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10 Business Analysis Challenges and Recommended Solutions

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Business Analysts are often regarded as a crème de la crème of professionals and are coveted by many. Business analyst is a key role along with the Project Manager responsible for the success or failure of any project / initiative. While Business Analysts are the agents of organizational changes, are influential and has significant strategic importance. However, the Business Analyst role also comes with its own share of challenges. 

Due to the strategic nature of this role and the earnings involved, more and more professionals are considering joining this profession as well as transitioning to this role as their next career move.


Most large projects are time sensitive, often quite technical, and involve many stakeholders.  Business analysts are responsible for eliciting requirements from the various stakeholder groups, get it signed off, ensure requirements are effectively developed, tested and deployed for end users use. While this may sound simple and straight forward, business analysts face several challenges at each step of the project.  
Some of the key challenges that should be kept in mind in order to deliver the best results are discussed in this article. 

1. Scope Creep 

Scope creep occurs when changes are made to the agreed upon requirements. Even when the requirements were identified, the timeline and the plan were agreed upon. Then stakeholders come up with a new requirement and expect the solution to be delivered in the same timeline. Scope creeps invariably put the project team under undue pressure. This issue is more prevalent in waterfall projects as stakeholders get very little opportunity to provide feedback on the solution being developed. With agile projects the sprint planning takes a reasonable care of feature changes, they still run the risk of scope creep at an initiative level.

Suggested solution/prevention – Keeping a close watch on team capacity availability to deliver project work is essential. A new feature introduction should be matched with additional resources (time, capacity) or a reprioritization in already planned features. 

2. Constant changes in requirements or their priorities

It is extremely hard for stakeholders to express exactly their needs, be it designing the interiors of a house, which course to pursue etc. the list goes on. There are often situations when the need is not clear in the beginning in terms of detailing of the requirement, priority etc and stakeholders/users are unsure about the functionality they need. As a result, requirements are not defined effectively, requiring frequent changes to the requirements.

Suggested Solution / Prevention –  For this, the first step should be to understand the reason which led to such changes. Then, once the reason is apparent, apply the requirements prioritization process. This would improve the requirements management process. Keep a hawk’s eye on the value that the requirements change brings and the costs incurred to make the change happen. 

3. Delay or Missing Stakeholder Agreement or Sign off

There could be variety of reasons for delay in stakeholders sign-off such as 

  • Unavailability of key stakeholders 
  • Inadequate involvement of stakeholders 
  • Lack of agreement /consensus on the requirements 

Suggested solution / prevention 

  1. Try to find back up for the key stakeholder and invite/engage with him/her. 
  2. Prepare a business case to present and obtain feedback from the user group/stakeholders in one meeting where you bring along the project sponsor or a highly influential stakeholder. 
  3. Call for a meeting to discuss the requirements and get them signed off – prepare the meeting minutes, distribute it to all the stakeholders and ask everyone to review the points to come back for any disagreements. 

4. Change of business / process ownership  

Change of business / process ownership is often a serious risk to the project and its success. It comes with problems like:

  • Change of business / process owner priorities  
  • Lack of contextual knowledge of the solution needs 
  • Lack of ownership on the existing initiative as it was created by the previous business / process owner

Suggested solution / prevention

  • Keep an eye if there is a likelihood of such as change in the organization 
  • Slow down on investment or effort spend 
  • Prepare to explain the value of the initiative to the new business / process owner 

5. Non-alignment of goals among business owners 

Non-alignment of goals among stakeholders can lead to changing needs and priorities. This can pose serious impediments to the project progress. 

Suggested solution / prevention

  • Agile projects have the provision/option of taking up features based on priority in subsequent iterations or sprints 
  • Prioritizing the must have features and features that can be taken up in future releases using MOSCOW prioritization will be a big help. 


6. Regulatory / External factor changes

If you are a business analyst in a regulated industry or where regulatory requirements come into play, then you need to keep in mind that changes in the regulations or compliance can affect multiple systems, geographies and projects differently.  

Suggested solution / prevention -  A high-level understanding of your organization’s regulatory environment and how it can affect the projects will help you develop systems that complies to regulatory requirements as efficiently as possible. This can be done in developing requirements in close interaction with stakeholders with regulatory and compliance background. Developing a foundational knowledge of the domain is always beneficial to be cognizant of the changes and its impact.  


7. Lack of Stakeholders Engagement 

Active stakeholder engagement and management are undoubtedly critical success factors for any project. Understanding the various stakeholders and their characteristics can help a great deal in devising strategies to address their expectations and concerns. 

Understanding the interest of the stakeholders and aligning it to the project goals is an important responsibility for the Business Analysis Professionals. Some stakeholders may become influential or disinterested altogether as the project develops. If the stakeholder has a critical role in the project, then their non-involvement will pose a serious risk for the success of the project.  

Suggested solution / prevention -  It is crucial to keep an eye on these changes. Modification of the engagement techniques with the stakeholders should be considered considering the potential impact it may have on the project. Stakeholder map is helpful in effective engagement with the stakeholders according to their interest and influence on the project. 

Stakeholder Map.jpg


8. Gaps in the Project Management Process 

Some of these common misses in the project management process makes the project go through rough patches, unreasonable workloads, and missed deliveries: 

  • Inadequate risk planning – Identifying risks post change / new solution implementation  
  • Inadequate resource planning – not considering back up (non-billable resources) for key resources resulting in delay in knowledge transfer in case of attrition which impacts the entire project and puts pressure on team members to take up unplanned activity.  
  • Inadequate business analysis planning – Project managers are in a hurry to start the project without adequate business anaylsis planning. This leads to gaps in business anaylsis process later on in the project. 

Suggested solution / prevention

  • Stronger focus on project management principles on business analysis activities 
  • Resource pool with prior experience of similar project /domain expertise 
  • Be a part of the project planning process  

9. Unable to showcase ROI

Measuring the effectiveness of any task is essential to know whether the task is value adding or not. Return on Investment is one of the most effective methods to evaluate the effectiveness of the business investment made on any initiative. Business analysis is no exception to this. Knowing the business benefits and costs enable business anaylsis professionals to justify initiatives and plan future activities. 

Suggested solution / prevention

  • Ways to measure metrics for ROI by the initiatives of the BA 
  • Cost saving in $$ by process improvement by the BA 
  • Revenue improvement due to technical upgrade/automation 
  • New business generation due to new tech adoption/process improvement /automation 
  • Effort saving in $$ due to the process improvement  
  • Quality improvement/defect reduction benefits in $$ due to the process improvement  


10. Resistance of acceptance to the new system

Change is always inevitable but so is resistance to change. It is a natural tendency of many stakeholders to try and keep their methods and systems unchanged. Implementing a change is always hard and especially if it’s a system which users have been habituated to for long in spite of its flaws and inefficiencies. Stakeholders are used to their processes, even if a majority of them are time-consuming and manual. So, learning all over again on a brand-new system is not always received well. In fact, sometimes, some fight it all the way to reject the new system being kicked off. 

Suggested solution / prevention 

  • Highlight the benefits of the new system to the users 
  • Showcase the users how it will benefit them – ease of use, improved features/functionalities, benefits in their day-to-day tasks 
  • Work with them in the transition process 
  • Work with them to gain trust from the users’ team.


As the business analyst profession is strategic and rewarding similar are the challenges associated with it. The challenges are of varying levels of complexity each day. However, the ones mentioned above are the most commonly experienced ones as shared by the Business Analysis community in this LinkedIn Post.  


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About The Author:
Ananya Pani

Ananya (Ann) Pani is the co-founder of Adaptive US and heads global sales and marketing. She is also a coach and mentor to thousands of business analysis professionals in their pursuit of achieving IIBA certifications. She is a is a regular author, blogger on various business analysis, management and technology related topics in leading tech sites and journals and is a 2021 Forbes Next 1,000 Honoree.  
Ann is a passionate entrepreneur and a strong supporter of encouraging women in technology and has helped many women to come back to work after long career breaks. Adaptive US has established itself as a global leader in the Business Analysis skill development domain with students and corporates from 80+ countries under her dynamic leadership. 



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