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Functional Analysis, Getting into the Basics

Functional Analysis, Getting into the Basics

functional analysis

I am frequently asked about the role and purpose of Functional Analysis, a topic with enormous and growing prominence in the 21st century, and with a real and strategic impact for companies. What is Functional Analysis? How does it work? What does a Functional Analyst do? Why is the role of a Functional Analyst so important? How do they bring value to a project?

I intent to dive into all these questions and help you understand a little better this tech area in great evolution.

So, what is Functional Analysis after all?

Functional analysis can be described as an activity capable of enabling or driving changes and transformations in a certain company or business.

But how?

By defining the needs/requirements of these companies or businesses and recommending solutions that bring added value to the company and consequently to the different people involved.
This is an adaptation of the official definition you can find in BABOK – Business Analysis Body Of Knowledge – the elementary guide to the best practices in business analysis published by the International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA), which, due to its importance, deserves further enlightenment, which I will try to provide later.

What does a Functional Analyst do?

The purpose of a functional analyst in a company can be very diverse. In short, they are everything related to discovering, synthesizing, and analyzing relevant information. Keep in mind that this information can come from a variety of sources: people, processes, documentation, and tools within a company, are just the most common examples.
In addition, they have a fundamental role – seeking to align the needs of different project stakeholders with the solutions designed and delivered. This can be done in a number of ways, some of which are:

  • Facilitate collaboration between different stakeholders;
  • Conceive strategies, process mapping;
  • Analyze needs, opportunities and solutions;
  • Foster change;
  • Support testing and system usage;
  • Creation of user manuals.

In the end, the real work of a functional analyst never ends, there will always be something to be improved or perfected. It remains for us to know how and where to draw the limits, our action frontier, so that we can achieve something concrete and with value.

Why is the role of a functional analyst so important in a project or a company?

The work of a functional analyst allows companies to use information strategically. Whether to better assess risks and dependencies, to promote possible partnerships or to determine a new direction for the business. In addition, at the project level, functional analysis allows a better understanding of the business as a whole, helping maintaining focus, as well as, keeping the area of operation restricted to the previously identified.

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Being a new concept and a new role, the definition of what a Functional Analyst is and what he does may seem difficult to understand and materialize if you are new to the subject, but, most of all, and similarly to all roles and positions the most important thing is to keep an open mind and a constant desire to learn more!

I hope I helped clarify the concept and quenched some of the curiosity about the topic! I tried to introduce, frame, share the basics leaving the invitation for my next articles where I intend to further deepen the importance of analysis for the digital era, as well as some key working tools for a Functional Analyst!

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