Entries for February 2008

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First, I'm a project focused software developer, team lead, designer, architect, jack of all trades, who has been on projects that have used various methodologies over the years, including of late some agile projects. I'm not a big blog reader, or a big blogger, but like most people I have an opinion on things, and for some reason that opinio...
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Agile software developers, just like traditional software developers, perform analysis activities. Unlike traditional developers, agilists approach analysis in a highly collaborative manner and do so on a just-in-time (JIT) basis. Analysis is so important to us we do it every single day. In this article, I discuss: What is analysis? Ret...
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In this issue of the IIBA Newsletter: IIBA Blog Spotlight As the IIBA is a virtual organization, the Blog is an integral way for the Senior Leadership Team (SLT) to communicate with members worldwide. The topics range widely: from technical pieces such as BABOK® updates to more informal pieces like “A day in the life…” 2008 CBAP Exam Dates Date...
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My friends and colleagues often ask me how I am able to produce so much in so little time.  Although I am flattered by such compliments, it's really not much of a secret which I attribute to the following areas (in no particular order):...

Author: Tim Bryce

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A project manager's first task after being appointed to an IT development is to seek out a business analyst to gather requirements. After that, it's on to the development and then the implementation. It's the way it's done. It's the way it's always been done. But business analysts are not used optimally if they are only used to "gather" require...
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Have you noticed the examples of requirements elicitation on my blog? In one case, I had a bit of a contest, using a game to elicit information. You can see this technique by looking in the category Online Game on the blog. Then I had a survey to elicit information. You can see that survey by looking in the category Survey on the blog. Today I am going to use the information from the survey to show you another technique you might use when developing requirements. That technique is writing Personas (or Personae for you Latin fans).

You write a Persona when you want to understand your customers better. This Persona is a story you will tell about a typical (but not real) customer. The Persona is a composite story about your typical customers, made very lifelike. 

Author: Geri Schneider Winters

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Outsourcing differs from other development because there is bound to be a contractual relationship, probably a geographic distance, a different sense of loyalty, language misunderstandings, cultural differences, reluctance to speak up to the client – and many other associated problems. Good requirements are always a problem, but outsourcing increas...
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IAG Consulting’s new Business Analysis Benchmark makes one thing clear: almost 70 percent of companies surveyed set themselves up for both failure and significantly higher cost in their use of poor requirements practices. That failure came at a significant cost: the average $3 million project cost companies using poor requirements practices an aver...
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UML class diagrams show the classes of the system, their inter-relationships, and the operations and attributes of the classes. Class diagrams are typically used, although not all at once, to: Explore domain concepts in the form of a domain model Analyze requirements in the form of a conceptual/analysis model Depict the detailed de...
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UML 2 class diagrams are the mainstay of object-oriented analysis and design. UML 2 class diagrams show the classes of the system, their interrelationships (including inheritance, aggregation, and association), and the operations and attributes of the classes. Class diagrams are used for a wide variety of purposes, including both conceptual/domain ...
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THE ANALYST (aka, Systems Analyst, Systems Engineer, Systems Architect, Business Analyst) - requires specifications about the end-User's information requirements in order to design a system solution.  This is normally based on a definition of the user's business actions and/or decisions to be supported.  Following the system design, the Analyst produces the specifications required by the Programmer and DBA to fulfill their part of the puzzle.  From this perspective, the Analyst is the translator between the end-User and the Programmers and DBAs.

Each party has his own unique perspective of the puzzle and, as such, requires different "specifications."  To compound the problem though, the role of the Analyst sharply diminished over the years, leaving it to the Programmers to try and determine what the end-User needs, a skill they are typically not trained or suited for. 

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To communicate or not to communicate? There is no question. As individuals and as organizations, we are constantly communicating — whether intentionally or unintentionally. The real question becomes whether we choose to effectively communicate or risk the high cost of miscommunication. The cost of miscommunication can take many forms, including but...
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In this issue of the IIBA Newsletter: The Annoyance of Bad Terminology by Kevin Brennan, CBAP Among the many challenges of developing the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge™ (BABOK™) is figuring out what to do when we realize that the business analysis community, or worse yet, parts of the community, have widely adopted unclear terminology. The ...
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I have been very fortunate to see a lot of this history first hand. I have observed changes not just in terms of systems and computers, but also how the trade press has evolved and the profession in general. It has been an interesting ride.

Throughout all of this, there have been some very intelligent people who have impacted the industry, there have also been quite a few charlatans, but there has only been a handful of true geniuses, one of which was Robert W. Beamer who passed away just a couple of years ago. Bob was the father of ASCII code, without which we wouldn't have the computers of today, the Internet, the billions of dollars owned by Bill Gates, or this document.

I always find it amusing when I tell a young person in this industry that I worked with punch cards and plastic templates years ago. Its kind of the same dumbfounded look I get from my kids when I tell them we used to watch black and white television with three channels, no remote control, and station signoffs at midnight. It has been my observation that our younger workers do not have a sense of history; this is particularly apparent in the systems world. If they do not have an appreciation of whence we came, I doubt they will have an appreciation of where we should be going. Consequently, I have assembled the following chronology of events in the hopes this will provide some insight as to how the systems industry has evolved to its current state.

I'm sure I could turn this into a lengthy dissertation but, instead, I will try to be brief and to the point. Further, the following will have little concern for academic developments but rather how systems have been implemented in practice in the corporate world.

Author: Tim Bryce

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Recently I wrote a paper on the general state of craftsmanship which was geared more for public consumption as opposed to any specific industry. To my way of thinking, craftsmanship is a universal concept that touches all industries, regardless if they are product or service related.  This resulted in a flurry of e-mails to me questioning how it pertains to specific types of work, including Business Systems Analysis (BSA) which, of course, is applicable but I question whether we have truly realized craftsmanship in this field.

From the outset, let me say unequivocally that business systems analysis is not a new concept and has been with us for a long time, actually predating the modern computer era of the 20th century.  Prior to this, companies had formal "Systems & Procedures" departments with analysts focusing on streamlining business processes and primarily using paper and manual procedures.  As tabulating and other office equipment emerged, they were responsible for their integration into the business.  But as computers were introduced, a new function was devised that greatly impacted the future of analysts, namely programmers. 







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