Business Analysis Articles

Jun 23, 2024
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Systems analysts play a crucial role in bridging the gap between business needs and technology solutions. To be successful in 2024, they need a mix of technical, analytical, and communication skills. This is because they have to understand complex systems, determine what businesses need, and ensu...
Systems analysts play a crucial role in bridging the gap between business needs and technology solutions. To be successful in 2024, they need a mix of technical, analytical, and co...
Professionals in the dynamic field of business analysis must constantly adjust to shifting surroundings and a wide range of stakeholder needs. Surprisingly, there are a lot of less...
This article discusses the role of Capability-Based High-Level Requirements (HLRs) when an organization has chosen to acquire a Commercial-Off-The-Shelf (COTS) information system. ...

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In I.T., are we really spending too much time on "maintenance"?  Within any systems development organization, there are but three types of work effort: new systems development, maintenance, and modification/improvements. A mature development organization will spend approximately 5% of its time on new development, 10% on maintenance, and 85% of its time on modification/improvements.

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Business Analysis is a term that covers a wide range of different disciplines, which has grown in scope over the past 10-15 years. BAs can become involved in a variety of different activities, depending on the organisation and the particular project that they are working on – these can range from very technical to very business focused activities.  So if you're working as a Business Analyst, or working with a Business Analyst, what can you expect?
 

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Contrary to what you might think, the problem that rulebook management addresses is a relatively simple one. Its solution is relatively simple too. The reason people have a hard time seeing that is because the problem is so big. It’s all around us, everywhere we look – a whole host of trees blinding us to the forest.

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Regretably, many of today's Systems Analysts are still glorified programmers in sheep's clothing.  I recently came across some job postings under the title, "Systems Analyst," and it occurred to me people still do not know what it means. In the postings I saw things like "seeking a Systems Analyst with 4 - 6 years experience... Candidate must have experience with JAVA and the ATG application framework."

 

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“I may not know much about art, but I know what I like”. This famous punch line to a Monty Python sketch about a fictional conversation between a disgruntled Pope and innovative Michelangelo (who wanted extra disciples, multiple messiahs and a kangaroo in his first draft of the Last Supper), can also be seen to satirize our own modern fixation with creativity, feedback and the idea that ‘the customer is always right’.

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Whether it is in software development, business analysis, portfolio management or business strategy, everyone wants to be Agile - and nobody wants to admit they aren't Agile. But what does it really take to be Agile? What is the state of Agility like?

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 Adult children. Jumbo shrimp. Seriously funny. I’m sure you recognize these expressions as oxymorons—self-contradictory phrases, often with an ironic meaning.  Should we add “agile requirements” to the list? Does agile development fit in with traditional requirements practices? And if so, how?
 

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Like it or not, every business analyst will have to stand up in front of a group and present. The group might be your business clients, the project stakeholders or just your fellow team members but for many people, one of two things will happen: it will frighten the life out of them OR they’ll umm and ah their way through, sending the audience to sleep.  Why is this so?
 

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If you work with other business analysts, you are fortunate. Together with your colleagues, you can experience greater effectiveness than you could have achieved on your own.  Additionally, your colleagues can provide you with a diverse and convenient pool of expertise from which to draw.

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There is much written today about separating business rules from other dimensions of automated business systems. Without proper separation, they operate in enterprises without a great deal of thought given to them. Ironically, they may be the most important dimension because they represent important business thinking behind processes, use cases, for example. This article discusses various approaches for dealing with business rules and use cases.
 

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What we have witnessed in the last 25 years is a series of programmes of change failing to achieve their intended outcomes. Customer Care, ISO 9000, TQM, ABC, BPR. All the research and experience show that the latest panacea does no better than its predecessors. Over and over again improvement programmes are thwarted by commonly-known but illusive forces. The problem is labeled as ‘organization culture’, which typically leads to rationalizations like ‘change takes time’, or ‘each programme is an element in the total change programme’.

Rationalizations prevent learning.

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This article provides the business analyst an analogy on how process owners manage value chains by monitoring leading and lagging metrics. The article highlights the need for business analysts to provide process owners with these metrics. These metrics provide indications of positive and negative process and business risks. Examples of the traditional risk response types of accept, avoid, mitigate, transfer, exploit, enhance, and share are provided.

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The benefits of Agile methods are becoming more obvious and compelling. While the most popular practices were developed and proven in small team environments, the interest and need for using Agile in the enterprise is growing rapidly. That's largely because Agile provides quantifiable, "step-change" improvements in the "big three" software development measures - quality, productivity and morale. Confirming Agile's benefits, hundreds of large enterprises, many with more than 1,000 software developers, are adopting the methodology.

Regarding software architecture, it's interesting to note that it is the "lighter-weight" Agile methods, specifically Scrum and XP, that are seeing the broadest adoption in the enterprise.

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Requirements continue to be a major problem area for most organizations. According to industry reports, the leading causes of quality, cost, and schedule problems are lack of understanding of the customer’s needs, incomplete requirement specifications, and managing changing requirements. In fact, requirements are so important that one of the definitions of quality is, “conformance to requirements”. If requirements are not good, the costs of poor quality will be high and the resulting products and services will not be good either. So what can an organization focus on now to measurably improve their requirements? This article will describe some practical strategies that organizations can use to measurably improve their requirements.

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The role of business analysts and systems analysts appears to be very closely related, and there is no agreement on the definitions of the roles or the required skill set to become one of the said analysts. Though the number of these positions is increasing, the understanding of what the business and systems analysts are remains unclear and differs between organisations. A review of literature shows that there are common roles and skills between the two positions, as well as very distinct roles and skills that are clear. This research has demonstrated that although there is some harmony between the articles and interviews on the distinctions between the business analyst and the systems analyst, there are still discrepancies that can only be understood through further research.

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