Project: Modern Analyst Knowledge Appraiser

Project Team

Perry McLeod - Team Lead & Lead BA

Adrian Marchis - Stakeholder

Live Project: Modern Analyst Knowledge Appraiser

The Modern Analyst Knowledge Appraiser is an initiative which has two main purposes:

  • Add a new feature to to allow community members to test (appraise) their business analysis and systems analysis skills.
  • To showcase a project "live" as it develops  so that members of the community who are more junior or just getting started can witness a project unfold and get a sense of the types of issues, challenges, and rewards that a business analyst or systems analyst experiences during the life of a project.

NOTE: All information, materials, content, and design of the Modern Analyst Knowledge Appraiser are copyright work of Modern Analyst Media LLC and are simply published as part of a sample project as a service to the business systems analysis community.

Project Diary: Knowledge Appraiser

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Stakeholder: Feedback on Draft Business Case

Hi Perry,
See below my feedback on the Business Case, prefixed by [AM]....  and excuse my spelling errors as I didn't get to use the spell checker... ;-)
  1. Executive Summary

To include - the definition of the business needs [AM]: I think that this should be the only thing that we need to include in this section for this project.

To include - relationship to the Strategic/Corporate Plan

To include - summary of options and costs

To include - benefits; and key recommendations

  1. Introduction/Background

The business vision is to become the "The One-Stop-Shop for the Business Systems Analyst". Realizing that vision requires a larger awareness of the site than what currently exists. The knowledge appraiser tool will generate traffic for by increasing membership. Users interested in taking the assessment will be required to register with The Appraiser tool will provide a competitive edge with respect to membership and minutes spent on the site by …

[AM]: First of all, I'm not really clear what the main difference would be between Executive Summary and the Introduction/Background sections.  Many templates include both of thse I've never been able to clearly separate the two.  And then we have the Overview which, again, includes the problem statement and the Vision statement.  I think that we should revise this doc to consolidate these sections as they are somewhat redundant.  OK... here's some info on the background/vision/executive summary: The Appraiser tool addresses two key areas relevant to  The first one has to do with the mission statement of being the one-stop-shop resource community and resoruce portal for business analysts and systems analysts and to provide them with relevant content and features which addresses the needs of this constituency.  Based on the feedback we have been getting from the community through direct e-mails, forum posts, job posts, etc. one of the biggest needs for both new and experienced analysts alike is their ability to understand what skills and competencies are needed for their current role as well as to be able to assess their skills.  This will also address the need for the team leads, managers, and recruiters in our profession who are tasks with hiring and assessing the skills of business analysts.  This tool will fill a big need in this area as there are no other such tools which are free and easily accessible to the BA community.  A second need addressed by this tool is to increase the number of features that offers and which compel the visitor to register and to return to the site.  We believe that the Knowledge Appraiser tool will be in big demand for our community and that most analysts would use this tool not just a once a year appraiser but also as a way to learn and improve.  It will also serve as an additional tool to help analysts prepare for the CBAP - should we choose to add questions related to the BABOK - which we most likely will.  We hope that the publishing of this tool would increase the rate of growth of the Modern Analyst membership base as well as the number of repeat visits for the site.  

I would also add the fact that we want to showcase a "live project" which would provide the members of our community with yet one more example of how a real-project works.  This in itself will provide members with additional benefits.


    1. Project Title Knowledge Appraiser – PM01-MAKA

    1. Situational Assessment and Problem Statement does not have a clear and focused way to motivate new membership or increase its daily internet hits, other than the existing content and forum discussion threads. A unique and competitive offering is needed that will actively draw internet users to the site and motivate them to become active members. ( an active member – uses the site for x minutes a day x times a week)

    1. Vision Statement

Increase's new membership enrolment by XX% within 6-months of this projects end date by creating a configurable solution that will allow an administrator to set up a personalized open and/or closed-ended assessment on any number of pre-defined knowledge areas and then deliver that assessment to any registered person using a pre-defined randomized and/or customized list of questions and answers. In addition, current membership usage and retention will increase by an estimated XX% within the same time-frame as above.

  1. The Business Case
    1. Purpose of the Business Case

The primary function of this business case will be to define the business need or problem in sufficient detail; analyze options (where resources have already been allocated this may involve determining what can be delivered with those resources); identify the costs, benefits and risks; and to put forward a proposal for approval to proceed with the project.  

The secondary propose of this business case is to provide the existing membership with an artifact that will act as a framework for a 'live-project'. The intent of the 'live-project' is to illustrate to the community how an actual project might be done from beginning to end.

    1. Sponsor and Client Acceptor

Adrian Marchis Publisher of (Note: in an actual business environment no one person would be both the sponsor and client acceptor, as this would be a conflict of interest).

    1. Intended Audience

The membership community  [AM]: new/junior business analysts & systems analysts, experienced business analysts/systems analysts, recruiters and hiring managers.

  1. Critical Assumptions and Constraints
    1. Assumptions

Free or nearly free development [AM]: Correct - our goal is to partner with a 3rd party provider and have the base tool (not the content) be jointly owned by and the 3rd party Developer.

The continued support and time from the core membership

    1. Constraints

Limited time from the core membership

Unpredictable commitments of the amount and duration of time from the core membership

[AM]: An additional constrait/requiremenet is to have this tool seemlesly integrate within the website.

  1. Options Analysis
    1. Identification of Options
      1. Do Nothing
      1. Buy and Configure
      1. Buy and Build
      1. Acquire under Open Source GPL licensing
      1. Build
    1. Comparison of Options
Option Pro Con
Do Nothing  [AM]:No effort and no cost.  Deprive the BA comunity of a great tool and of the opportunity to to increase membership and repeat traffic.
Buy and Configure Cost savings on development and faster deployment.

Not an option as no such tool exists which would easily integrate with our site.

Reduce scope of the live project portion.

Buy and Build Cost savings on development.

Not an option as no such tool exists which would easily integrate with our site.

Acquire configure and build under Open Source GPL licensing Cost savings on development. Not an option as no such tool exists which would easily integrate with our site.

Tool being built to our exact Requirements

We would own the code and the tool which we can modify in the future.

The ModernAnalyst community would have the chance to "witness" a live project.

Build a tool which easily integrates with the website.

Longer duration and, potentiallly, higher than anticipated costs...


    1. Recommended Option

                             [AM]: Build

  1. Benefit/Cost/Risk Analysis
    1. Positive and Negative Benefits
    1. Costs
    1. Project Stakeholders
    1. Product Stakeholders
      1. The Solution Super-User/Administrator
      1. The Test Designer/Creator
      1. The Test Presenter/Evaluator
      1. The Test Taker
    1. Key Issues
    1. Identified Risks & Mitigation Costs
    1. Summary of Benefit/Cost/Risk Analysis
  1. Implementation Strategy
    1. Target Outcomes/Benefits
    1. Impact Analysis
    1. Related Projects
    1. Organizational Impact
    1. Work Plan
    1. Resources
    1. Project Management Framework
    1. Change Management Plan
  1. Glossary and Appendices


posted @ Monday, November 12, 2007 by adrian

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