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19 June 2008

Estimating work effort for BAs

Another vigorous Modern Analyst discussion triggered today’s post.

How do you go about estimating the time you, the business analyst, need to do the work. Well, it all depends doesn’t it.

How complex is the project, how are we running the project, what technologies are in play, how is the system being implemented, and into what environment.

Maybe it is complex. But once you have some experience behind you much of the estimating becomes easier.

For example; during the software development phase of a traditional waterfall style project a BA is acting as a subject matter expert to the development team, going back to the business clarifying issues and managing workaround. And you know the developers are going to be doing their thing for three months because that’s what they have estimated.

And the there is the testing and implementation phases. You can apply the same sort of concept.

The real hard part to estimate up front is the requirements gathering and documentation part. After all – how big are the requirements going to be?

To be able to estimate this well, the primary thing you need to know is the number and availability of the key stakeholders. Once you have this you can apply your requirements gathering techniques, and you should be able to estimate the duration of these techniques reasonably well.

(Keep reading for an example in a few days.)