Tag Archives: knowledge areas of BA

Requirement Management

Requirements Management

Requirement ManagementThe gap between “what we know” and “what we think we know” is filled by the knowledge and the experience. What we know is about the facts and what we think we know succinct the assumptions. This is marked as the baseline for the business analysts (or the one seated on the chair of BA) during the requirements management and thus the BAs have to strive always to maintain the credibility of the requirements throughout the project life-cycle. The most appropriate way to mitigate the chances of bogus requirements getting developed or documented is to frame questions and avoid muddiness. The BAs are advised to focus on the different aspects of the requirements and then frame questions to nullify the chances of any ambiguity during the requirement elicitation and documentation.

What is Requirement?

Referring to the world of dictionary, the requirement is described as, “Something which is necessary and must be fulfilled to achieve the result”. Requirement word itself is self-explanatory and sometimes begets a cringing feeling (especially with the phrase “change in requirement”). But this should not happen with the BAs as they have the primary tasks to manage and maintain the requirements’ credibility throughout the life-cycle of the project.

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Requirement Communication

Requirements are the spine to any project. The more precisely requirements are gathered and analyzed; the more effective becomes the implementation. Thus it is important for a Business analyst to understand all the details of the requirements shared by business owners and subject matter experts and more importantly communicate the same to different stakeholders on time to avoid any delays in the implementation. Communication is one of the pillars of the project and it helps in explaining the tasks and responsibilities to different stakeholders. Business analyst being a bridge between different stakeholders is responsible for managing the requirements throughout the project life cycle. Proper and on-time communication of the requirements helps the stakeholders to reach the common understanding and which results in on-time and hassle-free implementation.

Requirements once elicited, analyzed and documented should be communicated to different stakeholders to maintain the authenticity of the same. Business analyst manages the requirements throughout the project life-cycle, thus it becomes his core responsibility that everyone involved in the project implementation should know the details of the requirements. The documents prepared with the requirements (functional and non-functional) details should be validated from the business sponsors. Solution design and assessment is done on the basis of the requirements elicited and thus it’s very critical that the designers and architects should know about the requirements and variations as the design is completely influenced by the nature of the requirements. There are certain methods followed by different business analysts to communicate the requirements including presentation and workshops but the end result is to convey the meaning and the stakeholders should be able to understand all the details.

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Solution Assessment and Validation

This is one of the knowledge areas for the business analysts as described in BABOK. This knowledge area deals with the solutions provided against the requirements. The solution should add a value and it is the duty of a business analyst to select, review and finalize the solution for the set of requirement. In this area the business analyst plays a very vital role as sometimes it’s his call to select the most appropriate from the list of the solutions. The solution selected by the business analyst should ensure that it meets the agreements between the stakeholders, enhance the business values and also do not contradict the organizational structures. So this knowledge area sometimes becomes more critical as the accepted solutions should meet the requirements of the business and the stakeholders should be able to understand the same. A business analyst should be able to explain the details of the most appropriate solution to all the stakeholders, so there may be some scenarios that he has to explain it to the people with minimum technical expertise.

Difference between Verification and Validation

Before moving further to learn more on solution assessment, let’s check out the difference between Verification and validation. On the first instance they both look almost similar, but there is a slight difference in the understanding.

Verification: To ensure that the selected work meets the specified requirements and the work is being done rightly on the product

Validation: To ensure that the selected work is on the track and it is being done on right product.

John E. Parker in his presentation defines the both as below:

Verification: Are we building the product right?

Validation: Are we building the right product?

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Business Planning and Monitoring

Business Planning and Monitoring is classified as one of the knowledge areas of Business analysts by IIBA in BABOK. Under this knowledge area the business analysts are assumed to perform certain planning activities which should be valid throughout the project life-cycle. The parameters which are defined and set during the planning phase should retain their validity throughout the project phases and it becomes the responsibility of the business analyst to perform the activities classified under this knowledge area precisely.

The activities which are marked under this knowledge area can be broadly classified as below:

  • stakeholder-managementIdentify the stakeholders: Stakeholder is defined as person or group that has stake and interest in the success of the project. Stakeholders are considered as the important aspect of the business and project life-cycle. The inputs from the stakeholders throughout the life-cycle are recommended. This is the task of the business analysts to identify the stakeholders and each one of them should be coordinated effectively as the project proceeds. These stakeholders review the requirements which was elicited, analysed and documented by the business analysts. The business analysts create a list of all the stakeholders associated in the project referring the available information on the type of the project and the skills required in the completion of the project.

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Knowledge Areas of BA

Business Analysis is all about tasks and techniques followed to qualify the business needs and finding the business solution. The solution may include the system development, process development or improvement and change in the organizational structure. It is about the process to complete the tasks with quality and those who follow these processes are known as business analysts. In some organizations, these business analysts are referred as system analysts, SME (subject matter experts), business process analysts, business system analysts and many more.

The tasks followed by business analyst require specific knowledge areas and a business analyst should focus on them while performing the activities. Many writers have defined these knowledge areas by different names and in different formats. BABOK (Business analysis body of Knowledge) has also defined these knowledge areas which group together related tasks and techniques.

Knowledge areas define the set of techniques which a BA should understand and try to practise during the routine activities. There is no arrangement for these knowledge areas and the tasks from all these knowledge areas can be performed in rapid succession depending on the pertinent inputs from the business owners.

As per BABOK, the list of these knowledge areas (KA) is as below:

  1. Business Analysis Planning and Monitoring
  2. Requirements Elicitation
  3. Requirements Management and Communication
  4. Enterprise Analysis
  5. Requirements Analysis
  6. Solution Assessment and Validation
  7. Underlying Competencies

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