May 09, 2021

In all my years as a Consultant Business Analyst, having reached a level of proficiency, I have realised that being a business analyst is seldom about the hard skills. In fact, it is more about the soft skills and BAs who operate at that level are more impressive and effective in their job. Hard skills like documentation, requirements elicitation, process maps etc. are easily taught and acquired but the soft skills are developed with experience and the right attitude towards this role. Over time I feel the perception of the value of BAs has diluted and I blame those who have been superficial about performing this role. Those who think their role is just about the tangible artefacts like the business requirements document, process maps, business case, etc. Those who think they are here to deliver a project and nothing else. Those who think the BA’s job is to take orders and execute. But the fact is that the role of a BA is a lot more subtle than one thinks. There is a much broader aspect to this role, which is often forgotten, and we get caught in deliverables and artefacts.

Let’s look at some aspects of this role, which are common knowledge and broaden our perspective of that. When the mindset of the Business Analyst changes to the bigger picture and to the more delicate facets to this role, you perform much better as a business analyst and are a more reliable and thus a desirable professional for companies.

May 03, 2021

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 25, 2021

Ever wondered how to write foolproof acceptance criteria? Or even wondered what a business analyst can do to ensure that requirements are testable? Acceptance criteria define the minimum requirements the solution must meet. A business analyst plays a key role in defining the tests around it. The acceptance tests can be at various levels of requirements detail. Starting from high-level requirements to detailed requirements. Let’s take a look at common challenges involved in this part of the world, along with a few ideas to overcome those.

Apr 18, 2021

For the past year the COVID-19 virus has forced us to limit our exposure to the outside world. This virus has given us a need to find a home activity to entertain ourselves and our families. One of the activities I have pursued is assembling jigsaw puzzles. As you may know, a jigsaw puzzle is a challenge in assembling picture pieces into a single image. They come in various shapes and sizes. After doing a number of these puzzles, I noticed the similarity between this fun activity and executing a project.

Apr 15, 2021

Business is rarely 100% smooth sailing. Regardless of the industry or sector, there are always challenges to overcome and obstacles that must be faced on the pathway to success.

Some organizations aren’t strong enough to ride the waves. Others, however, are, and the reason for their strength is that they’re not navigating the murky waters alone - they’re supported by an ambitious, results-driven business analyst. Research even shows that business projects are more likely to succeed with the help of a great BA.

At their core, business analysts are part problem solvers, part change-makers. The core responsibility of a business analyst, or BA, is to work with organizations to identify a sticking point that’s standing in the way of them achieving their goals, introduce a solution to this problem, and help the business to adapt in a way that makes it easy to implement the solution into the business environment.

Typically, a great business analyst is someone that’s confident enough to think outside the box, who’s solution-oriented and innovative. But today these skills alone aren’t enough, especially as the role of the BA is changing.

Apr 11, 2021

     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

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.

Apr 04, 2021

Despite significant investments of time and well-intended stakeholder effort, many business process models still end up being not very useful for their intended purposes. Too many do not reflect the business accurately enough to be useful, do not have sufficient key stakeholders’ buy-in for real decision making, or do not include the kinds of process information that the model’s readers are looking for. Some even confuse their readers with complex or incongruous graphical notation.

Mar 31, 2021

"You teach best what you most need to learn". I love this quote by Richard Bach and firmly believe in it. It is the teacher or trainer who needs to keep himself or herself updated and learning so that one can give back the best. As BABOK® also has identified, a business analyst needs to have and develop teaching skills as well.

Mar 28, 2021

There’s so much buzz and interest about concept models these days, we asked Ron to summarize what they are, who they’re for, and why you need them. Here’s his response, short and readable. He’ll also touches on how you can get started, and where to find more information.

Mar 21, 2021

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 14, 2021

Writing functional specifications as a business analyst (BA) in an agile ecosystem is a challenge of a different kind. You no longer have the luxury of time (unlike bigger waterfall projects). You no longer can be sure with a specification version as the final document (because of the iterative philosophy). You are not sure how comprehensive the functional specification should be (Agile manifesto: working software over comprehensive documentation).

Mar 07, 2021

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.

Mar 07, 2021

This article discusses extensions to commercially-available requirements management (RM) and application lifecycle management (ALM) tools. These extensions are intended to support the concepts presented in the Requirements In Context (RIC) series of articles. End-to-end requirement examples based on those concepts can be seen in the Trips-R-You Web-based Flight Reservation System Case Study... All RM/ALM tools, ‘out of the box’, should support the concept of Requirement. The typical form of support involves a textual requirement Description, accompanied by properties such as Priority and Status. It’s left to users of the tool to manage the description content (and quality).

Feb 28, 2021

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.

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