Gathering Business Requirements Demystified

I have worked in IT for more than 20 years and at the beginning of my career, there really wasn’t a defined business analysis role. Once it became a defined role, we were taught to “gather” requirements. This word is out of sync with what we do today as business analysts. However, there are many companies still using this term in their job descriptions and recruiters still using it in their search for the best candidates. Business analysts may still need to use this term when job hunting, but when it comes to interviews and doing our jobs, we need […]

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Process Flows – Keep it Simple

I published this article on LinkedIn because I’ve been seeing this crop up quite a bit recently and I felt a reminder might be in order to remember that your value lies in keeping it simple… The beauty of flowcharts lies in their simplicity…but only if you keep it simple. You can use basic symbols to map out any job and you can use flowcharts for just about any situation. People make processes complicated and people make defining processes complicated. I’ve seen process flows that are for a fairly basic process be drawn in a very complicated way. I’m always […]

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Business Analysis—What You Need the First Day of a Project

On day one of a business analysis project, your most important weapon is knowledge—not only with respect to business analyst skillsets, but it’s also crucial to walk in with an understanding of your client’s organization. When you start—and many times before you start—a project, it’s paramount to have a working knowledge about your client’s mission, values, obstacles, and objectives. This information should not consist of broad strokes. Instead, try to take in as much in-depth information as you can. When you have comprehensive knowledge in your tool-belt, you’ll never lose focus as you complete project milestones, create use cases, tackle […]

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Necessary Business Analyst Skillset: Running the Most Productive Meetings

If you’ve read my articles before, you know how I consistently remind business analysts that their stakeholders expect them to have a virtual treasure chest of skillsets. Running a productive meeting is yet another benchmark in a long list of necessary business analyst skillsets. And though it sounds so simple to stay on task, facilitate discussion, and bring new ideas to the table, you may find yourself feeling like a deer in the headlights once the meeting begins. If you haven’t run a meeting with stakeholders yet, know that it is a cornerstone of your career, so it’s best to […]

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Combining Business Analysis Roles for Maximum Effect

Photo credit: Salford Business School As a business analyst, so much is expected of you. Your stakeholders expect you to increase company revenue and make life easier for employees. Your bosses want you to make a good name for their company and maintain consistently updated skillsets. That’s a lot to ask—but I’m here to help you develop a comprehensive set of business analysis skills that lead to a higher salary and vastly easier workflow. To meet this end, you have to become a “triple threat” and combine the three principal business analyst roles, which are Strategist, Architect, and IT-Systems Analyst. Strategist […]

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Unify Stakeholders with the MoSCoW Method

The MoSCoW Method is a great way to get all your stakeholders to share the same unified goal—and it’s especially pertinent during your requirements elicitation sessions. If you’ve been a business analyst for some time, you know the turmoil that can ensue when stakeholders share different visions for a project. In short, it’s rare that everybody wins when there is not a shared mission. As a business analyst who’s climbing that ever-so-tall ladder of success, you can cut down on these differences and develop a plan of action that satisfies everyone. To do this, use the MoSCoW Method, which breaks […]

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Business Analyst Roles—Conquer Them All

Business analysts wear so many different hats. We’re problem solvers, critical thinkers, experts, communicators, and implementation facilitators all wrapped into one package. And with those many roles in tow, it seems as if there is an ever-growing list of skillsets and responsibilities that business analysts have to juggle. With no two projects being exactly alike and stakeholders giving contradictory requirements, we always have to be on our A-game. Long story short, the frustration is real. But you can become the highly skilled, solution-centric BA your boss and clients want you to be, without feeling the pain of having multiple responsibilities. […]

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How to Satisfy Stakeholders and Meet Every Business Requirement

Photo credit: Baltic Development Forum As a business analyst, no matter where you are in your career, you want to satisfy all stakeholders and meet all requirements. That’s the one true path to get to a higher level in your career. The problem: that’s easier said than done, right? Not exactly. When your stakeholders don’t agree on a requirement, your job gets a little trickier. Luckily, after many years, I’ve learned how you can meet all your requirements and satisfy all your stakeholders. Check out these guidelines that help you get the clarity needed to create sustainable solutions. Cancel out conflicting […]

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How to Resolve Conflicting Requirements with Stakeholders

Photo credit: Cristian V. Conflicting requirements among multiple stakeholders mean that you really have no requirements at all. As you’re working to elicit requirements, you may find yourself in this frustrating (but luckily, solvable) situation. Look at this way: in the world of business analysis, no one wins unless everyone wins. But sometimes it’s hard to navigate how to solve this very crucial issue. To resolve conflicting requirements, it’s important to get to the underlying cause. Otherwise, you’ll continue to have requirements that do nothing other than cancel one another out. Here are two ways this might play out. Conflicting […]

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Anatomy of the Perfect Business Requirements Document

Business requirements documents are maps to the successful completion of your project, but if there’s something not quite right about that A-to-Z document, then your ultimate solution might not be as comprehensive as you’d like it to be. Business requirements documents (BRDs) are foundational for any project. As your compass that guides you forward in any waterfall or agile project, it’s important to make your BRD as streamlined as possible. That way, you don’t hit unnecessary snags or perform a lackluster job. So what’s the anatomy of the ideal business requirements document? When you know the purpose behind a successful […]

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