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Business Analysis: Best Practices for Success

Business Analysis: Best Practices for Success

Steven P. Blais

ISBN: 978-1-118-16155-5 October 2011 432 Pages

 E-Book

$55.99

Description

The definitive guide on the roles and responsibilities of the business analyst

Business Analysis offers a complete description of the process of business analysis in solving business problems. Filled with tips, tricks, techniques, and guerilla tactics to help execute the process in the face of sometimes overwhelming political or social obstacles, this guide is also filled with real world stories from the author's more than thirty years of experience working as a business analyst.

  • Provides techniques and tips to execute the at-times tricky job of business analyst
  • Written by an industry expert with over thirty years of experience

Straightforward and insightful, Business Analysis is a valuable contribution to your ability to be successful in this role in today's business environment.

Preface xv

Acknowledgments xxv

International Institute for Learning, Inc. (IIL) xxvii

PART I THE PROBLEM SOLVER 1

CHAPTER 1 What Is a Business Analyst? 3

The Business Analyst in Context 3

What Is It All About? 4

The Role of the Business Analyst 5

The Business Analyst in the Center 6

Business Analyst Focus 8

The Ideal Business Analyst 9

Last-Liners 11

Notes 11

CHAPTER 2 The Evolution of the Business Analyst 13

The Business Analyst Hall of Fame 13

Where It Began 15

Information Systems 17

The Rise of the Business Analyst 18

The Business Analyst Position 20

The Business Analyst Profession 21

The Question of Certification 24

The Challenge of Business Analyst Certification 25

The Value of Certification 26

Notes 27

CHAPTER 3 A Sense of Where You Are 29

Business Analysts Coming from IT 30

Business Analysts Coming from the Business Community 31

Living with the Business 33

The Lone Ranger 35

Working Both Sides of the Street 36

Central Business Analyst Organization 37

CHAPTER 4 What Makes a Good Business Analyst? 39

The Skillful Business Analyst 40

Is a Business Analyst Born or Made? 41

So What Does It Take to Be a Business Analyst? 42

CHAPTER 5 Roles of the Business Analyst 45

Intermediary 49

Filter 59

Mediator 63

Diplomat 65

Politician 68

Investigator 69

Analyst 70

Change Agent 72

Quality Control Specialist 73

Facilitator 74

Process Improver 79

Increase the Value of Organizational Business Processes 79

Build It and They Will Come 80

Reducing Complexity 82

Playing Multiple Roles 83

Notes 84

PART II THE PLAYERS 85

CHAPTER 6 The Business Analyst and the Solution Team 89

Business Analyst and Project Manager 89

Business Analyst and Systems Analyst 94

Trying to Do All Jobs 98

Business Analyst and the Rest of the Solution Team 100

Bottom Line 107

Notes 108

CHAPTER 7 The Business Analyst and the Business Community 109

Constituents and Constituencies 110

Business Analysts and Upper-Level Management 110

Product Stakeholders 113

Subject Matter Experts 119

Process Workers 122

Managing Expectations 126

Notes 130

PART III THE PROBLEM 131

CHAPTER 8 Define the Problem 135

First Things First 135

Challenge 1: Finding the Problem 138

Challenge 2: The Unstated Problem 139

Challenge 3: The Misunderstood Problem 140

Define the Real Problem 141

The Problem Determination Game 145

Documenting the Problem 154

Product Vision 155

Define the Vision 157

Checkpoint Alpha 159

Focus on the Problem and Vision 161

Note 162

CHAPTER 9 Define the Product Scope 163

Project and Product Scopes 163

Product Scope 164

Product Scope Formula 165

Strategic Justification 165

Business and Product Constraints 167

Business and Product Risks 168

Functional Goals 169

Political Success Factors 171

Product Scope Formula 172

Measuring 173

Take the Technical Pulse 174

Applying the Product Scope 175

Notes 177

CHAPTER 10 Confirm Alignment and Financial Justification 179

The Business Case 179

The Value of IT 180

Considering Alignment 181

Organization Mission 182

Organization Goals 184

Organization Strategies 184

Department-Level Mission, Goals, and Strategies 185

At the Tactical Level 187

Determining the Value of the IT Project 188

Provide Financial Justification for Solving the Problem 190

Proof of Solution: Feasibility Study 194

The Metrics Game 194

In the End . . . 195

Notes 196

PART IV THE PROCESS 197

CHAPTER 11 Gather the Information 199

Why We Cannot Define Good Requirements 200

Stop Gathering Requirements 201

Users Do Not Have Requirements 203

Gather Information, Not Requirements 204

Gathering the Information 205

Information-Gathering Plan 206

Information-Gathering Session 217

Solving Common Information-Gathering Issues 225

Iterative Information Gathering 227

Interviewing 228

Information-Gathering Meetings 239

Other Elicitation Methods 245

Are We Done Yet? 247

Notes 249

CHAPTER 12 Define the Problem Domain 251

Problem Domain Analysis 253

Defining the Domain 256

Changes in the Problem Domain 261

Neighboring Constituencies 263

Ancillary Benefits 264

Change in the Problem 264

The Essence 265

Note 265

CHAPTER 13 Determine the Solution 267

The Accordion Effect 267

Tools and Techniques 268

Determining the One Best Solution 278

Constraining the Solution 279

Stop Analyzing, Already 280

Confirmation 280

Checkpoint Beta 283

Notes 284

CHAPTER 14 Write the Solution Document 285

The Value of Documentation 285

The Anatomy of Requirements 289

Forms of Solution Documentation 300

Write the Right Thing 300

Write the Thing Right 302

Canned Brains 305

Requirements Ownership 306

Complete the Process 307

Note 308

PART V PRODUCING THE PRODUCT 309

CHAPTER 15 Monitor the Product 313

Entering the Solution Domain 314

Development Processes 314

Implementing the Solution 317

Keep the Light on 319

Things Change 319

Checkpoint Charley 320

The Watchdog 321

The Essence 323

Notes 323

CHAPTER 16 Confirm the Business Problem Has Been Solved 325

Correct Behavior 326

Acceptable Level of Confidence 326

Circumstances of Interest 327

The Testing Game 328

User Acceptance Testing? 333

Handling Defects 335

Testing Does Not Stop at Delivery 335

Note 336

CHAPTER 17 Transition and Change Management 337

Steps to Ensure Successful Change in the Organization 339

Orchestrate the Transition 341

Facilitate the Transition 342

Timing the Change 344

Major and Minor Changes 345

Do Not Change a Thing 345

Wrapping Up 347

Notes 349

POSTSCRIPT Where to Go from Here 351

Future of Business Analysis 351

Why We Need Business Analysts 352

The True Value of the Business Analyst 353

Increasing the Value of the Organization 354

Power to the Business Analyst 356

Notes 359

APPENDIX A Business Analyst Process 361

APPENDIX B The Principles 365

APPENDIX C Why We Do Not Get Good Requirements 373

APPENDIX D Comparison of the Roles of Business Analyst, Systems Analyst, and Project Manager 379

APPENDIX E Context-Free Problem Definition Questions 383

APPENDIX F List of Nonfunctional Requirements Categories 385

Bibliography 387

About the Author 395

Index 397