Elicitation (BABOK KA)

Jul 08, 2018
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Chaos! Stress! Everyday mess! Isn’t this an everyday situation for a business analyst? If not, either you’ve job satisfaction or you’re not being introduced to the real world of business analysis.

A person might possess great skills, however, (s)he might not be able to utilize skills without the right mix of tools and environment. A toolbox enables a person to implement the skills in the most efficient way. Possessing necessary tools is just the one part of it. Another is the knowledge to utilize the right tools at the right time to cater the solution and ensure timely committed delivery.

What are these tools? How do we map the usage of tools to the given circumstance? How can we efficiently utilize the tool? Does it depend on the solution or the approach?

Feb 04, 2018
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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?”

Oct 01, 2017
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Prior to proceeding with a strategic project, project leadership needs to ensure that the project still:

  • aligns with the direction of the business entity, and
  • fits the needs of the targeted customer segment,
    as it did when the project was an initiative. This brief article starts at the inception of an initiative during Enterprise Analysis to the validation of a strategic project prior to kickoff. Note in this article, I include both the private and public sectors when I use the terms such as “business entity” and “customer segments.”
Mar 29, 2017
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A common challenge of enterprise Business Analysts is the discovery, understanding, and description of requirements in the context of implementing packaged solutions. Management assigns us to projects with a predefined solution, and we struggle to figure our role when there seems to be no significant build activity. What are we supposed to do in this situation when there seems to be no need to produce standard requirement deliverables?

 

Put a typical Business Analyst in this environment and do not be surprised to hear the phrase “I’m not sure of my role.” Why do packaged solution projects cause discomfort?

Mar 19, 2017
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A business analyst is a person who analyzes, organizes, explores, scrutinizes and investigates an organization and documents its business and also assesses the business model and integrates the whole organization with modern technology. The Business Analyst role is mostly about documenting, verifying, recording and gathering the business requirements and its role is mostly associated with the information technology industry.

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Moving on, we will investigate the importance of the business analyst’s often delicate relationship with individual stakeholders.   A business analyst is a facilitator of change, and in affecting these changes within a company, the analyst must interact with multiple stakeholders of varying personalities. When identifying and delivering the necessary changes within a business, the analyst must develop and maintain a relationship with each individual stakeholder.  Each stakeholder will wield a different level of authority within the company and hold a certain amount of power over those changes that are coming into effect. Noting this, the analyst must take part in a careful balancing act, juggling these relationships in order to facilitate change with minimal difficulty.

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The difficulty of gathering information and establishing requirements, owing to the chaotic nature of the business world, is clear to see. Every business analyst must overcome their own Mad Tea Party if they are to be successful in carrying out their mission. As Alice is confronted with the unreliability of the Hatter, the March Hare, and the Dormouse, so too is the analyst faced with unreliable stakeholders. In her attempts to gain an understanding of the never-ending tea party, Alice’s use of elicitation is effectively useless in the face of endless riddles, an unconventional sense of time, and undependable characters.  Analysts find themselves in comparable environments with various degrees of chaos and unpredictability. 

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Often I come across situations where a BA is unprepared or under-prepared in approaching the requirements elicitation process. This leads to irritated business users, incomplete requirements, significant delays, reworks, and poor opinion about BA's in general. I decided to put together a list of prerequisites that a BA must complete before commencing requirements elicitation process.
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To be a great analyst, you’ll need to ask great questions. In order to ask great questions, you’ll need to remain inquisitive.  Fact of the matter is, that if you are performing any kind of analysis, you need to become very comfortable with asking difficult questions. Questions that make people uncomfortable and questions that might even potentially expose unpopular answers.

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Customer journey mapping is a great way to understand your customer intimately to provide insights into providing targeted customer experience that empower the customer positively to drive better business outcomes.  This technique places the customer first with a deep emotional understanding, then looks backwards toward the experiences provided by the operating model, thus enabling good aspects to be reinforced and negative ones to be managed. It provides a complete 360 end to end experience of the customer to be realized driving customer insights, allowing more blue sky approaches to offsetting emotional deficits...

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This is a story of an outsourced product implementation contract between two companies, FinCo and ProdCo. What started out as an exciting contract turned out to be a bitter experience for both the companies. There are lessons to be learnt from this story – about outsourced contracts, about setting expectations and above all, about good old business requirements.
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The scenario is simple: You’ve been tasked to determine the requirements for a new project. You’ve done your homework by reviewing existing documentation. And, now, you’ve arranged to have a meeting with a Subject Matter Expert (SME).

So, where does one begin on this path to enlightenment? When you talk to the SME for the first time, do you start by outlining everything that you think you’ve learned already?

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The first step to solve a problem is to frame it correctly. These aren’t the right questions to ask. The real question these BAs should be asking is, “how do I get my stakeholders to stay involved throughout the requirements process, so I can have their input at the right times during requirements discovery, analysis, and validation?”
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This is the eleventh in a series that explains the thinking behind the Volere requirements techniques— previous and future articles explore aspects of applying these techniques in your environment.

This article focuses on the often-asked question: why, when I ask for requirements, do people give me solutions and what can I do to get the real requirement?
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Solution Anthropology encompasses the work of anyone who works directly with the end users so the work is coordinated and consistent. Therefore Solution Anthropology is not one role, but a team of people with the responsibility to delight the end user and a broad skill set to accomplish just that.
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