Friday, 15 June 2012

The benefits of visual communication in business analysis

Would you look at that... Aotea Studios have posted a blog on the exact same issue I was highlighting in my last blog post:

The benefits of visual communication in business analysis

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Pictures paint a thousand words

It's an old saying, "a picture paints a thousand words".  But how true it is...

Try describing a system, a product, a process with nothing but words.  Whether this description is spoken or written, people may understand what you are describing but they will paint a picture of it in their mind.  That view may be different from person to person.

Demonstrate a system, a product or a process and each and every person will see the same 'picture' and understand what you are describing.

But what happens if the system, product or process has not been developed yet? 

You have the option of prototyping, wire frames, screen shots etc.  This will be effective for a lot of applications, but what if it is not a physical product or has many interactions?

Diagrams, illustrations...

In most of the documentation I have produced in my BA career there has always been some form of diagram, process flow or mock ups to assist in the understanding of requirements.  I have found it invaluable and on many occasions the 'supporting' text is only given a detailed review once or twice... I am thinking of process flows with annotation.

I have also come across Aotea Studios and their Business Analysis Illustrated resources, which offer great illustrations on Business Analysis techniques.  It got me wondering, is it possible to replace written documentation with illustrations, graphics, prototypes, wire frames etc? 

Nah!  You're always going to require the textual descriptions, objectives, written requirements etc.

But like Infographics, I think it is possible to replace the old stuffy documentation with more visually capturing and interesting documentation.  Documentation that would inspire and motivate.  Documentation that would actually be 'read'!!!

How many times have you written a document and know full well that you are probably the only person to actually read it cover to cover (ok you've only read it as you're writing or to proof read)

Now for the irony... no illustrations in the blog!!!  How many have read all of this!?  Maybe my next blog post will be fully graphical.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Useful Templates for Business Analysts

Final resource post for today:

Business Analyst World - Useful templates for Business Analysts

  • Vision and Scope Document
  • Requirement Specification
  • Requirements Template
  • Software Requirements Specification
  • Use Case Template
  • Use Case Tips
  • Standards Gap and Overlap Analysis

BA Index

Another resource blog with information on:

  • Starting Out
  • Requirements
  • The why of business analysis
  • Running a business analysis engagement
  • Project Bits and Bites

Business Analysts Career Path

Although I do not agree with the path shown in the following blog, it does give good food for thought.

BA World - BA Career Path 2.0

And the author does say that you shouldn't be too rigid with your planned career path and take up challenges as and when they come along.

BA Resources - Under One Roof

I found the following blog post that includes links to other resources

Business Analyst World - BA Resources All Under One Roof

It includes:

  • Management and Technical Books
  • Useful Links
  • Effective BA info
  • Presentations 
  • and more

Friday, 27 January 2012

To Certify or not to Certify that is the question

Seems that there are definitely two camps on the topic of whether Business Analysts should (or need) obtain a professional certification.

I've have been involved in a few discussions via LinkedIn regarding this very topic - The Real Truth: Why you need a CCBA or CBAP Certification.

One camp thinks that there is no requirement for a certification, as no job descriptions ask for this, and that they are only promoted by those who offer study courses, training, the certification itself, or those who HAVE achieved the certification and want to justify the time and money they have put into this by pushing it as a requirement.

The other camp, sees the certifications as a way of demonstrating your knowledge and skills in the arena of Business Analysis.  It shows your committed to the role, have the necessary skills and (where recertification is required) keep up with the latest information.

I am sure the debate will rage on for a number of years, but from my point of view I WILL be attempting to gain an accreditation in the next year or two.  My thinking behind this is:
  • I need an end goal to work to, to have a measurable outcome - SMART objective
  • It will force me to cover all areas, not just the ones I am interested in or will aid my current role
  • At the end I will have something quantifiable to show to my current and future employers
  • If its the ISEB course I will engage with other BAs
  • If its the IIBA CCBA/CBAP I can network within the IIBA
This leads me on to my remaining decision; British Computer Society ISEB diploma or IIBA CCBA/CBAP?

I'll update you on my decision when I have made it!

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Project Failure Reasons - Any look familiar?

The Chaos Report is the first survey made by the Standish Group. This report is the landmark study of IT project failure. It is cited by everybody writing a paper or making a presentation were a reference is made of IT project failure.

It includes large, medium, and small companies across major industry segments : banking, securities, manufacturing, retail, wholesale, heath care, insurance, services, and local, state, and federal organizations. The total sample size was 365 respondents  representing 8,380 applications.

It is also hotly contested and disputed (as brief Google search will verify) – so do not accept this data as utterly without question true.

However, I bet a few of these ring true with most people involved in project work!