Item tracking in business analysis

Item tracking is used to document and assign responsibility for issues and
stakeholder concerns that could affect the solution.

Item tracking is a structured approach used by business analysts to respond to various stakeholder concerns. Examples of stakeholders concerns include actions, assumptions, constraints, dependencies, defects and enhancements.

When a stakeholder concern is first reported, it is analysed to determine if it is viable. If it is viable, the concern is categorized as a specific item type so that it can be tracked and managed by a process that works towards the item’s resolution.

During the item’s life cycle, it is given to one or more stakeholders who are in charge of its resolution.

Item tracking follows the item from the first recording of the concern and its degree of impact to its accepted closure. The item tracking record may be shared with stakeholders to guarantee clarity and visibility into the status and progress of items in the record.

There are some components of item tracking, which include:

1. Item record: the recorded item may contain any or all of the following components for item tracking. These items may be recorded using various software applications or manually classified for sharing between an approved set of stakeholders.

  • Item identifier: this is a distinctive identifier that differentiates one item from another.
  • Summary: this is a short description of the item.
  • Category: this is a collection of items with similar properties.
  • Type: this is the the kind of item that was reported.
  • Date identified: this is the date that the item was reported as a concern.
  • Identified by: this is the person who initially reported the concern.
  • Impact: this is the potential ramification of not resolving the item by the resolution due date. The effect can be evaluated in connection to the initiative’s time, cost, scope, or quality.
  • Priority: this is the significance of the item to the affected stakeholders.
  • Resolution date: this is the date by which the item must be closed.
  • Owner: this is the stakeholder charged with managing the item to its closure.
  • Resolver: this is the stakeholder selected to resolve the item.
  • Agreed strategy: this is the accepted plan for the item. Examples include accept, pursue, ignore, mitigate, and avoid.
  • Status: this is the current status of the item within its life cycle. Examples include open, assigned, resolved, and cancelled.
  • Resolution updates: this is an administrative log of details about how the item’s resolution is moving towards closure, as well as approval of its completion.
  • Escalation matrix: this is the next of level of escalation if the item is not resolved by the given due date.

2. Item management: Each item’s resolution is attempted based on the stakeholder needs and according to any organizational process standards. In some cases, one item may lead to another item being recorded and tracked.

In these situations, close attention needs to be paid to the item resolution, so that efforts are not duplicated and the items are proceeding in coordination.

3. Metrics: All stakeholders could gain from the detailed information that is maintained about an item and its progress. These items can be looked at individually for closure or even used to define key performance indicators customized to the item tracking process.

By reviewing this output, the stakeholders can determine how well:

• the items are being resolved by the right resources.
• the initiative is advancing.
• the item tracking process is being used.

Item tracking has its strengths and limitations, which include:

• It ensures that concerns around the stakeholder requirements are recorded, tracked, and resolved to the stakeholders satisfaction.
• It allows the stakeholders items to be classified based on the significance of undone items.

• If the records are not managed properly, the data might become substantial and difficult to manage.
• It is time consuming and the stakeholders could become entangled in details and statistics.