5 ways to help business users actually change

A couple of weeks back, I wrote about how if it’s not just about the software, we can take on higher-level responsibilities as business analysts, the kinds of responsibilities that really make sure we’re solving the problem we need to be solving.

Cornelius Coertz commented:

If it’s not just about the software, I find time to make it easier for business to understand, accept and start using the current change.

Yes, yes, yes!

Of course, helping business users change is somewhat about the software. But when business analysis becomes only about the software it’s easy to lose sight of how business users will actually use the software to do business in a different way.

And, truth be told, if business users don’t use software in a different way, we can give them all the software in the world and it’s not going to improve our businesses.


So how do we actually help business users learn to do business in a different way? Here are some ideas.

  1. Create more visuals. Visuals like wireframes showing how the new software will work can help business users see the change that’s coming, which is much more powerful than simply reading about it. I get a ton more feedback when I couple use cases and wireframes together than when I create use cases alone.
  2. Model business processes. Expand your requirements walk-through meetings by walking through the entire business process, end-to-end, or even a collection of inter-related business processes together.
  3. Get involved in User Acceptance Testing (UAT). One thing we talk about in the BA Essentials Master Class is how the BA is in a great place to lead and oversee UAT, as they already have strong relationships with business stakeholders and can evaluate the software from a business perspective. From writing UAT scripts to managing any resulting change requests, there is a lot of discovery and analysis work to do in this phase of the project.
  4. Facilitate a process walk-through. A process that is experienced is understood. Why not have business stakeholders walk-through the process (not just the process documentation), using real work as examples?
  5. Reach out to more end users. The above work, while critical, only touches the stakeholders and subject matter experts involved in the project. Often it’s up to them to explain changes to their teams. The BA can add a lot of value and experience implementation challenges first-hand by partnering with the business stakeholders during the roll-out to develop new organizational assets, answer end user questions, and be sure end user training is thorough.

All of this work leads to software that is actually used the way it was intended to be used in the first place, and that leads to improved results from your projects and solutions. That’s the kind of thing business excellence is made of (which just happens to be a topic that I was interviewed about for the 2015 BBC conference.)

If this seems overwhelming, you don’t have to start incorporating all 5 ideas. Pick the one that seems like it will help your project the most and start there.

What idea will you implement in your current project work?

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  1. As someone who works in the catering business, I can’t stress walking people through the process enough. When it’s time to serve an event, everything needs to run smoothly. These are really great tips to make sure that happens.

  2. Tunde Odusi says

    I’vex just started my BA career a couple of months back and I must be sincere that your notes has been of tremendous help.
    Each time your note drops in my mail, I jump to it because I know there will be something for me to learn and apply in my daily work.
    Some of this points are actually lacking and I see the application changing the perspective of business users in my organization.

    I appreciate your work and help.

    Kind regards,




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