Increasing Productivity and Performance

Author: Geri Schneider Winters

I was asked recently how to increase productivity and performance as a BA. Here are some ideas based on my own experience.

  1. Before acting ask yourself the best approach to something.
    • For example, when collecting information we often assume that interviews are the best approach. Before scheduling interviews, think about the information you need. Maybe you can get the information you need more quickly from a document.
    • Another example could be effectiveness. It may be more effective to collect 5 people in a room together where they can discuss an issue, rather than you asking questions of each of the 5, then following up to resolve differences. Acting as a go-between is less effective than letting the people work it out for themselves.
  2. Do only what you have to do at each  point in time and no more.
    • Early in a project, we identify just the architecturally significant requirements so that the project architect can do his or her work.¬† The rest of the requirements are discovered later.
    • When I write use cases, I start with the basic flow. Sometimes I do not have to write any more, but if I do, I write the alternatives when they are needed.
  3. Keep focused on the goal of the project.
    • You should not be working on things unrelated to the goal of the project. If you are asked to do so, talk about it with your Project Manager.
  4. Keep learning your craft and get better at it.
    • Take classes in areas where you are weak.
    • Look for ways to get additional experience. Many of the skills of the BA can be practiced outside of work. For example, you can practice interviewing by asking a grandmother to tell you stories of her life while you write them. You get to practice asking questions, listening, and writing, and you have stories from grandmother that you can share with the family.

What do you do to be more productive? What things have you found that help you work faster?


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About Geri Schneider Winters

Geri Schneider Winters is the primary author of the popular Use Case book "Applying Use Cases: A Practical Guide" and the founder of Wyyzzk, Inc. She has over 25 years experience spanning the software development lifecycle. Geri has learned her craft working with folks such as Grady Booch, Jim Rumbaugh, Ivar Jacobson, Walker Royce, Scott Ambler, Warren Woodford, Philippe Kruchten, and Kendall Scott, along with many less well known, but equally talented, people. Geri has worked in many companies in many industries, including IBM, Boeing, Lockheed, Adobe, Intuit, Delta Dental, United Healthcare, Blue Cross Blue Shield, The Money Store, Charles Schwab, The Federal Reserve Bank, Visa International, USAA, Stanford University, University of California, Carnegie Mellon University, HiLCoE College, Agilent, Knights Technology, Deloitte and Touche, Safeway, and Coca-Cola Enterprises.