How To Perform A 5 Star Requirements Review

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Janet Wood shares how to perform a 5 star requirements review with Joe Newbert, ideas for selling their value and how to structure them for maximum benefit.

Janet Wood is a business analysis coach and mentor, a past president of IIBA-SA and the current secretary, as well as one of the conference chairs for Business Analysis Summit SA.

Most of her career was in the IT industry, but having spent the last 15 years as a business analyst she realised that that was what she was doing all along. Janet claims to have retired after nearly 40 years but still doesn’t know how to stop. When she isn’t being a lady of leisure, she still coaches and mentors business analysts and consults to companies that employ them.

Congratulations on your talk at the Business Analysis Summit Southern Africa, it was well received by many. For those who weren’t fortunate to attend, could you give us a synopsis of what your presentation was about?

Basically it is an introduction to the BABOK® technique of reviews with some pointers about how to run reviews productively and what to do when they go wrong. With a little case study and a bit of a laugh thrown in to keep it interesting.

The topic is clearly an area that you are personally passionate about. Why do you feel this subject is relevant and important for the business analysis profession?

Too often requirements reviews end up being bottlenecks but, with a bit of effort on the business analyst’s side, they can become an excellent quality tool. I am often called in to help with reviews and the pointers are all things I do for my clients to help improve the requirements review process.

Having shared your ideas with the business analysis community. What key points would you like people to take-away, reflect and act upon?

Any review is better than no review. And getting buy-in before the review is an easy thing to do and it saves many hours of thrashing later in the project. The main take-away is:

Don’t let a review be a tick-box exercise, use reviews to improve the quality of your work products, even if that isn’t part of the project checklist.

Business analysis summit spoiled us for choice in terms of the learning and networking opportunities. What was your greatest personal insight taken from the business analysis conference?

We’re still waiting for permission to add value and many business analysts don’t realise that they can add value in many different ways. Nothing succeeds like success and nobody will lose their job for doing something that worked even if it wasn’t “part of the process”. And if that does end an employment period, it’s probably a plus for the business analyst – they don’t want to be part of an organisation like that.

Having been a regular speaker at local business analysis events. What words of encouragement do you have for people who may be considering presenting in future?

It’s not as hard as you think it is and people are usually very helpful to a first time speaker, and the high that you get when you finish is second to none. One first time speaker came up to me straight after his talk and said, “That was great! Where do I sign up for next year?” If you have something of value to say and you really believe in what you are saying, that will come across and your talk is guaranteed to be a success.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

If you missed the conference this year, start planning for next year. If you have never spoken before think about what you can share that is topical and valuable. IIBA-SA needs people who are passionate about business analysis to step up and help to grow the chapter and the conference. Check the IIBA-SA website for contact details. Thank you for giving me this opportunity to talk about the conference, as well as my small part in it.

How to Perform A 5 Star Requirements Review With Janet Wood

Download Janet Wood‘s slide-deck from BA Summit SA 2016 to get insight on how to perform 5 Star Requirements Review, and share your perspective of reviews with @JanetWoodBA and @Newbert over on Twitter.

About Joe Newbert

Joe is a consultant, a writer, a speaker and above all a teacher, who spends most of his time at the Business Change Academy helping people to grow their skills, bring meaningful change and see their career soar.

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