The Elicitation and Collaboration knowledge area (KA) contains tasks that help Business Analysts to obtain information from the stakeholders. Business Analysts must confirm and communicate the obtained information back to the stakeholders. Within this knowledge area Business Analysts pay attention to the stakeholders especially to encourage them to work together towards a common goal.
Let me explain with an example: assume you created a Business Analysis Approach, you analysed stakeholders and defined ways to work with them in the Stakeholder Engagement Approach. Now you have to start preparing the elicitation activities: you think about the scope of elicitation, which requirements activities suit which stakeholders, select techniques you want to employ, set up logistics, arrange supporting materials and inform stakeholders about your plans. When this is ready, you conduct elicitation activities and document their outcomes. After each elicitation event, you check whether the information you obtained is accurate and consistent with information that you already had. Finally, you communicate business analysis information back to the stakeholders to ensure they have shared understanding of it.
Working with stakeholders can have its ups and downs. As a business analyst you ensure that stakeholders commit to their activities and you monitor their engagement level.
Hopefully, you recognise some of these aspects from your daily practice, don’t you? So now we can put all the elements that we discussed above as inputs, tasks, and outputs that have to be performed in the Elaboration and Collaboration knowledge area.
Elicitation and Collaboration
Main Inputs (from other Knowledge Areas)
Stakeholder Engagement Approach,
BA Performance Assessment
Prepare for Elicitation
Confirm Elicitation Results
Communicate Business Analysis Information
Manage Stakeholder Collaboration
Elicitation Activity Plan
Elicitation Results [unconfirmed] and [confirmed]
Business Analysis Information
Let’s take a quick look at each individual task and its role in the elicitation efforts.
This task focuses on understanding the scope of the elicitation, defining which stakeholders should participate and which activities they should participate in. During this task the elicitation techniques are selected based on cost and time constraints, culture of the organisation, and sources of the business analysis information. When stakeholders and techniques are known, the follow-up activities take place: setting up logistics, ensuring support materials are available and preparing stakeholders for the elicitation. This task produces the Elicitation Activity Plan.
In this step, elicitation takes place. IIBA® recognises three types of elicitation: collaborative, research and experiments. In this task, the main work gets done. Each elicitation event delivers elicitation results. Importantly, the sponsor can help here, giving us authorisation and helping us to get stakeholders involved.
After each elicitation event, Business Analysts document the obtained elicitation result and check whether it is accurate and consistent with all the previously documented information. This is the main goal of the Confirm Elicitation Results task. Business Analysts compare the information against source and against already collected info. If they detect any error or omission, it is possible to resolve it early.
This task is about getting a shared understanding of business analysis information. Business Analysts organise the confirmed information into packages based on the audience, their information needs, style of communication and formality level. You decide how to share these packages: formally or informally. You also decide about a form of communication: approach a group or an individual, make use of e-mail to disseminate information, organise a meeting, etc..
This task is about encouraging stakeholders to collaborate. It has an aspect of gaining agreement about commitments of the stakeholders. Do they commit to spend time on the initiative? How do they spend the allotted time? The second aspect of managing stakeholder collaboration is to check their level of participation and performance. Both aspects allow us to find ways to better approach stakeholders and ensure their optimal performance in business analysis activities.
I hope it is now clearer what the Elicitation and Collaboration knowledge area represents. To summarise: this knowledge area focuses on obtaining information from the stakeholders. The output this knowledge area produces is used by Strategy Analysis, Requirements Analysis and Design Definition, and Solution Evaluation knowledge areas.
The next post will be about the Requirements Life Cycle Management knowledge area.
If you wish to get more in-depth information about these knowledge areas, competencies or techniques please consider buying the BABOK® Guide, or become a member of the International Institute of Business Analysis®. As an IIBA member you receive your own (electronic) copy of the BABOK® Guide for further study.
BA Coach also provides online workshops about BABOK® .