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Business Analyst Community & Resources | Modern Analyst
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What is Business Capability Mapping and why it is beneficial?
Business capability mapping depicts what a business does to reach its strategic objectives (its capabilities), rather than how it does it (its business processes). Business capabilities are the connection between the business strategy and business execution.
In which document do you include the Class Diagram (business requirements, functional requirements, software specification document)?
Just like any other diagram, the Class Diagram is just a tool at the disposal of the analyst. In the absence of a set process, it is at the analyst’s discretion to determine when to use a class diagram. Therefore, in which analysis artifact/document a class diagram should be included depends on its use.
How is the Purpose Alignment Model used to prioritize requirements?

The Purpose Alignment Model aids in prioritizing requirements and guiding investment decisions by rating requirements (which may be capabilities, processes or tasks) along two dimensions:

  • whether it creates market differentiation or contributes to the value proposition
  • whether it is critical for ongoing operation of the organization

What is a Sentiment Score Chart and when might a business analyst use one?
Business Analysts engage in all kinds of interviews, open response surveys, ideation workshops, and other research activities that result in large amounts of qualitative information.  So much qualitative information can present challenges both in terms of absorbing and understanding the information as well as representing it visually to others.  It can be difficult to turn participants’ open responses into quantitative data.  sentiment score chart is a polarized histogram that communicates both the positive and negative feedback (or sentiment) of the participants transforming qualitative data into a quantitative visualization.
What are Story Points and why use them?
Story points are a unit of measure used to estimate the relative size and complexity of user stories in agile development.  If one user story is 1 point and another is 2 points then the 2 point user story is expected to take twice as much effort to develop as the first.
What is Planning Poker?
Planning Poker is a consensus-based technique for estimating effort.  It is primarily used in agile development to estimate the size of user stories, but can be equally as powerful for estimating effort of key tasks in a project plan using a traditional work breakdown structure.
What is Information Architecture and how is it relevant to Business Analysts?
Business Analysts are most successful when they understand and practice many different disciplines that impact the software and application development process.  Having a working knowledge of disciplines such as UI design, user experience, interaction design, and information architecture, to name a few, results in more successful applications and better experiences.

Information Architecture is one of those lesser known disciplines which crosses multiple roles. 
What information should be included in a feasibility assessment?
The purpose of a feasibility assessment is to evaluate whether a proposed solution can be expected to provide the desired business benefits, and to identify any barriers or risks that could potentially impact solution viability, value or benefit. The feasibility assessment is typically conducted at a point in the project where alternative solutions are being compared prior to selecting a single go-forward solution or approach. If there is only one potential solution or approach being considered, it is still beneficial to conduct a feasibility assessment in order to verify the viability of that solution before investing fully.
What is a Business Architect and is it different from a Business Analyst?

The term Business Analyst is broad.  The name alone implies that a business analyst performs some form of business analysis, but that’s not very specific.

When using the term business analyst broadly it may in fact be describing any number of more specialized roles, including:

  • Business Process Engineers
  • Product Managers
  • Systems Analysts
  • Requirements Engineers
  • Financial Analysts
  • Business Architects
  • Usability Analysts
  • Data Analysts
  • etc.

In comparison, a Business Architect focuses on the activity of creating and managing the business architecture.  So what is a business architecture exactly?

What are micro-interactions in the context of user experience and design?
Micro-interactions are the small focused instances where users and the website (or application) intersect.  They are a way to actively interact with users in a simple, clear, and engaging manner. 
What is meant by application usability?
Usability is a measure of the interactive user experience associated with a system such as a business system, website, or mobile application and is a focus of fields of the Human Factors Psychology and Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) fields of study.  Usability is the quality of a system that makes it useful in achieving a user’s goals, effective and easy to use, quick to learn, and like-able, i.e., subjectively pleasing to the user.
What is responsive design and why is it important?
Responsive Design refers to the ability of a website or application to respond to a user’s screen size, platform, device orientation, and behavior. Through the use of a flexible grid layout and CSS media queries the application can alter it’s layout as well as available features to provide an optimal viewing and user experience.
Can you have multiple start and end events in BPMN?
The BPMN standard allows for multiple start and end events to be used at the same process level.  There a few reasons why the business analyst may use multiple start or end events, but caution must be used to avoid mistakes.
Agile: User Stories versus Epics, what's the difference?
User Stories and Epics make up the essential building blocks of agile planning and development. They are closely related and, therefore, the differences are often misunderstood.
Would you use a sequence diagram or an activity diagram to model a process flow that has lot of conditional flows and concurrent processing?
Modeling of processes that contain a lot of conditional flows and concurrent processing is typically done using an activity diagram. Showing decision points with multiple outcomes and parallel processes is not only easy to accommodate using the standard UML activity diagram, it is more readily understood by an audience that doesn't have a detailed understand of the UML notation. It's intuitive.
As a BA (business analyst) approaching a new piece of work, who would you interview and what questions would you ask?

For any new piece of work a BA (business analyst) needs to know

1. who are the key stakeholders (i.e. those who can kill the project)

2. what are the key stakeholders specific and measurable measures of success (i.e. their objectives) and what VALUE for each objective MUST be achieved in order for the project to be considered a success (e.g. increase sales per order value by 5%)

3. what are the key stakeholders unmeasured measures of success (i.e. their principles that they would like to see happen but aren't going to measure and so the project cannot be assessed by them - e.g. an intuitive solution)

4. what are the key stakeholders high level requirements (i.e. what capabilities do they expect the solution to deliver - e.g. the ability to offer add-on sales during the order taking process)

5. what is in scope of the work in terms of processes, organization units, locations, data, applications, technology

6. what is the scope of the work in terms of time, money, project resources (people and materials)

7. who will the stakeholders nominate for determining further high level requirements and detailed requirements (e.g. subject or domain experts, middle management of operational teams, etc)

What is Robotic Process Automation?
Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is the use of software to automate rule-based tasks and processes and mimic human actions such as data entry, searches, calculations, and rule-based decisions across multiple software applications.  From this perspective you can view RPA as workflow automation though the term is used throughout the industry to refer specifically to software that automates tasks across multiple software applications.
What type of testing might involve the business analyst?

Of the various types of testing, the business analyst is usually most involved with Functional Testing, Regression Testing, and Usability testing. 

What is RuleSpeak?
RuleSpeak is a set of guidelines for expressing business rules using a natural language (such as English).  Rulespeak is not a language or syntax itself but rather a set of guidelines to facilitate the creation of business rules that are concise, consistent, and less ambiguous.
What is a canary release and what are some of the benefits?
A canary release is a technique used to mitigate the risk associated with rolling out new code and functionality to everyone by making the new release only available to a small group of end users. Due to the smaller size of the user group, the impact of the new release is relatively small.  If it's determined that bugs exist or that the new functionality or new design isn't well received then it's easy to rollback.
How does Enterprise Analysis bring value to an organization?
The information produced through Enterprise Analysis is the basis for critical project decisions – what the project is expected to cost, what value it is expected to bring, whether any solution can be reasonably expected to address the business needs, which solution is the ‘best’ when alternatives are available, and the ultimate decision- should the organization even proceed with a particular project or course of action.
What is Gap Analysis?


Gap Analysis is the process of comparing two things in order to determine the difference or “gap” that exists between them.   Once the gap is understood, the steps required to bridge the gap can be determined. 
What is the Blue Ocean Strategy?
Red oceans represent existing industry and markets where industry boundaries and the rules of competition are well defined. Companies strive to outperform rivals and grab a bigger share of existing demand. As the space gets crowded, competition among companies turns waters red with blood. Competitive market strategies are about how to occupy, and hopefully succeed in, red oceans and gain a larger share of existing demand.  

Blue oceans represent new or unknown markets where demand is created rather than fought over. This is a market creating strategy. Companies that pursue this strategy have been known to spawn entirely new industries. 

Describe Porter’s Five Forces Analysis

Porter’s Five Forces was created by Michael E. Porter of Harvard Business School in 1979.  Porter created his analysis framework in response to the well known SWOT analysis which he found to be lacking in rigor.

Porter described his 5 forces as the micro environment of the market because they directly impact the company’s ability to serve its customers and make a profit.  The five forces are:
  • Threat of new competition
  • Threat of substitute products or services
  • Intensity of competitive rivalry
  • Bargaining power of customers (buyers)
  • Bargaining power of suppliers

What is the BCG Matrix and how might you use it?

The BCG Matrix was developed by the Boston Consulting Group in 1986 in order to evaluate and analyze the business units and product offerings of corporations. Companies can use this simple 2 x 2 matrix as an analytical tool in portfolio analysis, strategic management, product management, and brand marketing.

The BCG Matrix plots business units or product offerings along two axis; the first is market growth, the second is market share.  

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