Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Skills Matrix

As part of our leason learnt process following UAT cycle 1, we identified a need for a method of assigning defects and queries to those with specific skills.  To this end, I found the following free Skill Matrix webpages based on the Toyota Lean (Kaisen) Skills Matrix. 

Original Skills Matrix
Improved Version

This was just what we needed, however, we did identify the following elements missing from it:

  • Inability to filter on skills
  • Inability to produce MI reporting
  • Potential problems from a User Interaction point of view
With this in mind we amended the Skills Matrix to allow these issues to be resolved.

Filtered and Reportable Version

To edit the spreadsheet you will need to 'Unprotect' the sheets, please remember to 'Protect' them again as this makes the User Interaction better and is used for the MI to be enabled.  (The Calculations tab uses the Unprotected Cells to display the values to be used in MI)

MI and Reporting is not yet completed, but you will be able to easily extract the information from this page. 

Feel free to use and amend as you require... but it would be nice if you shared your improvement with myself and he original site.


Tuesday, 23 November 2010

International Calling

I am so happy to announce that I can now reveal details of the international call some months back...

The next year will bring many new and exciting challenges for me, as I will now be undertaking the role of Multinational Business Analyst within Ceridian.  I have tonight received a call to confirm that the offer has been made and all that is left is for my current and new line managers to negotiate the date on which I start my new role.

Remember, Remember that this is Movember

On the 1st of November, I shaved off the goatee, and along with a number of other colleagues vowed not to shave our top lips until 1st of December... why???

The Mo, slang for moustache, and November come together each year for Movember. 

Movember challenges men to change their appearance and the face of men’s health by growing a moustache. The rules are simple, start Movember 1st  clean shaven and then grow a moustache for the entire month.  The moustache becomes the ribbon for men’s health, the means by which awareness and funds are raised for cancers that affect men.  Much like the commitment to run or walk for charity, the men of Movember commit to growing a moustache for 30 days. 

 To view my progress and donate please go to:

Monday, 25 October 2010

The Last Month - Part 2

OK, not doing well at keeping this up to date...

Again, it's been a hectic month, well apart from my nice and relaxing holiday at Tarnside Caravan Park, right on the Cumbria coastline.

UAT 1 ends this week so there has been a big push for defect resolution, and I have been designated Defect Coordinator, a role I am enjoying for the most part.

Still can't give an update on the International call, soon I hope!

Took the UML for Business Analysis book with me on holiday, but it stayed well and truly put in the bag... too much relaxing and walking the dog on the beach to read any work/career related books.

Hope to keep this updated more often soon.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

The Last Month

Ok so I haven't posted here in the last month, hopefully I can keep this up to date.

The last month has been pretty hectic, travelling to London, an international phone call (more on this to follow) and a reminder of why I made the move to Business Analysis from Development.

Hotel living in London, hmm, not going to sit in the hotel bar... so I sat in the room reading "UML for the IT Business Analyst", sad I know, but is a great read for any Business Analyst.

I will post another blog regarding the international call when I can.

This week I have been back in the development side of the business, argh!  Working on an 'additional' requirement from the business that bypasses some of the main system features and could cause major problems going forward.  So what looked simple on paper, has turned out to be a big job.  I have decided to ensure the main system feature stays intact to stop future issues, and make the 'additional' requirement more complex.  It's a reminder of why I want to be on the BA side of the fence, but it is also a reminder that what looks simple can have huge implications... talk to the SMEs!

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

BA to Developer Ratio

"Currently, many organizations have BA to developer ratios like one to six, but that ratio is rapidly increasing. With the sophistication of developer tools and the speed at which code components can be assembled, the ratio will swing toward more BAs. It takes more time to perform thorough analysis and clearly understand a business problem (and design a solution) than it does to build software. In the next couple of decades, the ratio may be much more like two to one or even three to one BAs to developers." - Seven Steps to Mastering Business Analysis

The ratio of BAs to Developers, mentioned in the Seven Steps, is evident in my current employment. Software Engineers are being given the role of Technical Analysts on major projects. Their role is to take the Business Requirements defined by BAs (both client and provider BAs in a one to one relationship) for an individual workstream and write a Software Requirements Specification.

Each TA (and workstream) is assigned a number of external (outsourced) resources, roughly around 4 or 5. These external resources use the bespoke framework system to develop a solution to the specification set out by the TAs.

Therefore, the Software Engineers are being deployed more and more in an Analyst role.

Monday, 2 August 2010

MSc Business Analysis and Consulting

Where was this course when I finished my degree!!!???

Strathclyde University - MSc Business Analysis and Consulting

OK, so when I completed my degree I wouldn't have given this course a second look, but now... yeah sounds like a good MSc.

Definitely couldn't do the Full Time course at the moment, and with work and family life the Part Time course would be difficult.  So for the moment it's a no goer.

Just need to stick to my degree and MSc.

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Requirements - The Moving Target

  • "There is a new version of the Requirements Document, can you check your Specification Document still meets the Requirements?"
  • "The business are reassessing the requirements"
  • "Some new information has come in from the business"
  • "I know your SRS is due for sign off, but we still need to sign off the BRD"
Does any of this sound familiar?

Why is it that the requirements constantly change and even new business requirements come to light after the project has been completed?

OK, fair enough new legislation can come into play, but more likely than not, it is missed requirements or additional information or ideas that come to light when the product starts to take shape.

Do you deliver what the client signed off on and have a product they don't like or do you amend the requirements, implement change requests, extend deadlines and/or bite the bullet and build in the new requirements in the existing timescales?

According to Watermark Learning they say that "It seems the only constant when it comes to business requirements analysis is that things keep changing."

I totally agree, so you need to accept and deal with this as part and parcel of your role.

However, Watermark Learning think that, "Maybe it’s time to increase the requirements analysis skills in your organization with business analysis training."

Are they just trying to sell their training packages or does increased training enable the BA to extract more fuller requirements and eleviate the changing requirements?  The jury is out on this one from my point of view.

Even with increased knowledge and training, (and experience), I would still think that "the only constant when it comes to business requirements analysis is that things keep changing."  You just have to have fast reflexes and a good aim to hit those moving targets!

Friday, 30 July 2010

Requirements Capturing Tools and Online Applications

There are lots of Requirements Gathering/Capturing Tools and many many discussions on the right one. LinkedIn Group Discussion

But the main tools of a Business Analyst still remain... a Word Processor and a Spreadsheet (normally MS Word and Excel, but could be any other suite, i.e. OpenOffice)

However, is there online alternatives?

As discussed on For What Activities Can We Use a Web Based Project Management System? by Mena Alex there are online alternatives to Project Management tools, but what about for BA's?

Well, Google has Google Docs which has online Word Processor and Spreadsheet so there is a good start!

Adriana Beal suggested Wiki's as a good requirements gathering tool for multiple user collaberation. (Using a wiki to improve the requirements management process)

There is also Gliffy an online Visio alternative.

So can a BA work exclusively online?
Is there one suite of online applications that can be used or would it need to be a mix and match of sites?
Can the different applications work together?

Maybe I will look into this later.

Bye for now!

Thursday, 29 July 2010

2WTX and

More useful resources and recommended books from:

2WTX Consulting:

And Adriana Beal has posted many comments on the group on LinkedIn is another website that provides great list of resources... but the thing I love about this site is actually the Humour section.

Bridging the Gap

Think I will be revisiting this site quite a lot.

Great site for resources and information on:
  • Becoming a Business Analyst / Getting Started as a BA
  • Career Progression
  • Training and BA Courses, CBAP, IIBA etc
  • Contracting as a BA
  • Networking and Marketing Yourself
  • Interviews with other Business Analysts
  • eBooks
  • and more...
BIG THANKS to Laura (Brandau) Brandenburg for this site... think I'll be treating myself to some of her books!

Demand for Business Analysts in Glasgow

The following website gives a great indication of the demand for a Business Analyst role advertised in the Glasgow area:
Looking at the following image, I have become a BA at the right time (Applied Nov 2010):
Please Note the image updates and therefore is current not related to time of post

Althought the Contract rate is tempting:

First Steps

OK, blogging has been about for a long time now, but I have just never had anything to say on a blog and didn't want to blog for the sake of blogging!

With my recent move into a Business Analyst role I have been doing more research on the subject.


There is too much to take in at one time... therefore, this blog was born! Information I find I am listing here for quick reference wherever I am.

And you never know, someone else might find it useful!

Enjoy my blog...

Business Analyst