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The Importance of Understanding Human Requirements and Embedding them in your BA Practice

by Business Analysis,

The day-to-day practice of Business Analysis is dominated by process. Be it the project delivery process, eliciting and mapping current state processes, or creating new ones for our future states, in the process of creating our Business, Stakeholder, and Solution Requirements, it can be easy to overlook something more fundamental to our work. Something I call ‘Human Requirements’.

Before proceeding, the topic I won’t be discussing here is body language. For a deeper conversation on that subject, I would recommend reviewing BAPL Practice Manager Gareth Jones’ Professional Development session, available to BAPL clients via our Centre of Excellence, along with many other topics relevant to our profession

It can be easy to forget that the most important part of our work relies on us being empathetic, compassionate, and understanding people when we’re thinking about Value Stream analysis or defining Epics, but the better we can be those things, the better the outcomes we can drive.

A workshop where the facilitator can establish where the loud and quiet voices lie inside a group can quickly adjust their style to ensure that the quiet voices not only get to speak but feel that what they are saying is heard.

Being able to see when someone is holding something back during a discussion about pain points, understanding that achieving that elicitation might require a different environment, and creating a setting where the person feels comfortable providing that information.

Using honesty and candour as tools to build trust, enhance our credibility and ensure that our work remains top-of-mind, which can be particularly useful when there is an urgent need to get a decision made.

Recognising the internal politics of an engagement, in a meeting or a workshop quickly and effectively.

What makes up human requirements? Above all else, a sense of empathy with our clients is key. While as consultant BAs we always need to maintain a degree of separation from our clients (to ensure objectivity), being able to understand their business and emotional reasoning for embarking on a project only helps inform our understanding of the project.

We need to show compassion during workshops & day to day interactions. Our clients’ staff may be worried, angry, frustrated about the changes being undertaken. They may be in fear of losing their jobs or be deeply cynical based on their experience of previous project outcomes. Someone in this mindset will not be forthcoming with the information we need to provide our clients with the best possible analysis, and therefore the best possible project and product outcomes.

By being empathetic and compassionate, we can come to a better level of understanding of our clients’ staff, their organisations and the issues that may in turn affect the outcomes of our projects, by bringing to light issues that might have gone unexplored or unreported. We can assist our clients in getting buy-in to projects by being the people who listen to and value the voice of everyone, not just the extroverts and those who talk the loudest.

People are at the heart of everything we do. We cannot succeed without their cooperation at all stages of analysis, and we get there by understanding, and demonstrating we understand, their Human Requirements.


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