New! Check Out Our Two Online Workshops!

Many Business Analysts have said they would find great value in laser-targeted workshops that discuss a particular task of their jobs. I designed two new workshops to offer intense instruction in these areas and provide IIBA-certified Continuing Development Units (CDUs). Unlike full-length online courses, these recorded workshops focus deeply on a specific skill and are just a couple of hours long. They’re recorded so you can listen at your convenience as often as you like. More will be coming in the future, so please contact me if you have ideas for topics. Eliciting Requirements Workshop—2 CDUs Elicitation sessions are a […]


The Ultimate BA Mentoring Panel Discussion

I was interviewed as part of a panel discussion for business analysis mentoring by my friend Yamo, The BA Coach. One of my mentees was also included in the panel discussion. Click here to listen to this podcast episode from Yamo.


Categorizing Requirements

To present and maintain requirements, think of them as belonging to categories. Each category of requirement is built on the previous category, starting with business requirements, followed by functional requirements, and ending with technical requirements. Check out the breakdown of each category for an easy reference on how to categorize your requirements: Business Requirements These are detailed descriptions of the information,business activities, business rules, and interactions needed to accomplish the business mission. A business requirement addresses what the business problem is, what the business needs to accomplish, and/or what are the business goals, including… Project initiation: A statement of purpose, […]


Ask and You Shall Receive

During requirements sessions, it is the Business Analyst’s job not only to capture the requirements being given, but also to facilitate discussion about those requirements and taking the conversation to a deeper level. BAs are the liaison between the business (SMEs) and the technology team (Developers, system architects, DBAs, etc.) and it is the responsibility of the BA to communicate effectively between the groups. In order to completely document requirements the Business Analyst must ask questions and listen to the answers. Sounds easy enough, right? Ask questions, listen. But how you go about asking questions and how well you listen […]


The Power of the Written Word

Much of a business analyst’s job revolves around effective communication. As with all other tasks involved with your job, clarity and attention to detail are the key components to your team project’s success. As the liaison between SMEs and the technical team, it is the responsibility of the business analyst to keep these groups up-to-date on the project with meeting minutes, emails, memos, and status reports. Before you write anything that will be shared with an audience, remember to select words that your readers will readily understand. Be aware of words that have multiple meanings, can be misconstrued, or send up […]


What Makes a Great Software Tester

The difference between a good software tester and a great software tester boils down to one trait: attention to detail. Over the course of my 20 years as a Quality and Business Analyst, I was surprised by how few candidates actually met this one simple criterion. Once, I wrote a short set of requirements for a screen for a web-based application as a test for potential hires. I gave the job candidates this set of requirements and told them to come up with a list of test scripts that would need to be run. My list counted 13 scripts. Most […]


The Keys to Project Success

As Business Analysts, you will not maintain theproject plan for the projects you are on, but you should give input on tasks you need to do and the duration for those tasks. Even though you are not the project manager, it is helpful for all team members to have an understanding of what factors can increase the likelihood of project success. Here are a few of the key components of a successful project: Active Involvement by Project Stakeholders. The project sponsor and customer are clearly identified and engaged throughout the project. Capable Project Team. The project manager and team members […]


Stay Connected

Business Analysts and Software Testers frequently fill many roles on a project. Because they generally develop a deep understanding of the applications they work with, they become valuable in other roles as well. One of those additional roles may be staying in touch with business partners and users after the application has been deployed. If you are deploying an application that is new to the company and will be used company wide, you most likely will be releasing upgrades and fixes on a regular basis for a while to get the application where it should be regarding available functionality and application […]


Go Ahead, Ask Away

As part of eliciting requirements, the Business Analyst is responsible for posing clear, concise questions and listening for a response. Once the response is given, the analyst must digest the information and determine if follow up questions are necessary before continuing. While probing for additional information, the Business Analyst must frame the questions carefully in order to glean the desired information. When looking for more information for business processes, be sure to include the following questions: Why is it done? What does it involve? Who does it? When is it done? Where is it done? How is it currently done? […]


Business Rules Terms Glossary

As a Business Analyst, you will likely need to analyze business rules. That’s because business rules are a formal expression of business knowledge, and they also guide businesses to operate in a specific, predefined way. Often, these rules set a company apart from its competitors. Additionally, identifying, clarifying, and capturing business rules will help prevent ad hoc rules, hidden rules, miscommunication of rules, and keep knowledge from “walking out of the door.” Though there are many types of business rules, we’ll be looking at business rules terms in particular. In short, a term is a noun or noun phrase that is […]


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