Entries for June 2011

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Recently, I was watching an episode of "60 Minutes" which discussed the prosecution of a whistle blower at the NSA regarding the development of a major system to be used in the War on Terror, code named "Trailblazer." Although the intentions of the developers may have been good, the project started to spiral out of control almost from the beginning.

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A swimlane diagram is a type of process flow diagram (also sometimes called a cross-functional diagram) that features divisions or "lanes." Each lane is assigned an actor (which may be an individual, department, division, group, machine, entity, and so on), or even a phase or stage in a process, that is responsible for the activity or work described in the lane.

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I recently saw the "The King's Speech," a movie about the relationship between the stammering King George VI of England and his speech therapist... how is this commoner able to help the monarch and become his life-long friend? He is a master at influencing with absolutely no authority.  There are some lessons here for those of us business analysts and project managers whose jobs depend on our ability to influence without authority.

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Structured business vocabulary is a missing ingredient in most current approaches to developing requirements. This omission should greatly concern every business analyst. Indeed, business vocabulary is key to a whole range of fundamental challenges, including but not limited to capturing business rules. One reason is that business vocabulary, like data and business rules, lives on beyond the point of system implementation and deployment.

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How come product owners and teams struggle to use the product backlog effectively? One of the reasons lies in the linear nature of a traditional product backlog: It is a list of "features, functions, technologies, enhancements, and bug fixes," as "Agile Software Development with Scrum" states. Such a list works well for creating a simple product. But it can be inappropriate for a more ambitious one.

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More and more organizations are taking advantage of business process management (BPM) solutions. And yet, it is often the case that, after an initial success or two, the growth of BPM within a company stalls.

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We BA's are occasionally asked, "What do you do?" I try to make a joke out of this innocent question by replying, "Well, what would YOU do with English and writing degrees? I'm a Business Analyst of course." People don’t laugh.

 



 

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