Business analysis is thinking about the most likely path users will take and providing a solution for them. Good business analysis, however, is ensuring ALL paths, including the less likely paths a user will take, are considered, analyzed, and addressed. The more complicated the software is the more alternate paths will typically exist.
When alternate paths are not fully addressed in the requirements phase, businesses run the risks of losing potential revenue and providing poor customer experiences to their users.
Page flows and functional flows are good tools for business analysts to use when considering the alternate experiences. Thinking though the alternate flows the users will take will help reveal knowledge gaps and missing requirements. It can be frustrating at times for a business analyst to consider all the possible variables, but this is the KEY to ensuring the delivery of proper and complete business requirements. Keep in mind, though, users on the alternate paths do not always need to be provided with software solutions. Presenting alternate channels, a phone number for example, is acceptable.
The road less traveled is not about “bad users doing things they shouldn’t” – it’s about potential, fruitful opportunities to businesses.