Dwight Eisenhower once said, “In preparing for battle, I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.” Of course, business analysis isn’t quite the same as war (usually), but the main idea of this quotation still applies: Going through the process of planning is a critical task; actually documenting a plan is less critical (although in some cases it may be required).
Whether you write out a plan or not, the important thing is to thoroughly think through every component of the work plan. Here, very briefly, is a rundown of the vital work plan components:
A stakeholder communication plan: Your stakeholder communication plan indicates how you’re going to elicit and communicate requirements with all stakeholder groups.
A list of deliverables to be produced: Your list of deliverables includes documents, services, and products you (and possibly other team members) must produce in order to effectively analyze and communicate the requirements of the project.
A detailed list of tasks: These are the tasks you need to perform to elicit, analyze, and communicate the requirements. Get as detailed as you need to with this list in order to estimate your time accurately to your stakeholders and managers.
Sometimes estimating is helpful: Break down the tasks you need to accomplish and sum up the total. For example, if completing a use case takes you 8 hours and you have to create 10 use cases, you could estimate your work at 80 hours.
An estimate of time and cost: All together, the stakeholder communication plan and lists of deliverables and tasks help you determine the time and cost estimates for you and your stakeholders.
Planning is unique to each individual. Everyone has different strengths and weaknesses and different knowledge and experiences. Something that may take experienced business analysts 4 hours may take novice business analysts 8 hours. The person doing the work needs to be the one giving the time estimate whenever possible.