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Restrict yourself

November 2, 2010

One of the most important assets of a BA is the ability to be thorough. However there are times when this ability can be more of a liability.

Here is an example of a pattern I run into quite regularly:

A while back at a forum someone asked what features a requirements management tool should have. The person asking the question had in mind starting an open source project for such a tool. The responses started slow but then quickly became a literal torrent of ideas. All good ideas but it had the effect of extinguishing that little flame of initiative as the poor person who asked the question was buried under too much features and requests. In fact, after the initial enthusiasm, no one came back to pick the idea up and progress it further. The initiative was well and truly dead.

There is always this delicate phase at the beginning of any initiative when motivation is fickle and committment is not yet given by potential participants. At this point it pays not to be thorough in delving what all can be done. Instead you need to restrict yourself to focus only on the essentials:

  • think of only 3-5 features the new product shall have
  • what is the one item that will make it worthwhile?  And most importantly
  • what can you leave out without damaging the integrity of the idea?

Overall it is about restricting yourself at this stage of the project. There is an interesting post over at Better Projects that talks about the A3 technique. Basically it records the idea and all issues on a single A3 sheet. A simple concept embodying an important idea.

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