Business Analysis Articles

Jun 26, 2022
I’ve written this article to provide an overview of AWS (Amazon Web Services) for Business Analysts. The cloud (in particular AWS) is now a part of many projects. If you’ve been in meetings where people have mentioned: ‘EC2’, ‘ELB’, ‘AZs’ and though...
I’ve written this article to provide an overview of AWS (Amazon Web Services) for Business Analysts. The cloud (in particular AWS) is now a part of many projects. If you&r...
This article discusses record types supporting the concepts product, customer, sale, and location. The names given to these records varies depending on the line(s) of business an o...
There are many other valuable requirements activities besides these six. However, these practices greatly increase your chances of building a solution that achieves the desired bus...

Latest Articles

Jun 20, 2021

Business analysts should bring more than an ad-hoc or experience-based business process modeling competence to digital transformation projects.  This article explains why and practically, how.  Here are 5 ways to improve your business process modeling competence and become better prepared for producing high-quality business process models that serve digital transformation projects

Jun 16, 2021

The reason to bring this up here in this post is to talk about the business analyst's role as a navigator. How good we are as navigators? In helping the conversations and collaborations? In writing the specs? Business analysts ensure that the system is being on the desired path and not on the exception path! I am sure we can argue that we want to build exception paths, errors, and scenarios that break the system. It is true. If we observe everyday linguistic patterns, there is a natural human tendency to talk about what we do 'not' want. Whereas what we 'want' is something that needs to succinctly be delved into. Is this a clever play of words? No. It is about utilizing 80/20 rule in thinking through what process or system you want to build. 80% on where you want to do and 20% on what exception and roundabout scenarios you can expect of. Let's take a few simple examples as we relate this to a business analyst's role.

Jun 13, 2021

Culture determines how people behave. If you want to change behaviour, you have to look to changing the culture. This is the story of how we changed the culture of a team of business analysts.

We inherited this team; they worked in an organisation where the culture was pretty poor. People were uninterested in their work. They resented the time they spent at work; they cheated on timecards; they simply did not do any work whenever they thought they could get away with it. Naturally enough, performance and productivity were abysmal.

Jun 06, 2021

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 30, 2021

How do we know when a user story is “done“? Can we say that the user story is done when it is coded and all acceptance tests for it are passed? Business representatives may say yes, but they do not know all the peculiarities of software development. So, such criteria as quality are not fully visible to them.

Or let’s have a look at another situation: a new feature that changed the business process was developed and tested according to the best software practices, but users struggle to use this feature because they are not sure about the changes this feature brings. Maybe a proper user manual or user training is needed in this case?

In this article, a simple, but very powerful technique which is called Definition of Done (DoD) is explained.

May 23, 2021

As mentioned in my previous article Three Myths About Data Science Debunked, sooner or later business analysts will be involved a project with a machine learning or AI component. While BAs don’t necessarily need to know how statistical models work, understanding how to interpret their results can give them a competitive advantage.

This article discusses three concepts that can help analysts add value to data science projects (future articles will cover additional ones). Cultivating skills in these areas will increase your ability to build cross-functional alignment between business and data science teams and prevent bad decisions based on flawed analyses.

May 19, 2021

What are the most common elicitation challenges? This is one of the most discussed topics from my business analysis training sessions. A business analyst extracts information in various forms, from various sources, and transforms those findings into requirements and design artifacts. Let’s take a look at some of the common challenges during the elicitation process and how to address them.

May 16, 2021

Integration requirements are critical for any Project’s success when Business Processes flow across multiple systems. As a Business Analyst it’s our responsibility to understand the end-to-end Business and Systems Process flow and document the hand off as part of the requirements gatherings process. A systematic approach to gather the requirements for integration between systems will ensure that there is a smooth interaction between the systems and hence the Business Process flow. The below Framework on Integration Requirements Analysis provides a systematic approach to document requirements for an Integration Project

May 09, 2021

In all my years as a Consultant Business Analyst, having reached a level of proficiency, I have realised that being a business analyst is seldom about the hard skills. In fact, it is more about the soft skills and BAs who operate at that level are more impressive and effective in their job. Hard skills like documentation, requirements elicitation, process maps etc. are easily taught and acquired but the soft skills are developed with experience and the right attitude towards this role. Over time I feel the perception of the value of BAs has diluted and I blame those who have been superficial about performing this role. Those who think their role is just about the tangible artefacts like the business requirements document, process maps, business case, etc. Those who think they are here to deliver a project and nothing else. Those who think the BA’s job is to take orders and execute. But the fact is that the role of a BA is a lot more subtle than one thinks. There is a much broader aspect to this role, which is often forgotten, and we get caught in deliverables and artefacts.

Let’s look at some aspects of this role, which are common knowledge and broaden our perspective of that. When the mindset of the Business Analyst changes to the bigger picture and to the more delicate facets to this role, you perform much better as a business analyst and are a more reliable and thus a desirable professional for companies.

May 03, 2021

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 25, 2021

Ever wondered how to write foolproof acceptance criteria? Or even wondered what a business analyst can do to ensure that requirements are testable? Acceptance criteria define the minimum requirements the solution must meet. A business analyst plays a key role in defining the tests around it. The acceptance tests can be at various levels of requirements detail. Starting from high-level requirements to detailed requirements. Let’s take a look at common challenges involved in this part of the world, along with a few ideas to overcome those.

Apr 18, 2021

For the past year the COVID-19 virus has forced us to limit our exposure to the outside world. This virus has given us a need to find a home activity to entertain ourselves and our families. One of the activities I have pursued is assembling jigsaw puzzles. As you may know, a jigsaw puzzle is a challenge in assembling picture pieces into a single image. They come in various shapes and sizes. After doing a number of these puzzles, I noticed the similarity between this fun activity and executing a project.

Apr 15, 2021

Business is rarely 100% smooth sailing. Regardless of the industry or sector, there are always challenges to overcome and obstacles that must be faced on the pathway to success.

Some organizations aren’t strong enough to ride the waves. Others, however, are, and the reason for their strength is that they’re not navigating the murky waters alone - they’re supported by an ambitious, results-driven business analyst. Research even shows that business projects are more likely to succeed with the help of a great BA.

At their core, business analysts are part problem solvers, part change-makers. The core responsibility of a business analyst, or BA, is to work with organizations to identify a sticking point that’s standing in the way of them achieving their goals, introduce a solution to this problem, and help the business to adapt in a way that makes it easy to implement the solution into the business environment.

Typically, a great business analyst is someone that’s confident enough to think outside the box, who’s solution-oriented and innovative. But today these skills alone aren’t enough, especially as the role of the BA is changing.

Apr 11, 2021

     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

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.

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