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New Post 5/25/2008 8:55 AM
Online now... Adrian M.
733 posts
3rd Level Poster




What types of software tools do you use? 

I am wondering what type of software tools do you use (or used) in your day to day role as analyst (anything from Notepad to Rational Rose)?

Here are some that I use:

  • SOFTWARE: MS World, PURPOSE: Functional Specifications, Requirements Documents, Vision Document, Business Case.
  • SOFTWARE: MS Excel, PURPOSE: Capacity planning, Traceability, Data Analysis.
  • SOFTWARE: MS Visio, PURPOSE: Process Models, Use Case Models, Domain Models (Class Diagram), Sequence Diagrams.
  • SOFTWARE: ErWin, PURPOSE: Entity Relationship Diagrams.
  • SOFTWARE: MS PowerPoint, PURPOSE: Present of problem statements, Present possible solutions, etc.
  • SOFTWARE: Visual Studio Web Edition, PURPOSE: UI Mockups, Prototypes

- Adrian


Adrian Marchis
Business Analyst Community Blog - Post your thoughts!
 
New Post 5/28/2008 5:57 AM
User is offline Tony Markos
493 posts
5th Level Poster


Re: What types of software tools do you use? 

An related question is:  When are software tools appropriate during the analysis phase?   There is a real danger to these tools.  Let me get to the point:  Visio and the like can trap analysts into performing a forced, artificial partitioning.    And a forced, artificial partitioning derails the discovery process - probably the biggest no-no in requirements analysis. 

Tony

 

 

 

 
New Post 5/25/2008 2:13 PM
User is offline David Wright
141 posts
www.iag.biz
7th Level Poster




Re: What types of software tools do you use? 

 

  • SOFTWARE: MS World, PURPOSE: Functional Specifications, Requirements Documents,
  • SOFTWARE: MS Excel, PURPOSE: , Traceability
  • SOFTWARE: MS Visio, PURPOSE: Process Models, Use Case Models, Entity-Relationship Diagrams, .
  • As consultants, we stick with Office and Visio, as above. Our standard approach does not involve prototyping, but will use clients' tools as needed.


    David Wright
     
    New Post 5/26/2008 11:58 AM
    User is offline Jarett Hailes
    155 posts
    6th Level Poster




    Re: What types of software tools do you use? 

    Currently:

    • MS Word for use cases, test plans, test cases
    • MS Excel for requirements, business rules, actors catalogue, issues log, change requests log, traceability matrices
    • MS Visio for sample UI mockups
    • Enterprise Architect for BPMN and UML diagrams (would use for ER diagrams too if I did any)

    I have also been looking at more sophisticated tools for managing requirements end-to-end between BAs, developers, testers, and PMs.  Some of the tools we've looked at are:

    • Borland CaliberRM
    • GatherSpace
    • stpSoft Reqsheet
    • Artifact Lighthouse
    • Visual Studio Team Server (on its own... some of the above products integrate with this as well)

    I have yet to find what I would consider an all-encompassing solution, so I expect some customization will occur with whatever we decide on (like a VSTS integrated tool).

     
    New Post 5/28/2008 8:05 AM
    Online now... Adrian M.
    733 posts
    3rd Level Poster




    Re: What types of software tools do you use? 

    Hi Tony,

    Interesting point of view!  So what do you think is the alternative to using software tools; pencil & paper?  For the Data Flow Diagrams that you create, do you use any software tool?

    What about a word processor to capture requirements?

    - Adrian


    Adrian Marchis
    Business Analyst Community Blog - Post your thoughts!
     
    New Post 5/26/2008 4:08 AM
    User is offline Craig Brown
    560 posts
    www.betterprojects.net
    4th Level Poster




    Re: What types of software tools do you use? 

    I stick to the basics with software as well (Powrpoint, mainly) but also use the following tools to great effect;

    • Whiteboards
    • A3 sketchpads
    • Butcher's paper
    • Post-it notes

    Not so useful for distributed teams of course, but quite effective for me.

     
    New Post 5/28/2008 12:13 PM
    User is offline Tony Markos
    493 posts
    5th Level Poster


    Re: What types of software tools do you use? 

    Adrian:

    One must not forget about the Scotch tape!    Got to have Scotch tape (the type you can write on) - especially for larger scale analysis efforts.

    When I am in the discovery phase on a larger scale analysis project, I follow the flow of data from as high of a level of abstraction as possible.   Since I am in discovery, typically, I do not know how the data is going to ultimately flow: left, right, up, down, in, out, - all over the place - changing direction at a moments notice, a ton of cross overs.  Plus I constantly need to squeeze in things that I forgot.   The first couple of iternations look like a big mess, but, are just clear enough that I can read them.  When I run out of room while diagramming,  which happens frequently, I quickly  scotch tape another piece of paper on and keep going.   The thing is to keep going.  Trying to create a Visio of a big mess, while still in a heavy requirements discovery phase, is a real initiative killer.

    Now when it comes to walkthroughs of  sub-systems, then Visio (or whatever) can really help.  And, after the first couple of iterations, when things are realively firmed up, I create a set of parent-child Visio diagrams of the whole systems.  Word processing after modeling is fine.  

    FYI:  Visio and the like also hinder a larger scale analysis effort by making me frequently switch mental gears from thinking about flow from a high level of abstraction to thinking about detail-oriented software commands.  The mental-gear switching can be very exhausting!

    Tony

     

     
    New Post 5/26/2008 12:09 PM
    User is offline David Wright
    141 posts
    www.iag.biz
    7th Level Poster




    Re: What types of software tools do you use? 

     

     

    Forgot, my current client uses DOORS for Requirements Management and Traceability, I have been given an overview but have not used it yet....


    David Wright
     
    New Post 5/28/2008 3:37 PM
    User is offline Joy Beatty
    3 posts
    www.seilevel.com
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    Re: What types of software tools do you use? 
    Modified By ModernAnalyst.com  on 5/28/2008 5:48:00 PM)

     

    Other tools we use around our organization:

    • Skype - our entire team standardized on this for chats and remote whiteboarding. This is really helpful with teams spread out around the world. Sometimes we get the whole team in one chat from many locations, to either amuse each other or ask real questions.
    • OneNote - there are a few co-workers that love it, though I personally haven't taken to it yet! I don't mind it, but I'm still stuck on Word it seems.
    • Google Desktop - great searching through emails and notes.
    • FreeMind - or any free mind mapping software. I installed this one first and have been happy with it, though I don't use it frequently.

     

     
    New Post 5/28/2008 5:46 PM
    User is offline David Wright
    141 posts
    www.iag.biz
    7th Level Poster




    Re: What types of software tools do you use? 

    Tape...and yellow stickies.

    My company uses what I think we call 'contact paper'. It is sheets of filmy paper, size of flip chart paper but on a roll, the whole page sticks to the wall, and you write on it like a white-board. I highly recommend it for any session to capture...anything, really.


    David Wright
     
    New Post 8/12/2008 4:04 PM
    User is offline The Leprachaun
    1 posts
    www.processmaster.com
    No Ranking


    Re: What types of software tools do you use? 
    Modified By Adrian M.  on 8/13/2008 2:15:43 PM)

    IT'S NOT A BA TOOL - but ProcessPad - its simple, easy, great, cheap, and takes 4 min to learn - its actually for business users and not BA's - its basically designed to let a business user do all the mapping, stats and documentation (wrod, pdf, html, csv) that can then be exported streight into a BA tool

    It does use BPMN - BUT IT'S NOT A BA TOOL

    SO IT'S NOT A BA TOOL - but there is a 4 min video on www.processmaster.com

     
    New Post 8/13/2008 10:49 AM
    User is offline vinny
    66 posts
    8th Level Poster


    Re: What types of software tools do you use? 

    I was using Visio to do the UML diagrams but now I use UModel to do both UML and BPMN modeling.  I'm pretty new to the UML/BPMN world but UModel seems like it's going to work.  I am experiencing quite a hassle getting things formatted properly (especially BPMN diagrams), but that should get better.

    I still use Visio for DFDs.

     
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