Business analysis document review

Business analysts use reviews to assess the content of a work product.
Different types of reviews are conducted for business analysis work products using the following elements:

  • Objectives: this describes the aim of the review.
  • Techniques: this is used to decide on the type of review that would be performed. Review types are either formal or informal.
  • Participants: the stakeholders who would take part in the review would have to be decided. Each review should be centered on a work product and not the skills or actions of the participants.

The work product may be a single deliverable, a part of the deliverable, or work in progress.

For a completed work product, the goal of the review is to remove defects or inform the reviewers about the content of the work product.

For work in progress, the review may be conducted to resolve an issue or answer a question.

The review board is made up of the business analyst and other stakeholder who would validate that the work product is complete and valid.

The steps in the review depends on the technique that is being used, but they usually include:

  1. An outline of the work product and review objectives.
  2. Documents and other reference materials that can be used by reviewers.
  3. Assessing the work product and documenting the conclusions.
  4. Verifying any necessary rework.

Using the reviewers report, the business analyst can update the work product.

Reviews have some components which include:

1. Objectives: The review objectives should be clearly communicated to all participants before the review starts.

Objectives may include one or more goals, such as:

  1. To eliminate defects.
  2. To confirm specifications agreement.
  3. To confirm that the work product is valid and complete.
  4. To establish agreement on an approach.
  5. To respond to a question, resolve an issue, or examine alternatives.
  6. To explain the work product to the reviewers.
  7. To assess work product quality.

2. Techniques: The techniques used during a review are chosen based on the review objectives. Reviews can be formal or informal. The following techniques are usually used by business analysts when running reviews:

Inspection: this a formal review technique that includes an outline of the work product, individual review, documenting the defects, team integration of defects, and follow-up to ensure those changes were made.

The focus of the inspection is to remove defects and develop a high quality work product. While it is commonly performed by peers, it can also be used for stakeholder reviews.

Formal Walkthrough or Team Review: this is a formal technique that uses the individual review and team integration activities. It is very similar to the inspection component.

Single Issue Review or Technical Review: this is a formal technique in which the reviewers examine the work product prior to a joint review
session. The joint review session is held to resolve the matter in focus.

Informal Walkthrough: this is an informal technique in which the reviewers goes through the work product while it is still in its draft state and then provide feedback.

Desk Check: this is an informal technique performed by a reviewer who was not a member of the project team who created the business analysis work product. The reviewer then has to provide verbal or written feedback.

Pass Around: this is an informal technique in which the reviewers provide
verbal or written feedback. The work product may be passed from one person to the next.

Ad hoc: this is an informal technique in which the business analyst requests for an informal review from another business analyst or peer.

3. Participants: The participants involved in any particular review depends on the goal of the review, the chosen technique, and the organizational standards.

Review Roles

Reviews have their strengths and limitations, which include:

• It can help identify defects earlier on in the work product life cycle and remove the need for the expensive removal of defects which might be discovered later on in the life cycle.

• The reviewers can become vested in the work product and would want to produce a quality result.

• Desk checks and pass around reviews can be performed quickly at the convenience of the reviewer.

• A formal review can be tedious and time consuming.

• Informal reviews may not be sufficient in identifying all significant defects.

• For desk checks and pass around reviews, it may be difficult to confirm that all the participants had performed the necessary reviews.

• It may be difficult to keep track of review comments if they are shared by email.