Archive for the ‘Business Analysis’ Category

IIBA Membership – Experiences from an end user

Saturday, July 7th, 2012

Yesterday (28 June 2012), I was speaking at a seminar organized by Royal Bank of Scotland. The bank organizes a learning week for its employees professional improvement and growth.
The bank has now started following IIBA (International Institute of Business Analysis) standards and requested me to deliver a lecture about IIBA membership and its benefits.
My presentation went really well (feedback was good) especially couple of humorous slides I used were very interesting.
I mainly encouraged the audience to go for membership. It should help to:
network with fellow business analysts from different industries
share experiences with each other
attend free events organized by IIBA
Free copy of BABOK
and many more ….

The audience showed a key interest to become members. Hoping to talk about the same topic at some other seminar in future.

Planning Work Packages

Sunday, April 4th, 2010

Planning Work Packages

While planning your work, breakdown it into work packages. Within a project environment, the work breakdown structure displays what has to be constructed.

Benefits

For user

It is normally difficult for users to imagine the functionality and features of the new system. The work breakdown structure shows the make up of the output which is to be constructed.

For Planner

This is very useful for discussions with non-technical users.

It encourages the planner to think through all of the work packages that are to be produced before committing the time and resources to their construction.

It also helps to identify areas of lack of understanding of what is to be produced.

Agile and the role of the Business Analyst by Debbie Paul

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010

Debbie Paul is a well known figure into Business Analysis. She has written many books on Business Analysis. Her books on BA are being used for ISEB Business Analysis diploma. I gracefully have passed one exam by reading her book “Business Analysis – Edited by Debra Paul and Donal Yeates”. I really liked and appreciated her book.

There’s no soft version of the book available online as per my knowledge. I would recommend if anyone interested to read it. I’m not sure if it’s available into IIBA’s online library. If Not – will ask Kevin Brennan (IIBA- VP) to add this as well.

Debbie told me this morning that she is currently writing 2nd edition of the Business Analysis book.

Agile is becoming a very attractive practice by every passing day. I personally like to work on Agile by using Agile practices.

Debbie recently organized a half day workshop on “Agile and the role of the Business Analyst”.

Here is the link containing his presentation on the above mentioned topic.

http://www.assistkd.com/agile-business-analyst.php

I hope it should be helpful.

Why IIBA Islamabad Chapter and CBAP?

Wednesday, January 13th, 2010

IIBA Islamabad Chapter kick off meeting was held on 7th of January 2010 and i am happy that Business Analysis now has a platform in Pakistan.

Well Done Khurrum.

Some of you might have concerns about IIBA chapter in Islamabad and it’s CBAP certification.

I would say that the aim of the chapter is to make community aware of Business Analysis profession and professional growth of Business Analysts in Pakistan.

And IIBA is currently working as a platform to do all this. Currently, its the only Business Analysis institute in the world.

IIBA was set up just 6 years ago and made a rapid progress and now well recognized by the industries throughout the world.

I would suggest that go through BABOK and you will really enjoy by reading the nice stuff. CBAP certification is for senior analysts and again the aim of the chapter is to introduce IIBA in Pakistan.

IIBA is doing really well in UK and in other countries. More and more professionals are doing CBAP exams now.

If IIBA is the only option for Business Analysis then why not go for IIBA.

ISEB is an exam provider in UK which comes under British Computer Society and offering Business Analysis exams and Diplomas.

Now even ISEB has accepted CBAP certification and as CBAP you get exemptions while doing ISEB practioner Business Analysis exam.

Many well recognized Business Analysis course providers are getting endoresment from IIBA. It means that IIBA qualification is getting well recognized everywhere that’s why Course providers are offering IIBA courses.

I myself have done ISEB Business Analysis certification last year and now my application for CBAP has been approved (which requires minimum 5 years of valid Business Analysis experience)

Khurrum and I are planning to provide Business Analysts a platform to share experiences, knowledge and learn new things.

And IIBA is that platform. See any website like ModernAnalyst.com and you will see how well IIBA is appreciated by Business Analysis world.

Water Mark Learning is one of the worlds oldest and well recognized training institute offering courses/training on PMP and CBAP.

Its president and Co are my professional friends. Both did PMP in the past and in 2007 have done CBAP as well.

In new version of BABOK 3.0, Agile methodologies are also being incorporated which is not the case with any other certification or book.

While summarising my notes, i would say there’s no harm getting in touch with IIBA. Become active members and go through BABOK 2.0. And when feel comfortable and necessary go for CBAP.

I already have arranged couple of lectures for IIBA Islamabad members to be delivered by world leading thinkers in Business Analysis world. I would suggest everyone to attend these informative lectures solely for the purpose of your profesional growth. Please bring along your friends and colleagues as well.

Note:- Above all info is as per my own experience and knowledge so 1 might disagree.

Rocks into Gold

Wednesday, December 9th, 2009

Last week i read “Rocks into Gold” written by Clarke Ching.

Clarke is a very good storey-teller and he has described the benifits of using Agility in a very profound way.

The storey revolves around a software house and it’s clients. A software designer (Bob Billington) has a problem; he’s about to lose his job because the economy has taken a sudden nose-dive, taking the big project he is working on with it. Bob, a natural-born problem-solver, starts asking questions – the first being “What does it take for a project to be commercially viable in a recession?” .

Bob’s questions surprises his bosses and his customers….why does a programmer need to know about business?

The answers surprise everyone…

Lets read the book and get to know about the answers Bob came up with.

Seminar on Agile Methodologies hosted by IBM

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

Yesterday i attended a seminar on Agile Methodologies. The event was organized by RUG – Rational User Group and hosted by IBM.

The event was quite informative esepcially meeting with leading thinkers of Agile Methodologies and getting to know their ideas.

I would definitely like to mention about one of the speakers; Clarke Ching – Chairman of Agility in Scotland. He is doing really great work as an Agile Consultant. In his presentation, yesterday, he intelligently proved that Agility is not a new idea or technique being used but it emerged as back as in 1700. He proved it using the examples of James Watt (inventor of Steam Engine) and Abe Lincoln (American President).

Clarke Ching has written a book “Rocks into Gold” on Agile. I was honoured when he gifted me his own book. The book is also available to read online.

Also, it was good to know that Agile is currently making progress and being used by many companies throughout the world. Scott Ambler – Chief Mehtodologist/Agile proved Agile progress with statistics.

I would definitely write more blogs on Agility and would share my experiences as well.

Happy Agility!

Difference between Business Requirements and Functional Specifications

Tuesday, November 17th, 2009

I am currently writing templates for Business Requirements and Functional Sprecification documents. And trying to keep a boundary line in between both of them.

I am working mainly on Software products so the below detail is as per my exposure with IT systems.

The way i see Business Requiremenst and Functional Specifications is as:

Business Requirements (inc. Business Use Cases) are a high level list of the requirements gathered during planning stage, tend to propose a solution and meant for Business stakeholders.

Functional Specifications or Solution Requirements are further details of the Business Requirements meant for the understanding of Developers and other Technical stakeholders.

Business Process overview diagramas are part of the Business Requirements and Detailed diagrams like activity diagrams and detailed process flow diagrams are part of the Functional Specifications.

Detailed or well dressed use cases are also part of the Functional Specification though high level Use Cases can be imposed into Business Requirements.

The above is a very high level difference betweeen Business Requirements and Functional Specifications.

What are the characteristics of a good requirement?

Tuesday, November 17th, 2009

Today i was reading an article on charactristics of good requirements and thought to share it with you.

While different organizations and authors may describe a slightly modified list, the following characteristics are generally accepted as those defining a good requirement.

Cohesive: The requirement defines a single aspect of the desired business process or system.

Complete: The individual requirement is not missing necessary or relevant information. Additionally, the entire set of requirements should cover all relevant requirements.

Consistent: The requirement does not contradict another requirement.

Modifiable: Like requirements should be grouped together to allow similar requirements to be modified together in order to maintain consistency.

Correct: The requirement meets the actual business or system need. An incorrect requirement can still be implemented resulting in a business process or system that does not meet the business needs.

Observable: The requirement defines an aspect of the system that can be noticed or observed by a user. This is often referred to as “Implementation Agnostic” as the requirement should not specify aspects of system architecture, physical design or implementation decisions. These aspects of a system should be defined separately as constraints.

Feasible: The requirement can be implemented within the constraints of the project including the agreed upon system architecture or other physical design or implementation decisions.

Tools Used By Business Analysts

Saturday, October 17th, 2009

Here I have compiled a list of Tools used by Business Analysts. I beleive it should be helpful for BAs looking for most famous tools being used at different organizations.

  • Process mapping — Visio, Excel, UML
  • Process modelling — Websphere Business Modellet (WBM), Oracle Bea
  • Aqualogic, UML Activity diagram, Visio, Tibco
  • Requirements Mgmt — Doors, Rational Reqpro, Doors, Rational Requirements
  • Composer (RRC), Borland CaliberRM, Blueprint, Raveflow
  • Requirements Simulation — Irise , Blueprint, Ravenflow
  • UML Modeling — Rational Rose, Rational Software Architect(RSA), Visio, MS Visual Studio
  • Data Modelling — Erwin , ERStudio, Visio, MS Visual Studio, Enterprise Architect, Casewise Tau, System Architect
  • Collaboration tools — Lotus Notes, Sharepoint

Transition into a Business Analyst Role

Saturday, October 10th, 2009

Many people have asked me through emails to advise them on how to make a transition into a Business Analyst role.

The folloiwing is a recent email i received:

Kalyan Kumar wrote:
——————–
Kashif

Appreicate your help in helping me in Transition, I’m in to people management role and Client relation for a body Shoping company helping in placements. I’m an MCA graduate and keen about getting in to Business analyst role. I’ll be happy if you can help me as It’s becoming a big questin for me where to start and how to start.

I would suggest that read about Stakeholders Management and it’s techniques as you are moving into client facing role – which is always a tricky bit for a Busienss Analyst. I have wrote couple of blogs on Stakeholders Management. 

Also www.modernanalyst.com is a good source of information and do study some books as well. I would recommend ISEB Business Analyst book by Debra Paul and then further study could be IIBA’s BABOK but that’s for senior stage.

You should understand about interview/workshop techniques for analysis.

Always have a good understanding of client’s business beforehand so you could feel comfortbale why seeing them first time. Client always appreciates an Analyst having a good grip on their business domain and showing it to client during meetings.

Good luck with your transition.

Above blog is mainly about Client facing role but somehow it covers any kind of Business Analyst role. Business Analyst role has multiple facets and i would try to cover them off in my future blogs.