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What happens when the BA and UX worlds collide?
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.
Be the bird in your projects to become a better BA
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 from a higher angle and with more nuanced colors.
Requirements Review Challenges
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 highest-leverage quality practice we have available today. In a peer review, someone other than the author of a work product examines the product for quality problems and improvement opportunities. Reviewing requirements is a powerful technique. Use them to identify ambiguous or unverifiable requirements, find requirements that aren’t sufficiently detailed yet, spot conflicts between requirements, and reveal numerous other problems.
How BAs Fit into Projects and Development
As the business analyst (BA) role continues to evolve, the responsibilities continue to expand. One of the best ways for a business analyst to add value to a project is to understand the processes involved in both the project life cycle (PLC) and the software development life cycle (SDLC). Contrary to popular belief, the two life cycles are independent of one another, however, it's best that they are aligned.
Ninety Percent Done
The fact that software projects and tasks are reported to be “90 percent done” for a long time has become something of an industry joke. (A related joke states that the first half of a software project consumes the first 90 percent of the resources, and the second half consumes the other 90 percent of the resources.) This well-intentioned but misleading status tracking makes it difficult to judge when a body of work will truly be completed so you can ship the next product release to your customers. Here are several typical causes of “90 percent done” syndrome and a few possible cures.
Top 10 Most Common Reasons People Fail the CBAP Exam
Many professionals approach us after being unsuccessful in CBAP so we thought of doing some analysis to come up with the most common reasons of failure in CBAP. There are many articles and blogs giving tips on how to pass the CBAP exam but on a first search, I didn't find any article explaining why people fail in CBAP. This will definitely help the CBAP aspirants to make sure that they don't repeat the mistakes.
Making Requirements Reusable
Reuse is an eternal grail for those who seek increased software productivity. Reusing requirements can increase productivity, improve quality, and lead to greater consistency between related systems. Reuse is not free, though. It presents its own risks, both with regard to reusing existing items and to creating items with good reuse potential. It might take more effort to create high-quality reusable requirements than to write requirements you intend to use only on the current project. In this article we describe some approaches an organization could take to maximize the reuse potential of its requirements.
Keeping High-Level Requirements High-Level
The objective of this article is to provide business analysts with guidelines for distinguishing between high-level requirements (HLRs) and detail requirements (in IIBA® BABOK® V3 terms – Stakeholder requirements and Solution requirements respectively).
Challenge Business Rules
Unfortunately, business rules often are a mystery in business. Most of time they are undocumented and worst they are a figment of someone’s imagination - no basis. However, mystery or not, we need them in eliciting stakeholder requirements in order to understand how the business obligations are kept, constraints are enforced and how decisions are made. And just like news reporters, we need to confirm the business rules with a second (hopefully authoritative and documented) source. Furthermore we need business rules to ensure a quality product and/or process through testing.
Three Modes of Business Analysis Consulting
A business analysis consultant might perform three types of roles when working with clients: expert, pair-of-hands, and collaborator. Each of these represents a different kind of interaction and a different source of satisfaction for the consultant. This article, adapted from my book Successful Business Analysis Consulting: Strategies and Tips for Going It Alone, describes these three modes of consulting engagements, which apply both to independent consultants and to internal consultants who work in large organizations.
Boosting Your Confidence as a Business Analyst
The ability to build and exude self-confidence can contribute to success in many areas of our lives from personal to professional. Unfortunately, many business analysts who are beginners or experienced but new to an organization are not provided with the tools and recourses to be confident in their ability to add value to their organization. As a BA, self-confidence facilitates the ability to build relationships, gain respect, and influence others. Below are some of the most effective tactics that I have taken throughout my career to bolster my confidence as a business analyst. Once I became confident in myself, I started noticing that other people’s confidence in my abilities increased as well. Hopefully, these tips will help you recognize your true potential and the value you bring as a business analyst.
The Digital BA Series: 5 Killer Questions Types For Digital Transformation
To be effective, we BAs need to learn as much as we can about the digital world—about the world of digital transformation and what it means for the organization. We need to immerse ourselves in research and journal articles and think of how to make sense of it for our organizations. We need to think of digital projects from both the data scientist and business perspectives. And we can do that. After all, we’re BAs and that’s what we do best.
Creating a Culture That Respects Requirements
Culture clashes frequently arise when teams are working on requirements. There are those who recognize the many risks associated with trying to develop software based on minimal or telepathically communicated requirements. Then there are those who think requirements are unnecessary. It can be tough to gain business-side cooperation on projects like legacy-system replacement if users see this as unrelated to their own business problems and not worth their time. Understanding why people resist participating in requirements development is the first step to being able to address it.
4 Things To Consider Before Hiring A Business Analyst For Your Project
I like to compare a business analyst to an architect. While the architect asks questions about design, budget, and personal preferences of a person who wants to build a house; similarly, the business analyst interacts with business owners to know and understand their needs. A business analyst also produces requirements which clearly state the needs of a business and ensures that those align with its business processes, just as an architect would draw up plans and have an agreement with the owner before reaching out to builders.
Breaking the Complex Down to Simple
Process modeling/mapping/flowing, can be an art, and science, based on the maturity of the organization, knowledge of those doing this work in the organization, and many other factors. What I have found can be challenging is identifying the actual processes to model/map/flow. The fight identification may not occur on the first attempt as this work can be quite iterative, however, there are some concepts that can help make the identification a little easier
Requirements In Context Part 3: Scope = High-Level Requirements
Project Scope. We will see how scope statements, when making reference to business functionality, lead directly to High-Level requirements. Gathering requirements for a business information system is most often done within the context of a project. Approval of a project includes its sponsors signing off on its scope. The scope for a business information system project is typically defined in functional terms. Items in scope make reference to (or should make reference to) business functions, processes and/or activities that are to be delivered.
Capability-Based Planning with ArchiMate®
Capability-based planning is a growing practice in the field of enterprise architecture. Its success is due to the fact that it provides actual value to practitioners and the organizations that employs them. Indeed, capability-based planning helps in a number of ways, from providing a clear understanding of existing capabilities to promoting effective Business-IT alignment. Considering these benefits, we thought it useful to address this practice and bring some clarity to the subject for the benefit of all who might not yet have a good handle on the topic.
Strategy for Passing the CBAP Version 3 Exam
Becoming a Certified Business Analysis Professional (CBAP) has been one of the most rewarding and challenging endeavors for me as a business analyst. The purpose of this article is to help other business analysts pass the CBAP exam on the first try by sharing the strategy that I used. Hopefully, it will be of great service to many business analysts and aspiring CBAPs. Below is an outline to navigate you through studying for the CBAP and absorbing the BABOK material.
The Core Question about Building Better Software
In recent years, agile software development has been the classic example of this pursuit of magic solutions, so I’ll use that as an example here. Over the years, though, people have leapt onto the bandwagons of numerous new software approaches. They all have merits, they all have limitations, and they all need to be applied to appropriate problems.
The Digital BA Series: Translators Needed in the Digital Age
Our job is to be trusted advisors and one area where we can establish trust is to help our stakeholders understand language that might be confusing to them. In order words, we can establish trust by translating technical complexity into business language. We BAs have always done this. We take customer requirements and translate them into something the technical folks can understand…and vice versa. But what about translating in the digital world? We still need to translate, but it’s different. It’s more complex.
The Critical Role BAs Can Play in Companies Using Advanced Analytics
We live in a time when business in many industries offer similar products and use comparable technologies. One of the last points of differentiation are processes, and the evidence is clear, in sector after sector: companies that figure out how to combine business domain expertise with advanced analytics to improve their internal and customer-facing processes are winning the market. Let’s take a look at three of the many opportunities that the advanced analytics technologies developed over the past decade are creating for business analysts..
What is DevOps?
DevOps is based on a culture of trusted partners. This partnership is between software development, quality assurance, security and controls, and operations. The result is a smooth and fast transition of software from development to operations. However, like Dover, if the trusted partners are somehow reorganized into formal handoffs each with their own software acceptance procedures, the movement of software is no longer smooth nor fast.
Requirement Elicitation: Stories Are Not Requirements
One of the three activities encompassed under Requirements Analysis is the process of ‘ Requirements elicitation’. IIBA’s definition of ‘elicitation’ is “An activity within requirements development that identifies sources for requirements and then uses elicitation techniques to gather requirements from those sources.” However, this definition appears incomplete from an analyst’s point of view as it relies solely on the assumption that one can come up with requirements only by running elicitation techniques; however, the process of elicitation is not as simple and straightforward as it seems. Let’s see why.
Strategic Enterprise Analysis: A Revised Article
This article describes the process of the strategic enterprise analysis utilizing text and tables. In the past 5 years, things have changed, and I have gained new insight and most important learned new aspects. As a result, this article expands previous material to include...
How To Build Right Product Backlog Structure
In this article, I want to share my knowledge on how to manage product backlog using Jira. The article will be useful not only to business analysts or product owners but also to scrum masters, project managers. Basically, anyone who works with backlog and requirements on a project will benefit from reading it. There are certain rules and approaches that you have to follow to achieve good results. Before we take a look at it I want to point out that this approach is not a market standard yet. However, over the last 3 years, I’ve completed a good number of projects using the approach I’ll be describing here On the image below I tried to emphasize the main activities and processes that should be presented in your project. You also have to keep in mind that each artifact and process has own goal and definition.
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