Business Analysis Planning (BABOK KA)

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Successful business analysts have a mixture of many talents -- some more tangible than others – making Business Analysis both an art and a science. This article explores each area (art and science) and the types of skills necessary to be successful.

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Whether linear or agile development approaches are being used, the Business Analyst needs to have a specific required point in time where the solution being implemented is checked against the original problem before it gets too far downstream.

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I was recently working with a client who said that the life of a BA in his organization is complicated, primarily because very few people really understand what Business Analysts (BAs) do. I have felt for a very long time that perhaps our most compelling challenge is to change the organizational view of our role as primarily “requirements collectors” and to help stakeholders see the true value that business analysis brings to the enterprise.

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Ron Ross and Gladys Lam have written an important book for the business analyst community. It aims to get business analysts out of the technology ghetto that many of us get stuck in. Regardless of the type of analyst you are, I think it would be worth your time to get your hands on and read this book. I’ll explain why below.

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To remain competitive, it is more important than ever for an organization’s leadership team to use business analysis (BA) practices to execute strategies through innovative solutions. Over the years, business analysis has been rapidly developing as a profession and as a core business practice in many organizations; however, all too often business analysis is still in its foundational stages.

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We can probably all agree that Knowledge Management is generally A Good Thing and that we should do more of it. But what does “doing Knowledge Management” actually involve, and how as BAs can we ensure we effectively reuse our knowledge?

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The structure of business analysis documents isn't a commonly discussed topic. This article will show what documents are produced by a BA and the main sections they contain.

These are the main documents produced by a BA over the course of a project...
 

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As stakeholders play decisive role towards solution delivery, it would be helpful for business analysts and project managers to have a stakeholder strategy. Stakeholder strategy can help facilitate communication between stakeholders and IT teams. Stakeholder strategy allows project members to consider stakeholder availability and associated risks early in the project lifecycle.

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 This article considers the unique complexities of large, long-duration, high-cost projects that pose challenges to project success, and offers both old and new management strategies to handle the complexities... The complexities of large projects require that particular attention be directed to planning the project, developing and delivering the solution, selecting team members, and sustaining a high-performing team over the long haul.

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Today the term Business Analyst is synonymous with a career in the IT industry but the most successful and valuable analysts are those who understand the 'business' rather than those who understand IT. So what exactly is a Business Analyst? What is the Business Analyst’s role? What is the best background for this job? What skill set is required? What type of person is the best fit? What training is required and available?

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The Business Analysis Body of Knowledge (BABOK® 2.0) is the definitive guide to the profession of business analysis. Every business analyst can profit from it, and few analysts can afford to be without it.

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There are great shifts that happen in technology and culture. Sometimes they occur sequentially, as WWII created a need for advanced computing, and the PC forever changed the nature of work.

Sometimes they happen concurrently, where pressures, both positive and negative, take place in tandem. We are in such a time of change now, with great crises and great opportunities for organizations and the people who love them. One of these challenges is the failure of Enterprise, Business and Technical architecture.

Why do the Three Stooges so often stumble and fail?

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Many people on our Business Analysis workshop ask why we use dataflow diagrams (DFDs). Why not Use Case…or even BPMN? After all DFDs have been around for 20 years, surely the world has moved on?

Well, has it? The primary purpose of a business analyst is to communicate – to stakeholders and to solution providers – and when it comes to communication we all know that pictures (diagrams) are much more effective and less ambiguous than words. Remember the phrase "A picture is worth a thousand words". The question is – which type of diagram best suits our needs? In this article, written by IRM's Training Services Manager Jan Kusiak, we’ll look at using diagrams for stakeholder communications.

Author: Jan Kusiak

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Requirements gathering resources and best practices were found lacking at Fortune 500 companies, a recent study from Voke Inc. found. But if business analysts are equipped with the right tools and enough resources, businesses stand to benefit greatly.

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The short answer: "Because it requires work."

The long answer: People tend to resist gazing into the crystal ball and prefer to react to life as it passes them by. Some people believe planning in today's ever changing world is a waste of time, that you must be more "agile" and accommodate changes as they occur. As anyone who has designed and built anything of substance knows, this is utterly ridiculous. We would not have the many great skyscrapers, bridges, dams, highways, ships, planes, and other sophisticated equipment without the efforts of architects and engineers. Without such planning, our country would look essentially no different than how the pioneers first discovered the continent. Although we must certainly be flexible in our plans, and we will inevitably make some mistakes along the way, little progress would be made if we did not try to plan a course of action and control our destiny.

People often take planning for granted, that someone else will be making plans for us, such as government officials, our corporate management, or even the elders of our families. Consequently we become rather lax about looking into the future. Nor is there any encouragement by anyone to plan our affairs, such as a tax break. Whereas other countries offer incentives to save money for the future, such as Japan, America does not. Therefore, planning is a rather personal activity; we either see the virtue in doing so or we do not.

Author: Tim Bryce

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