There are Five Key Stages to Business Analysis and Modeling. The first of these is Requirements Gathering, that is, finding out from the most senior people in the enterprise, exactly what it is that the project is meant to achieve. This stage can be broken down into three distinct phases:
Using existing documents.
Running strategic interviews.
Running modelling workshops.
The most effective means of gathering requirements from senior directors and senior executives is the one-to-one strategic in-depth interview. The purpose of these interviews is to find out from these key people WHAT it is that the business OUGHT to be doing and their opinions regarding the Business Functions (and these are activities, not departments) in the business area in question and the project itself.
These interviews will give you a feel for, provided you listen to what is said (sometimes what is unsaid), what is most important to the interviewee and, as he or she is a key member of the enterprise, it is vital that you know this before proceeding with the project.
It is advisable to prepare for these interviews by reviewing all current strategy documents so that you will be familiar with the strategic history leading up to this time. However, the information you gather from these interviews cannot be gathered from documents alone, do not allow senior executives avoid being interviewed by referring you to back to the documents. All of the knowledge you gather here will also help you to formulate a forward strategy for the business modelling project.
Who To Interview
Effective strategic interviews with appropriate senior executives are the essence to the success of any business modelling project. The term “appropriate” means that the person:
Is knowledgeable about the business area in question.
Is a key player in that area.
Is empowered to define and implement strategy for that area.
Has a vision of the way forward.
Supports the objectives of the business modelling project
The interviewees will be key people and opinion leaders from the business area in question plus members of groups with a valid interest in the business area, such as auditors. Customers both internal and external are another group of people who have a very strong interest in the business area. An enlightened business modelling project manager will see that there are significant benefits to be had by involving customers in the requirements gathering process.
Depending on the size of the organisation and the scale and scope of the study, the number of in-depth interviews will vary. For a small enterprise with less than 30 employees one or two interviews should suffice. As the size of the enterprise and the scope of the project increases then the number of interviews will increase. Whatever the size of the enterprise, interviewing numbers greater than 12 will give diminishing returns – great extra effort expended with little extra to show for it.