Entries for June 2008

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Of all the roles associated with developing software, perhaps none needs a makeover as badly as the business analyst. Intended as a pivotal position that translates business needs to software requirements, the role varies widely across organizations. Often saddled with negative stereotypes, the job doesn’t command the respect it deserves. “It’s...
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When developing or changing a process, and all its related assets, often the process engineers have to face an important issue: how defining an integrated set of processes so that each process element is designed taking in consideration its relationships with all the other interfacing elements. Together with this issue, we also have the need to ensure that all the relevant requirements for the processes and their process assets are fully understood and correctly managed. These objectives are even more difficult to achieve when more persons are working in parallel to the improvement of different process areas. The approach described in the following paper, leverages a defined process architecture and a documented specification of process requirements to ensure integration among the process elements. All the examples are referred to a CMMI® based process definition but the most of the concepts are applicable also when adopting process models other than CMMI®.

Author: Filippo Vitiello, method park Software AG

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Requirements and the way they are dealt with are decisive to the success of a project. This statement is never really questioned in modern software engineering circles.

Why is it, then, that a systematic requirements engineering (RE) system is so rarely established?

Where do the problems lie when it comes to implementing such a system?

This paper outlines the challenges and how these may be met using the example of the automotive industry.

Authors: Michael Gerdom and Dr. Uwe Rastofer, method park Software AG

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The subject of current systems analysis is usually greeted with dismay or disdain by systems departments. There are many reasons for this. In many installations, the support of current systems takes more than 85% of the systems department's time, and the departments are more than ready to get on with new systems development and bury the old, non-working systems as quickly as possible. In cases where systems do not require a lot of maintenance, the systems department may find that the current systems are not giving management the kind of information it needs for effective decision making; these current systems become likely candidates for replacement.

However, there are some very legitimate reasons for documenting existing systems.

Author: Tim Bryce

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You may be the new kid on the job block, but that doesn't mean your salary has to start low on the totem pole. The PayScale.com Salary Survey identified an array of exciting jobs that pay a total compensation close to or above an impressive $50,000 per year right from the start. Here are some of the 10 hot professions that show you th...
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"As I discussed my May article for Modern Analyst, there's a lot of hype about the role of requirements in agile projects. Many people think you don’t “do” requirements on an agile project. Hogwash. Indeed, agile projects use requirements—but just enough requirements at just the right time."

In this article Ellen covers a number of agile requirements topics including:

  • Agile requirements need to be understood in context of the product, release, and iteration
  • Balancing Business and Technical Value
  • The Product Workshop
  • Release Workshops
  • Iteration Workshops

Author: Ellen Gottesdiener, Principal Consultant, EBG Consulting, helps business and technical teams get product requirements right so their projects start smart and deliver the right product at the right time.

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A colleague of mine asked me recently what makes a good Business Analyst, and this stumped me for a while. I had a rare opportunity to go trout fly-fishing recently and as the fishing was slow I was able to contemplate this question. You will gather from this that the question had worried me as I seldom think about work stuff when I am fly-fishing. 

So what does make a good Business Analyst? 

I decided to go back to basics; if I want to know what makes a good Analyst then I need to ask what do we, as Business Analysts, do? If I could understand that, then I can start to understand what makes one Analyst better than another.  

I asked around in business analysis circles for an on line description of what we do. Although I got a few different answers, I found I got the most consensuses with “a Business Analyst elicits, documents, and communicates business requirements”. But what does that mean?

Author: Robin Grace

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How many times have you been at a project meeting, maybe a status update meeting, and heard a voice that isn’t familiar to you speaking up for the first time.

“Ah... we need to put 5 days in the project to do our VA”

A meeting room full of people turns their heads and looks at the face of the unfamiliar voice. “You need what?” the Project Manager barks.

“We need 5 days, you know, between the build and go-live for the VA.”

A Sr. Business Analyst with many years of experience pipes up, “That just won’t work. We need that time for the QA and sign-off.”

The PM, who has worked with the Sr. BA on other projects, shakes his head in agreement, “We just don’t have time for a VA, what ever that is, now let’s move on to the next item.”

That unfamiliar voice at the table was an IT Security Analyst, facing a common challenge in the modern day business, getting the project implemented, while ensuring the right security controls are in place.

Author: Stewart Allen

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One of the biggest challenges in any system design effort is to produce a viable design that is well thought-out with all of the pieces and parts working harmoniously together. If something is forgotten, regardless of its seeming insignificance, it will undoubtedly cause costly problems later on. The task, therefore, is to produce a design that is demonstratively correct.

Author: Tim Bryce

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Tony Bear says the BPM-folks are from Venus and the WS-folks from Mars. That exactly summarizes a big division in the BPM industry that might not be obvious. The term BPM-folks refers to the people that focus on process modelling. Their starting point is the analysis of procedures that describe how people and systems work together in an organisati...
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I’m sure there must be a thesis somewhere on this question: How do you know whether a specific decision or action definitely influences the actual event? I like soccer analogies — in a pre-World Cup game against Argentina, Sven-Goran Eriksson was praised for his tactical decision to bring on Peter Crouch and the 3-2 victory that resulted. Yet, Erik...
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In the articles leading up to this final installment in our series, we established relevant business service models and service delivery strategies. These two important parts of an SOA project tie into the first of two processes responsible for producing the actual services. This process is called service-oriented analysis and it represents an impo...
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In part five of our look at how SOA ties into the world of business analysis, we continue the discussion of delivery approaches and common top-down deliverables. We begin by introducing the enterprise service model, a valuable specification that can be derived from the types of enterprise models we covered at the end of Part 4. We then continue by ...
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Development projects for service-oriented solutions are, on the surface, much like any other custom development projects for distributed applications. Services are designed, developed, and deployed alongside the usual supporting cast of front and back-end technologies. Once you dig a bit deeper under the layers of service-orientation, though, you'l...
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In the previous article we described the role of service models and explored the design standards for an entity-centric business service. This model establishes a highly process-agnostic encapsulation context in that the logic placed into these types of services is not directly related to any one business process. So, where does the process logic g...
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