Getting prepared for the Elicitation in Business Analysis

Prepare for Elicitation is a primary task in Business Analysis and involves 5 essential elements.

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Regardless of any activity to be performed, you may have to get prepared first so you´ll perform the activity successfully. In Business Analysis it is no different!

Elicitation and Collaboration”, — fundamental to obtain information from stakeholders and confirm the results — one of the most important knowledge areas in Business Analysis have as the first task “Prepare for Elicitation”. It includes assuring that the stakeholders have the information necessary and recognition of their activities responsibility during the business analysis. For that may it´s necessary to establish the expectations of the outcomes and also involve identifying research sources or conduction of experiments to check if a process change actually results in an improvement.

The BABOK® Guide version 3 defines 5 important elements to get prepared for an Elicitation:

1. Understand the Scope of Elicitation

Defining the scope is all about setting the boundaries of the Elicitation, in order to determine the kind of information to be extracted during the Elicitation process and the techniques that can support its activities.

The scope understanding is crucial within the Elicitation process. It helps the Business Analyst to have a quick resolution in case of the Elicitation activities scatters from the defined scope and if people/materials are not ready in time when the activity is concluded.

2. Select Elicitation Techniques

Selecting the best techniques and assure its performed correctly is notably important to the success of the elicitation activity.

Normally, the choice of elicitation techniques is based on company practice or on business analyst personal experience, but BABOK® indicates that this selection should be based on the techniques that are usually used in comparable projects, the techniques that can be adapted to the circumstances, and considering all tasks needed to prepare, execute and complete each technique.

3. Set Up Logistics

Logistics setting up is also required in Elicitation, it is necessary to detail the organization and implementation of each elicitation activity.

Set Up Logistics must include identifying the activities purposes, participants, roles, scheduled resources, locating, communication channels, techniques, and languages used by stakeholders involved.

4. Secure Supporting Material

In the Elicitation, it´s important to identify sources of information (including people, systems, historical data, materials and documents) and to secure that it will be available to be used during the conduction of the elicitation activities.

It´s a Business Analyst role to identify and procuring supporting materials needed for the Elicitation activities.

5. Prepare Stakeholders

Engaging stakeholders is one of the biggest challenges faced in business analysis. Engagement enables the stakeholders to act motivated in Elicitation activities, and preparation is key to engagement.

The BABOK® explains that Business analysts should prepare stakeholders: educating them about Elicitation process, its techniques, the validity and relevance of the information elicited; asking them to review supporting materials and offering agenda of activities in advance.

All these elements must be defined before conducting the elicitation (or when new changes require). So, when the scope of the elicitation activity is understood, the appropriate techniques are selected, and the appropriate supporting materials and resources are supported, the Business Analyst can perform the Elicitation activities with more chance of success.