As a business analyst, you should think like a baby.
Sure, I know this does sound ridiculous, but there really is a ton of value of thinking like a baby. Generally speaking, babies love to ask the 5W’s and the H (I secretly wish that there was some sort of cool acronym for this). What are the 5W’s and the H? They are the fundamental questions that will help you recognize the types of information that you can find out.
It’s the Why, the What, the When, the Who, the Which, and the How! In this blog post, I will briefly cover the Why, the Who, and the What.
Babies always ask ‘why’, why can’t we?: “Why are you doing this? Why are we removing this functionality? Why is this important? Why can’t we do it this way?” The “why” question can help you understand priority and purpose. These why questions can push stakeholders to even ask themselves, “Well, why are we doing it this way”, or “Is this proposed functionality really even a need in the future state system?”
‘Who’ is that, baby?: “Who is that?” It is simple as it sounds, babies will always ask who that strange person is who just walked through the door, and you should too! Finding out who all the people are that are tied to the project you are working on can help you understand what business areas you must explore and contact to get requirements.
Baby, say ‘what!?’: “What does this word mean? What does this system do? What does Mr. Bacon do?” These questions help open up our understanding about roles. Without knowing what these roles are, it becomes infinitely difficult for us to prioritize areas of importance. The ‘what’ question can even help us understand the vocabulary that is used in a project.
These are just the basic examples of how you can use these questions to help uncover pieces of information. The real premise is to force yourself, systematically, to think about the different type of questions that you need to ask to find the type of information you are looking for. Always try to think of answers that you are seeking, and always question everything!