You have heard that hindsight is 20-20 but what you will also learn in this article is that insight can be equally as effective because it helps you see the impact of changes before they are implemented.
Face it; as a business analyst, you have experienced changes in software features, systems or business procedures that created confusion or hindered your ability to do your job.
Therefore, you understand the anxiety or frustration of users whose job duties will be impacted by major changes in their systems, right?
With that in mind, one of the best techniques for discovering the possible impact of changes to a system before they are implemented is Impact Analysis!
What Is Impact Analysis?
Impact Analysis is a tool for brainstorming, analyzing or determining the full cost, benefit or impact of proposed changes to a system.
As a brainstorming technique, impact analysis can help determine possible future issues after a project’s implementation as well as help discover the best solution based on a complete understanding of the cost and benefit of each possible solution.
So, as a tool, impact analysis helps you discover and understand the negative affects of alterations / changes to a system will have on an organization.
Impact Analysis As A Risk Management Tool
Impact analysis also helps you evaluate the real-world consequences of proposed projects and ensures that these consequences are manageable after the project is approved and implemented.
As a business analyst, Impact Analysis will help you determine whether it is really in the best interests of your organization to go forward with a particular project … all things considered!
Impact Analysis may also be used by a business analyst (BA), to develop an effective contingency plans as it allows a business analyst to see possible consequences before encountering them on the project.
And yes, a well-developed contingency plan will help you prepare for or handle problems caused by the alterations or changes you make to your systems.
Remember that without Impact Analysis, the changes you are implementing as a business analyst will introduce an unplanned-for or unforeseen sea of problems that can cause your well-intentioned project to fail!
First Step – Start With A Team
Honesty, you will need both the support and expertise of a reliable and experienced team with diverse experience or background from different departments.
This is important because having the right team will help you quickly or more completely identify all the possible consequences of changes to the system under consideration.
Once you put a team together, take the following additional steps for your Impact Analysis:
1. Be Ready for The Team
To help expedite decisions across your team, make sure your team has access to relevant information ready and handy. Also make ensure that team members thoroughly understand the problem you are solving, your changes / solutions and the project that puts it all together.
2. Give Affected Users A Voice
Make sure that users who are going to be affected by the proposed solutions are adequately represented at your impact analysis meetings. Having the right users involved will give you more real-world data or insight than plain speculating would.
3. Evaluate the Impact
Once everyone and everything that the changes impact have been identified, it’s time to go ahead and examine in detail all the negative / positive impacts of the project. This analysis should also include the possible extent and size of the impact.
4. Create A Contingency Plan
Finally, decide if you will still go ahead with the project based on a cost analysis, i.e. an analysis of how much it will take to maintain the project after it is implemented.
If you do decide to go ahead with the project, create a contingency plan for unforeseen issues that may arise as the changes are implemented.
Other things that you may include in your Impact Analysis are:
· Identify and list all the actions needed to manage each possible consequence.
· When multiple changes are being implemented as a project, give your team / impacted users the ability to rate or vote on each change by either accepting or rejecting individual changes.
· The concept of change is difficult to handle for most. So, consider introducing each change in a way that gets a “buy-in” instead of negative feedback.
Adopting Impact Analysis as one of your tools will help your organization/ team reduce or prevent project failure as well resource wastage.
Your team / organization will also experience project success on a more consistent basis and finally as a business analyst, you will be able to reduce or even eliminate hindrances affecting your users’ jobs after the changes have been implemented.
As you can see, adopting impact analysis will not only help you career as a business analyst, but it will also help your users and your organization.