General Business Analysis

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For almost 10 years we have enjoyed reflecting on what’s happened the previous year and making predictions for the upcoming year in the realms of Business Analysis, Project Management, and Agile. Some of the recent trends we have discussed: The digital BA, Lean business cases, BAs and PMs in a Dev Ops environment, BAs and PMs in the gig economy, etc.  Here are five industry trends that we have chosen for 2019:...

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This article provides high-level steps for eliciting requirements when interviewing or holding a facilitated meeting with stakeholders; it was motivated by an attendee question at a recent Modern Analyst webinar: “Functional vs. Nonfunctional requirements.”  The question was, “Can a Business Analyst elicit functional and nonfunctional requirements in the same iteration?” 

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As more organizations move toward agility, development and project management teams still struggling to define a common language and standard regarding the agile framework. In addition, many organizations that are implementing agile approaches have not fully planned the transition and are still unclear on how to fully optimize the approach. One area that continues to remain vague is the role of the business analyst (BA). Below are some steps to help business analysts navigate their way through the transition to agile and add the most value to their agile teams.

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First of all, let’s get this out of the way. Gamestorming is not new. Gamestorming is a collection of ‘games’ put together under the banner of ‘gamestorming’. As a business analyst (BA) I can assure you there will be many games in the book and on the website, that you have used in your role under different guises. 

Dave Gray (co-author of ‘gamestorming’) put it best when he described himself and his fellow authors as the Grimms brothers. The Grimms brothers, if you are not familiar with them- they brought together different fairy tales and published them in a book.

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Every profession in a sophisticated business structure has a certain mission attached to it. This mission includes the job duties and deliverables, but that’s not all.

The only way to really encapsulate the essence of what the profession of a business analyst is all about is to understand the Business Analyst Mission. In other words, the Business Analyst Mission is definitive of the value created by business analysts.

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In a classic business analyst universe, requirements are the soul of all the work a business analyst does. If a business analyst fails to identify and translate the right requirements, they’re out of a job. This is the reason why a successful business analyst is always good at requirements handling/management process. What makes requirements...
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As a business analyst, one of the most valuable skills you can acquire is the ability to build relationships. This in itself may have more of an impact on your long-term BA career than your business knowledge and technical skills. Because BAs are often key participants in so many different projects and initiatives, it can be difficult to nurture all of the relationships established throughout your organization. The relationship that I will be focusing on, however, is the relationship with the developer(s). Solid business analyst-developer relationships are often easier to facilitate in agile environments; therefore, it is essential to put more effort into managing this relationship in an environment that uses a waterfall or traditional methodology. Below are some tactics we as BAs can use to make developers’ lives easier and enhance the business analyst-developer relationship.
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Project statistics state that most project rework/failure is due to incomplete/improper/unclear requirements, hence the role the Business Analyst becomes even more critical as they shoulder a huge responsibility of eliciting and collaborating with the stakeholders to obtain clear, concise and complete requirements.  The elicitation and collaboration knowledge area focuses on drawing forth or receiving information from stakeholders and other sources by directly interacting with stakeholders, researching topics, experimenting or simply being handed information.

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Many professionals and organizations understand the value of a business analyst (BA), however, the role itself is still ambiguous to many. There are numerous articles and resources that outline business analysis and the general role of a BA so I won’t be focusing on those aspects. Every organization and industry is unique therefore the needs and expectations for a business analyst can vary greatly. However, there are a few core competencies that remain consistent. The goal of this article is to give BA practitioners (especially new practitioners) an approach to determine what their specific organization expects from them in order to get on the path of success throughout their career. Below are some steps you can take to define your role in the organization you serve.

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Business Requirements Advocacy is neglected in the business analysis practice!  Once considered to be an essential part of IT teams, the business analyst has become an integral position in any successful, market-driven organisation. Rightly said to be the change agents for any business, business analysts help organisations adapt to the changing environment while meeting the needs and demands of all their stakeholders, including employees, customers, and suppliers.

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In this article, I am going to focus on the key 3 tools that you can use to help you identify the pain points in your workflow.  One of the key things to identify when working in a visual manner is understanding where your blockers are. It is only when you have identified these blockers, you then able to do something about them. There is no use trying to change something when you don’t have the evidence to baseline the problem. As business analysts, we wouldn’t tell the business where the problems are without conducting a thorough root cause analysis. So, why do we do it at work, why do we think without evidence we know exactly what the problem is and the impact it has on. 

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I wanted to get to the bottom of things once and for all. We had been having several discussions about the birth of business analysis and how the profession of business analyst came into being. There were no business analysts, at least as currently incarnated, in Data Processing when I started a long time ago, and a look into the history of business analysis might be interesting. So I went sought out Doctor BA who has been around a lot longer than I.
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With this article, I’ve done the heavy lifting for you, by mentioning some of these jargon-based pearls of wisdom here. You need to realize that in order for you to make some headway in the corporate world, you’ll need to get some skin in the game, stop being an armchair general and put your head on a block instead.
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A replacement project replaces an existing software system with a new custom-built system, a commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) system, or a hybrid of those. There are some challenges that most replacement projects share, including stuffing in unnecessary functionality, degrading the organization’s operational performance, users refusing to adopt the new system, and having such a large project that it never deploys. Focusing requirements practices on addressing these issues directly can increase the likelihood of a system replacement that delivers the desired value and is accepted by the users.
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The most time-consuming process of doing analysis in Excel is data cleansing which can be extremely slow and laborious. However, it is very important because the cost of a mistake caused by incomplete information, discrepancies and outliers, can cause serious faults in your analysis that could significantly impact business outcomes. With the purpose-built data preparation software, you can eliminate the pain of data cleaning and improve your data quality. This article shares eight key ways you can significantly boost your productivity with Excel using purpose-built data preparation software...
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