Soft Skills

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In this article, I describe one very effective collaborative technique -- the Wall of Wonder (WoW) -- that helps software teams produce the kind of detailed, sharply defined requirements that effectively guide development. As an "emergent" deliverable, requirements evolve through exploration and examination using representative forms such as low-fidelity models and prototypes. A collaborative approach allows business and IT specialists to explore their requirements through these means, while accommodating the necessary fluidity of the requirements process.

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As an analyst practitioner I took it upon myself to act as a proxy for the product owner – which in a corporate environment came with the challenges of multiple stakeholders, the fact that you are not the product owner and thus don't really have the final say, and a number of other challenges that typically stump people trying to move to agile.

My circumstances were unique in some ways. I had worked in the organisation for some time and had established good relationships with all the key stakeholders. They really did trust me with their requirements because, over time, I had learnt (and shown I had earned) their business.

I also maintained high bandwidth communications with the stakeholders throughout the project and kept them informed of what was happening and how the system was shaping up in the context of their business needs. And expectations were managed.

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A lot of IT folks and or BA’s believe that if you create the requirements without the business, and then review the requirements with the business for confirmation, you can save a lot of time.

After all, creating requirements collaboratively just takes too long, and the business doesn't know what they want, anyways. In addition, we (IT or BA) know the system better than the business, so it just makes sense for us to create the requirements, and then let the business say yes or no.

Let’s see this concept in practice in the “Requirements for My New Car”: a fable.

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Key to improving presentations is to focus on where your're audience is, not where you are, or where you want them to be. To do that, you must make a connection first. It is by making this initial connection that your "believe-ability" - your "buy-in" factor - and your "connection-ability" as a speaker are first made. Author: Tim McClintock, PMP
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"Life is a series of presentations!" I'm not the first to say that. Tony Jeary said it before I did, in his book of the same title. If life really is a series of presentations (and, as a business professional, you're going to be called on to present information) the question is, what are you presenting? What is your presentation saying? Author: ...
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Have you found yourself wondering those exact words just moments after a conversation with a co-worker? Or have you found yourself in a heated discussion because of something you've said to your spouse or loved one? Better still, your teenager gives you the "deer caught in the headlights" look when you ask where have they been so late at night? You...
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Any project that is cancelled, not completed, or fails to meet its objectives and has to be written off, is obviously a waste of organization resources and time. However, it is also not enough just to successfully execute a project to completion. A successful project that is not implemented or used because it doesn't meet the customer's or user's r...
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My friends and colleagues often ask me how I am able to produce so much in so little time.  Although I am flattered by such compliments, it's really not much of a secret which I attribute to the following areas (in no particular order):...

Author: Tim Bryce

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To communicate or not to communicate? There is no question. As individuals and as organizations, we are constantly communicating — whether intentionally or unintentionally. The real question becomes whether we choose to effectively communicate or risk the high cost of miscommunication. The cost of miscommunication can take many forms, including but...
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In today's market the customer should always come first. This has been the bread and butter of many industries throughout the ages. A satisfied customer is one who will keep coming back. The customer is the one who helps the bottom line. This is true in the field of business analysis. It is the customer's needs which the business analyst is fulfilling. The business analyst should help to strengthen customer relations. Time put into this is time well spent. Finding the customer to be unhappy is never a good thing. Ask any good business manager what their number one priority is and they will answer customer relations. Sometimes it does not always show.

Author: Tony de Bree

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Small business owners may not think they need a business analyst. Small businesses are sometimes caught up in trying to survive and overlook a key element in their success. The business analyst can actually come in and determine what the small business owner can do to expand his or her business. The small business owner can benefit just as much from a business analyst as a large corporation. There may be times when the business analyst sees the big picture when the small business owner can only see the bottom line. The new small business may not feel the added expense of a business analyst is worth justifying. In fact this is just the case.

Author: Tony de Bree

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Sometimes the business analyst can be so caught up in a project he or she forgets tried and true methods do not always work. The analysis team is trying to get done what the customer has scoped out and sets up a plan of action. The plan of action requires certain fundamentals. There are times when these rudimentary ideas just do not work for the client. The client can not understand why these steps may be so important. This is when the business analyst needs to step back and ask the same questions as the client. It is all in communication.

Author: Tony de Bree

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It does not matter what project you are going to undertake. It is not important what industry you are going to be assessing. What is important is you know what you are going to do. You must as questions. You must find what it is the client wants. Presented is a list of obvious questions every good business analyst should know the answer to when starting a project.

Author: Tony de Bree

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The work of a business analyst is to develop an understanding of business process and model them. Usually the work is associated with a project whose objectives are to change or improve a process. Often these processes are quite complex and the analyst must get the information from many sources. Usually much of the information and ideas for improve...
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The requirements engineering phase of software development projects is characterised by the intensity and importance of communication activities. During this phase, the various stakeholders must be able to communicate their requirements to the analysts, and the analysts need to be able to communicate the specifications they generate back to the sta...
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