Very often I hear Project Managers, Product Owners, and Tech Directors talk about being clear, concise, and easy to understand. This always seems obvious to me; it sounds a little like common sense. The truth is most problems in software and interactive development could use a dose of common sense.
- If you only have 8 hours in the day, 3 people working on a project, and it is due in one month, your estimate should not exceed 600 work hours. Simple right?
- If the goal of your project is an award winning creative design, your team should not be made up of mostly project managers and developers. Simple right?
- If you are already late on your project milestones, and the client cuts the budget halfway through the project, you cannot add more scope. Simple right?
And yet Product Owners and Business Analysts have to deal with these conundrums every day. I know that not everything is as simple as it seems and that more issues have other considerations associated to them. This does not mean that we should not at least try to bring common sense back into the conversation. I once watched an experience architect/designer go back and forth with a client who was trying to dictate the site design. After about 20 minutes she broke it down simple for him. “So what you are saying is that you want each user to take 10 steps just to get logged into your site?” Funny how every sound reason he had before suddenly became moot when posed against this question. Common sense can move even the most stubborn mountain. This is how the Commonsensical BA came into being. A Commonsensical Business Analyst is a business analyst or product owner who:
- Uses logic to find simple solutions to complex business problems
- Uses concise and simple documentation to communicate requirements
- Uses simple math to calculate budget and timelines
This blog is going to focus on skills and techniques that Product Owners, Project Managers, and Business Analysts can use to bring Commonsense back to interactive design, development, and delivery.