Business Analyst Interview Question: Suppose we ask you to run a Joint Application and Design or JAD meeting. How would you do that, and what would be the result?
To ace this interview question, the first thing to know is what a JAD meeting is in the first place. JAD can stand for Joint Application Development or Joint Application Design.
The purpose of a JAD meeting is to bring people together when there is lack of clarity or understanding about what the business wants out of the project. A JAD meeting can include business people as well as technical staff including systems analysts, architects, and software developers. The meeting brings them together to raise their questions and concerns about the project and its requirements. It gives everyone a chance to respond to one another directly, and hopefully resolve the problems more quickly.
The Business Analyst plays a key role in a JAD meeting as a business representative with the knowledge of the project’s requirements. They frequently run the meetings.
A JAD meeting can put a new Business Analyst out of their comfort zone. Technical staff may want to talk technical stuff like system architecture, data sources and exchange, and coding approaches. Your role as facilitator means you can lean on other staff members like systems analysts to help guide more technical parts of the discussion. If nobody is available to help, you can just ask people to clearly state what they decided so that you can correctly capture it in the minutes.
So how would you answer the question?
Something like this:
As a Business Analyst, I am prepared to play a key role in leading a JAD meeting. During the course of a project, it’s not unusual for stakeholders to want to get together to discuss business requirements and their implications. I would serve as the facilitator and guide of the discussion.
The first thing I would need to know is why the meeting is happening in the first place. Who requested it, what are they unclear about, and what do they need to know? That helps me create an agenda and invite the right people to the meeting.
Before the meeting I would be sure that the requirements are complete and signed off. I would also make sure they get distributed to the key stakeholders so they can review them beforehand. I would do my best to anticipate the questions that may come up.
During the meeting I would state the questions and allow the interested parties to explain further. I would then facilitate the discussion that follows, while also contributing my perspective as an analyst. For example, I could point out business scenarios that might contradict what the stakeholders are saying.
At the end of the discussion I would carefully document whatever agreements the stakeholders reached during the meeting, as well as any pending actions that individuals must take. If requirements need modifying I would manage that change and work with the project manager to ensure the changes become part of the solution.
I would send the minutes and any documents that changed to the meeting participants for their review. Additionally, I would follow up with them to resolve action items and ensure there is no further need for follow up, or schedule another JAD meeting if there are additional concerns.