Using Redmine for Business Analysis part 1

Posted on: April 1st, 2013 by csaunders No Comments

One of the best uses for Redmine isn’t focused on project management at all.

The Redmine wiki is a powerful tool that is often under-used yet can be a significant weapon in the project arsenal.

One of the most miss-understood benefits of an intranet based business analysis application is the ability to work together collaboratively on an initiative.

In any software project there is usually a business analysis role which is responsible for gathering requirements, documenting business process flows, creating models of complex relationships and often capturing systems information and user guides etc.

All of the above information collateral is usually stored in a collection of MS Office application files sitting on the server or ‘my documents’ folder of the average corporate BA.

Unfortunately only the BA which created the collateral is aware of it’s existence. If another project starts with a different BA, unless they are aware of the information gathered in the previous project, he or she will have to repeat the effort required to gather systems information or model complex business entities.

In a large corporate this duplication of effort occurs with alarming regularity. Worse still when a BA leaves the employment of the company a significant amount of Intellectual Property (IP), in the form of systems and business process understanding, walks out of door in the head of the leaving BA.

While the above problem is understood to a small degree what isn’t understood is the much larger impact to the business caused by common misunderstanding and ignorance of complex entity relationships, product hierarchies, systems information and user guides.

The failure to comprehend the above conceptual information means business people will repeatedly discover hiccups and issues in their projects, directly due as the result of failing to comprehend complex ‘stuff’ about their business, all of which could have been avoided if only they had access to highly distilled, concise and succinct information that can be absorbed quickly and efficiently (usually graphically as well) in the early phases of their project or initiative.

Having an online intranet library where all of the companies business analytical information collateral is easily found, nicely sorted and categorised, searchable and quickly consumed is an asset of serious benefit to the modern corporate.

This is where Redmine comes into i’ts own, and as a natural project tool easily lends itself to fitting into the project life cycle.

Even better the project management benefits of being able to add additional business and systems analysts to what is often a bottle-neck in the software development life cycle (SDLC) phases is a huge advantage.

Because several analysts can work on the online Redmine intranet wiki at once, the PM can add additional analytical resources and gain the benefits of collaboration.

Most importantly the business subject matter experts (SME’s) can review the work of the business analyst whilst they are working, ensuring fundamental concept errors don’t go un-noticed for long and reducing the eventual impact of such miss-understandings.

To take good advantage of the tool it will help to have an overview of some of the features and how they can be applied in the business analysis domain.

The Redmine wiki has several features, including: Standard wiki text interface, ‘heading’ links, lists, tables, resizeable graphics, ‘include’ macros, version control and more.

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