Showing some backbone…

In a previous post I said that humility was one of the attributes business analysts should have. But analysts also need to be courageous, especially if they are to fulfil the role of Requirements Manager.

courageAnalysts who say “yes” to every request can be the ruination of a project. Such acquiescence can be based in our upbringing. If the analysts were brought up never to question authority or to believe that the customer is always right, then they might find it hard to enunciate that word which every toddler learns to say early on.

It takes courage to say “no”, especially when it leaves you open to the accusation of “not a team player”. But sometimes it is the person who says “no” who saves the team.

“I know we are almost at the end of the elaboration phase of the project but I want to increase the scope without moving the LID or increasing the budget.”


“I know you are able to capture the requirements directly into the tool and that we are configuring a BPM suite and not coding in Java using OO, but I still want you to produce a full set of UML diagrams.”


“You’ll have to go back and tell the customer that feature is not in scope and they can’t have it.”

Actually, I believe it is in scope, so… no.

“I want web pages to load in less than zero seconds so that when I click “Submit” on an expense claim, the application transports me back in time.”

I’ll see what I can do.

One of the major killers of projects is scope creep and more than one project has ended up in an acrimonious court case largely because the requirements manager and project manager allowed uncontrolled change to the scope.

Of course, analysts should have other attributes that ensureĀ  they don’t say “No” quite so bluntly as in my examples. It’s important to be courteous when we are being firm. Moreover, we should only say “no” when it is in the best interests of the project.

Kind regards,

Declan Chellar

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