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Role of BA in Change request

Due to change in market scenario, client’s expectation, dynamic nature of business or improvement in the current project change request may arise. These change requests have to be handled by a Business Analyst. A change request can come anytime during the project life cycle or even after the project has been implemented. A BA should be prepared for a change request anytime.

Following are the major points for handling change requests:

Reason behind the change

A BA should try to understand that why the change request has been initiated. If required, root cause analysis should be done for the same.

What will be the impact of the change

Under this a BA should analyze what would be the further result if a change has been implemented, this needs to be discussed with the stakeholders, client after consulting with the PM and technical team.

Evaluate the effort required to implement the change

A BA should calculate the total amount of resources (time, money, HR) which will be involved during the complete change request process.

Ensure that all mandatory approvals are taken

Consult with the PM approval before proceeding any further with the change request, also the complexity of the change request should also be considered.

The following items have biggest impact on the change in requirements:

  1. Methodology Type
  2. Project Budget
  3. Project Due Dates
  4. Project Politics

Methodology

The major point that affect any change request is the method on which project is being designed. The two most basic types of projects are either a waterfall methodology or Agile / Scrum method.

Typically waterfall methodologies call for requirements to be at a completed state at the end of the construction phase. The risk is that the client can request for the change till the project is completed.

A Business Analyst can handle the risks and changes in case of waterfall model, by using any combination of the following:

  1. First check whether the change request is true or correct one or just some defect due to wrong communication with the client.
  2. Before proceeding, Project manager permission is required
  3. Conduct RCA of the change request to better understand its merits
  4. Calculate the impact of the change to other high-level business requirements
  5. PM and BA should check if the change request is minor or complex
  6. Stakeholders should also be made aware about the change impact
  7. Offering additional projects to upgrade feature sets after the successful deployment of the current version.

Agile / scrum like methodologies on the other hand are more flexible and can incorporate changes in the form of additional iterations. Clients are informed at the start of the project how change requests will be handled and that no changes can be further introduced between the current iteration. Additional features may be added during future iterations but that this will again require more resources to complete.

Project Budget

Budget plays a important role in any change request. A BA should keep in mind the total cost of the project estimated, if the change request is major and the project goes beyond the pre-targeted budget, client should be made aware about the same.

Project Due Dates

In a project three points are dependent on each other: scope, budget, and timeline. When one or more of these points change, the relationship to the other points must also change.

Project Politics

Project politics always has some affect on the project and the requirements. Usually the group that is funding the project has the most influence. In extremely political environments it is common to have race conditions between two or more competing groups. The quicker a BA can resolve issues between the teams at the start the easier it is to manage.

A successful change request should be completed with the help of full organization including the stakeholders to avoid any delay in delivery of the project.

All the documents which are affected by the change should be updated thoroughly by BA. BA may also take sign off on the changed documents. Examples of documents that may need to be updated include Business requirement documents, project plans, test scripts, policy documents, training materials, business process documents, etc.

Business analysts as part of what they do, suggest recommendations for improvement that when implemented, lead to changes in the business. A Business Analyst is involved in a change request from beginning to end, so it is his duty to get it completed successfully.

About Malwika Gautam

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