An IT project is like a combat mission. Before you start a mission and go on a battlefield, you need to plan the strategy and prepare the tactics well for the mission. This is where a mission commander steps in. The person is called a Business Analyst.
A Mission needs its commander
A mission cannot survive without the head – an Executive Officer (also named a Product Owner in Scrum-driven projects). The strategist, who knows the business from inside, understands customers’ needs, knows competitors and the company direction. He/she knows how the processes work, and what problems and strengths a business has. The strategist is usually, a very busy person handling other projects and initiatives. Therefore, you also need a mission commander – the person who will take care of the mission, handling the day-to-day operations. The commander supports the head of the mission and the squad team during all stages of a battle. They have to be self-driven leaders with the required knowledge and experience – ready to take the mission’s success in their own hands.
How to make the mission a success
First of all, the Business Analyst and Product Owner need to start an alliance with each other from the very first meeting. The Product Owner shares their best knowledge about the business and what the company wants to achieve with the project.
Business Analyst and Product Owner are allies who together draw a vision and describe the strategy of the mission. Let’s imagine that the mission is to protect a city’s citizens against the enemies that want to take control over their city. In this case, commanders need to reach a common understanding of the citizens and their needs, determine the way the protection will be provided, and define the goals of the army. When a vision is clear, it is time to set up a strategic plan. The mission roadmap states the way to go with the execution of the mission and the milestones to be realised. It leads to a direction of what the mission squad needs to deliver and measures to determine if the goals were met or not.
How to achieve the mission goals
With a ready roadmap, a Business Analyst heads to a User Experience specialist – the Advocacy of the citizens. They structure the knowledge about personas of the citizens and sketch processes of how their daily activities are carried out and turn the data into flow scenarios. They need to prepare for happy flows but also have a plan B, C, or even D. They are ready for all elements that can go wrong during an enemy attack or if the citizens change their routine. Eventually, they draw up solution proposals on how to support the citizens so that they can feel safe.
Afterward, the mission commander gives the senior Logistics Officers – Solution Architects – a debrief of what he has learned so far. They have to be able to take informative decisions on feasible solutions.
So firstly, the Business Analysts need to make sure they understand all elements of strategy as the army superiors understand it.
Secondly, they present the possible scenarios and solution ideas to the officers to learn the feasibility. They discuss through all benefits and potential obstacles and risks of tactic plan options. Besides, they estimate the time and budget needed for the chosen ideas. Now is the time to get the final approval of the mission tactics, the budget and timeline from the Product Owner. In this step, Business Analysts ensure that the Product Owner is aware of all factors that were considered with Architects.
Time for mission kick-off
With a buy-in for the mission kick-off, the Business Analysts can meet their squad for the mission – Development team. They provide this team with the knowledge of the vision, strategic plan and tactics. Then, the initial day-to-day operations are planned and finally, it is time to start the first stage of the mission.
This blog was contributed by Aspirian Anna Furtak.