Understanding the Business Change Lifecycle: Insights from BCS Business Analysis

Kenneth Gray

 What is the Business Change Lifecycle?

The Business Change Lifecycle is, at its heart, a methodical process that organisations use to discover, evaluate, implement, and incorporate changes. It is a comprehensive method that ensures changes are not only technically sound but also accepted by the people who will be affected, resulting in long-term organisational success.

Business Change Lifecycle Phases (BCS Business Analysis 4th Edition)


Alignment refers to the process of ensuring that an organisation's objectives and strategy are in harmony with the external business environment. It involves considering any changes in this environment and making necessary modifications, if deemed suitable. The primary objective of this stage is to ascertain that any proposed alterations to the business are in accordance with internal policies and architectures.


Definition is focused with taking a closer look at a suggested business situation in order to identify the root cause of problems, conduct an in-depth analysis, recommend relevant, feasible improvements, and define requirements. During the definition stage, business analysts define the business and solution requirements.

Design and development

Design and development is concerned with the full specification, development, and testing of the solution, including business processes and related tasks, as well as the software required to support them. 

During this stage the BA's role is to ensure the changes effective and efficient to meet the organisation’s needs. They will make sure the requirements are clearly understood, clarify aspects relating to some requirements and work with solution architects to make sure the IT requirements are carried out successfully.


Implementation deals with the planning, preparation, and deployment of business changes. During this stage the BA supports the business by conducting readiness assessments. These assessments are used to analyse the impact of the proposed changes and whether the business can handle the changes.  


Realisation is concerned with an assessment of the projected business benefits in order to identify those that have been accomplished and where more work is required to obtain those that have yet to be realised.

Advantages of Using the Business Change Lifecycle

Structured Approach: It provides a structured procedure for managing changes, lowering the risks associated with managing change.

Involvement of Stakeholders: By integrating stakeholders throughout, the likelihood of opposition is reduced, and the changes are more likely to be successful.

Ongoing Improvement: Organisations can learn from each initiative through regular evaluations and the final review process, allowing them to continuously improve their change management capabilities.

Obstacles and Overcoming Them

Resistance to Change: Resistance is natural, even when using an organised strategy. The SARAH (Shock, Anger, Rejection, Acceptance, Hope) model outlines the 5 stages of emotions experienced by business staff during the implementation stage. BA's must help staff to cope through these stages by providing ongoing support. 

Creep in the Scope: Changes may occur, resulting in a moving target. This can be managed with strong project management and change control systems.


The Business Change Lifecycle in BCS Business Analysis 4thEdition provides a comprehensive roadmap for organisations undergoing change. In response to market demands, technical advances, or internal obstacles, this lifecycle guarantees changes are carefully implemented and integrated for long-term success. Mastering this transformation technique becomes increasingly important as the corporate landscape changes.