Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary…How Does Your Garden Grow?

  What this line from a Mother Goose Nursery rhyme can teach us about negative communication skills There are different interpretations of this Mother Goose Nursery rhyme, none of which applies to business analysis. Therefore, I am not interested in the historic meaning of the poem or any of the remaining text, which also has no correlation to business analysis. However, I’d like to focus on the first line as it relates to communication skills and social behavior in the workplace. When I was a kid, maybe around three or four years old, I went through the typical obtuse stage […]

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What Makes a BA a Senior Business Analyst?

What Makes a BA a Senior Business Analyst? The journey to becoming a business analyst is different for everyone. There is no single education, experience, or career route that says “ok, now you are ready to be a business analyst”. There are traits that separate a junior BA, from a mid-level BA, from a senior BA. There comes a point in their career that the senior BA exhibits confidence, understanding of context, and critical thinking that separates them from junior and mid-level BAs. These traits are what separates a BA that ‘gets it’ from someone that needs direction in order to get it. A business analyst that is able to confidently make […]

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Use Mirroring to Connect With Others

Mirroring is a technique we cover in our IIBA endorsed Mastering Business Analysis with Waterfall and Agile Methods course. In the training course we’re talking about mirroring the words of the other person, but Sue Shellenbarger tells us in the below article that we should also mirror their gestures and even their posture – and that we’re probably already doing it without even realizing it. What are your thoughts on this? Do you think taking the mirroring technique to this level in requirements session will help you get better quality requirements? Use Mirroring to Connect With Others Adopting the same […]

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Business Analyst Job Information

I love that this article from National Career Services mentions “tact, diplomacy and good negotiating skills” as something necessary for business analysts. Communication skills are hands down the most important skills in your toolbox and I think too many people are lacking in this area – and I don’t think traditional education emphasizes it enough. I think that’s one reason the IIBA is so important. The IIBA gives you access to endorsed education providers that focus on courses and training specific to business analysis skills and careers. Here’s what they had to say about the BA career: Work activities. As […]

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Leading Change in Business Analysis: Part II

  In my last business analysis blog, I detailed Harvard Professor John Kotter’s process for completing successful projects. In case you missed it, read the first installment before you continue learning this simple but powerful business analyst tool. By now, you’ve already learned how to build a coalition of the willing—industry leaders and stakeholders who help everyone else get on board with your project initiatives. Now it’s time to take that one step further. In the final steps, you will discover how you can easily satisfy all stakeholders. But there’s something more at stake—the trajectory of your business analyst career. […]

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Leading Change in Business Analysis: Part I

John Kotter, a Harvard Business School professor, wrote a book that details how to tackle a leadership role and conquer all of the many objectives involved. He did the smart thing and simplified the process. In business analysis, no matter if you’re working in Waterfall or Agile methodologies, you will complete a before-to-after transformative process. The trouble is that process might have some major roadblocks that curb the desired outcomes. Enter Professor Kotter. When you use his process of project completion, you will satisfy your stakeholders and create sustainable resolutions for every business analysis initiative you tackle. This system can […]

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Benefits and Challenges of Creating Use Cases

As you develop a use case document, you are creating a map to your project’s end goal. In my years of facilitating successful business analysis projects, I can confidently say that having clarity will be a make-or-break factor in satisfying stakeholders. And you can’t gain that clarity without solid use cases. The caveat: though there is a long list of use case benefits, these documents don’t come without their challenges. To give you a clear sense of your end goal with respect to use cases, we’ll start with the benefits.  Benefits of Creating Use Cases The use case helps us […]

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Why IIBA-Endorsed Training?

IIBA-endorsed training is what separates the business analysts who shoot up the corporate ladder quickly and those who struggle for years. When you go in to a project without comprehensive training, finding the right solution equates to feeling around for a light switch in the dark. It’s hard—and needlessly so. On the other hand, IIBA-endorsed training prepares you for multiple scenarios that you’ll inevitably face. As a brief overview, getting the training you need means… You will elicit requirements the right way. You will communicate effectively with stakeholders. You will create nearly perfect documents—use cases, BRDs, process flow diagrams, the […]

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How Excellent Requirements Bypass Development and Testing Errors

Development and testing errors… After you’ve invested so much time and effort into the business analysis for a project, only to see a technological glitch disqualify your progress… Well, it’s not fun. The old adage rings true: you can’t have a solution without eliminating the problem. In fact, this idea is the core principle behind successful business analysis. In this role, it’s up to you to eliminate obstacles that decrease profitability, waste time, and create a weaker organization. In order to save time, gain respect, earn credibility, and eliminate needless stress, it’s vital to elicit really solid requirements before you […]

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Upgrading Careers from Software Tester to Business Analyst

Did you begin your career as a software tester? If you did—congratulations! The reason I say this is because, if you’re a software tester, it’s much easier to upgrade your career to a business analyst position. The caveat: making this transition requires a certain set of tools that allows you to tackle the multiplying responsibilities you’ll take on. In your new role as a business analyst, one of the first things you’ll soon realize is that you didn’t simply upgrade your career—you took a wholly different path. While there is more money to be made in business analysis, there are […]

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