Business Analysis Techniques Series: Surveys or Questionnaire

Business Analysis Techniques Series. Surveys or Questionnaire administer a set of written questions to stakeholders and Subject Matter Experts. Surveys or questionnaires can elicit information from many people, often anonymously, in a relatively short period of time.

Steps for survey

  • Define the purpose and objective of the survey.
  • Identify target groups.
  • Minimize respondent’s time, max 10 minutes.
  • Select sample group. Be aware of the group’s characteristics.
  • Use information about the background of the target group to develop questions.
  • Divide significantly diverse groups into smaller and homogeneous groups.
  • Identify distribution and collection methods.
  • Define target level and the timeline for responses.
  • Determine whether the survey should be followed up with individual interviews.
  • Write survey questions.
  • Perform usability tests on the survey.
  • All questions must be directed towards stated objectives.
  • Arrange questions in an order which tells a story.
  • Ensure questions are clear and concise, and business analysts use familiar terminologies.

Avoid following:

  • Double questions in a single question.
  • Negative phrasing.
  • Complex branching structures.
  • Uncomfortable questions.
  • Information is restricted by regulations.

Distribute survey or questionnaire

  • Communicate survey objectives, business analysts’ use of results, and arrangements for confidentiality or anonymity.
  • Select distribution means according to organizational policies, the urgency of obtaining results, the Level of security required, and the Geographic distribution of respondents.

Document survey results

  • Collate responses.
  • Analyze and summarize results.
  • Report findings to the sponsor.


  • Quick and relatively inexpensive.
  • Does not require significant time from stakeholders.
  • Works when stakeholders are not located in one location.
  • Closed-ended surveys can be used in statistical analysis.
  • Open-ended surveys can provide insights and opinions.


  • Open-ended surveys require more analysis.
  • To achieve unbiased results, specialized skills in statistical sampling methods are required.
  • Questions may be left unanswered or answered incorrectly due to their ambiguity.
  • Follow-up survey iterations may be required.
  • Response rates can be too low for statistical significance.

Worked out Example:

Let us learn the state model by means of an example. Governance, Risk, and Compliance (GRC) management system are developed for the IT and ITES domain. The primary objective of the GRC management system is to help companies implement Governance, Quality, and Information Security Management Systems in an integrated manner. It has various features, one of which is to plan and track projects and programs using standards such as CMMI, ISO 9001, ISO 27001, etc. Check out the Business Analyst article for more information regarding Business Analyst Job Description, Skills, Salary, and Certifications.

Through this example let us try to understand expectations for Governance, Risk, and Compliance management.

Survey to identify key features for the Governance, Risk and Compliance management system

Choose your option – 1 indicates Lowest Priority, 4 Indicates Highest Priority

Question 1 2 3 4
Automatic schedule generation
Automatic risk generation
Automatic compliance reporting
Automatic Customer Status Reporting
Automatic Management Status Reporting
Mention the top 3 features that you would like to see in the Governance, Risk, and Compliance management system

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