Document Analysis

Posted on October 8, 2009 by


The technique of Document Analysis is based on the simple concept of reading through existing documentation to find relevant information. In business analysis, it is used to uncover additional requirements. The BABOK® lists a number of common types of documents used in Document Analysis:  “business plans, market studies, contracts, requests for proposal, statements of work, memos, existing guidelines, procedures, training guides, competing product literature, published comparative product reviews, problem reports, customer suggestion logs, and existing system specifications.”  To perform this technique, first decide which documentation to use. Read through these documents taking note of useful information and any questions you may have. Discuss the information with subject matter experts and have any questions answered.  Lastly, write the information as requirements.

For example, Katy wants to bake an old-fashioned peach cream pie. She finds her grandmother’s old cookbooks and an old cookbook from her local library. These are the documents that she will analyze. After finding several recipes, she takes note of which ingredients and steps are common across all recipes. One recipe states that the ingredients should be “Mise en Place” which she does not understand. She asks a professional chef who tells her that it is a French term meaning that all the ingredients should be set in place beforehand, such as having the peaches already sliced. Lastly, Katy writes her findings in terms of requirements for the peach cream pie she will make.