyst, having the right set of skills and qualifications is crucial in order to effectively analyze and improve business processes. In this section, we will discuss some key skills and qualifications that are essential for a successful business analyst.

1. Analytical Skills: Perhaps the most important skill for a business analyst is the ability to think critically and analyze information. This involves breaking down complex problems into smaller, more manageable parts in order to identify patterns and trends. Business analysts must also be able to interpret data accurately, draw meaningful conclusions, and provide strategic recommendations based on their analysis.

2. Communication Skills: Effective communication is vital for a business analyst as they have to work closely with various stakeholders including clients, colleagues, and management. They need to be able to articulate complex ideas in simple terms, create clear and concise reports, and facilitate meetings or presentations. Good communication skills also include active listening in order to fully understand stakeholders’ needs and concerns.

3. Problem-Solving Skills: Business analysts are often tasked with identifying problems within a company’s operations and finding solutions to address them. This requires strong problem-solving skills such as being able to brainstorm creative ideas, evaluate potential solutions, weigh pros and cons, predict outcomes, and make data-driven decisions.

4. Technical Aptitude: While not all business analysts need coding knowledge or advanced technical skills, having a basic understanding of technology can be beneficial in today’s digital age. This includes proficiency in using data analysis tools like Excel or SQL databases as well as project management software such as JIRA or Asana.

5. Domain Knowledge: Depending on the industry they work in, business analysts may require specific domain knowledge such as finance or marketing expertise. Having a deep understanding of an organization’s products or services can help guide their analysis process by allowing them to ask targeted questions that lead to valuable insights.

In addition to these key skills mentioned above, there are also certain qualifications that can boost a business analyst’s credibility and expertise. Some common qualifications include a degree in business administration, finance, or information systems, as well as certifications such as Certified Business Analysis Professional (CBAP) or Project Management Professional (PMP).

It is also important for business analysts to have strong project management skills, as they are often responsible for leading projects and ensuring they are completed on time and within budget. This requires the ability to plan and prioritize tasks effectively, manage resources, track progress, and communicate with team members.

Common Challenges in the Business Analysis Process

The business analysis process is an essential component of any successful project or initiative, as it helps organizations identify opportunities for improvement and make data-driven decisions. However, like any other process, business analysis comes with its own set of challenges that can hinder progress and impact the overall success of a project. In this section, we will discuss some of the common challenges that business analysts face during the different stages of the business analysis process.

1. Gathering Accurate and Relevant Data

One of the primary responsibilities of a business analyst is to gather data from various sources such as stakeholders, customers, market research reports, and internal systems. However, this task can be challenging as many factors can affect the accuracy and relevance of the data collected. For example, stakeholders may have conflicting interests or viewpoints that can bias their input. Market research reports may not reflect current trends accurately. Internal systems may have incomplete or outdated information. As a result, business analysts must carefully evaluate and validate their data to ensure its accuracy before proceeding with the analysis.

2. Communication Issues

Effective communication is crucial in all stages of the business analysis process to ensure everyone involved has a clear understanding of objectives, requirements, constraints, and expectations. However, miscommunication between stakeholders can occur due to differences in language barriers or technical knowledge levels. This challenge can lead to delays in decision-making processes or incorrect assumptions about requirements resulting in ineffective solutions.

3. Stakeholder Resistance

Business analysts often encounter resistance from stakeholders who are hesitant to adopt new technologies or change existing processes they are comfortable with even if it results in improved outcomes for the organization. These concerns may stem from fear of job insecurity or lack of sufficient understanding about why changes are necessary for better performance and results.

4.Lack Of Resources

Conducting thorough analyses requires resources such as time, budget allocation, personnel with specialized skills/expertise; however these resources might not always readily available which could hinder progress throughout different stages of the business analysis process. As a result, business analysts may need to be creative in finding alternative solutions and adapting to limitations.

5. Keeping Up With Changing Business Requirements

Business needs and priorities can quickly change due to unexpected events like economic shifts, regulatory changes, or technological advancements. Therefore, business analysts must constantly stay updated and adapt to changing requirements throughout the project lifecycle. This challenge demands flexibility and agility from business analysts to ensure they are delivering value-driven solutions effectively.

Importance of Continuous Improvement and Adaptation

Continuous improvement refers to the process of identifying and implementing changes within an organization in order to optimize operations, products or services. It involves evaluating current processes, procedures, and systems, and making ongoing improvements based on the results obtained. This constant cycle of evaluation, implementation and measuring success allows a company to constantly evolve and remain efficient.

One major benefit of continuous improvement is increased efficiency. By regularly reviewing processes, businesses can identify areas for improvement which can result in cost savings and reduced waste. This not only leads to financial gains but also improves overall productivity as employees become more streamlined in their tasks.

Another important aspect is staying ahead of competition. As industries become increasingly competitive with new players entering the market all the time, businesses must be able to adapt quickly in order to stay ahead. By continuously improving processes, products or services, businesses can stand out from competitors by offering better quality at a lower cost.

Moreover, continuous improvement fosters innovation within an organization. By encouraging employees to share ideas for improvement, companies create a culture that values creativity and problem-solving. This encourages employees at all levels to contribute towards driving positive change within the company.

Similarly, adaptation is equally vital for businesses seeking long-term success. Adapting means being open-minded about change and being able to pivot your business model when necessary. It requires flexibility in responding promptly when challenges arise or when opportunities present themselves.

Being adaptable also means having a deep understanding of market trends as well as customer needs/wants/preferences at any given time. Businesses must keep their finger on the pulse through research methods such as surveys or focus groups so they can make informed decisions on how best they should adjust their strategies accordingly.

Business analysis is a crucial process in any successful organization, and by understanding the different stages involved, you can ensure effective decision-making and problem-solving. Whether you are an experienced business analyst or just starting in this field, following these steps can greatly enhance your skills and contribute to the growth of your company. Remember to always keep open communication with all parties involved and adapt your approach as needed for optimal results. With proper planning and execution, business analysis can be a powerful tool for achieving success in today’s fast-paced business world.

business analysis project planning

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Useful Business Analysis Templates To Support Your Projects in 2024

business analyst template toolkit

Having a set of business analysis templates / business analyst templates and work aids will help a business analyst as they develop in their business analysis careers and enable you to understand the  documents created by business analysts and overcome common challenges faced by business analyst.

Sometimes you maybe in an organisation which is still maturing in business analysis best practices and having a set of templates is not readily available for the types of projects that you work on or cover the business analysis techniques that you would like to do on a project.

Rather than create business analysis templates from scratch, it is sometimes a lot easier, if you have templates to hand, that you can use and save time and focus more on the business analysis work that you undertaking. The business document templates will also help you to understand what business analyst documents that business analyst produce during projects.

Having a set of business analysis templates will also provide an opportunity to learn what is expected for each section of the document and understand what key questions to ask and raise the quality of your business analysis work. It will also provide you the knowledge to understand the documents prepared by business analyst .

Having a set of templates also provides you with an opportunity to see business analyst work samples / examples from business analyst best practices to compare against the work that you are currently doing and learning where you can improve.

As a business analyst sometimes working on busy projects there are enough difficulties in getting the actual work done. So having a set of business analysis templates will save you time and effort by having a business analyst documents list that can be used on projects.

Below are some of the  best business analysis document templates to help you on projects, including a selection of business analyst templates free to download.

Most of these business analysis template are either in Word or Excel format to make it easier for you to use and edit for your projects and work.

Also the Word and Excel business analysis templates are fully annotated, so you can review them for ideas and copy and paste what you need into your pre-existing template documents created by business analysts.

So when you start your next project having exposure to these business analysis templates will provide you with the confidence to plan your business analysis approach and plan business analysis activities . You will be able to confidently demonstrate your business analysis approach with industry awareness (by using the business analysis templates and business analyst documents) to those around you on your  business analysis projects .

Table of Contents

Free business analysis templates, business process template.

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Defining business processes is an important key technique for a business analyst and the business process template will help ensure that you are capturing the right information when you are conducting business process management activities.

The business process documentation template is a very popular template and is a key business analyst document.

business analysis templates - free business process template download

Use Case Template

business analysis templates - free use case template download | use cases

Business Analysis Templates

Business analyst template toolkit.

business analyst template toolkit

The business analyst template toolkit includes the following templates that will help business analysts working on business analysis activities on projects and understand documents prepared by a business analyst :

  • Business Process Document (Word)
  • Change Request (Word)
  • Data Feed Specification (Word)
  • Glossary Template (Word and Excel)
  • Issues List (Excel)
  • Meeting Agenda (Word)
  • Meeting Notes (Word)
  • Requirements Development Plan (Word)
  • Scope Statement (Word)
  • Use Case Template (Word and Excel)
  • Use Case List (Excel)
  • User Interface Specification (Word)

The business process documentation template  is extremely useful and includes sections for entry and exit criteria, workflow diagram, activity descriptions, exceptions, business rules, inputs and outputs, roles and responsibilities and metrics.

So, the business process documentation template will help ensure that you are cover the key documentation points to document business processes. 

Email Communication Templates

business analyst templates - email communication templates

These business email templates which cover the types of emails that you will typically send in your business analysis engagements and projects will definitely save you some time to ensure that the emails are professional and cover the key points.

Starting your business analysis engagement and projects with authority and clarity of understanding with stakeholders will provide the right level of professionalism .

Of particular usefulness in this bundle is the email template that kicks off the business analysis efforts .

The business analysis email template covers key points such as tailoring the template to include the business problem or opportunity, identifying the sponsor of the project, including the engagement and project brief and goals.

Introducing your role and responsibilities so that stakeholders are clear and listing the relevant business analysis activities that you will undertake such as planning requirements discovery sessions and documenting requirements to be sure that you clearly capture business needs and desired capabilities of the new solution.

Working with the technology to ensure that requirements are feasible within the project constraints, and answer any questions they have. 

The template is configurable so that right business activities can be included depending upon the context.

The email communications pack includes a weekly status report template . The template is very useful when you are assigned to a high profile project and working to tight deadlines; or during your first few months in a new role.

Visual Model Sample Pack

visual model sample pack business analysis templates

The visual model sample pack includes the following templates that will help business analysts working on business analysis activities on projects and understand documents created by business analyst :

  • Activity Diagram
  • Business Domain Model 
  • Competitive Comparison Matrix 
  • Data Flow Diagram 
  • Data Matrix 
  • Evaluation Criteria and Recommendation Summary 
  • Feature Brainstorming Mind Map 
  • Feature Matrix 
  • Feature Prioritisation and Stakeholder Matrix 
  • Feature Roadmap
  • Navigation Map 
  • Organisational Chart 
  • Performance Report 
  • Process Flow Diagram
  • Process Improvement Progress Report 
  • Scope Model 
  • Stakeholder Map 
  • SWOT Analysis and Opportunity Analysis 
  • System Architecture Diagram  
  • System Context Diagram 
  • Use Case Diagram 
  • User Interface Wireframe 

The system context diagram business analysis template will help you to show how one system interfaces with other systems. Essentially, it puts a primary system in context with other systems.

The evaluation criteria and recommendation business analysis template , will help you to list the specific ways that a potential solution will be evaluated to determine if it is desirable or acceptable to stakeholders.

The recommendation summary will provide the supporting detail to back up a recommendation, ideally made based on previously agreed to evaluation criteria. 

The process improvement progress report business analysis template visually shows improvements made to a business or technical process as the result of finishing or making progress against a project.

The data matrix business analysis template  will help you to identify the data or information a system needs to be able to store, maintain, or provide access to. The data matrix is typically presented as a diagram, along with appropriate textual descriptions or matrices.

Requirements Discovery Checklist Pack

requirements discovery checklist pack business analysis templates

The requirements discovery checklist pack business analysis templates also includes a useful requirements discovery checklist guide book.

The guide book will help you get the most out of your investment in the

business analyst requirements gathering template discovery checklist pack. It will walk you through what’s included in the pack and how you can use it to become more effective at discovering requirements.

Project Prioritisation Organiser

business analyst templates - project prioritisation organiser

Get Bundle of Business Analysis Templates

  • Business analyst template toolkit;
  • Email communication templates;
  • Visual model sample pack;
  • Requirements discovery checklist pack;
  • Project prioritisation organiser.

Business Analysis & Agile Templates

The following template packages are suited if your looking for agile supporting templates in addition to business analysis templates.

50 Project Templates | Business Analysis, Agile & Project Management

  • NOTION project template dashboard where everything is kept accessible from a central place.
  • Downloadable files instantly to help you and save hours of time preparing documents, diagrams and running workshops.
  • Many templates are also available as Miro Boards –  so online collaboration becomes easier.
  • Project management, business analysis and product ownership templates.
  • Relevant for agile and waterfall based projects.

The pack is useful if your looking for a business analysis approach template, business analysis workshop templates.


  • Project Brief
  • Business Project Roadmap
  • Work Breakdown Structure
  • Stakeholder Matrix
  • RACI Matrix
  • Risk Register
  • Issues Register
  • Decision Register
  • Cost / Benefit Analysis
  • Weighted Decision Matrix
  • Matrix Organisational Chart
  • Agile Project Charter
  • Agile Team Charter
  • Agile Burn down Chart
  • Agile Product Backlog
  • Customer Journey Map
  • User Empathy Map
  • Retrospectives 3 for 1
  • Retrospectives Find Your Focus
  • Retrospective Norman Kerth’s 4 Key Questions.
  • Retrospective Divide the Dollar
  • Retrospective Plus and Delta
  • Business Analysis Approach
  • Requirements Specification
  • Use Case Descriptions
  • Use Case Diagrams
  • User Stories
  • Non-functional Requirements
  • Data Flow Diagram L1
  • Data Dictionary
  • Requirements Traceability Matrix
  • Cause & Effect Diagram
  • Functional Decomposition Diagram
  • SWOT Analysis
  • PESTLE Analysis
  • Porter’s Five Forces Analysis
  • Business Model Canvas
  • Balance Score Card
  • Workshop Plan
  • Workshop Agenda
  • Workshop Actions Sheet
  • Workshop Invitation Email
  • Workshop Thank You Email
  • Meeting Agenda
  • Meeting Minutes

Business Analysis, Agile Templates and Elicitation Questions Package

The Business Analysis Doctor provides a useful range of waterfall and agile BA templates and checklists – requirements elicitation questions list.

business analysis templates and elicitation questions

  • Business Analysis and Elicitation Activity Plan Templates
  • Requirements Elicitation Questions List (60+ questions)
  • Business Requirements Document (BRD)
  • Traceability and Test Case Matrix and Prioritisation Matrix
  • Change Control Form and Risk Register
  • Business Case, Gap Analysis, and Implementation Plan
  • Use Case Description Specification
  • Software Requirements Specification (SRS)
  • Requirements Verification Checklist
  • Solution Performance Evaluation Plan
  • Requirements Workshop Agenda Template
  • Agile – User Story Builder
  • Agile – Story Splitting Checklist
  • Agile – Daily Standup Checklist
  • Agile – Iteration/Sprint Review Checklist
  • Agile – Retrospective Checklist

15 Business Analyst Project Ideas and Examples for Practice

Explore business analyst real time projects examples curated for aspiring business analysts that will help them start their professional careers.

15 Business Analyst Project Ideas and Examples for Practice

Your search for business analyst project examples ends here. This blog contains sample projects for business analyst beginners and professionals. So, continue reading this blog to know more about different business analyst projects ideas.

Business analysts are the demand of the twenty-first century! One can easily affirm this by looking at a report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which has revealed that as of May 2020, the median annual salary received by management analysts is $87,660. The bureau’s report also suggests that we are likely to witness an increase in the jobs of management analysts by 11% between 2019 and 2029. The rate is pretty higher than the average for other occupations. Additionally, the bureau mentioned that there is likely to be intense competition for such jobs because the role offers handsome salaries.


Avocado Machine Learning Project Python for Price Prediction

Downloadable solution code | Explanatory videos | Tech Support

The role of a business analyst primarily deals with analysing the growth of a business and suggesting methods to improve the existing strategies. Thus, to play such a crucial, one needs to possess a robust set of skills. Let us discuss a few of these to give you a more clear understanding of the skills required to become a business analyst .

Excellent verbal and written communication.

Communicate with different stakeholders and hold different meetings.

Up-to-date knowledge of new technologies and methodologies.

The capability of learning different business processes.

Ability to layout different ways of improving business growth.

Strong time management skills.

Understanding of various analytical tools and their implementation in revealing insights about the business.

Host different workshops and training sessions.

Knowledge of writing formal reports.

Having motivated you with our introduction of this blog, we now present business analyst sample projects that you can try to test/enhance your skills.

Table of Contents

Business analyst practice projects for beginners, business analyst real-time projects for intermediate professionals, advanced business analyst projects examples , top 15 business analyst project ideas for practice.

business analyst projects

This section has beginner-friendly projects for business analyst roles that newbies in this domain can start with.

ProjectPro Free Projects on Big Data and Data Science

1) Market Basket Analysis  

Have you heard of the Beer-and-diapers story? In 2016, Mark Madsen, a research analyst, asked if there is a correlation between the sales of diapers and beers? It turned out that when a few stores placed beers closer to the diapers section, the beer sales went up. This strategy did not work for all the stores, but for a few, it did. By reflecting on this story, we want you to understand how important it is for a business to analyse the correlation between different purchased products, also called Market Basket Analysis.

Market Basket Analysis

Project Idea: In this project, you will work on a retail store’s data and learn how to realize the association between different products. Additionally, you will learn how to implement Apriori and Fpgrowth algorithms over the given dataset. You will also compare the two algorithms to understand the differences between them.

Source Code: Market basket analysis using apriori and fpgrowth algorithm  

Get FREE Access to  Data Analytics Example Codes for Data Cleaning, Data Munging, and Data Visualization

2) Estimating Retail Prices

For any product-selling business, deciding the price of their product is one of the most crucial decisions to make. And, thus for an aspiring business analyst, it becomes essential to understand what factors influence the decision-making process of product prices.

Project Idea: Mercari is a community-driven electronics-shopping application in Japan. In this project, you will build an automated price recommendation system using Mercari’s dataset to suggest prices to their sellers for different products based on the information collected. You will learn how to use Exploratory Data Analysis (EDA) tools and implement different machine learning algorithms like Neural Networks, Support Vector Machines, and Random Forest in R programming language. If you are specifically looking for business analyst finance planning projects for beginners , this project will be a good start. 

Source Code: Machine learning for Retail Price Recommendation with R

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3) Analyzing Customer Feedback

Collecting feedback from customers has become a norm for most companies. It provides them with the user’s perspective and guides them on what changes they should make to their product to increase its sales. Additionally, if the product reviews are public, potential customers feel motivated to trust the genuineness of the seller.

Project Idea: This project deals with the analysis of reviews of products available on an eCommerce website. You will work on textual data and implement data pre-processing methods like Gibberish Detection, Language Detection, Spelling Correction, and Profanity Detection. You will learn how to use the Random Forest model for ranking different reviews. Furthermore, you will explore the method of extracting sentiments and subjectivity from the reviews.

Source Code: Ecommerce product reviews - Pairwise ranking and sentiment analysis  

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Upskill yourself for your dream job with industry-level big data projects with source code

4) Predicting Avocado Prices

Did you know that more than 3 million new photos of avocado toasts were uploaded to Instagram every day in 2107? As per the British Vogue Magazine , this is indeed true. No doubt that so many of us enjoy avocado toasts in our breakfast. If you are also one of such people, this project idea will keep you hooked as it is all about avocados.

Predicting Avocado Prices

Project Idea: In this project, you will learn how a business analyst can use data analysis methods and help promote the growth of a business. You will work on the dataset of a Mexican-based company and layout an Avocado-price-map for them as they plan to expand their reach to different regions in the US. You will be testing the implementation of various models like the Adaboost Regressor, ARIMA time series model, and Facebook Prophet model to predict the Avocado prices.

Source Code: Avocado Price Prediction

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5) Predicting the Fate of a Loan Application

Those interested in banking projects for business analysts will indeed consider this one their favorite from this section as this project deals with loans. For understanding banks’ business model, it is crucial to learn the whole process of approving a loan application.

Predicting the Fate of a Loan Application

Project Idea: In this project, you will explore the different factors that influence the eligibility of a loan application’s approval. You will utilise different machine learning algorithms for predicting the chances of success of a loan application. This project will also help you learn about various statistical metrics used widely by business analysts like ROC curve, Gradient boosting, MCC Scorer, Synthetic Minority Over-sampling Technique, and XGBoost.

Source Code: Loan Eligibility Prediction 

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6) Predicting Customer Churn Rate

When customers start declining at an unexpected rate, various stakeholders go to business analysts for guidance. It is indeed one of the critical responsibilities of a business analyst to check the rate of customers churning out.

Project Idea: This project will guide you about performing univariate and bivariate analysis on the given dataset of a bank. You will learn how different statistical methods like SHAP (SHapley Additive exPlanations), RandomSearch, GridSearch, etc. should be used and interpreted. This project is another instance of a banking project for business analysts . So, if that’s your bias in sample business analysis projects , do check this one out. Source Code: Customer Churn Prediction

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After you have completely solved the above-mentioned projects, proceed to the sample business analyst projects listed in this section to further enhance your skills. These projects are slightly more challenging as they are closer to real-world problems. So, please refer to the source code links for help.

Explore SQL Database Projects to Add them to Your Data Engineer Resume.

7) Prediction of Selling Price for different Products

You must have noticed a few brands sometimes send their loyal customers' coupon codes to attract them. These coupons are often customized according to their purchase history with the brand and thus the offer varies from customer to customer.

Project Idea: In this project, you will work on the dataset of a retail company to estimate the price at which a customer is likely to buy a specific product. Once that is complete, you will use your estimation to design offers for different customers. For the solution, you will use machine learning algorithms like Gradient Boosting Machines (GBM), XGBoost, Random Forest, and Neural Networks and use different metrics to test each of their performances.

You can add this project under the heading of business analyst finance projects on your resume to highlight the diversity of your skillset.

Source Code : Predict purchase amount of customers against various products

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8) Store Sales Prediction

In most firms, investors are usually external stakeholders that are not directly involved in the firm’s business but are definitely affected by it. And, it is the business analyst’s responsibility to keep the investors up-to-date with the existing and expected growth of the firm’s business model.

Store Sales Prediction

Project Idea: In this project, you will work on the dataset of 45 stores of the famous Walmart store chain. The goal is to predict the sales and revenue of different stores based on historical data. You will work with numeric and categorical feature variables and perform univariate & bivariate analysis to find the redundancy in variables. Additionally, you will learn the implementation of the ARIMA time series model and other machine learning models.

Source Code: Walmart Store Sales Forecasting

9) Analyzing Customer Churn

 It's the customer who pays the wages. --Henry Ford

Customer churn is painful for all the stakeholders in a company. A business analyst must thus look for ways in which the customer churn rate can be minimised. Additionally, they have to identify the cause behind customer churn to improving business growth. Having a fair idea of which customer is likely to churn out will help a business analyst develop better strategies.

Analyzing Customer Churn

Project Idea: In this project, you will be introduced to one of the popular classification machine learning algorithms , logistic regression. The goal is to use logistic regression for estimating the chances of churn for each customer. Through this project, you will get to explore different statistical methods, including confusion metric, recall, accuracy, precision, f1-score, AUC, and ROC.

Source Code: Churn Analysis for Streaming App using Logistic Regression

10) Estimating Future Inventory Demand

While inventory management does not directly fall in the bucket of a business analyst’s responsibilities, one may still find it there as inventory demand directly impacts several other aspects of a business including sales, marketing , finance, etc. With so many advancements taking place in the IT industry, a business analyst can easily use various tools to forecast the inventory demand. Project Idea: Through this project, you will explore the application of various machine learning models, including Bagging, Boosting, XGBoost, GBM, light GBM, and SVM for predicting the inventory demand of a bakery. This project will also introduce you to the implementation of autoML/H 2 0 and LSTM models.

Source Code: Inventory Demand Forecasting using Machine Learning in R

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11) Predicting Coupon Sales

In the previous section, we mentioned a project that will help you in creating customised coupons for a business’s customers. The next step will be to keep track of which coupons have been purchased. This will further help in understanding customer behaviour and preferences.

Project Idea: In this project, you will work on the dataset of one of Japan’s famous joint coupon websites, Recruit Ponpare. The goal is to estimate which coupons a customer is likely to buy based on their previous purchases and browsing behaviour on the website. You will use different graphical methods to visualise the data and various methods of handling missing values in a dataset. You will evaluate the cosine similarities of coupons and users and use them to make the desired predictions.

Source Code: Build a Coupon Purchase Prediction Model in R

12) Creating Product Bundles

Often when we visit a McDonald’s outlet, we intend to buy only a burger, but when we look at the meal menu, we end up buying the full mean instead of a single burger. This method of combining a few products and selling them as a single unit is called product bundling. It helps in increasing the sales of a business.

Creating Product Bundles

Project Idea: In this project, you will identify product bundles from the given sales data. While market basket analysis is commonly used for solving such problems, you will be using the time series clustering method. The two techniques will be compared to understand the significance of both methods.

Source Code: Identify Product Bundles from Sales Data

Recommended Reading: 50 Business Analyst Interview Questions and Answers

Professional Business Analysts planning to aim for senior roles will find business analyst projects samples in this section. A senior business analyst is often expected to possess knowledge of Big Data tools . Thus, you will find the projects described below rely on these tools.

13) Analyzing Log Files

If you are new to Big data projects and want to learn the basics of data analysis using Hive, then this project will be a good start. This simple project has been added to this section to prepare you for the next two projects.

Project Idea: This project is simply about analyzing log files of different users of a website. You will learn how to use Apache Hive to extract meaningful data insights by executing real-time queries.

Source Code: Hive Sample Projects-Learn data analysis using sample data for Hive

14) Retain Analytics

Retail Analytics refers to the complete analysis of various aspects of a business, including customer behavior and demands, supply chain analysis, sales, marketing, and inventory management. Such deeper analysis assists in deeply understanding the business model and smoothens various decision-making processes.

Retain Analytics

Project Idea: In this project, you will work with the Walmart stores dataset and use various Big Data techniques and tools to perform retail analytics. You will explore how to use tools like AWS EC2, Docker -composer, HDFS, Apache Hive, and MySQL for implementing the full solution.

Source Code: Retail Analytics Project Example using Sqoop, HDFS, and Hive

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15) Analyzing Airline Data

Data has become a huge asset for many industries, and the airline industry is no exception. They rely on big data to answer a few of the most vital questions like when the customers are likely to witness minimum delay in flight timings? Are older planes more prone to delays? etc. Project Idea: For this project, you will work on the dataset of an airline and find answers to questions like the ones mentioned above. You will be guided on how to ingest data and extract it using Cloudera VMware. After that, you will learn about preprocessing the data using Apache Pig. Next, you will use Hive for making tables and performing Exploratory Data Analysis. You will also get to explore the application of HCatloader and parquet through this project. Source Code: Hadoop Hive Project on Airline Dataset Analysis

Hey, Hey! The blog hasn’t ended yet. Going by what Steve Jobs said. “ ‘Learn continually. There's always “one more thing” to learn.’, we don’t want your learning journey to stop here. Check out more such Data Science Projects and Big Data projects from our repository to work on more exciting projects like the ones discussed in this blog.

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Watch CBS News

Project 2025 would overhaul the U.S. tax system. Here's how it could impact you.

By Aimee Picchi

Edited By Anne Marie Lee

Updated on: July 12, 2024 / 1:42 PM EDT / CBS News

Project 2025, a 900-page blueprint for the next Republican president, is gaining attention for its proposals to overhaul the federal government. Among those changes: a major restructuring of the U.S. tax code. 

President Biden and Democrats have been citing Project 2025 in recent weeks as they seek to highlight what could be in store if former President Donald Trump wins at the polls in November and retakes the White House in January.  Many of the blueprint's proposals touch on economic matters that could impact millions of Americans, as well as social issues such as abortion and diversity, equity and inclusion, or DEI, topics. 

Project 2025 , overseen by the conservative Heritage Foundation, is spearheaded by two ex-Trump administration officials: project director Paul Dans, who was chief of staff at the Office of Personnel Management, and Spencer Chretien, former special assistant to Trump who is now the project's associate director.

Trump: "I know nothing about Project 2025"

For his part, Trump has distanced himself from the blueprint, writing on Truth Social early Thursday that he isn't familiar with the plan. His campaign has proposed its own goals through " Agenda 47 ," which tends to focus on social and political issues such as homelessness and immigration rather than taxes.

"I know nothing about Project 2025. I have not seen it, have no idea who is in charge of it, and, unlike our very well received Republican Platform, had nothing to do with it," Trump wrote  Thursday.

His pushback comes after Heritage Foundation President Kevin Roberts opined in a podcast interview that the U.S. is "in the process of the second American Revolution, which will remain bloodless if the left allows it to be." 

According to Project 2025's website, its goal is to have "a governing agenda and the right people in place, ready to carry this agenda out on day one of the next conservative administration."

A shift to two brackets

The tax proposals of Project 2025, if enacted, would likely affect every adult in the U.S. by tossing out the nation's long-standing system of multiple tax brackets, which is designed to help lower-income Americans pay a smaller share of their income in federal taxes compared with middle- or high-income workers. 

Currently, there are seven tax brackets — 10%, 12%, 22%, 24%, 32%, 35% and 37% — with each based on income thresholds. For instance, a married couple pays 10% in federal income tax on their first $23,200 of income, and then 12% on earnings from $23,201 to $94,300, and so on. Married couples need to earn over $487,450 this year to hit the top tax rate of 37%.

Project 2025 argues that the current tax system is too complicated and expensive for taxpayers to navigate. To remedy those problems, it proposes just two tax rates: a 15% flat tax for people earning up to about $168,000, and a 30% income tax for people earning above that, according to the document . It also proposes eliminating "most deductions, credits and exclusions," although the blueprint doesn't specify which ones would go and which would stay.

"The federal income tax system is progressive, and people who make more money pay a higher marginal tax rate than people who make less money," Brendan Duke, senior director for economic policy at the left-leaning Center for American Progress, told CBS MoneyWatch. "Conservatives look at that, and they feel that that's unfair to the wealthy to ask them to pay a greater share of their income in taxes than lower income families."

The Project 2025 proposal "is a dramatic reform of how we fund our government, where we ask the wealthy to pitch in more than lower income families," he said. "This shifts taxes from the wealthy to the middle class, full stop."

Project 2025 didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. 

In a statement, the Heritage Foundation said it will ultimately be up to the next conservative president do decide which recommendations to implement, adding "As we've been saying for more than two years now, Project 2025 does not speak for any candidate or campaign." 

Project 2025's tax rates 

Millions of low- and middle-class households would likely face significantly higher taxes under the Project 2025's proposals.

He estimated that a middle-class family with two children and an annual income of $100,000 would pay $2,600 in additional federal income tax if they faced a 15% flat tax on their income due to the loss of the 10% and 12% tax brackets. If the Child Tax Credit were also eliminated, they would pay an additional $6,600 compared with today's tax system, Duke said. 

By comparison, a married couple with two children and earnings of $5 million a year would enjoy a $325,000 tax cut, he estimated. 

"That 15% bracket is a very big deal in terms of raising taxes on middle-class families," Duke said. 

Millions of U.S. households earning less than $168,000 would likely face higher taxes with a 15% rate. Currently, the bottom half of American taxpayers, who earn less than $46,000 a year, pay an effective tax rate of 3.3%  — which reflects their income taxes after deductions, tax credits and other benefits. 

Among other tax and economic changes proposed by Project 2025: 

  • Cutting the corporate tax rate to 18% from its current 21%, which was enacted in 2017's Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Prior to the TCJA, the corporate tax rate stood at 35%.
  • Reducing the capital gains tax to 15%. Currently, high-income earners pay a tax of 20% on their capital gains.
  • Eliminating credits for green energy projects created by the Inflation Reduction Act.
  • Considering the introduction of a U.S. consumption tax, such as a national sales tax. 
  • Eliminating the Federal Reserve's mandate to maintain full employment in the labor market.

To be sure, overhauling the tax system would require lawmakers to approve changes to the tax code, which could be difficult if either the House or Senate is controlled by the opposing party. For instance, Trump was able to get his Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed by a Republican-led Congress, even though no Democrats voted in support of the measure. 

What does Trump say about taxes?

Trump hasn't yet proposed any concrete tax plans, but analysts expect that he would seek to extend the tax cuts enacted through the TCJA if he is reelected. Currently, many of the provisions of the TCJA, including lower tax brackets, are set to expire at the end of 2025. 

One likely scenario if Trump is reelected is that Republican lawmakers would extend the TJCA's tax cuts, while seeking to fund the reduction in tax revenue by repealing some of the clean energy and climate-related provisions in the Biden administration's Inflation Reduction Act, according to an April report from Oxford Economics. Lawmakers could also seek to cut spending on social benefits to offset the tax cuts, the research firm added.

Trump has suggested a proposal to create a 10% tariff for all imports and a 60% tariff for Chinese imports that could raise enough money to eliminate the federal income tax. 

Tax experts also say the math doesn't work out because money raised from new tariffs would fall far short of replacing the more than $2 trillion in individual income taxes collected by the IRS each year. Consumers are also likely to pay more in higher costs for imported consumer goods and services with tariffs tacked onto them, experts note.

"A tariff is a consumption tax, and there is a throughline between [Project 2025's] tax reform and what Trump has talked about, getting rid of taxes in favor of a consumption tax," Duke noted. 

  • Donald Trump

Aimee Picchi is the associate managing editor for CBS MoneyWatch, where she covers business and personal finance. She previously worked at Bloomberg News and has written for national news outlets including USA Today and Consumer Reports.

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  • Picture This: 5 Reasons Visual Modeling Rocks for Business Analysts

By Hasini Adhikari

It would be hard to find anyone who had not heard the saying “A picture can speak thousand words”. What does this mean and why? This is because humans can process an image in mill seconds whereas the reading would require minutes or hours of work. The human brain is more geared towards visual information processing and human attentions span is on average 8 seconds.

This is clearly illustrated with the current rise of Tik-Tok and YouTube/ Instagram reels popularity over any other written media in the modern generation. It is time as Business analyst to get on the bandwagon of becoming “hip” by reclaiming the visual modeling, the unsung hero of the Business Analyst Tool Kits to manage both analysis and communication activities.

As a junior business analyst, I had the opportunity to work in process reengineering projects on multiple occasions. We would have meetings with the customers and users taking notes throughout the business day and come back to the office to convert all the knowledge we gained from the sessions into visual models through the night in preparation for the next day. This was taken as a form of paraphrasing of the customer requirements without which we would be creating long meeting minutes that no one read. However visual modeling allows us to get the verifications we required as well as identify the gaps and issues in the processes we were analyzing. The process was time-consuming and tedious, but at the end of the day, our analysis was completed faster and more accurately. These were the projects that made me a believer in visual modeling over any other method of analysis for Business analysis.

In this article, I will explore five compelling reasons why visual modeling rocks for business analysts and few tricks of the trade on visual modeling.

1. Solidify the Understanding

Visual modeling can be used as a tool for paraphrasing the information we obtain from multiple sources. During the BA phase the information is obtained using multiple sources such as client meetings, document analysis, system study, process documentation, etc. where same information can be repeated and recorded in multiple places. To harmonies the information from multiple sources and organize them visual modeling such as mind mapping and process mapping can be used. This gives you the ability to organize and rework the information easily and present it back to the customer or build questions around them.

2. Facilitate Effective Communication

This is the main reason BAs use visual and think is the only reason for visualization. Presenting a visual model is easier than walking your customer through a 100-page document. Visual models serve as a universal language that transcends barriers, enabling IT business analysts to communicate complex ideas with clarity and precision. Whether presenting to technical teams or non-technical stakeholders, visual modeling bridges the gap between different audiences, fostering meaningful dialogue and collaboration.

3. Fast Track Analysis

As BAs it is essential that we identify issues and define solutions faster so that the software development cycle could start. Time spent on the analysis of the problem is becoming shorter and shorter in projects. Visual model is the tool that can be used in fast tracking the analysis process by harmonizing the information from multiple sources to one view and allowing the BAs to understand the Business processes, and its gaps and issues to define the perfect solution the customer require. Without the visual modeling the gap analyses or issues analysis is impossible unless and otherwise someone spoon-feeds the information to the BA. Even where the visual modeling is not required by the customer, BAs should as a practice work on the visual model of the problems they are handling for the purpose of understanding it and to diagnosis of the issues in the process.

4. Enable Stakeholder Collaboration

As Business Analyst we work with multiple types of stakeholders across the customer business landscape and business functions when it comes to identifying and resolving their issues. These stakeholders are coming to us with their own problems, politics, and agendas and its important as the facilitator to allow them to be heard and come to a consensus on the final solution. The best way to do this is to work with them to define visual models of their problems and subsequent solutions. This is the reason why techniques like “Workshops” are much more effective than just user interviews or document surveys in requirement gathering or solution definition. Where the stakeholders can see the issue or solution Realtime while voicing out their perspective and finally coming to a consensus then as there on the meeting.

5. Enable Easy Requirement Management

When designing an application, the expectation is for it to evolve and grow with the business. As BAs it’s our responsibility to is to facilitate the growth of the application and make sure that the requirements are managed throughout the lifecycle of the application. This is more important when it comes to the development of a product that will evolve over time. Documentation of the requirement needs to be easily updated across the application. The visual model is the only way to facilitate that allows the BAs to start at the helicopter view and dig down to the detail level of the business logic easily. This facilitates the quick learning cycle for any newcomers to the project as well as allows the BAs to update and modify the requirement faster during the operation of the application.

There are a few diagrams that I personally favor and use in my requirement analysis process.

1. Mind mapping:  this is an ideal tool when you are working with multiple sources of information. If a document analysis is needed, I prefer to draw the mid map as and when I read though the document, so that I would have the document’s information organized after the first read. Then you can adjust and improve the mind map with the other data sources that get added.

2. Customer Journey Map:  this is a great tool when you change the domain or the industry you are working in. Customer journey maps enable you to rapidly identify the key business areas and related applications and allow you to quickly find your place in the company/ industry value chain.

3. Context Diagram:  this is the first diagram I would usually draw when coming to a new project, this gives you the understanding of the actors and systems that are interacting with the application and each of their purposes of the interaction. This is the helicopter view of your application.

4. Workflows:  Workflows are, when done correctly, the king of all the visualization models. This can be used to identify an existing process or define the new process that the application needs to be built in. Workflows are less technical and allow the freedom to be creative. It also brings out the gaps and issues of a process and diagnoses the problems that need to be solved.

5. Sequence Diagram:  this is more of a technical diagram that would be needed in an environment with many systems interacting with one another. This is one of the commonly used tools to identify or define the interaction between multiple parties and how it is facilitated.

6. Status Machine:  this is one of the more technical diagrams but perfect where the entities go through multiple statuses that need to be analyzed carefully. This diagram allows the user to easily visualize the status changes, conditions for the status changes and attributes of the status. This can easily identify the gaps in the solution make sure the final solution does not have any loose ends and missed scenarios.

In conclusion, by using the visual modeling we can become better Business Analysts that enhance understanding and enable effective communication to accelerate analysis and fostering stakeholder engagement, visual modeling empowers analysts to deliver impactful solutions that drive business success. By harnessing the power of visual modeling, business analysts can navigate the complexities of IT projects with confidence and clarity, paving the way for innovation and excellence. So, the next time you’re faced with a challenging project, remember to “picture it”.

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