In my quest to become a better Project Manager, I've ended up learning the basics of Business Analysis (BA).
BA is something that fascinates me, probably more than being a Project Manager. The BA has to understand the business and the reason for change. They need to understand the structure and culture of the business and how healthy the business is. They also need to understand the needs of the management and the users.
Essentially we're talking here about doing the 'right thing' when we're changing things. Making the projects deliver the right thing in the right way.
In order to do this, the BA needs to look at three key areas:
1) How things are at the moment (as is).
2) How things will become (to be).
3) The gap between the two (gap analysis).
The 'as is' and 'to be' won't necessarily be done as 1 then 2. You may need to start with how things need to be and work backwards, or start with how things are and streamline things. The former is more likely to be 'big bang' and the latter is more likely to be gentle and iterative. There is no right or wrong way to do this, because it depends on who is driving the change - whether it's strategic or emergent needs.
There are many tools to ensure that this is all done 'correctly', but essentially it's about trying to do change in the best way possible.
See you 'on the ground'