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Business Analysis

Business Analysis: The Best Way to Start a Project

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How do projects get started in your organization? If you’re thinking, “well, it depends,” you are not alone. Few organizations have a well-defined, consistent way of deciding when work becomes a project. However, a strong business analysis practice can save an organization significant time and money by weeding out low-value projects and prioritizing valuable ones based on business need and realistic, expected benefits.

Where Business Analysis Skills are Used

Who uses Business Analysis Skills and what is Business Analysis? IIBA® (International Institute of Business Analysis)™ defines the discipline of business analysis as “the practice of enabling change in an enterprise by defining business needs and recommending solutions that deliver value to stakeholders.” The definition describes work which could be performed by almost any employee in an organization. Anytime an employee puts an idea in the suggestion box, it is possible they analyzed a need and are recommending a solution.

The Procrastination Penalty

Analyze Why You Procrastinate

I generally don’t procrastinate― in fact, I often do things too early and end up reworking a bit when circumstances change. But when I do procrastinate, I become very frustrated with myself for letting something go that could have been done earlier under less time pressure. So why do we procrastinate? I have analyzed my delays and usually find when I dread doing a task (like paying bills or preparing taxes), I procrastinate. People also procrastinate when they are unsure about how to do a particular task. It is okay to procrastinate as long as you know why you delaying and have performed risk analysis.

DevOps may get BAs Requirements Management Tools!

BAs  love Requirements Management Tools!

I love requirements management tools and wish all business analysts had access to them. Requirements management tools allow you to create requirements in a structured, organized fashion, consistent with other projects which leads to better stakeholder communication, better analysis and better products.  More importantly, being able to reuse requirements increases productivity significantly. Unfortunately few analysts have access to these tools. They are expensive, fairly complex to learn, and don’t always easily integrate with other tools used in an organization. But that may be changing! DevOps is gaining acceptance and requires software development technology including requirements management tools which are integrated with other application life cycle management (ALM) tools because requirements are a critical part of the DevOps process.

Ask the Why Question – It Really Works!

I was recently asked by one of our customers to facilitate a requirements elicitation session on a change to an existing system. The software functionality is fairly simple so the group scheduled an hour session and just wanted an experienced facilitator to help lead the discussion. The session was already scheduled when I was asked to participate so I didn’t have much time to prepare but I did talk with a few of the stakeholders to get some background before the session. One of the business people wrote up a current state description which was very helpful in outlining the discussion. As I did some last minute preparations the night before and discussed the session with a colleague we realized that the customer had not really articulated why they had initiated this project.

Making the Most of Your Conference Attendance

I’m going to the BBC Conference (Building Business Capability) next week and am really looking forward to the sessions, the exhibit hall, and networking with other professionals.  I realize that I am fortunate to be able to attend several conferences each year, but I know many people are lucky if they get to go to one. If you are going the BBC or another conference, make the most of it. Here are some tips for preparing to attend a conference which will help you get the most value.

PMI-PBA® Evaluation Domain

This is the fifth and final post in a series about the PMI-PBA® certification. The last exam area is the Evaluation domain and includes the work necessary to make sure the solution is ready for the stakeholders, and that it delivers the value expected. This is the last domain in the PMI-PBA exam content outline which includes Needs Assessment, Planning, Analysis, and Traceability and Monitoring. Solution evaluation is where all of the work of the project comes together. Business analysis work in this domain assures that the solution is ready for use in the business area. To make sure it is ready, it must be thoroughly tested, the end users must be ready to use it, and the organization must be prepared for its impacts. Business analysts are important team members in this work.

PMI-PBA® Domain: Analysis

PMI-PBA® Domain: Analysis. The third in a series of posts about the creation of our PMI-PBA Exam Prep study guide. (The first domain is Needs Assessment and the second is Planning.) PMI calls the third domain Analysis, but it is more appropriately named Elicitation and Analysis because it includes both topics. Elicitation is the asking of questions and research needed to discover requirements. Analysis means to break down a whole into its components for study. So this domain includes the communications necessary to learn about the business and its requirements, along with the analysis work needed to break down the requirements and really understand the needed solution. All aspects of business analysis are important, but if you had to name the core of it all, this is it: Elicitation and Analysis.

PMI-PBA Domain: Planning

This is the second in a series of posts about the creation of our PMI-PBA Exam Prep study guide. In my first post I talked about the Needs Assessment Domain and this post will highlight Business Analysis Planning. The PMI-PBA (Professional in Business Analysis) designation recognizes professionals who have experience and knowledge performing business analysis work. Business Analysis work is performed by people with many different titles and this is especially true in studying the Planning Domain. Project Managers recognize the critical importance of planning in project success. PMs have expertise in thinking ahead about how their projects will best be accomplished. They often consult with experts and known project team members to develop their plans and assess risks. This strategy of distributed planning is supported by the PMI-PBA Domain called Planning, and referred to as Business Analysis Planning in PMI’s Business Analysis for Practitioners: A Practice guide Studying for…

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