Interview Questions for Business Analysts and Systems Analysts

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What are some steps the Business Analyst can take to avoid vague, incomplete or ambiguous requirements?

Posted by Chris Adams

Article Rating // 15945 Views // 0 Additional Answers & Comments

Categories: Business Analysis, Systems Analysis, Requirements Analysis (BABOK KA), Elicitation (BABOK KA)


Stakeholders often interpret requirements in a variety of different ways. Whether it's from the natural ambiguity of conversational language or due to missing information, ambiguous and incomplete requirements can lead to project delays and budget overruns. But by keeping a few key considerations in mind the Business Analyst can dramatically improve the quality of product requirements.

1) Define a Terms Glossary
One of the most impactful steps towards unambiguous requirements is the creation of a glossary of terms. There are two primary benefits of a glossary. First, while creating the glossary all stakeholders start to realize that many business terms mean different things to different groups within the organization. This is the time to settle on the exact meaning of a term, at least for how it is to be understood within the context of product requirements. Second, once the glossary is created the business analyst now has a finite and clearly understood set of terms to use when writing requirements eliminating multiple interpretations. A glossary alone removes much of the ambiguity of written requirements. However, the benefits of a glossary can be further extended by creating a Business Entity Diagram which defines terms business concepts (entities) by defining their attributes, relationship to other entities, and cardinalities.

2) Write Test Cases Against Requirements.
All requirements should be testable and verifiable. If you can't define tests that show the requirement to be properly implemented then the requirement is likely incomplete or ambiguous.

3) Avoid Non-Testable Words
Non-Testable words require interpretation by the reader and each reader may interpret these words differently. The types of words also tend to lead to untestable requirement statements. Some examples of non-testable words are:
et cetera

How to you test that something is minimized?  Instead, a requirement using this language should define a specific testable value to show that something has be sufficiently reduced.

4) Create Visual Models
Visual models are ideal for communicating information in an easily digestible manner. Different models can be used to convey different views of the same information. The structure of visual models can help reveal gaps in information and product requirements that may otherwise go unnoticed.

Chris Adams
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Do your homework prior to the business analysis interview!

Having an idea of the type of questions you might be asked during a business analyst interview will not only give you confidence but it will also help you to formulate your thoughts and to be better prepared to answer the interview questions you might get during the interview for a business analyst position.  Of course, just memorizing a list of business analyst interview questions will not make you a great business analyst but it might just help you get that next job.



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