Just a couple of quick news bits from the world of Business Analysis certification that I came across recently and which I thought worth sharing here:
- First, the International Requirements Engineering Board (IREB) announced that they were merging with the Requirements Engineering Qualifications Board (REQB). With both organizations continuing under the IREB banner and with some options for those with REQB certifications to migrate over to the IREB certification scheme.
- Second, the IREB also announced that they were joining forces with 3 other certification organizations to launch a ‘Shaping the Future of IT’ initiative “whose aim is to create an interdisciplinary body of knowledge fit for the challenges of software development in digital society”. Most of the organizations seem to be European-based, but you might want to keep an eye out for whatever they produce in the future.
- Third, one of the qualification boards that was part of the ‘Shaping the Future of IT’ initiative was new to me. This was the International Usability and UX Qualification Board (UXQB). It’s made up of organizations in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Denmark, and the UK and they seem to be building out what looks like a decent certification program for UX practitioners. Therefore I added information on this certification program to the Certification page of the wiki.
If you want to know more, just follow the links above.
I made a few minor updates to the wiki Certification page, just in case you haven’t visited it in a while. They were:
- Added new IIBA Level 1 (ECBA) and Level 4 (CBATL) certifications
- Updated links for all of the IIBA certifications to go to the new pages
- Added the PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP) to the Agile group
- Added the forthcoming [email protected] certifications from the IREB
- Added the Certified Business Architect from the Business Architecture Guild to the Business Architecture group
- Cleaned up the IREB certifications and updated the links to the new page URL’s
As always, if you are aware of a BA-related certification that I have not identified please add a comment to that page or send me an email (see the ‘About’ page) with info on the certification and I will think about adding it.
I’ve added a new page to the wiki that covers the Fishbone Diagram. This diagram is most frequently used for root cause analysis but the structure and general process can also be used for:
- A Feature Tree
- Evaluating the risk of an event with multiple causes
- Product cost analysis
- Project Post-Morten analysis
The wiki page covers the root cause analysis use in detail with step-by-step instructions, a example diagram that is built out with each step, and the usual supplemental information and links to all of the sources I used.
And continuing the focus of the wiki, I tried to make the page the most comprehensive source on this subject that you can find on the web. And also as usual, feedback and suggested improvement are always welcome.
For a while now I’ve been studying up on the more enterprise aspects of business analysis, including business architecture and business strategy. And this new wiki page on the VMOST Analysis technique is first page that has come from those studies.
I plan to add other wiki pages that will eventually cover even more of the enterprise and strategic aspects of business analysis (in my view of the broadest sense), but they may be a bit slow in coming. Just to give you an idea, I think for this article alone I ended up reading more than 350 pages of material and even then I am sure there are aspects I missed.
As usual though I tried to provide a web page that represents the most comprehensive set of information on this topic from a business analyst perspective that is available on the web (at least from what I could find), and which is structured in a practical way oriented towards those who wish to learn both when and how the technique could be used.
Lastly, this was written without the use of an editor (as always) so please be aware of the potential for (hopefully) minor spelling and grammar mistakes. Feel free to send me an email with any you identify if you are so inclined.
And as always, comments are always appreciated. Especially if you can identify important information that I missed.
I have several large research projects ongoing for the wiki that are limiting my ability to generate as much new content as I would like. So in the meantime I finished writing up a wiki page I had started a while ago but never completed. This one is on Decision Tables.
The validation logic I included is something I don’t see in many other write-ups of Decision Tables, so hopefully this article provides enough extra information to make reading it worthwhile. And if you want even more information on the validation logic, feel free to read the Rand Corporation paper I got it from. A direct link is included in the References section of the page.
And as always, feedback is always welcome. 🙂
A common refrain of the Agile movement is that “you can’t predict future requirements”, but it’s one I’ve never completely agreed with. Can you predict 100% of future requirements, 100% of the time, with 100% accuracy? No. But that does not mean for certain that you can’t predict some likely future requirements and design your solution so that you can either include those capabilities in your initial solution design, or define your solution architecture in such a way that adding those capabilities in the future is much easier, quicker, and less costly than they might otherwise be if you made no attempt to include them from the beginning.
And while it’s fine for me to say that, the question is how might you go about determining some future requirements or some future events that may drive future requirements in a systematic, thoughtful way?
Luckily, there is a technique from the field of Futures Studies (that is also used in Social Studies, Political Sciences, and other fields) that is both useful for Business Analysis work and relatively easy to execute. That technique is the Futures Wheel.
Of course, like many Business Analysis techniques that are “relatively simple” to execute, the true value comes from the expertise and effort of those who execute the technique. But it’s a technique I rarely see discussed by other Business Analysts, Project Managers, or others in related fields. So give the new wiki page a look if you are interested and see if it might be something you want to try.
And as always, feedback is appreciated. 🙂
I updated the wiki page on Waterfall today, nearly doubling its length to what is now an article roughly 35 pages in length if printed. As with the previous version, I’m trying less to describe the common interpretation of what ‘Waterfall’ is, and more trying to show that the common interpretation seems to be wrong based on the historical documents. Or at least that the common interpretation of ‘Waterfall’ may never have existed as anything more than a straw man.
I’m not a big promoter of “Waterfall”, although I am a big believer in analysis and design up front (both of which can evolve later, but the more you do early the better you understand your current situation and where you want to go). But the thing I find fascinating about ‘Waterfall’ as a concept is how like a mystery novel it is.
Poor Winston Royce wrote what at the time was a non-controversial paper that discussed current practices for large software development and in which he made some relatively minor suggestions for improving things. He doesn’t use the term ‘Waterfall’ anywhere. Yet starting almost a decade after he published his paper, and continuing to this day, his name is tied to something called ‘Waterfall’ that bears very little resemblance to what he wrote and which is called such things as a “toxic concept” and “the most costly mistake in the history of the world”.
Yet to this day I can’t find any document that EVER advocated for anything close to the highly rigid process that is how ‘Waterfall’ is commonly described. Describe such as process? Sure. Usually while citing Royce’s paper. But not advocated.
The new article is long, hopefully informative, fully referenced, and spends way more time talking about history than it probably should. Be aware that I have no outside editor, so there are probably grammar and other mistakes galore.
Feel free to add comments if you have any.
I have added a new wiki page on the Matrix Prioritization technique as an addition to the set of prioritization wiki pages I posted earlier this month.
Most BA’s probably know Matrix Prioritization as “Wiegers Prioritization Matrix” or something similar, but there are a few other variants out there and they seem to use roughly the same process, so I documented the general process and included examples of both the common Wiegers version and a more complex version that leverages the same process in a slightly different way.
The nice thing about Matrix Prioritization is that it can be as simple or complex as you like.
As usual, I’ve tried to make the wiki entry pretty complete and feedback is always appreciated.
After working on them off and on for several months I am posting the first batch of wiki pages related to prioritization today. The new pages include:
- A wiki page that extensively discusses the concept of Prioritization
- Several wiki pages that discuss specific prioritization techniques in detail. These include:
As usual, I’ve tried to make these in-depth information resources that include step-by-step instructions. My goal is to provide a reference that goes beyond what you are likely to find anywhere else on the web if that seems feasible. In particular, the Prioritization concept page and the Kano Model page have more consolidated information than I have found anywhere else.
Be warned that the Prioritization concept page in particular is fairly huge. But hopefully not so huge that it is not useful. 🙂
I still plan to add at least one more specific prioritization technique, and possibly a few others. But they are not my top priority at the moment.
Your feedback and comments would be appreciated. If you don’t want to leave a comment directly on the page in question, there is an indirect reference to my email address on the “About” page of the site (at the bottom).
I decided that having separate wiki pages for each Body of Knowledge of potential interest to Business Analyst’s wasn’t useful, as several of them only had a few lines of content. So I combined all of the pages into a single page “Body’s of Knowledge”.
I have also removed the references to project management bodies of knowledge for the moment, figuring those are less relevant and given that there is already so much info out there on project management that it shouldn’t be hard for a BA to find information if they need it.
I may do this type of consolidation for other pages, such as those under Organizations (current and future) in order to try and keep the wiki cleanly organized and not full of a bunch of small pages.
If you have suggestions for similar improvements, feel free to add a comment.
The Certification page on the Wiki has been updated to include the following:
- The new PMI-PBA certification
- Two Usability / User Experience individual certifications from Human Factors International
- Three certifications from the International Qualification Board for Business Analysis (only one actually available)
- Three certifications from the Requirements Engineering Qualification Board (possibly none currently available, hard to tell)
I am a little uncomfortable with the last two as they are both organizations and certifications I have never heard of before. And both seem to have a VERY heavy overlap with what the I.R.E.B is doing (and I have a lot of confidence that the IREB is a fully legit and respected organization and certifications). But I wanted to include them on the page in hopes of getting feedback from people who have actually engaged with those bodies and done the certifications.
If you know of any relevant certifications that I am missing, please let me know either via the comments on that page or via email (see the “About” page). At the moment I am not planning to include any certifications issued by for-profit training companies (LearningTree for example) or those coming from college or university education programs.
The Certification page is among the most popular pages on the site (it averages 2nd most popular), so I want to try and keep it up to date. Thanks for visiting!
I added a new wiki page for Use Case Diagrams. I’m not a big fan of them, so there may be ways the same diagrams could be improved or even errors. But since I had to study up on them as preparation for the CPRE-FL exam, I tried to make the information as accurate as I could since I might be tested on it.
But please let me know if you have any suggestions or comments. I’m always open to suggestions for improvement. Thanks!
I added a new “Technique” page to the wiki section. This one is on Decision Trees. As usual, I tried to go beyond what is on Wikipedia. But I would really like suggestions for improvements on this one. I’ve used decision tree’s occasionally as a BA, but always in the logic-mapping way. We very rarely use them in the business decision way at my employer, and when they are done they are almost always done by the PM. So I did my best based on past classes, a small bit of secondary experience, and what I could find on the web. But I’m sure there is room for improvement.
There is a step-by-step guide to creating them, lots of references and resources to review if you don’t like my info, and hopefully enough to help you figure out if they might be of use to you and how to generally do them. So hopefully you get some value from the page. I learned a bit, which is my primary goal. 🙂
They were low on my priority list, but I have gotten around to migrating the BA Tools content from the prior version of this web site over. Rather than have an individual page for each application, I consolidated them into single pages for each category in order to make it easier to maintain. I didn’t see a reason for me to try and maintain separate pages for each tool when the vendor or coder would do a much better job of that than I could. I also figured the biggest value I could give here would be awareness of what options are out there. In an exception to that idea though, I also migrated over my “Introduction to Microsoft OneNote 2010 for Business Analyst’s” content as a wiki sub-page under the information management page. This is a re-structured version of a presentation deck I put together a while back in order to encourage my fellow BA’s at work to adopt OneNote. It mainly just gives a consolidated overview of the OneNote functions, and tries to throw in a few places where those might be useful to BA’s.
If you are aware of any tools I have left off (I’m sure there are a lot), feel free to send me an email or add a comment letting me know what I missed and I will add it to the wiki. Thanks!
I added a new page to the wiki that covers the Unified Process and it’s major variants. As usual, I tried to put together more information than you would find on Wikipedia. You may be aware of most of the info there, but we don’t use UP or any of it’s variants where I work, so it was a learning experience. There could be some improvements I’m sure, so feel free to add comments with suggestions.