Requirements Analysis (BABOK KA)

May 08, 2022
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A software feature consists of one or more logically related system capabilities that provide value to a user and are described by a set of functional requirements. Many business analysts use features as a way to describe the scope of a project. However, a simple list doesn’t readily show the size and complexity of various features. Nor does quickly skimming a feature list easily reveal the full scope of a project. A feature tree is a visual analysis model that organizes a set of features in a format that makes them easy to understand.

Apr 17, 2022
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As an analyst you have to ensure your own understanding of the bigger picture. You have to zoom in and zoom out frequently. You need to analyze either in small initiatives the context under which the ba work will take place. It is possible to get so focused on the solution that your thoughts are stuck only in delivering the solution and forgetting to revisit frequently the alignment with the scope and the context.

Jan 09, 2022
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Many BAs struggle to produce ‘normalized’, function-independent data models (or don’t produce them at all). Very few business stakeholders can appreciate such models as “… a picture worth a thousand words.” This article describes an easy-to-create, simple-to-understand view data model. The view is of just those records involved in an information system capability supporting a specific business activity.

NOTE: This article uses the business-friendly terms record and field rather than the usual data modeling terms entity (or class) and attribute.

Aug 02, 2021
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     Designing a new product is a messy process. It involves initial brainstorming, rough concepts, false starts, and extensive refinement. Good designs begin with an identified need or opportunity, and they’re based on a solid understanding of the product’s requirements. No matter how skilled the requirements analyst is or how informed and cooperative the customer participants are, the first set of requirements they develop will be only approximately correct. It takes a process of iterative refinement and validation to accurately understand the requirements for any nontrivial product.

Jul 11, 2021
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Product configuration requirements are a specialized type of requirement when an information system supports product-related needs through data values. Where there are specific changes to business processes needed to sell and/or operate a new product, the requirements for the information system to support activities within those processes involve standard functional requirements.

Whether an information system can support a product though configuration or requires custom development, when an information system is involved there are standard pre-go-live activities that need to be performed (e.g. testing). Requirements support those activities.

May 16, 2021
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Integration requirements are critical for any Project’s success when Business Processes flow across multiple systems. As a Business Analyst it’s our responsibility to understand the end-to-end Business and Systems Process flow and document the hand off as part of the requirements gatherings process. A systematic approach to gather the requirements for integration between systems will ensure that there is a smooth interaction between the systems and hence the Business Process flow. The below Framework on Integration Requirements Analysis provides a systematic approach to document requirements for an Integration Project

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...

Feb 07, 2021
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The intention of this article is to identify and specify the artifacts listed in the BABOK. These artifacts are listed within the Outputs section of the BABOK tasks. Outputs are described by a paragraph of text within each task. In this article I attempted to expand on these descriptions by adding detail to their content.

It is assumed that each activity produces a tangible output[2] which is consistent with the layout of the BABOK. Those outputs are classed as artifacts with attributes. Each artifact’s attribute description is taken from the element description of the tasks that output that artifact. The BABOK element descriptions provide guidelines for activity that produces the attribute, without necessarily defining the information contained in the attribute.That information has been derived from the element description.

Artifacts are derived from the BABOK Output sections. Artifact attributes are derived from the BABOK Element sections. A useful addition to the BABOK might be examples or templates of the outputs.

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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.

Jan 10, 2021
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Consider the situation where you are the business analyst who is planning project work according to the BABOK guidelines. The project manager wants to plan their time spent on business analysis activities. You produce a report of the BABOK that shows tasks that the project manager is expected to contribute to.

This article describes an analysis I performed of the Business Analysis Body Of Knowledge v3 (BABOK). The result of this analysis is a model contained in the Visual Paradigm modeling tool. This model captures 461 pages of the BABOK, from the Business Analysis Key Concepts chapter through to the end of the Techniques To Tasks Mapping chapter.

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Requirements management is a critical function for business analysis. Requirements management is focused on ensuring that the business users and stakeholders have the following information available...  But the more important question to have answer to and where the real business value is delivered in requirements life cycle management is answering the following questions:

  1. Are the requirements impacting critical business processes?
  2. Which processes have recurring change?
  3. Are the requirements priorities aligned to key business processes?
  4. Which process will be impacted by which requirements?
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In the world of software development Use Cases are one of many very powerful techniques often used these days.  Use cases describe how a person or a system interacts with the solution being modeled/built to achieve a goal. Basically, it’s a step by step explanation of what a user can do and how the solution must respond.

As any other business analysis technique, use cases have their advantages and disadvantages. One of the main disadvantages of use cases is that this technique is not graphical – a use case diagram is but use case descriptions are not, and use case descriptions really lack of visualization especially if there are multiple alternative flows and exception flows that branch out and then loop back into the main one.

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This final article in the Requirements in Context series discusses detailed requirements for a fully automated business activity. ‘Fully automated’ means that the business information system (BIS) is expected to perform the activity from start to finish without user involvement. A simple example is the system automatically posting a monthly fee against customer accounts. A more complex example is the system utilizing customer-specific pricing details to determine the amount charged for a purchase made by a customer.

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First of all, any operating system or solution contains two types of requirements: functional and non-functional. The solution works as a clock, which requires each gear within the solution to be properly functioning. Based on the theory of constraints, any process throughput can only be improved when the constraint or bottleneck is resolved.

Therefore, no matter how fast the train can run and how many passengers it can carry in one trip (the functional requirements), as long as the NFRs are not met, the performance of the solution (subway system) can only be as good as the non-functional requirements.

Second, if NFRs are not considered during the business analysis process, it is very likely they were not part of the criteria for solution evaluation. Without consideration of NFRs, the proposed solution may not be evaluated accurately. What was thought to be the best solution may not be a suitable solution at all.

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It’s important for business analysts to recognize that there is a significant amount of non-technical (i.e. business) detail associated with a system interface capability. The interface is either importing data that’s needed and available in electronic format from another system, or exporting data in electronic format when it’s needed by some other system or organization. The data is either needed in real time or can be processed as a batch job.

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