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New Post 4/20/2011 10:43 AM
User is offline cisco.leon
3 posts
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Improving my structured analysis and modelling 
Modified By cisco.leon  on 4/20/2011 12:45:28 PM)

I've been a business analyst for 5 years now (transitioned  from a failed developer) :(

I feel that my structured analysis skills are really weak. I find that my engagements are purely at a 'business requirements' gathering with business stakeholders level. I take down an inventory of business requirements and I translate those into functional requirements speicfications. Do I do anything outside of a basic swim lane or flow chart? No. Use Cases I do - not much more. I don't produce anything that a developer would really appreicate other than perhaps data dictionaries and simple ERD diagrams.

Need your expertise. How do I improve my structured analysis? Is there a certification in UML 2.0? Is there a MUST READ list in structured analysis? I don't know where to begin. I want to be really good at modelling ANYTHING. Then I'll let the situation dictate when its appropriate to use such structured methods. How do I skill myself up?

New Post 4/20/2011 11:18 PM
User is offline KJ
243 posts
6th Level Poster

Re: Improving my structured analysis and modelling 



Most of BAs would pay to do the work that you do: Working with business stakeholders and gathering requirements. Now the old DFDs are a good medium to work with in particular with Business Stakeholders because they understand them intuitively.


Use Cases are disjointed, they tend to only show behaviours that are governed by the business requirements. And a swag of Use Cases are difficult to understand on there own, they need some kind of workflow that tie them together.


For workflow, you can either use UML Activity or BPMN diagrams. Both are rich definitions of how to define process and its prudent to reduce the features used when dealing with Business Stakeholders.


You are one of the few BAs that actually create ERDs and an accompanying data dictionary. You should be commended! I trust these ERDs are at the logical level.


How do you up-skill depend very much on where you want to be. Now DFDs and structured analysis are no longer in vogue; they don’t teach it at most universities and people frown at you when you mention it. But don’t be deterred.


May I suggest that you download a few tools and have a play; it beats having to read books. Start with what you know, so download This allows you to learn extra value add things like traceability and creating User Acceptance Test plans. A really good BA should be able to test what he or she has specified.


For BPMN diagramming, download tools and the Definition from OMG. Download their free process diagrams at and have a play. Convert some of your existing swim lanes activity diagrams to BPMN.


Move onto and download 30-day free enterprise architect. Not a shabby tool indeed. Its allows you to do all the above plus ERDs and LINK them together. There are probably other tools that can do similar things, but I have used most of these tools (except casecomplete).


Now if you really want to, you could go and buy some UML, BPMN and ERD Books


Have a good Weekend. Our weekend is especially long (Friday till next Tuesday- inclusive)


Warm regards,



New Post 4/28/2011 11:49 PM
User is offline Craig Brown
560 posts
4th Level Poster

Re: Improving my structured analysis and modelling 

 K is right on.  You probably don't understand the value you are adding.

Another lyer of value you can investigate is in tracing requirements back to organsiational goals.

Learning and applying tracability (back up to project and org goals, and through to test cases) is likely the biggest skills improvement in front of you.

There is also the "5 Whys" technique for getting behind the surface details into the real motivatons for requirements.  That plus consulting skills.

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