Elicitation (BABOK KA)

Dec 11, 2016
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Moving on, we will investigate the importance of the business analyst’s often delicate relationship with individual stakeholders.   A business analyst is a facilitator of change, and in affecting these changes within a company, the analyst must interact with multiple stakeholders of varying personalities. When identifying and delivering the necessary changes within a business, the analyst must develop and maintain a relationship with each individual stakeholder.  Each stakeholder will wield a different level of authority within the company and hold a certain amount of power over those changes that are coming into effect. Noting this, the analyst must take part in a careful balancing act, juggling these relationships in order to facilitate change with minimal difficulty.

Oct 09, 2016
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The difficulty of gathering information and establishing requirements, owing to the chaotic nature of the business world, is clear to see. Every business analyst must overcome their own Mad Tea Party if they are to be successful in carrying out their mission. As Alice is confronted with the unreliability of the Hatter, the March Hare, and the Dormouse, so too is the analyst faced with unreliable stakeholders. In her attempts to gain an understanding of the never-ending tea party, Alice’s use of elicitation is effectively useless in the face of endless riddles, an unconventional sense of time, and undependable characters.  Analysts find themselves in comparable environments with various degrees of chaos and unpredictability. 

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Often I come across situations where a BA is unprepared or under-prepared in approaching the requirements elicitation process. This leads to irritated business users, incomplete requirements, significant delays, reworks, and poor opinion about BA's in general. I decided to put together a list of prerequisites that a BA must complete before commencing requirements elicitation process.
Jun 05, 2016
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To be a great analyst, you’ll need to ask great questions. In order to ask great questions, you’ll need to remain inquisitive.  Fact of the matter is, that if you are performing any kind of analysis, you need to become very comfortable with asking difficult questions. Questions that make people uncomfortable and questions that might even potentially expose unpopular answers.

Nov 29, 2015
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Customer journey mapping is a great way to understand your customer intimately to provide insights into providing targeted customer experience that empower the customer positively to drive better business outcomes.  This technique places the customer first with a deep emotional understanding, then looks backwards toward the experiences provided by the operating model, thus enabling good aspects to be reinforced and negative ones to be managed. It provides a complete 360 end to end experience of the customer to be realized driving customer insights, allowing more blue sky approaches to offsetting emotional deficits...

Nov 01, 2015
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This is a story of an outsourced product implementation contract between two companies, FinCo and ProdCo. What started out as an exciting contract turned out to be a bitter experience for both the companies. There are lessons to be learnt from this story – about outsourced contracts, about setting expectations and above all, about good old business requirements.
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The scenario is simple: You’ve been tasked to determine the requirements for a new project. You’ve done your homework by reviewing existing documentation. And, now, you’ve arranged to have a meeting with a Subject Matter Expert (SME).

So, where does one begin on this path to enlightenment? When you talk to the SME for the first time, do you start by outlining everything that you think you’ve learned already?

Oct 05, 2015
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The first step to solve a problem is to frame it correctly. These aren’t the right questions to ask. The real question these BAs should be asking is, “how do I get my stakeholders to stay involved throughout the requirements process, so I can have their input at the right times during requirements discovery, analysis, and validation?”
Aug 17, 2015
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This is the eleventh in a series that explains the thinking behind the Volere requirements techniques— previous and future articles explore aspects of applying these techniques in your environment.

This article focuses on the often-asked question: why, when I ask for requirements, do people give me solutions and what can I do to get the real requirement?
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Solution Anthropology encompasses the work of anyone who works directly with the end users so the work is coordinated and consistent. Therefore Solution Anthropology is not one role, but a team of people with the responsibility to delight the end user and a broad skill set to accomplish just that.
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Observation as a tool is used to understand people and their environments. It is a tool best used not in situations where we are verifying fairly well-understood information, but rather in situations where we do not really know what we are looking for. Observation is not about validating assumptions, but rather is a tool to find out what we don’t know that we don’t know. Observation should bring out the surprising and the unexpected. Of course observation has a purpose. But the purpose can be fairly broad.
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People sometimes say that requirements are about “what” and design is about “how.” There are two problems with this simplistic demarcation.  This makes it sound as though there’s a sharp boundary between requirements and design. There’s not. In reality, the distinction between requirements and design is a fuzzy gray area, not a crisp black line. I prefer to say that requirements should emphasize “what” and design should emphasize “how.” 

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Maybe it’s time to get back to the basics behind requirements and why we need them. In this 3-piece article series, we are getting back to the basics of requirements. Our first installment addresses how to ask the right questions.

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No matter how thorough a job you do on requirements elicitation, there is no way to be certain that you have found them all. No little green light comes on to announce “You’re done!” You should always plan on new requirements trickling in throughout the project. However, an excessive rate of change of requirements suggests that important requirements were overlooked during elicitation.

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Prior to the creation of something as potentially complex and ubiquitous of a website, an analyst must create a thorough, precise set of requirements in consultation with the right subject matter experts and business stakeholders. But unless one is armed with the proper planning procedures and techniques, the prospect of creating requirements for something as vast as an online business presence or functioning e-commerce system (or both) can be intimidating.

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