Business Analysis Articles

Aug 18, 2019
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Are you a Business Analyst (BA) wondering what User Experience (UX) Design is all about and how your involvement in a design project is likely to impact your usual role? If so, I’ve also been pondering the same question for some time.
Are you a Business Analyst (BA) wondering what User Experience (UX) Design is all about and how your involvement in a design project is likely to impact your usual role? If so, I&r...
The reason why top performing business analysts tend to be so effective in complex projects, even when their domain knowledge is limited, is because of their ability to see things ...
If someone said you could only perform a single quality practice on a software project, what would you choose? I’d pick peer reviews of requirements, which I believe are the ...

Latest Articles

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A Feature Tree is an RML Objectives model that shows the full scope of features for a project or product on a single page in a tree format. A feature is just a short form description of functionality provided by the project or product that brings value to the end user. The Feature Tree is great for bringing new people on a project up to speed and showing executives, business stakeholders, or customers all the features that are in scope for a project or release.
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Operational business decisions happen every minute of every day in your organization. You’d like to think that business managers can truly manage them. You’d also like to think that the results of those decisions are comprehensively correct, consistent, traceable, and repeatable (high quality). But are they? Based on real-life evidence I strongly suspect they often are not.... When IT professionals talk about “decisions” they often mean branch points within the deep systemic logic executed by machines – classic decision points in data processing. I don’t mean that either.

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The difficulty of gathering information and establishing requirements, owing to the chaotic nature of the business world, is clear to see. Every business analyst must overcome their own Mad Tea Party if they are to be successful in carrying out their mission. As Alice is confronted with the unreliability of the Hatter, the March Hare, and the Dormouse, so too is the analyst faced with unreliable stakeholders. In her attempts to gain an understanding of the never-ending tea party, Alice’s use of elicitation is effectively useless in the face of endless riddles, an unconventional sense of time, and undependable characters.  Analysts find themselves in comparable environments with various degrees of chaos and unpredictability. 

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We implemented A/B testing into our product 6 months ago. During that time we conducted a variety of A/B tests to generate insights about our user's behaviour. We learnt a lot about our specific product. More generally, we learnt about how to run valuable A/B tests.
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Process Flows are usually used for user facing projects/systems, although their cousin, the System Flow, can be used in virtually the same manner to document system processes and logic.  When on an agile project, the Product Owner (PO) or Business Analyst (BA) will usually elicit the high level process flow (L1) in a sprint 0 or planning type phase. From there, during that same planning type phase, the L2 processes to be created will be prioritized and the PO or BA will usually work on the 1-2 highest priority process flows at the L2 level. This is to build the initial backlog.

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Chaos, by its very nature, is impossible to control completely, and so a business analyst who enters into their own chaotic Wonderland will be presented with difficulties immediately. Throughout Alice’s adventures down the rabbit hole, she is confronted with a complete absence of structure, a lack of clear information, and a cast of frantic characters. In their role, a business analyst must strive to find order in the chaos, just like Alice. As Alice is faced with riddles, the business analyst is faced with information that is either unclear or unavailable. They must solve the riddles and establish structure, all while appeasing the residents of Wonderland.
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Visit any active discussion forum for business analysts and aspiring BAs, and invariably you will find at least one thread asking how to develop domain knowledge, either in a new industry, such as health or insurance, or a new business function, such as marketing or supply chain management. Alice just got a job working for the first time in financial services, and is worried that her lack of experience in this domain will get in the way of her doing a great job. Bob keeps getting his resume ignored for analyst jobs in government agencies because most of his experience is in ecommerce applications. What to do?
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To ensure the continuity of operational business knowledge, no organization should ever depend on absent brains – or even on brains that could (and eventually always will) become absent in the future. To say it differently, your operational business knowledge should be encoded explicitly in a form that workers you have never even met yet can understand.

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Business analysis is an indispensable function in all business organizations, performed at myriad forms and scales.  Maintaining high quality of business analysis consistently is a challenge to many organizations. Inconsistent business analysis output quality results in undesirable project outcomes, poor decisions, operational disjoints and missed opportunities.  This article uses an actual case to discuss how low quality business analysis impacts an organization and what improvement initiatives the organization implemented to address the problems.

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Most discussions about software requirements deal with business information systems and similar projects. The world is also full of products that use software to control hardware devices, broadly called embedded systems. Among countless examples are cell phones, television remote controls, kiosks of all sorts, Internet routers, and robot cars.  This is the first article of two that will discuss some of the requirements issues that are especially important to embedded and other real-time systems.

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Given the right circumstances, even good people can go astray as our psychology push us down the slippery slope of questionable behavior.   A little bit of knowledge about the forces that drive us to cheat can go a long way helping avoid bad behavior. Here are some common landmines to become aware of so you can make sure to defuse them as you embark in a new BA project

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The problem with many Unified Modeling Language (UML) educational texts is that they present the various concepts each in isolation; so you see a use case diagram for one problem domain, a class diagram for an entirely different problem domain, and you never get to see the important traceability between the diagrams.

In this case study we aim to put it right by working through a single problem from use cases and activity diagrams, through sequence diagrams and state diagrams, to class diagrams and component diagrams. We have arranged the case study as three distinct perspectives or aspects as follows.

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The context diagram and the use case diagram are two useful techniques for representing scope. This article describes two other methods for documenting scope: feature levels and system events.

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Opportunities abound for new and experienced analysts to advance their careers if they are willing to increase their knowledge of analytics, metrics, and Business Intelligence. In the meantime, following these five steps will help get you and your organization on your way to being a well-measured one.
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Business analysts’ performance and how we could measure it appeared to be a hot topic of interest for the Business Analysis community.   “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it” (Peter Drucker) – this statement hides lots of questions for the Business Analysis managers, like what to measure, how to assess, quantifiable or qualifiable metrics to use? 
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