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New Post 3/13/2011 4:07 AM
User is offline ClaireBA
9 posts
10th Level Poster

Re: Going freelance 

Thanks Jarett. 

You seem to have hit the nail on the head re the value proposition ie representing the interests of smaller companies for implementation projects.  Put like that it seems quite simple! Also the idea re being BA/PM for small software dev shops is the flip side of the coin.  Brilliant and simplistic. 

I've had so much help from this forum and it really has made me see the wood from the trees.  Thanks again.

Next step - market research.

Oh by the way K mentioned UML and BPNM.  Can you recommend any books on this?  Things have moved on a little since RAD/SSADM its seems.

Regards Claire.


New Post 3/13/2011 4:10 AM
User is offline ClaireBA
9 posts
10th Level Poster

Re: Going freelance 


Can you recommend any books on UML and BPMN only I was more of a RAD/SSADM girl.  I've had a look at Amazon and there seems to be quite a few.

Also what you do you know about Enterprise Risk Management?  Have you had any experience of this?  Or in the Sarb Oxley regulatory requirements?



New Post 3/13/2011 7:50 AM
User is offline Jarett Hailes
155 posts
6th Level Poster

Re: Going freelance 

 Hi Claire,

Glad I could help!

I like Howard's UML for the IT Business Analyst. As for BPMN i've never read a book, but IBM put together a great set of intro slides that are on the OMG website. Reading the actual spec is good once you have a basic understanding, although it isn't the easiest read.

New Post 3/15/2011 12:34 AM
User is offline Kimbo
454 posts
5th Level Poster

Re: Going freelance 

 Hi Claire,

For UML this is a good starter. Been around for years. Tried and true.

UML Distilled, Martin Fowler 

Amazon link (check its the latest edition):

For Use Cases, this is the bible:

Writing Effective Use Cases, Alistair Cockburn


BPMN method & Style, Bruce Silver

amazon link:

I own all 3 books and can recommend them highly.

Now here's a thing, you really need to get on top of the Agile, User Story approach to get work in smaller, newer, younger companies. Fits in more with your RAD background too. So here is a book recommended to me by colleagues that was actually delivered in the post today from the UK:

User Stories Applied, Mike Cohn

Amazon link (I bought from book depository):

Good luck.


New Post 3/15/2011 4:57 PM
User is offline KJ
243 posts
6th Level Poster

Re: Going freelance 
Modified By KJ  on 3/15/2011 6:58:04 PM)


Lets start with easy things like BPMN; but as a prerequisite, make yourself a coffee/tea and watch the following videos FLASH at which lists 21 process templates/patterns. Watching these FLASH videos will take you about an hour. If you have an understanding of these FLASH videos and “Tokens” BPMN is a piece of cake.
Now read the BPMN document for the same patterns by White (IBM) who replicates the 21 patterns. It might be in one of the older PDFs on the BPMN website. The trick to BPMN in the beginning is to watch the “token”; for example, when the “token” is created (eg. Start events, signal events etc.) or when the “token” is consumed (eg. End events, catching signal events etc.)
Back to the old SSADM! The DFD techniques you learned and applied are still relevant. Flows to and from external entities can now be depicted as message flows between pools. The concepts of having high-level processes that are “decomposed” are still ok; except you now have a richer symbol list to depict processes. Get a Cribsheet from
Now DFDs are simplistic and powerful, most users understand them. BPMN is equally as powerful but a lot more flexible. Its this flexibility that causes novices to create “communication gaps” between the user and the business analyst. To resolve this issue, I usually create a “watered down” set of symbols; I totally avoid “Complex gateways” because my users do not grasp these concepts. Another issue when people create BPMN is they often forget the “data”; but that’s another story
BPMN summary:
  1. Understand the 21 “Van Der Aalst” process patterns
  2. Understand the concept of a “token” (Petri-nets)
  3. Understand the 21 “Van der Aalst” patterns in BPMN
  4. Familiarise yourself with the BPMN symbols
  5. Reduce the number of BPMN symbols to avoid communication gaps.
To play with BPMN, download – also view the tutorials and play around with the software.
For UML, I agree with Kimbo’s BOOK recommendations, which are good for starters. I’ve got all the books as well, plus a few books by the “Three Amigos”
I would add to it the ICONIX process. You can find the OLD book in PDF format on the net somewhere. Google: “iconix process Doug Rosenberg”. ICONIX is an easy process to follow; it puts the UML into context!
To play with UML, go to This tool is awesome and very affordable. I've used it on a few assignments, especially for Requirements Management. Its a RICH tool it does "Everything", download their community version and "play" with it.
Warm regards,
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