Do you feel like every project is missing about two weeks to let you finish your work? Are you constantly butting up against your deadlines? As a business analyst, we have to balance a lot of information. It goes without saying that we need to be organized, but have you thought about how your approach to the work could help create some personal efficiencies and help communicate the value to your team that you know you’re providing?
From the author: Creating a three-step workflow for organizing your content.
Planning isn’t just something the project managers should be doing—and it’s not just charts and roadmaps. By stepping back and taking a critical look at the work ahead, you can increase your efficiency on a project, hit your deadlines before their due dates, and showcase the value that a BA provides on a project.
Here are three keys to planning your work.
Identify Easy Wins
If you can identify the low-hanging fruit and start chipping away at those tasks, you’re already ahead of the curve.
Look at the project as a whole. As a business analyst, there are lots of opportunities to provide clarity on the work ahead. While there will always be a lot of unknowns that need to be figured out, there are generally a few things that you can tackle right away without any additional research, conversations, or dependencies from other team members or stakeholders. If you can identify the low-hanging fruit and start chipping away at those tasks, you’re already ahead of the curve. You might not be making a huge dent in the project as a whole, but by addressing these small items up front, you’re minimizing the amount of time you’ll need to spend on the remainder of the project down the road.
This might be as simple as stubbing out your documentation and creating placeholders for things that you know will be documented. It could be defining a form that already exists and is going to be carried over to the new project, or starting to define the known elements of an integration. However big or small this list is on your project, by addressing it early in the process, you’ll have less work to do when comes down to crunch time.
Call Out the Roadblocks
By planning what you need to accomplish and how you plan to accomplish your tasks, you can start to identify the unknowns or potential roadblocks that may exist in the project. If you can identify that list early on, you can start to work through those roadblocks or call them out to other groups that need to remove the roadblocks. That helps the project continue to run smoothly without any hiccups midway through.
Be Transparent in Your Communication
Assuming that you’ve taken a critical look at the work ahead, you’ve identified what you’re going to start on and what issues need to be addressed. Now you need to make sure you’re not the only one that’s aware of what you’ve uncovered.
Share that information with the rest of the team. If you’re defining something early, you might help a designer prioritize their list of work, which could ultimately get a piece of functionality built early and shared with a client. If you’ve identified some unknowns or potential roadblocks, by sharing that list with your team, you might find out that someone else has the missing information, or you can rely on your project manager to facilitate a conversation with the necessary parties needed to fill in the blanks. Either way, if the entire team is working off the same set of information, you’ll help each other succeed.
By planning out your work and addressing these three points, you’re setting yourself (and your project) up for success. You might even find that instead of needing two more weeks, you’ve got plenty of time to put the finishing touches on your deliverables.