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 ...

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Recently I wrote a paper on the general state of craftsmanship which was geared more for public consumption as opposed to any specific industry. To my way of thinking, craftsmanship is a universal concept that touches all industries, regardless if they are product or service related.  This resulted in a flurry of e-mails to me questioning how it pertains to specific types of work, including Business Systems Analysis (BSA) which, of course, is applicable but I question whether we have truly realized craftsmanship in this field.

From the outset, let me say unequivocally that business systems analysis is not a new concept and has been with us for a long time, actually predating the modern computer era of the 20th century.  Prior to this, companies had formal "Systems & Procedures" departments with analysts focusing on streamlining business processes and primarily using paper and manual procedures.  As tabulating and other office equipment emerged, they were responsible for their integration into the business.  But as computers were introduced, a new function was devised that greatly impacted the future of analysts, namely programmers. 

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Author: Tim Bryce is a writer and management consultant with M. Bryce & Associates of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the field. He is available for lecturing, training and consulting on an international basis. He can be reached either at timb001@phmainstreet.com

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Analysts report poor requirements management accounts for as much as 71 percent of software project failures. The main cause is the gap between (a) what the business team wants and how it communicates this, and (b) what IT understands and delivers. No matter how good a project development environment is, if the requirements captured in the first p...
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"Craftsmanship = (Knowledge + Experience + Attitude) X Success"
- Bryce's Law

The purpose of this essay is to review the state of craftsmanship in the 21st century, determine if it still has merit in today's corporate culture, and if so, devise recommendations for perpetuating it.

. . .

Before we go further, let's examine what exactly we mean by the term "craftsmanship":

"The practice and pursuit of excellence in building/delivering superior work products by workers."

This implies craftsmanship is a universally applicable concept for any field of endeavor, be it producing a product or delivering a service. Basically, it is a commitment to excellence which is most definitely not the same as quality. Quality simply relates to the absence of errors or defects in the finished product or service. In other words, finished goods operate according to their specifications (customers get precisely what they ordered). Although quality is certainly an element of craftsmanship, the emphasis on "superior work products" means the worker wants to go beyond the status quo and is constantly looking for new and imaginative ways to produce superior results. This suggests the craftsman is personally involved with the work products and treats them as an extension of his/her life.

. . .

What about us in the business analysis community!  Do we take pride in our craftmanship?

Author: Tim Bryce is a writer and management consultant with M. Bryce & Associates of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the field. He is available for lecturing, training and consulting on an international basis. He can be reached either at timb001@phmainstreet.com
Comments and questions are welcome.

 

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In Toronto, Canada - January 3, 2005: The International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA) made available components of the world's first Body of Knowledge for Business Analysis. Since then a simple Google search for "business analyst" reveals that these professionals are in high demand. There are openings at banks, telecoms, retailers, insurance and many more industries for business analysts. Education providers namely; B2T Training has emerged worldwide in order to cater for this high demand of professionals who wish to pursue a career in Business Analysis.

Author: Thirusha Chetty, consultant, IndigoCube South Africa

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Mentoring ensures newly trained business analysts are immediately productive. What can project leaders and managers offer employees hoping to carve out careers as business analysts? What path do business analysts follow? Do they simply attend training courses, shuffling through the process from one end to the other, emerging on the far side as qua...
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Not all business analysts are born equal, but they can reach a common baseline of excellence through diligence. The recent emergence of a career path due to formalisation of the industry has highlighted the fact that some people are predisposed to be good business analysts, while others need to work a little harder at it. Not only should prospect...
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The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that job opportunities for systems analysts will increase at an above-average pace through 2014, as organizations continue to build and implement increasingly complex technologies. If you've been wondering whether you'd be happy in the role of systems analyst, take a look at the following list. If you see...
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The main benefit of today’s Agile development methodologies such as Scrum or XP is the promise of delivering more in a shorter period of time and the value derived from having the flexibility to adjust your course mid-way through a development effort. But does this type of approach allow for requirements management? Is RM necessary given the shorte...
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Many studies have shown that requirements errors are very costly. By one estimate (in an article by Donald Firesmith for the Software Engineering Institute), requirements errors cost US businesses more than $30 billion per year and often result in failed or abandoned projects and damaged careers. The common wisdom is to find and fix requirements er...
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We've all come to realize that SOA makes a lot of sense. It also makes a lot of promises, some more genuine than others, but perhaps the most fundamental promise SOA has made is empowerment of the business user. As the story goes, SOA transforms application development from a complex and mysterious black art—the likes of which most understand l...
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Structure diagrams in general Structure diagrams show the static structure of the system being modeled. focusing on the elements of a system, irrespective of time. Static structure is conveyed by showing the types and their instances in the system. Besides showing system types and their instances, structure diagrams also show at least some of the ...
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U.S. News and World Report published their list of Best Careers for 2008 - and Usability/User Experience Professional is one of the listed professions.  This is a business analysis related discipline with many business analysts also playing the role of UI designer. "Usability specialists make sure that products, especially technical on...
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 The US News and World Report published their list of best careers for 2008 and Systems Analyst was one of the professions in the list. "The Ace Widget Co. has an ancient computer system. It'd like to upgrade to an Oracle-based operation with wireless capabilities, so employees can access the system with their BlackBerrys. The systems ...
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Many organizations are scratching their collective heads over how to build and mature a business analysis center of excellence (COE). Where do we start? What does a business analysis COE look like? Who owns it? How does it evolve? This article, an excerpt from ESI’s white paper of the same name, outlines the standard operating practices necessary f...
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I have a hypothesis I want to explore:

Requirements Risk management could be a useful approach to requirements analysis, and lead to better requirements management.

High level the idea goes like this:

  • Risk management is an important part of project management
  • Requirements management is also a critical part of the puzzle
  • Should we be running a requirements risk management process on our projects?

The purpose of this article is to introduce the topic of Requirements risk into the Requirements Management discussion. Feedback and commentary is welcome and can be provided at ModernAnalyst.com

Serious projects run risk management processes throughout their lifecycle. In fact, risk management is one of the nine knowledge areas of the PMI’s PMBOK, and one of several key processes in the (British) OGC’s P3M3 project, programme and portfolio management framework.

PM bodies obviously take risk management seriously, and it’s backed up by the academics. Studies are showing that a structured approach to risk management has a correlation with successful project delivery. Risk management is a vitally important part of project management.

I don’t need to explain the problem of requirements again. There are plenty of articles on the web about how poor project requirements management costs billions of dollars and lead to disappointment everywhere. Of course the best way to manage requirements is to put trained and experienced people on the job. Building up the knowledge areas and processes will also support the need to improve requirements management.

Author: Craig Brown
Craig Brown works as a Project Manager and Business Analyst.  He is an active contributor to Modern Analyst and runs his own blog called Better Projects.

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