I have been working on the Business Glossary for the Third edition of the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge for the IIBA. I am finding interesting the variances in terminology for what are considered to be simple and common terms even among the standards organizations. If they cannot agree on simple definitions of our terms, how can the average business analyst? And how much more difficult is it when talking to business stakeholders?
The lesson here is clear: we cannot assume a common understanding of business terms. The terms vary from organization to organization and even from department to department within the same organization.
This is where listening naively comes into play. Ask the questions and have people explain it to you like you are new to the organization. Just to be sure. Just to be clear. Just to be unambiguous. Better to get the "I am humoring you" stare now than the "You misunderstood what I asked for' complaint when the solution is delivered.