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Asking the Right Business Analysis Questions

A few days ago, I coached a team of business analysts on how to ask powerful questions and receive useful insights during requirements analysis for process digitization. So far, they have just been asking questions such as:

· What would you like to automate?

· How do you suggest this could be done?

· Who is currently involved in the process?

The reason why they asked to be coached was that, in the vast majority of their projects they've been facing significant challenges that led to unsatisfied clients, project overruns and excessive burnout symptoms within their teams. And they had realized that the problem stemmed from insufficient requirements.

We spent 2 days in exhaustive deep dives into specific cases, exploring which questions could be more effective and unlock better information quality and quantity. Finally, we came up with the below set of proposed questions that would be added to the business analysis interactions with their clients:

· What are your professional goals?

· How could this project contribute to the fulfillment of your own goals?

· Why is this important to you?

· What would you lose if this process is digitized?

· What would you lose if this process is not digitized?

· Who else would lose if this process was digitized?

· What would you propose to be done instead? How confident do you feel that you could adjust?

· How would your role change if this process would be digitized?

In other words, before digging into the details of the solution, look for:

· Motivation: Look for personal motives in each end-user involved.

· Will: Identify signals of resistance and plan for mitigation actions from the very early stage, even before they occur.

· Skills: Question the adequacy of information received and identify those with the proper skills (at least to describe the existing process).

· Accountability: Look for accountability signals, for people who are willing to allocate effort, experiment with new ways of doing things for which they are willing to be held accountable.

Hope that helps, somehow.

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