Entries for February 2009

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In recent years it has become more and more apparent that the job description of Business Analyst has become diluted and distorted. Can this be considered the natural evolution of a profession or is it a profession that no longer has a clear job description? Is this a profession that has moved past the point of clear boundaries or are the boundaries still there but blurred based on the need to adapt to a changing world to meet the needs of people rather than the needs of the business? What can we do to win back the respect that the Business Analyst profession deserves? Exactly whose responsibility is it to maintain a professional and respected image of this profession? Should the recruitment process of Business Analysts be an exercise in requirements gathering?

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If it is allocating your internal resources, making a new hire, or bringing in a consultant; what is the best process to match the right business analyst to the right project? For organizations that truly value the role of the business analyst this is one of the most frequently pondered questions.

Companies that want to have the right people in the right roles need to address four main stages; defining the BA’s roles in the project, attracting the best talent, matching the BA to the project and finally, making the selection and continuing to support.

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In previous articles, I discussed ways in which business analysts can become organizational consultants, driving innovation, problem solving and strategic solutions within their companies.

In addition to the traditional tools of project business analysis and the emerging tools of enterprise business analysis, another toolkit can be exceptionally helpful.

This is the rich group of practices from the Quality and Process Improvement methodologies, including Six Sigma, Lean, Theory of Constraints (TOC) and Systems Thinking.

Although these methodologies are used in many organizations, their tools have not yet been widely incorporated into either project or enterprise business analysis.

In this article, I will focus on combining a Voice of the Customer (VOC) with the “Ends Planning” exercise from Idealized Design.

Author: Sam Cherubin

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Lean processes—whether you’re building bicycles, assembling TV dinners, or developing software—are all about value. Activities like rework, reprocessing, reformatting, storage, handling, and sign-offs are not valuable. In lean terminology, they’re waste.

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Business isn’t going to walk hand in hand with IT until we’re ready to truly partner with them. Here’s how.

I’ve had some interesting conversations about the role of business analysts and the best practices most of them use for requirements-gathering. And I’ve noticed a major contradiction between our desire to be effective partners with the business and the way we go about gathering system requirements.

The contradiction is this: current best practices lead us to gather requirements for a new system by using procedures that, right from the start, cause tension and adversarial interactions between IT and business people.

Author: Mike Hugos

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When I’m not consulting or managing projects, some of my time is spent teaching MBA classes at Drake University.  The fact that I teach both project management AND creativity for business creates consternation among some of my friends and colleagues.  After all, can a project manager really be creative?  Aren’t those mutually exclusive skills?

My response is a great project manager also must excel at creativity to remain a viable, valuable asset in today’s marketplace.  Gone are the days of simply managing scope within a budget and schedule; project managers must be multi-faceted utility players.  Project and program managers are being expected to create solutions, to facilitate conflicts, and to motivate resources toward a goal in ways never before anticipated.

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Business analysts are at the sharp end of one of the great challenges of information technology – how to build the systems organizations need. At the same time, organizations are demanding more sophisticated systems – the “dumb” systems of yesteryear are no longer enough.

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Business-process-modeling technology provides a powerful set of tools for describing and automating processes. The technology is so powerful that it often seems there are no limits to what BPM can do. But not every process that is automated needs BPM. Following on last week's discussion of process discovery, the JargonSpy asks the question: What sort of processes should be automated using BPM?

Businesspeople and technologists alike quickly get drunk on business-process modeling when they first become competent in the technique. Like wikis, business-process modeling allows you to capture the detail that you have in your head and then leave placeholders for what is not yet baked. In wikis, this takes the form of pages of text that link to other pages covering concepts that you will fill in later. Wikipedia is full of links to pages waiting to be completed.

The analogous act in business-process modeling is to put a box in to cover a step ("solve the halting problem" or "find qualified leads") that is part of the process but that you don't want to worry about just then.

Author: Dan Woods







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