Manage Scope Diligently

Business Analysis Methods, Tips and Techniques

The business analyst plays a crucial role in defining, clarifying, managing and initiating changes to project scope.  Project scope consists of the following dimensions:

  1. Logical Scope - What is to be analyzed? (e.g. business functions, data subject areas, systems)
  2. Organizational Scope - Who will be involved? (e.g. business units, business reps, analysis team)
  3. Deliverable Scope - What will be produced? (e.g. future state functional and data models)
  4. Time Scope - When will the project begin and end?
  5. Financial Scope - How much money will the business analysis effort cost?

Although the scope of a project is initially sketched out in a business case or project statement by the project manager and others, this initial scope definition is often inadequate.

The initial analysis done by the business analyst will help clarify scope.  In many cases, the business analyst will identify scope issues that must be escalated to the project manager and project sponsor for resolution.  This need for scope clarification and refinement is normal and should be expected on all projects.

Scope of Business Analysis Projects

Once the scope of the business analysis project is clarified, agreed to, signed-off and communicated, it is important that any subsequent changes to project scope be managed using defined scope management procedures.  Although changing scope during a project can be a very positive thing, unapproved "scope creep" is always a bad thing.

The business analyst must work closely with the project manager regarding project scope and both individuals need to be realistic, pragmatic and cognizant of the underlying business goals and objectives.

Because the business analyst plays such a central role on a project, he or she has a responsibility to help keep business representatives and project team members focused on what is within analysis scope, and what is not.

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