The Community Blog for Business Analysts

There was recently an interesting post by John Mansour on the Austin PMM Forum (registration required) discussing whether Product Knowledge was an Asset or Liability to product managers. The author makes several claims about how product knowledge is a liability: “In a nutshell, the more product knowledge you have, the less product management yo...
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The probability that a project will succeed is different for different cost and time targets. There isn't a single right answer to "How long will it take?" or "How much will it cost?" There are a whole bunch of answers, each with its own probability of being right. The conventional techniques for planning projects only give us one answer—and it's ...
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This entry was published on Jul 12, 2010 / Marc Thibault. Posted in Business Analysis Planning (BABOK KA), Project Management, Estimation. Bookmark the Permalink or E-mail it to a friend.
By Landerson I recently joined a new project where I will be working as the person responsible for the developing and creating the requirements and documentation on a major development effort. As the person on the hook for a significant portion of work, I need to provide accurate time estimates for my portions of the project. I was concerned about...
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This entry was published on Jun 25, 2010 / Seilevel. Posted in Business Analysis, Analytical and Problem Solving Skills, Technical Topics, Tools. Bookmark the Permalink or E-mail it to a friend.
By Jhulgan I used to dread hearing the question, “So what do you do for a living?”  This was often usually asked by a family member or other acquaintances not familiar with the software development lifecycle, IT, or business processes in general.  For business analysts, product managers, and other software requirements types, it’s diffic...
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I am a firm believer in the value of a business analysts and requirements engineering. I am an new Assistant Professor and I have been conducting research in the field for over 6 years now and I can safely say that there is a HUGE gap between the academic and practitioner worlds with respect to business analysis and requirements engi...
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This entry was published on Jun 08, 2010 / Dr. Mohamed El-Attar. Posted in Business Analysis. Bookmark the Permalink or E-mail it to a friend.
I've been thinking a lot recently about the value of the BA, and BA recruitment - at all levels.   A common question that comes up is "Do I need to have experience in Industry X/Domain Y to work as a BA in that industry/domain?"   In a nutshell: Is it like that now? Yes. Should it be like that? Probably no...
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This entry was published on May 27, 2010 / Miles Barker. Posted in Business Analysis, Interviewing & Hiring Business Systems Analysts, Leadership & Management, Career as a Business Systems Analyst. Bookmark the Permalink or E-mail it to a friend.
It is common for project managers to question the number of BAs they need on a project or how much time needs to be spent on analysis. The underlying concern seems to be a fear of “analysis paralysis”. Whilst not overtly stated, for many project managers, analysis is a necessary evil that if not carefully controlled, will delay the “real” work of w...
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This entry was published on May 13, 2010 / Martin. Posted in Project Management, Business Analysis, Roles and Responsibilities. Bookmark the Permalink or E-mail it to a friend.
As an analyst I almost daily have to solve some kind of problems and I bet you do also. Problems can be in different forms, but I’ve been noticing that the same pattern for finding the solution keeps coming up. I think this pattern is something essential and we use it often but i think it is a good idea to put it on paper. First, every problem has...
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This entry was published on Apr 26, 2010 / Karl. Posted in Analytical and Problem Solving Skills. Bookmark the Permalink or E-mail it to a friend.
Not a suggestion for eliminating the process of documenting a software application, but rather a proposed for replacement of the documenting activity and manually produced documents with something more manageable and less likely to frighten the development team. Initiative for this work comes from a number of discussions I have been following and ...
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This entry was published on Mar 22, 2010 / Leslie. Posted in Requirements Management and Communication (BABOK KA), Functional Specifications, SDLC, Process, and Methodologies. Bookmark the Permalink or E-mail it to a friend.
Ad Hoc Procedures My belief is that software development should be more of a science and contain as little artistry as necessary. It is great to come up with ingenious processes and guidelines for developing your software, but if they impact your colleagues you must get buy-in from everyone who is impacted before you start using them. Some people...
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This entry was published on Mar 18, 2010 / Leslie. Posted in Requirements Management and Communication (BABOK KA). Bookmark the Permalink or E-mail it to a friend.
Unnecessary Documentation The first section that I look for in a document, is the paragraph that describes ‘who this document is written for’ and ‘what benefit they can expect to gain by reading this document’. If I do not see my role, or I do not see any benefit from me spending time reading the document, then I have to ask myself the question, ‘...
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This entry was published on Mar 15, 2010 / Leslie. Posted in Requirements Management and Communication (BABOK KA). Bookmark the Permalink or E-mail it to a friend.
If you are writing a letter to your mother, it is fine to create a new a new blank document, type your random thoughts, add highlighting, colors and emphasized text where you want to make and get a point across, and basically format the document with any creative ideas that you feel appropriate. When working with documents in the workplace, ad hoc...
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This entry was published on Mar 13, 2010 / Leslie. Posted in Requirements Management and Communication (BABOK KA). Bookmark the Permalink or E-mail it to a friend.
I may be overreaching but I include risk analysis as a proper subject of systems analysis. I've done enough TRAs to justify that position—at least to myself. So here's a risk analysis topic. Toying with the idea of getting some certification I took a look at the CISSP and ISC Common Body of Knowledge.  One thing I found odd enough to exchan...
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This entry was published on Mar 07, 2010 / Marc Thibault. Posted in Analytical and Problem Solving Skills. Bookmark the Permalink or E-mail it to a friend.
SAP has announced a SaaS BI service that looks ideal for SMBs.  It seems to have all the tricks you'd expect, so it's worth learning about. Problem: SAP is being cute about their pricing and I don't want to waste a lot of time on this if it turns out to be another overpriced SAP product. Has anyone got any idea what SAP intends t...
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This entry was published on Feb 25, 2010 / Marc Thibault. Posted in Business Analysis, Tools. Bookmark the Permalink or E-mail it to a friend.
How many times have you experienced a disagreement between colleagues, only find out later in the project that they were both correct. Chances are that they were using the same word, but both had different ideas of its meaning. [1] I can derive hours of entertainment by playing word games with my friends, by picking a word they are using and purpo...
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This entry was published on Feb 13, 2010 / Leslie. Posted in Requirements Management and Communication (BABOK KA). Bookmark the Permalink or E-mail it to a friend.
How often do you see the same piece of information documented in 2 places? I am used to seeing requirements information copied into design documents; whole sets of requirements being copied into a test repository and diagrams copied from one document to another. Unless you employ a strict change management control system that includes a traceabilit...
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This entry was published on Feb 12, 2010 / Leslie. Posted in Requirements Management and Communication (BABOK KA). Bookmark the Permalink or E-mail it to a friend.
This following blogs contain rants and recommendations for good practices, useful not only for when delivering software, but that can also be used any time organization is required. The most common improvements that can be leveraged on any (some on every) development process it has been my experience to be involved with, are the following: ...
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This entry was published on Feb 12, 2010 / Leslie. Posted in Requirements Management and Communication (BABOK KA), Business Analysis. Bookmark the Permalink or E-mail it to a friend.
Requirements I have been working with requirements for more than 20 years. To be honest, it was several years before I understood the true purpose of requirements. The enlightenment came about when I was tasked with documenting a presentation to my colleagues that described the characteristics of a ‘good’ requirement. The characteristics that the ...
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This entry was published on Feb 12, 2010 / Leslie. Posted in Requirements Management and Communication (BABOK KA). Bookmark the Permalink or E-mail it to a friend.
A “What If” question for business analysts and IT professionals… What if it suddenly became very easy for someone to do both your job and their own, at the same time? If history provides any forecast for the future of IT, we are likely to see some interesting changes in the way human capital is managed – especially for those of us involved in the...
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This entry was published on Jan 21, 2010 / Derek Roos . Posted in Requirements Analysis (BABOK KA) , Leadership & Management, Agile Methods, Career as a Business Systems Analyst, Roles and Responsibilities, Tools. Bookmark the Permalink or E-mail it to a friend.
I am in charge of a relatively big training effort for a project (approximately 45 live training sessions in 10 weeks, as well as online training opportunities) to assist with the deployment of a new piece of software.  The live training alone will involve over 450 people and will be quite in depth and hands on.  Training often plays a cr...
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This entry was published on Jan 10, 2010 / Jarett Hailes. Posted in Business Analysis Planning (BABOK KA), Project Management, Business Analysis. Bookmark the Permalink or E-mail it to a friend.
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Jarett Hailes
Jarett Hailes
As we start a new year many of us will take the time to reflect on our accomplishments from 2012 and plan our goals for 2013. We can set small or large goals. goals that will be accomplished quickly or could take several years. For 2013, I think Business Analysts should look to go beyond our traditional boundaries and set audacious goals. Merriam-...
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Howard Podeswa
Howard Podeswa
Recently, I was asked by the IIBA to present a talk at one of their chapter meetings. I am reprinting here my response to that invitation in the hope that it will begin a conversation with fellow EEPs and BAs about an area of great concern to the profession. Hi xx …. Regarding the IIBA talk, there is another issue that I am considering. It's p...
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Adrian M.
Adrian M.
Continuing the ABC series for Business Analysts, Howard Podeswa created the next installment titled "BA ABCs: “C” is for Class Diagram" as an article rather than a blog post. You can find the article here: BA ABCs: “C” is for Class Diagram Here are the previous two posts: BA ABCs: “A” is for Activity Diagram BA ABCs: “B” is for BPMN
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