General Business Analysis

May 03, 2021
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My experience taught me that the Scrum process framework is not the complete story. Scrum does not identify roles for the business analyst, system architect, tester, UI designer or deployment engineers. Instead, the work normally performed by these roles is performed by the development team or the product owner. It is possible that the Scrum development team includes people with all of these skills, but the problem is that all the development team work is performed within a sprint cycle. The only activity that Scrum identifies outside a sprint cycle is maintenance of a product backlog (and even then it is not documented as an activity in the Scrum framework).

Apr 11, 2021
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     Continuity planning can occur at many levels including at the project, department, organizational, or enterprise level. At the project level, a business analyst considers what will happen if a project solution fails or underperforms. This is usually documented in the form of transition requirements. At the higher levels, a business analyst collaborates with organizational leaders in key areas to determine the steps that need to be taken in the occurrence of major events that significantly disrupt business operations. With that said, I’ll be discussing the role a business analyst can play in developing an effective continuity plan.

     First, let’s discuss what a business continuity plan is. Essentially, this is a comprehensive plan to make operational changes that will allow an organization to continue business or services through a crisis, disaster, or operational disruption. The process of developing and maintaining this plan is known as business continuity planning. Typically, business continuity consists of the following three key areas...

Apr 08, 2021
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If you are offered a role as a software business analyst (BA) to look after software/products/projects (let’s call them products for future use) in maintenance mode, don’t freak out. Why would you freak out? Because someone would tell you that the best thing to be is a BA for a project which is about to start or is in motion — not a product which is implemented, go-live done, champagne bottles popped and currently in maintenance. What's the glory in that?

OK, let’s clear some confusion first. Maintenance means looking after a product while it is earning you money, while it is being used by actual users, while it is facing the test of users trying all the straightforward and alternate scenarios, and while it is being run through real performance tests. So it is pretty damn important. You need a smart BA, with good customer handling skills and sometimes with good fire-fighting skills to deal with the role.

Mar 21, 2021
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A business event is something that happens, and when it happens it causes a pre-planned response by the business, or as we shall call it here, “the work”. One category of business events are the things that happen inside an adjacent system. The work is made aware that the business event has happened because each happening produces a flow of data to the work. A business event is a significant happening – it is not just a mouse click. It is often a request for a service that your business provides, and the outcome is the provision of the service or product.

Mar 07, 2021
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Have you ever imagined a situation wherein your vocabulary is missing all of a sudden? What would happen if words weren’t there? Or our vocabulary shrank like ‘Honey I Shrunk the Kids’?

Next to silence, words are a very important part of our conversations :-). When it comes to Business Analysis, there are many challenges around definitions. The project Glossary should contain all key business terms. It is such a straight forward thing but we may assume those things. We may put a little less emphasis on creating a rich project Glossary. Let us zoom in a bit into the common challenges of glossaries and also discuss how to overcome them.

Feb 28, 2021
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Someone recently asked me “What does a typical day for a Business Analyst look like?” and my response was that if you do find someone who can articulately answer that question, they are probably a very good Business Analyst to start with. No two days look the same in this profession. A person in this role must have many facets to their personality in order for them to be a confident and a strong Business Analyst. I really like the business analysis profession because there are multiple dimensions to the various roles we may be asked to fulfil.

Being a Business Analyst has largely shaped my career and it has also played a big part in shaping my personality. What’s it about this role that has the potential to make a professional grow into a strong and a confident character? The purpose of this article is to talk about these aspects and show how a Business Analyst can use these aspects to their advantage to not only become the best Business Analyst that they can be but also to be a strong and confident personality that will help them at any turn of life; professional or personal.

Feb 21, 2021
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Agile projects, due to the short cycles of delivery, require a collaborative team, substantial leadership support, and a robust, agile culture to be in place to be called as working and successful.

The two key pillars for a successful agile project are the product owner and the business analyst.

The product owner works almost like the director of a movie, envisioning the macro and micro-level details for the product. At the same time, the business analyst ensures smooth execution of the sprint and manages the epics and stories' details.

Feb 15, 2021
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Dynamic shifts in consumer behaviour prompted organizations to gain a deeper and faster understanding of their data to guide decision making and, in some sectors, accelerated digital transformations. In particular, IIBA has identified some key areas where business analysis has developed a critical voice in response to the rapidly changing landscape. That voice and the impact business analysis professionals will continue to provide will play an important role in helping organizations navigate trends, uncertainty, and opportunities in 2021.

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 Not every manager is convinced that his team needs to do a better job on requirements development and management or that such an investment will pay off. Numerous industry studies, however, indicate that requirements issues are a pervasive cause of project distress. Let’s see why investing in better requirements is a smart business decision for any organization.

Dec 27, 2020
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Software applications, cars, kiosks, and many other products must communicate important information to users. These feedback messages most commonly contain information about errors; warnings or alerts; and task progress, completion, or confirmation . Feedback from a product is most effective when it exhibits these seven characteristics...

Dec 20, 2020
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The Entry Certificate in Business Analysis (ECBA) is a progressive initiative by IIBA that allows aspiring business analysts to demonstrate their understanding of business analysis fundamentals, despite not having practical business analyst experience. Unlike the higher-level IIBA certifications, the ECBA does not require professional experience to sit for the exam, which opens opportunities for aspiring BAs. When combined with the right set of skills and activities, the ECBA can make one’s resume significantly more marketable to employers looking to hire entry-level BAs. While experience remains a key factor in landing a BA role, having the ECBA on your resume is an effective way to bolster your credibility when your experience is minimal. Here is my recommended strategy for passing the ECBA exam on the first attempt.

Oct 25, 2020
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This article first provides a reference for defining small businesses. It then, focuses on two aspects of business analysis for a small business: Strategic Planning and Requirements Management. I use a graphic note-taking technique called Mind-Mapping to set the BA context for this article and then pursue the above questions for small businesses.

I am sure we have all heard the cliché, “size matters.” So let’s start with why does size matter for business. 

Oct 04, 2020
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Sometimes it’s the simple things that make a profound difference. Sometimes they can be so blindingly obvious that we cannot see them. And the biggest impediment to progress can be between our own ears.

In this article I will describe ‘attentive listening’. We will cover how to do it, why it works and when to do it. At all times we will bear in mind the Agile manifesto commitment to maximizing the amount of work not done – not done by us, by the teams we work with and by the stakeholder!

Listening is a cornerstone skill of business analysis. If an analyst is to be of any value then they must be alert to clues in the environment. What thoughts, frustrations and opportunities are there? Understanding what is said, is an absolutely fundamental part of any analysis in order to produce useful insight or alignment.

So, you listen already? Sure you do, yet what are you listening to? The whole of what the speaker has to say? Are you giving them a chance to finish their thoughts?

Sep 26, 2020
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You might think that Spider-Man is a fictitional superhero living only in coming books or on the big screen.  You might be right!  But what if? What if Spider-Man is out there trying to decided where to move next, where to take his crime-fighting super-skills? Well, Sean Smith, a business analyst, wondered just that.

Sep 07, 2020
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Business people call remote meetings virtual or on-line sessions, or simply conference calls. For many years we have been utilizing this form of communications to save time and money. Due to the global virus pandemic, remote meetings are now not just convenient, but a necessity for maintaining social distancing. Fortunately we have technology that assists us in managing these remote sessions to not only hear the stakeholders, but see them as well. However, remote stakeholder interviewing and meetings have their additional challenges beyond face-to-face encounters. Regardless of the technology used, we need to be keenly aware of these additional negative risks and pursue mitigations.

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