How to avoid project failure

5 steps to improve planning and monitoring and avoid project failure

Senior Business Analyst, Sandra Mukundu, outlines how you can help avoid failure through proper planning.

How to avoid project failure – so your project hasn’t gone to plan… we’ve all been there right! Maybe it’s been deemed a ‘failure’ because it wasn’t delivered on time, or didn’t meet the business / stakeholder expectations.

It’s not a good feeling for anyone involved, but as a Business Analyst, there are steps you can take to avoid project failure!

There is a well-known saying by Benjamin Franklin, “Failing to plan is planning to fail”.

While I doubt that anyone would intentionally plan to fail, if you fail to properly plan before acting, it’s possible you may fail!

2 people looking at a laptop

Modern corporate life is characterised by everything being urgent. You bounce from one virtual meeting to another, and it may seem like you are always behind schedule.

Despite this, it’s important to set aside time to plan what you are doing and monitor progress, so you can make improvements.

Business Analysis Planning and Monitoring is one of the six knowledge areas in the BABOK (Business Analysis Body of Knowledge) guide. This knowledge area lays out all the tasks that organise and coordinate the efforts of the Business Analysts and stakeholders in the project, or in the organisation.

This involves doing the following 5 steps:

1. Plan Business Analysis Approach

Defining the appropriate method to carry out business analysis work is critical. The business analysis approach is a subset of the project management approach, so it needs to align with the overall project approach.

In planning this approach, you need to consider the methodology used in conducting the business analysis activities. Most organisations already have a methodology in place for all their projects.

The two most common methodologies used are:

Some organisations use a blended / hybrid approach of the two to run their software development projects. You need to be clear on the methodology you’re going to use, as this will improve planning activities and help avoid failure.

2. Plan Stakeholder Engagement

A stakeholder is anyone who is directly or indirectly impacted by the project or change. As a Business Analyst, it’s important to plan how to engage with them appropriately, and how you will collaborate with them.

The method and frequency of communication used are dependent on the stakeholder’s role, their influence in the project, and how the project / change impacts them and their team.

3. Plan Business Analysis Governance

This task ensures that decisions are made in a proper and consistent manner. This involves being clear on the sign-off process so that the appropriate people provide sign-off for key milestones to prevent delays in delivering key functionality.

4. Plan Business Analysis Information Management

As a Business Analyst, you need to ensure that the information associated with the project is captured, stored, accessed, and integrated with other available information. As part of this task, you have to be clear about where project information is stored and what software is used to manage the project backlog.

This may be done using tools such as Confluence or Jira to track the work to be done in the project. You also need to be clear on what tools will be used for the work you are doing.

Capturing information correctly so that it is easily accessible will help ensure project success.

5. Identify Business Performance Improvement

This task looks at managing and monitoring how the business analysis work is performed to ensure that the change is implemented successfully and that continuous learning and improvement opportunities are realised.

This involves looking at the actual performance measures. These may be qualitative (using numeric data which is measurable) or using qualitative data, which is subjective and can be observed but not measured.

This performance measurement can be done from the project perspective to help avoid project failure. It’s important to do this at an individual level (doing a self-introspective on how you think you are going and what you can do to improve your performance on the project). This ensures that as a Business Analyst, you are constantly improving and seeking to do things better.

In summary, all projects, whether Waterfall or Agile, can benefit from a proper business analysis planning and monitoring approach.

Utilising the 5 steps above will help avoid project failure and ensure it meets both business and stakeholder expectations.

Do you need help planning and monitoring an upcoming project? Reach out!