General Business Analysis

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Most professionals in project management understand that in order to successfully approach a project, the problem statement must be clearly defined. The problem is that many practitioners treat problems and opportunities interchangeably when developing Business Cases and Project Charters. Understanding the difference between problems and opportunities is critical to selecting the optimal approach any project. 
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In a large firm, a business analyst (BA) organization makes an effort to identify, analyze and provide a solution to the above questions. A BA organization is a prime pillar in optimizing resources to provide maximum value out of it to the business.

A BA organization consists of business analysts in various roles like Product Manager, Program Manager, Project Manager, Business Analyst, Business Systems Analyst, Business Systems Consultant, Business Process Analyst etc.  The prime objective is to analyze business to maximize value addition.

To understand more about the BA organization, it is important to understand what is business analysis

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This post describes my transition from working as a BA in a large, public sector organisation to an IT consultancy, the challenges I faced and some helpful tips if you find your BA career at a bit of a crossroads.  Are you, or have you been in a situation where you feel that your career as a BA is a bit ‘on hold’? 

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When speaking to a business analyst on a busy project, I am often told that ‘at the end of a working day, I feel like I have achieved nothing’. Even, though we may feel like that but when looking back on the day you will see that you have probably carried out invisible work. Invisible work is a concept that is frowned upon within the agile world but it is something that we are all guilty of doing. In this post, we look at what the key blockers, which can slow your workflow and why working in visually will help you overcome these blockers. By making your work visible you can reduce the amount of time you waste in a day and be able to do things that you like to do.
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Naturally, us Business Analysts are facilitators, whether we're running workshops or holding stakeholder meetings, we're always the ones engaging with people. And it should really be no different for the running of a Design Sprint; use your best facilitating skills to lead the Design Sprint and make it a really good week for everyone involved! In addition to hosting over the five days, you should consider yourself responsible for reporting on the outcomes of the week to stakeholders, this will include making a decision on what to suggest taking forward as an idea and what should simply be forgotten about.
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It looked like it would be a while before I would get to see Doctor BA I was on assignment in Singapore and Doctor BA was somewhere in the Alps. So as not to lose touch with him, I asked him some of the questions I received using email. Doctor BA didn’t use Twitter which he said was “for the birds”. I didn’t want to argue the point.
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Customers are demanding better service and they know they can get it and BAs have a duty to provide it through Lean Business Analysis (LBA). Not because customers see better service from a business’s competitors. But because they get it from all the other companies they interact with in their daily lives as consumers of Uber and Apple and Amazon and Netlfix and many more. They don’t care that one company is a bank and Uber’s an app.

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How can a business analyst mindset transform the practice surrounding good retrospectives, create an engaging meeting, and promote active change across their team? There’s no tried and true formula to a Retrospective, but I have found the ones that are the most successful rely on the characteristics and practices of good BAs. Thus, conducting Retrospectives that are data driven, clear, honest, creative, and experimental. Why? 

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It your responsibility to make sure that you understand what the impact of GDPR are going to be for the data that you work with. There is no doubt that this is going to shake things up in the data protection world for both organisations and individuals. We will publish another blog that will tell you what steps as a business analyst you need to make sure that you and your organisation do not breach GDPR regulations.
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How do you become a business analyst and where do you begin?  So you want to cross over to the land of analysis? A land of ‘schizophrenic’ people who need to possess multiple skills and make meaning out of ambiguity. You'll need to break down complex problems into bite-size chunks that can be easily understood. You'll also need to manage different stakeholders and break down knowledge barriers formed by these stakeholders. (Most having been in their organisations for decades) Finally, you'll need to develop a thick skin to stand in the firing line.

 

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During a recent presentation to business analysts, I used one of my consulting projects as an example of how to apply an analysis technique we were discussing. A member of the audience asked, “What made this company hire you as a BA consultant to tackle this project, when they already have so many in-house product managers and business analysts on their teams?”

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In his classic book Flawless Consulting, Peter Block described three types of roles that consultants might take on: expert, pair-of-hands, and collaborator. Each of these represents a different kind of interaction when working with clients and a different source of satisfaction for the consultant. Business analysts can engage with clients in the same three modes. This article describes some of my experiences with these three modes of consulting engagements.

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Given the speed of change, it is really tricky to predict what trends will grow in popularity or relevance. I am sure whatever emerges will seem obvious in hindsight, even if it would have been difficult to foresee. Yet, I have always thought that making predictions has a useful place in that it creates a conversation and it creates debates. So, what follows is designed to provoke discussion, and is intended to represent ‘potential trends to watch’.

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As, more and more companies start to embrace cloud technology, it is vital that business analysts are able to identify the cloud service that is required to meet business requirements. As business analysts, we are often criticized for not getting involved in the technical side of things. However, it can be difficult to make decisions on technical side of things, if you don’t understand the language that is used in this space.
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A BA walks into an elevator, is joined by an executive, and suddenly the executive asks the BA, “So, what are you working on these days?” (Sounds like the start of a joke ...)  Most business analysts, due to their project success focus, think of requirements management when questioned about their work. So the BA responds by describing the features of a business solution that the BA is currently working. The BA seldom mentions the associated business benefits with the work (i.e. why the work is vital to the business). Unfortunately, the BA ignores the first rule of conversation: know your audience. The executive asking the question is more likely to understand and be interested in the business value provided by the work, rather than the solution features.
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