General Business Analysis

Sep 12, 2021
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I was teaching a business analysis course recently and noted that few students had used a Fishbone Diagram along with the Five Whys for root cause analysis. This motivated me to write an article on root cause analysis using the combo method along with a short example.

Aug 15, 2021
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This article covers examples of how tools are becoming extremely important in today’s world for Business Systems Analysts; continuous learning and exploration of various tools are becoming indispensable to work efficiently and contribute towards the team success.  As more and more new technologies/tools arrive in the market, from a BSA perspective being able to appropriately understand and use them will not only emphasize the value of the BSA role, but also the force the change in mindset to align more towards the Agile way which is the common forte nowadays.

Aug 08, 2021
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I realized that this is something that we business analysts need to constantly show the value add of a business analyst to the project sponsor / client.  Business analyst as a role exists to solve business problems, create a positive change, design and describe solutions that deliver value and enhance the return on investment.  Following are 10 definite ways Business Analysts add value to their organizations.      

Jun 06, 2021
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Software handovers between teams and individuals in any ecosystem can be a minefield, often threatening to disrupt continuity and harmony across teams and organizations. In most cases, handovers result in knowledge loss, which in turn leads to chaos and time wastage when a critical issue hits the system. As a business analyst (BA), you will invariably be a part of the process, both at a junior and senior level. It is better to be fully aware of the complexities and pitfalls associated with taking part in a handover. You’ll eventually be able to apply some best practices to navigate around it (some of mine i hope and some of yours based on your context and area of operation).

May 03, 2021
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My experience taught me that the Scrum process framework is not the complete story. Scrum does not identify roles for the business analyst, system architect, tester, UI designer or deployment engineers. Instead, the work normally performed by these roles is performed by the development team or the product owner. It is possible that the Scrum development team includes people with all of these skills, but the problem is that all the development team work is performed within a sprint cycle. The only activity that Scrum identifies outside a sprint cycle is maintenance of a product backlog (and even then it is not documented as an activity in the Scrum framework).

Apr 11, 2021
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     Continuity planning can occur at many levels including at the project, department, organizational, or enterprise level. At the project level, a business analyst considers what will happen if a project solution fails or underperforms. This is usually documented in the form of transition requirements. At the higher levels, a business analyst collaborates with organizational leaders in key areas to determine the steps that need to be taken in the occurrence of major events that significantly disrupt business operations. With that said, I’ll be discussing the role a business analyst can play in developing an effective continuity plan.

     First, let’s discuss what a business continuity plan is. Essentially, this is a comprehensive plan to make operational changes that will allow an organization to continue business or services through a crisis, disaster, or operational disruption. The process of developing and maintaining this plan is known as business continuity planning. Typically, business continuity consists of the following three key areas...

Apr 08, 2021
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If you are offered a role as a software business analyst (BA) to look after software/products/projects (let’s call them products for future use) in maintenance mode, don’t freak out. Why would you freak out? Because someone would tell you that the best thing to be is a BA for a project which is about to start or is in motion — not a product which is implemented, go-live done, champagne bottles popped and currently in maintenance. What's the glory in that?

OK, let’s clear some confusion first. Maintenance means looking after a product while it is earning you money, while it is being used by actual users, while it is facing the test of users trying all the straightforward and alternate scenarios, and while it is being run through real performance tests. So it is pretty damn important. You need a smart BA, with good customer handling skills and sometimes with good fire-fighting skills to deal with the role.

Mar 21, 2021
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A business event is something that happens, and when it happens it causes a pre-planned response by the business, or as we shall call it here, “the work”. One category of business events are the things that happen inside an adjacent system. The work is made aware that the business event has happened because each happening produces a flow of data to the work. A business event is a significant happening – it is not just a mouse click. It is often a request for a service that your business provides, and the outcome is the provision of the service or product.

Mar 07, 2021
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Have you ever imagined a situation wherein your vocabulary is missing all of a sudden? What would happen if words weren’t there? Or our vocabulary shrank like ‘Honey I Shrunk the Kids’?

Next to silence, words are a very important part of our conversations :-). When it comes to Business Analysis, there are many challenges around definitions. The project Glossary should contain all key business terms. It is such a straight forward thing but we may assume those things. We may put a little less emphasis on creating a rich project Glossary. Let us zoom in a bit into the common challenges of glossaries and also discuss how to overcome them.

Feb 28, 2021
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Someone recently asked me “What does a typical day for a Business Analyst look like?” and my response was that if you do find someone who can articulately answer that question, they are probably a very good Business Analyst to start with. No two days look the same in this profession. A person in this role must have many facets to their personality in order for them to be a confident and a strong Business Analyst. I really like the business analysis profession because there are multiple dimensions to the various roles we may be asked to fulfil.

Being a Business Analyst has largely shaped my career and it has also played a big part in shaping my personality. What’s it about this role that has the potential to make a professional grow into a strong and a confident character? The purpose of this article is to talk about these aspects and show how a Business Analyst can use these aspects to their advantage to not only become the best Business Analyst that they can be but also to be a strong and confident personality that will help them at any turn of life; professional or personal.

Feb 21, 2021
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Agile projects, due to the short cycles of delivery, require a collaborative team, substantial leadership support, and a robust, agile culture to be in place to be called as working and successful.

The two key pillars for a successful agile project are the product owner and the business analyst.

The product owner works almost like the director of a movie, envisioning the macro and micro-level details for the product. At the same time, the business analyst ensures smooth execution of the sprint and manages the epics and stories' details.

Feb 15, 2021
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Dynamic shifts in consumer behaviour prompted organizations to gain a deeper and faster understanding of their data to guide decision making and, in some sectors, accelerated digital transformations. In particular, IIBA has identified some key areas where business analysis has developed a critical voice in response to the rapidly changing landscape. That voice and the impact business analysis professionals will continue to provide will play an important role in helping organizations navigate trends, uncertainty, and opportunities in 2021.

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 Not every manager is convinced that his team needs to do a better job on requirements development and management or that such an investment will pay off. Numerous industry studies, however, indicate that requirements issues are a pervasive cause of project distress. Let’s see why investing in better requirements is a smart business decision for any organization.

Dec 27, 2020
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Software applications, cars, kiosks, and many other products must communicate important information to users. These feedback messages most commonly contain information about errors; warnings or alerts; and task progress, completion, or confirmation . Feedback from a product is most effective when it exhibits these seven characteristics...

Dec 20, 2020
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The Entry Certificate in Business Analysis (ECBA) is a progressive initiative by IIBA that allows aspiring business analysts to demonstrate their understanding of business analysis fundamentals, despite not having practical business analyst experience. Unlike the higher-level IIBA certifications, the ECBA does not require professional experience to sit for the exam, which opens opportunities for aspiring BAs. When combined with the right set of skills and activities, the ECBA can make one’s resume significantly more marketable to employers looking to hire entry-level BAs. While experience remains a key factor in landing a BA role, having the ECBA on your resume is an effective way to bolster your credibility when your experience is minimal. Here is my recommended strategy for passing the ECBA exam on the first attempt.

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