Business Analysis Articles

Feb 25, 2024
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Much like a coach orchestrating a championship-winning sports team, the BA plays a multifaceted role in ensuring the effectiveness and efficiency of agile initiatives. They are tasked with guiding the team through the intricacies of information gathering, requirements elicitation, analysis, and prio...
Much like a coach orchestrating a championship-winning sports team, the BA plays a multifaceted role in ensuring the effectiveness and efficiency of agile initiatives. They are tas...
This article explores the importance of a business analysis approach and highlights the key benefits it offers in steering projects toward their desired outcomes. How imp...
Manufacturing outburst in combination with automation makes us think sometimes that economy is changed too fast and we left behind. The recent COVID-19 pandemic crisis can be perce...

Latest Articles

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Learning how to become an effective people manager can be difficult. Becoming a manager of business analysis resources has some unique challenges, but I hope to make it easier for you by sharing some advice based on my experience managing three different business analysis teams in three different organizations.  There are two ways people become business analysis managers; from having a lot of business analysis experience or being a people manager and transitioning to leading a business analysis team.  

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In my experience while working for different companies, I have seen that some organisations are learning to be agile while some pretend to be agile and others are not agile at all. While we are not here to talk about the last category (assuming they have a very good reason for not wanting to go agile), I would like to put down some challenges for organisations who are on their journey to becoming agile and for those who think they are agile but are possibly not. In this article, I am going to talk about my understanding of the plausible reasons why some organisations struggle to make it.

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The practical applications of data science are multiplying. From predicting if a delivery will arrive late to recommending how much herbicide to use to save money and protect the ecosystem, there are endless examples of organizations harnessing data science solutions to improve the efficiency and quality of business decisions.

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Is there something called as Agile BA or DevOps BA? Or is there a dedicated role such as ‘BA in DevOps’? How are Agile and DevOps related? How does BA role change or goes through metamorphosis, when it comes to DevOps?

One day, I got a corporate training enquiry and that is when I heard the term ‘Agile BA’ for the first time. At that time, I had already worked on Agile projects yet nobody had referred to my role particularly as Agile BA. A thought came to my mind, what if there was a job post saying “looking for a ‘Waterfall BA’?” I even heard once: “With DevOps there is hardly any role a need for BA or PM”.

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As BA's our fundamental job is to understand the business problems proactively, determine the consequences of not solving them, and then define a solution that eliminates or alleviates the problem. When given our directives: (i) a problem exists- define it (ii) provide a solution to that problem- describe it (iii) a change is required in the business to solve the problem- realise it. We must have effective tools in our arsenal, and a sure way to see beyond the bars on the window is to understand the fundamental truth of the situation and reason up from there. A first principles mindset could be that dominant tool to understand the seed to reap the fruits, enabling us to be the change agents that improve business processes and add value.

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In a previous organization I worked for, I formed a Business Analysis team by bringing 7 business analysis professionals together for the first time.  There were no templates, no standards, everyone was doing work their own way.  I don’t believe in standards for the sake of everyone doing work the same way, but I do believe in embracing what works best in an organization and striving to use that to achieve repeatable success.  I introduced the concept of a Business Analysis Center of Excellence (CoE) to the organization. 

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Several years ago, I had the opportunity to manage a group of project managers and business analysts. This article reminisces about what shaped my thoughts on managing such a group and hopefully gives you some considerations given the opportunity.

Past Experience

Perhaps negative experiences impress us more than positive ones. What does not kill you, makes you stronger. In the area of managing a group of project managers and business analysts, two negative experiences stand out for me. I was a project manager engaged in a conversation with my boss on my development. I had worked for this person several years. I asked him if he had heard about a group called the “Project Management Institute.” He said “yes” and maybe he should expose the organization to the group. Maybe? I asked the question since I had been working as a project manager without guidance and frankly was a bit upset over the lack of leadership and development. I told myself, “isn’t that the role of management - to develop people.

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Analytical techniques in process discovery and improvement, including process mining and simulation, have been available for many years. In the past, however, they were used primarily by people with a technical analytical background. The current business environment and technological advances have pushed these analytical tools into the mainstream, where they are being recognized as essential for all levels of business analysts.

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The concept of resilience is closely connected with the concept of self-leadership as exercising and improving yourself towards being able to lead yourself can help you being able to return.  In the face of a crisis some people ride out uncertainty instead of being overpowered by it. Are there special personal characteristics of these persons? Are they gifted from their birth having supreme quality of genes? Maybe but what they do is exercising certain behaviors. Behaviors that not only triggered by their personal characteristics and their personality but from their willingness and commitment in those behaviors

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Industry certifications such as IIBA are proven ways to get oneself established in the industry and achieve much-aspired growth in the profession in terms of skill, visibility, personal branding, career growth, to name a few. In fact, it opens a myriad of opportunities for a business analysis professional.  This article is meant for those wishing to achieve IIBA certification on the first attempt without falling for the deadly failure traps.

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One of the biggest challenges now facing business analysts is this: how do we successfully engage with stakeholders, elicit requirements, and have productive workshops and meetings, without actually meeting in person? The tried-and-tested methods of getting together in a collaborative space, using sticky notes and whiteboards, and bribing attendees with baked goods, are no longer quite so straightforward in a world where some or all of the stakeholders are on the far end of an internet connection.

There are several factors to consider when moving out of the purely physical realm as a business analyst.

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There’s always more than one design solution for a software problem and seldom a single best solution. The first design approach you conceive won’t be the best option. As one experienced designer explained it:

You haven’t done your design job if you haven’t thought of at least three solutions, discarded all of them because they weren’t good enough, and then combined the best parts of all of them into a superior fourth solution. Sometimes, after considering three options, you realize that you don’t really understand the problem.

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Is your requirements approach friendly to vocabulary, policies and messages? I mean directly. Wouldn’t it be of great help to your organization in achieving its goals if they were? In our experience, policy sources almost always need interpretation and disambiguation to achieve an effective practicable form. As this column discusses, the rule message ‘Reserved for Green Car’ provides an excellent case in point.

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It is true that a structural element of the conceptual framework of the BABOK knowledge areas is tailoring. The philosophy that a specific sequential approach does not fit in all circumstances is clear across all the knowledge areas and techniques presented. A business analyst has to critically filter and pick up the most useful techniques and approaches given the specific circumstances.

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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.

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