Business Analyst Fundamentals
About This Course
This three-day business analyst training course will give you hands-on experience with proven techniques for discovering, understanding, and documenting the business environment; understanding and depicting project scope; identifying, documenting, and confirming business objectives; modeling current and desired business processes; and communicating all of these expertly to colleagues, sponsors, and business customers. Lively lectures combined with insightful demonstrations and realistic practice exercises provide you with the competence and confidence to improve project outcomes through better project scope and business requirements definition.
- Business customer, user or partner
- Business Analyst
- Business Systems Analyst
- Systems Analyst
- Project Manager
- Systems Architect or Designer
- Systems or Application Developer
- QA Professional
- Systems Tester
- Leader of Systems projects or teams
- Anyone wanting to enhance his/her business analysis skills
- Definition of the Business Analyst profession
Requirements from the business perspective
How to bridge the communication gap between business stakeholders and technology solution providers
How to clearly document and communicate the scope of your projects
How to target your analysis and understand consequences of solutions
Targeted questions to discover root causes, not just symptoms
How to capture and verify business requirements
How to negotiate with business stakeholders and developers
Communication skills through hands-on practice
Ways to organize and categorize project requirements
In this business analyst training course, learn how to:
I. The Business Analysis Profession
It's only in recent years that business analysis has begun to be recognized as a profession in its own right. While people have been performing the Business Analyst role in organizations for several decades, differing definitions of the role abound. We will start the workshop by exploring some of those definitions, as well as gaining a clear understanding of where the industry appears to be heading and some emerging common standards for the profession.
- Understanding the Business Analyst role and function
- The competencies of the Business Analyst
- The profession of business analysis
Because Business Analysts work with people throughout their organizations, it's imperative they have good teamwork and communication skills. We will begin with a fun activity to explore differences in communication styles, and we will also model a few techniques for laying a solid foundation for teamwork on any project.
II. Communication in the Business Analysis Context
Many tasks that are integral for successful business analysis involve significant communication. In this section of the workshop, you will hone your ability to connect with project stakeholders at all levels using effective verbal and nonverbal techniques. You will also identify and practice overcoming sources of misunderstanding, which is vital for requirements validation.
- The three most important communication skills for business analysis
- The biggest challenges Business Analysts confront
- Eliciting information
- Clarifying information
- Communication and miscommunication
- Validating information
Working in small groups, you and your peers will practice choosing appropriate techniques to elicit information from stakeholders at various levels in an organization. Following a fun demonstration of how miscommunication occurs, you will enhance your ability to connect with stakeholders and foster effective communication by clarifying stakeholders' contributions and validating information.
III. Analytical Thinking and Problem Solving
Projects often arise to solve specific business problems. Understanding the underlying problem, though sometimes overlooked, is key to being able to develop the correct requirements so that the best solution can be developed. During this section, you will explore and practice problem analysis and its application.
- Why problem solving is key to business analysis
- Analyzing symptoms and causes
- Identifying and defining the problem
- Developing solutions
- Understanding the people side of problem solving
Guided by your instructor, you will work with a team to analyze the symptoms of a problem, define it, and determine root causes. You will practice team problem-solving techniques and determine, based on your team's performance, ways to further enhance your communication and team collaboration skills.
IV. Interaction Skills for Business Analysis
It's not uncommon for Business Analysts to wonder why they need interaction skills. After all, most projects have a sponsor, a project manager, and at least one manager from the business. But managing interactions is a key Business Analyst role, one that's central to the effective understanding of business problems. This course module explores the importance of interaction, key interaction skills for Business Analysts, and the situational application of those skills in business analysis functions.
- Understanding interaction skills and why Business Analysts need them
- Facilitation with stakeholders
- Negotiation and conflict resolution
- Leadership and influencing
Following review and discussion of interaction skills and their application to business analysis functions, you and your team will play a fun learning game that allows you to demonstrate, reinforce, and earn prizes for your knowledge of these vital skills.
V. Business Knowledge
The role of a Business Analyst has often been compared to that of a bridge providing a connection between two points, in this case the Information Technology organization and the lines of business that comprise the project domain. We will present a model that shows how the IT and business domains should be focused and leveraged throughout the project lifecycle.
- The business domain: what it is and what's relevant to business analysis
- The IT domain: what it is and what's relevant to business analysis
- The systems development lifecycle and the focus on IT and business domains
Working with your team, you will quickly test and improve your understanding of how the business and IT domains integrate in the Business Analyst role and how they fit with the systems development lifecycle.
VI. Strategy Analysis
One of the most overlooked functions of a Business Analyst is the strategy analysis, which can also yield some of the most valuable findings of a project. Strategy analysis is a key best practice in business analysis, and they can be surprisingly straightforward. During this portion of the workshop, we will explore some practical techniques that produce keen, relevant, and useful insights for the business organization.
- Strategy analysis defined
- The role of the Business Analyst in strategy analysis
- Describing the business environment
- Describing the requirements scope
- Assessing feasibility
Your instructor will introduce a hypothetical but realistic case project company, and you and your team will put your analysis skills to the test as you conduct a guided assessment. You will define and document the business environment, clearly describe the scope of the business, and perform a straightforward identification of business opportunities. Finally, you will assess the feasibility of a set of projects and present recommendations on the project(s) of greatest value to the business.
VII. Project Initiation and Analysis
What most people think of as business analysis is central to project initiation and the analysis phase. Because of the depth of skill these activities require, most Business Analysts demand separate training to develop true mastery. This course module therefore provides an overview and introduction to three crucial business analysis activities by demonstrating common tools for identifying and documenting project scope, for modeling current and desired states, and for eliciting key requirements.
- Identifying project stakeholders
- Defining and documenting project scope
- Decomposing the application domain
- Analyzing and documenting key processes
- Eliciting functional requirements
- Modeling the desired state
After reviewing a project request for an identified business opportunity, you will work with peers and your instructor to determine and document the project scope with a context diagram. You will then review a current state model of one key business process, and, based on identified functional requirements, you will then work with your team to develop a model for a possible new process design.
VIII. Requirements Analysis
Once functional requirements have been discovered and documented, they have to be analyzed to determine their accuracy and completeness and be refined where necessary. We will examine the inherent analysis challenges and show you effective techniques to analyze and improve your requirements.
- Requirements analysis defined
- Structuring the requirements
- Refining and writing better requirements
Working with a set of identified functional requirements, you and your peers will analyze the requirements against a set of criteria for effective requirements. You will practice clarifying and rewriting requirements to improve their specificity and accuracy.
IX. Requirements Collaboration
After the requirements are analyzed and refined, they have to be validated with business customers, users, and management. Communicating these requirements involves much more than information exchange; at its best, it's a process of negotiation, validation, and consensus building. We will examine the inherent communication challenges and help you confidently choose the best ways to achieve your communication goals and gain the stakeholder buy-in required for successful requirements management throughout the project lifecycle.
- Requirements collaboration defined
- Determining the appropriate requirements presentation format
- Creating the requirements package
- Presenting the requirements
- Conducting a formal requirements review
- Obtaining consensus and signoff of requirements
Working with requirements from our case project, you and your peers will determine which communication approaches will best meet the needs of various stakeholders. You will practice categorizing and organizing requirements for maximum value, and you will explore how to develop and present clear, concise requirements documentation appropriate for your projects.