Articles for 'Adriana Beal'

Nov 19, 2017
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Imagine that a business analyst has been assigned to write the requirements for a new system replacing the company’s legacy CRM (customer relationship management application).
After mapping out the as-is process at a high-level, the BA’s stress level starts to go up. “There are three complex modules in this system, and so many details about the as-is state that I still don’t understand! The legacy system barely has the original requirements documented, with plenty of change requests implemented later without proper documentation. How am I supposed to finish my deliverables on schedule and without mistakes given my limited knowledge of how the system being replaced works?”
Jul 23, 2017
8111 Views
16 Likes
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Trying to secure a business analyst job interview in an area in which you don’t have prior experience can be a huge challenge. It’s common for recruiters and hiring managers to screen out applicants--no matter how accomplished they seem to be from their resumes--simply because the candidate’s job history doesn’t include work in the target industry...  But how do you get your foot in the door when so many recruiters and hiring managers tend to ignore applications from a candidate whose background doesn’t match the role they are trying to fill? The following tips may help.

Jan 02, 2017
6681 Views
15 Likes
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Many business analysts fail to achieve top performance while starting to work on a new domain simply because of their fear of making mistakes. I’ve heard analysts freely admit that looking less than competent is what they fear most. “I don’t know what I don’t know” they will tell me, “and in particular in a domain I’m not very familiar with, I’m always afraid I will miss an assumption or an avenue I must address.”
Sep 11, 2016
9118 Views
30 Likes
7 Comments
Visit any active discussion forum for business analysts and aspiring BAs, and invariably you will find at least one thread asking how to develop domain knowledge, either in a new industry, such as health or insurance, or a new business function, such as marketing or supply chain management. Alice just got a job working for the first time in financial services, and is worried that her lack of experience in this domain will get in the way of her doing a great job. Bob keeps getting his resume ignored for analyst jobs in government agencies because most of his experience is in ecommerce applications. What to do?
Aug 14, 2016
10922 Views
68 Likes
1 Comments

Given the right circumstances, even good people can go astray as our psychology push us down the slippery slope of questionable behavior.   A little bit of knowledge about the forces that drive us to cheat can go a long way helping avoid bad behavior. Here are some common landmines to become aware of so you can make sure to defuse them as you embark in a new BA project

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You finally did it. You figured out the real business problem your project is meant to solve, and identified a solution that is far superior than the originally proposed. Now you just need to get buy-in from the project sponsor so the delivery team can alter their plans and set out to build the higher-value solution you devised. But there is one problem: the project sponsor was deeply involved in identifying the original solution and nurturing it. It’s his baby… and if you say it needs to be overhauled, you are basically saying his baby is ugly. Now what? How do you make sure your news aren’t received as an insult, and dismissed with defensiveness by the decision-maker?
8518 Views
25 Likes
2 Comments
Follow this script at the beginning of your requirements discovery process, and you should see visible results in terms of the quality of your solution requirements. This checklist will help you anchor any and all discussions about features and designs on how they will help your customers achieve their desired outcomes and benefits. It will also allow you to define a valuable, usable, and feasible solution without having to rely on your customers being able to describe it for you.
10370 Views
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Many business analysts focus their full attention on tasks related to specifying, modeling, verifying, and validating requirements. And in doing so, they often forget about a critically important aspect of the BA work:requirements prioritization... Since good prioritizing skills help teams deliver business value faster, it’s a key competency for business analysts to develop. An effective to get better at prioritizing requirements is to follow this 3-step approach during the requirements discovery process.

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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?”
13780 Views
17 Likes
7 Comments

After doing business analysis in the tech industry for ten years, I’ve spent the last 2 years as a product manager. During this period, I’ve realized there’s more in common between the roles of IT business analyst and product manager than I had expected. On the other hand, there are also some aspects of the job that translate into valuable lessons for any BA interested in increasing the value they deliver to their organizations...

15612 Views
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So many BAs complain that their role is under-appreciated, and that their voices are not heard when they have a recommendation for the business stakeholders or the delivery team. In these types of organizations, explaining the true BA role can be an uphill battle.
12835 Views
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In parallel with my consulting work, I teach an online course for business analysts on writing better requirements. Invariably, the most skilled participants of the course are the ones who seem less confident when submitting their assignments. “Please let me know if this is not what you expected”, or “I hope I understood the assignment correctly” are phrases I typically get from these participants, while the weaker BAs typically write “here’s my assignment for Lesson 3”, without any caveats.
11360 Views
4 Likes
2 Comments
In the book  Risk Savvy: How to Make Good Decisions, Gerd Gigerenzer describes the two sets of mental tools required for making decisions. When risks are known, good decisions require logic and statistical thinking. But when we are dealing with unknowable risks, good decisions also require intuition and smart rules of thumb.
17552 Views
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One of my favorite tools in business analysis is the premortem. Instead of waiting until the end of a project to find out what went wrong, and learn for the future, we can use this technique to go on an “imaginary time travel” to avert real failures.
17327 Views
25 Likes
19 Comments
In the past few years, software development has been shifting more and more from traditional to agile practices. This change impacts how business analysts perform their role. Here are three key aspects of the business analysis work that are different in an agile environment
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Does design belong in your requirements?
Dec 17, 2017
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I don’t know how many articles I’ve read where the author states requirements should be “what” the user/client needs, not &ldq...

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