Category Archive Business Analyst Skills

Business Analysis fundamentals PDF

Business Analysis Fundamentals E-book

Download this business analysis fundamentals PDF book to learn the basics of business analysis. This book will help you learn the basics and help you get started as a business analyst.

What does this book cover?

This is a crisp yet comprehensive book which covers following topics related to business analysis:

  • What is business analysis?
  • Who is a business analyst – role and responsibilities
  • Skills of a business analyst
  • Software development phases
  • Top software development methodologies
  • Case Study

What is business analysis?

In this section, you will learn about business analysis. What are the key elements of it and how does IIBA (International Institute of business analysis) defines it?

Who is a business analyst – role and responsibilities

The next section in the book is about the role and responsibilities of a business analyst. We are going to talk about the role of an IT business analyst.

Skills of a business analyst

In the third chapter of this book, we will provide an insight into the skills of a business analyst specially for an entry level business analyst. This section will also list down the soft skills of a business analyst.

Software Development Phases

This chapter will deal with the phases of a software development process. As a business analyst, you need to know about each of the phases of the software development. Even though you may not be participating in all the phases.

Top Software Development Methodologies

This chapter will deal with two of the most well-known software development life cycle methodologies namely – Waterfall and Agile.

Case Study

Any form of learning is incomplete without a practical example. That’s what is this chapter all about. In this chapter, we present a full case study covering all the phases. This will help you in understanding the intricacies of every phase.

 

Download business analysis fundamentals PDF

To get the PDF copy of the book, please send an email to info@techcanvass.co.in with subject line “Business analysis fundamentals”. We will send you the link to download.

Don’t forget to add this email id to safe list so that the reply email does not land in SPAM.

 

About Techcanvass

Techcanvass is an IT certifications training organization specializing in business analysis and automation testing training.  We are an IIBA and iSQI Germany authorized training centre. You can check more details at the following pages:

Business Analysis CertificationsAutomation Testing Courses

How important is domain knowledge for a Business Analyst?

Importance of domain knowledge for a Business Analyst

How important is domain knowledge for a business analyst? Let’s examine this in this post. I am going to look at the domain knowledge from at least two perspectives:

  • What is the level of expertise needed?
  • Is it a pre-requisite to start as a business analyst?

I am also going to leave you with some resources to learn basics of a few domains.

What is domain knowledge?

Domain is a specified sphere of activity or knowledge.

The literal/dictionary meaning is very clear and obvious. In the IT industry, the domain knowledge is used to refer to the knowledge and understanding of the business sector or specific business process of a project/product.

So, a domain could be Banking, Insurance, Trade finance at a higher level or could be retail lending process, funds transfer at a more specific level. A domain knowledge refers to the understanding of the specific domain area. So, what does it include?

  • Understanding of the of the sector/industry/segment
  • Understanding of the key concepts/vocabularies
  • Understanding of the business processes
  • Understanding of the implementations and its challenges

For example, If you would like to be good at understanding retail banking, you need to understand the following, for example:

  • Customer acquisition, cross-selling and up-selling
  • Unified customer view
  • Retail banking operations like account opening, funds transfer, deposits etc
  • The back end processes
  • Integrations with external entities like bank transfer, SWIFT payments etc

Which domains are relevant and important for IT industry?

Some of the important sectors for IT industry and for business analysts are as follows:

  • Banking, Financial Services and Insurance (BFSI)
  • Manufacturing
  • E-Commerce
  • Internet Services (Online apps for travel, cab booking etc)
  • Telecom

The importance and relevance is based on the simple fact – Which of the industries provide substantial business to the IT industry. BFSI (Banking, Finance services and Insurance) has always been the top sector for several decades.

Why it’s important for Business Analysts?

Let’s consider the scenario of working in BFSI domain as a business analyst or for that matter Telecom or healthcare? As a BA, you need to interact with the customer to understand the business needs/requirements.

During the requirements discussions, the customer will be stating their expectations in a language, which will comprise of:

  • Domain specific terminologies
  • Process steps specific to the project

Example: You are discussing the funds transfer process for developing a mobile banking application for an India bank. You may come across the following statements:

The funds transfer happen through NEFT, RTGS, UPI and IMPS using the RBI and NPCI infrastructure. Once the beneficiary is added and approved, our customer can initiate the funds transfer. These transactions are carried out the NPCI/RBI networks. The confirmation is then given to the beneficiary. Each of these networks may have specific formats for carrying out transactions

There is no way, customer is going to explain you (and you should not even ask them) the meaning of NPCI, NEFT, RTGS etc and how do they work? If don’t have a clue of these terms, you may miss out many important aspects as you may not be able to related to them (or may not be able to understand the importance).

The domain knowledge is important for business analysts, because this enable you to

  • Understand not only the stated needs but also the unstated ones as you understand the process and concepts
  • Value add by suggesting improvements, thereby improving your credibility. (This comes with experience)

Level of domain expertise for business analysts

As an entry level business analyst, you are not expected to possess domain knowledge. Understanding of requirements capturing techniques, UML modelling, requirements analysis and SRS/FS understanding are more important as an entry level business analyst. However, it is always an added advantage to have basic understanding of a domain like Banking, Insurance etc.

However, as a practicing business analyst, domain knowledge becomes important. Domain knowledge and expertise grows with experience and number of projects (of that domain), you are part of. This is a hard to replace expertise and enables you to gain more and more credibility as a professional.

A pertinent point is to consider is – specialization Vs generalization. Do you need to be an expert in one domain or you should be a generalist having broad level understanding of multiple domains. Well Jury is out on this one and it will purely depend on the business scenario. Specialization is good if the growth opportunities in that domain is substantial. One such example is banking domain.

However, generalization is like Jack of all trades and it’s pretty useful in downturns as it improves your chances of being relevant always.

Domain Basics Resources

I have selected a few resources, which you can use to learn basics of some of the domains. It is by no means the complete list:

Khan Academy –

A comprehensive course on basics of banking series. There are multiple videos in this playlist. You can watch it here.

Investment banking basics

An animated and short video. You can watch it here.

Insurance Basics

A simple explanation of insurance industry. You can watch it here.

Another insurance fundamentals video. You can watch it here.

Types of life insurance

A nicely presented video on types of life insurance. You can watch it here.

Health Insurance basics

Basics of health insurance. An animated video. You can watch it here.

About Techcanvass

Techcanvass offers IT certification courses for professionals. We specialize in Business analysis and automation testing courses.

We are an IIBA endorsed education provider (EEP), iSQI ATP (for Certified Agile Business Analyst Training) as well as Agile Testing alliance partner for CP-SAT certification training in Selenium.

We have a Business analyst training course with domain training in-built into it. This training program offers you the opportunity to get certified with ECBA certification as well as have banking domain understanding.

We also offer other domain training courses for business analysts. Here is the list.

Business Analyst training with Banking domain

Business Analyst training with Insurance Domain (Coming up)

Business Analyst training with Investment Banking domain

Business Analyst training with US healthcare domain

Top 4 mistakes IT professionals make which spoils their careers

Top 4 mistakes IT professionals make which spoils their careers

disclaimer: This article is purely based on my experiences as an IT professional. Purely personal experiences and may not be valid for every professional.

Being in the IT industry for over two decades, I have experienced some great moments of joy and despair. Going home at 4 AM because of a crucial release, or going for a team lunch post UAT sign off or getting a kickass email from the customer are all itched on my memory forever. Every such moment was an experience.

Talking of experience, I have had experience of working with some really high-performance, intelligent and capable people as well as some really average ones. I am in touch with most of them and when I meet them, I try and understand what made them click or fail.

Over the years, I have developed my own theory on what are the critical success factors for an IT professional. Thought to share with you. These are top 4 mistakes IT professionals make in their professional lives, which literally spoils their growth prospects

Boss is only for assigning work

In my career, I have seen people who interact with their bosses or immediate managers, only when boss calls them for assigning work. Not good. Be practical, your supervisor is not only responsible for assigning work to you but also for your role, your growth as well as your increments. You don’t need to buttress your boss but you must definitely try and build a cordial relationships with him/her.

Let me share the benefits of cordial relationship with bosses. In later part of my career, I never had to put up my resume on Naukri or Monster. Why? Because whenever, I wanted to change, I would talk to one of my ex-managers and that’s it. Moreover, it saved me a lot of search time as well as enabled me in getting better or desired roles & salary, which would have been difficult otherwise.

This is just one aspect but this can help you in many other aspects as well. If you are setting up your own startup, it can help you in getting contacts and even some deals.

So the key take away is to build relationship with your bosses.

PS: This section is meant for bosses who are not out there to make your life hell. In that case, you know what do you need to do – Leave your Boss.

I love this technology, every other technology is useless

This is something I never understood. Yesterday, I was having a discussion with a senior programmer, who had resigned from his current company. We were talking about the reasons for his resignation and it was- the company had decided to move to a different technology and he was not keen to work on that. Well had it been a move from PHP to Java or .NET to Java – I could have understood. But we’re talking about moving to Angular.JS from ASP.NET/C#. So I asked him, if the company decides against it, will he continue, he said – yes.

Excuse me!!

Technology is an enabler and as an IT professional, you must be looking at technology as a tool to solve problems rather than choosing the problem to suit a technology.

If you take this kind of an approach, you will soon become a pariah or will seriously limit your opportunities in any organization as well your own growth.

I can’t interact with people who don’t understand technology

This one is my favorite. Over the years, I have got used to this situation, however. People, with high Technology quotient (TQ), believe that it’s futile to discuss anything with low TQs or zero TQs people.

We all must understand, business software applications are developed for a customer to solve their problems. We earn our salaries because customers are paying for these software applications.

This means that to be successful in this field, we must gain experience in solving customer problems. Problems can only be solved, if they are understood correctly and for that we need to interact with customers, who may not be as tech savvy as we would like them to be.

So, do we have an option of not interacting with them?

Being a loner

Do you identify with it? No, then it’s good. Many of us believe in – doing work sincerely, leaving rest to GOD. Big mistake. You will be loosing out big time.  Two major drawback of being a loner:

  • It’s all about visibility in corporate world, dude.If you are not seen, you are dependent on somebody to help you grow. Do you want yourself to be in that situation? You are talented and hard-working, so go out and show it. Make presentations, conduct training sessions for your team mates and so on.But make sure, it is published and known to people (Use Intranet or HR website)
  • Corporate offices are becoming hotbed of politics. People manipulate, backbite or do whatever is possible to sabotage other’s careers (rather than focusing on building their own). If you are not aware of whats happening around you, you are going to be at a loss for sure…keeping abreast of office politics is important and that can only happen, if you interact – give and take policy.

These are not the only mistakes, we make as IT professionals but I chose the most important ones, as per my understanding.

Will be eager to hear about your experiences as well.

About Techcanvass

Techcanvass is an IT certifications training academy specializing in Business Analysis, Automation Testing and Project Management certifications. We are IIBA endorsed education provider, iSQI ATP (for Certified Agile Business Analyst Training) as well as Agile Testing alliance partner for CP-SAT certification training in Selenium.

 


Business Analyst Training
IIBA Business Analyst Training

Business Analyst Training with Banking Domain
ECBA Training with Banking Domain
Agile Business Analyst Training

Agile Business Analyst Training

Cheers

Why do we go wrong in Requirements gathering?

Why do we go wrong in Requirements gathering?

Requirements gathering is probably the most critical phase of every software project. But empirical data suggests we are not doing well in this. So, why do we go wrong in requirements gathering?

Before getting into reasons for it, I must share with you one of my favorite videos. It’s a funny take on the requirements gathering meeting.

The video highlights a few important points:

a) Customers, sometimes, also don’t have clarity on what exactly do they want?

b) Why don’t we ask this question – Why do you want this? What is the purpose of this feature?

All the studies about the success and failure of software projects have found that lack of clarity on understanding, is one of the top reasons for project failure. In this post, I am going to touch upon top 4 reasons for  – Why do we go wrong in Requirements gathering?

Not Asking “Why”

The question “Why do you want something to be done” is one of the most important questions – a Business Analyst can ask? It not only enables you to understand the actual requirements but also enables the customer to explore and understand – what do they want and why?

It’s important to associate requirements with the business objective and goal. Every feature or function included in the system must be linked to the end objective and not because it is a fanciful idea.

One simple example will further explain this aspect. Let’s say you visit a doctor because you have fever.  Once you meet the doctor, you may tell the doctor – “Doctor, I might have viral fever as I am having nausea and headache as well?” A good doctor  never takes that statement on face value, instead the doctor asks questions to do his/her own diagnosis. These questions could be:

  • Since when you are having fever?
  • Did you measure it?
  • Are you having body ache?
  • Do you feel chill?

Based on the answers to these questions, the doctor may ask for further investigation. Unless the doctor is sure of the actual reason, he/she can’t treat it well.  Imagine doctor giving medicines based on our judgement rather than his own diagnosis.

One of the most important mistakes, we make as business analysts is to not use enough “Why”. What is stated by the customer stakeholder during requirements elicitation meetings should not be taken at face value.

Making Assumptions

Our experience teaches us a lot. Business processes understanding is just one of the skills, a BA acquires in his/her career. Over the years, working in variety of projects, build our skills about an industry, its processes and its implementations.

This helps us in a lot of ways. But many a times, we also assume that the current customer organization will also be doing this function as the previous customer. is that always true? More often than not.

Every customer is different. 

So, How can we avoid this mistake? By keeping in mind a few things:

  • Treat every customer as different and so their processes
  • Always challenge your assumptions
  • Don’t hesitate in asking questions, even though simple (Ego is your biggest enemy)
  • Validate the requirements properly

As a business analyst, we can start by using open and close ended questions at the right time. Open ended questions are asked to understand the processes and its steps. Whereas close ended questions are asked to confirm an understanding. – Ask open ended questions for understanding requirements.

Examples of open-ended questions:

  • What is your cross-selling process?
  • What do you do when the due date for bill payment is passed?
  • What is the process of account opening? How many steps are involved?

An account opening process for ICICI Bank is different from Kotak’s bank even though they may be savings bank account. The steps carried out in the back-end are completely different.

Ignoring end users as stakeholders

End users: Users or customer employees, who are the actual users of the software (once it is ready). They are not the managers, who feel that they know every detail.

Ignoring these end users can prove to be counter-productive. It can happen in a project, if:

  • Customer managers/directors/CIOs tell the IT team that they know what is needed and there is no need to talk to the end users
  • We, as business analysts, feel that the end users are not savvy enough to give us valuable details.

It’s not something, we should avoid. The end users are the actual users and they can provide us important inputs from the ground zero.

 

Not validating requirements

We are used to test the developed software thoroughly but miss out on validating the software requirements, the right way. The reason for this is that we feel that verifying the SRS/FS using a checklist is validating the requirements or sending the well-written SRS document to the customer (for going through it and confirming it). That’s far from the truth.

A perfectly verified requirements specification can produce completely useless software product. Why?

That’s because verification of requirements only look at what is written and documented. It does not check if the documented requirements will be able to help customer achieve the business goal. Most of the times, it does not.

Validation is the process of checking the requirements (It can be in any format) with respect to the business objectives/goals. How do we do it? And how we should not do it?

  • We don’t do it by sending a 300 page SRS document (Do you think customer will read it?)
  • We do it by creating prototypes, demonstrate it and get an agreement in a collaborative manner?
  • We can do it by creating demos or proof of concepts also?

In the next article, we will be discussing the difference between requirements verification and validation. You might like to look at the following post:

Top 6 characteristics of Well written requirements

Conclusion

As a business analyst, we should be aware of the factors, which prevents us from missing out on requirements. Requirements are the basis for the software development and getting them right, is our responsibility.

It’s important that we make ourselves aware of all the factors and aspects, which cause impediments in getting the requirements right.

About Techcanvass

Techcanvass offers IT certification courses for professionals. We are an IIBA endorsed education provider (EEP), iSQI ATP (for Certified Agile Business Analyst Training) as well as Agile Testing alliance partner for CP-SAT certification training in Selenium.

We have a Business analyst training course with domain training in-built into it. This training program offers you the opportunity to get certified with ECBA certification as well as have banking domain understanding.


Business Analyst Training

IIBA Business Analyst Training


Business Analyst Training with Banking Domain

ECBA Training with Banking Domain

Agile Business Analyst Training

Agile Business Analyst Training

Cheers

Software Estimation Techniques for New and Maintenance Projects

Multiple Software Estimation Techniques are available for estimating the efforts of a software project. However, not all techniques can be used for all kinds of projects. In this post, I am going to talk about 3 project scenarios and the appropriate estimation technique to be used for each.

New Software Project (medium to large sized)

Typically estimations are done at the pre-sales stage for bidding. The availability of information about requirements is limited. This makes the task of estimation very challenging and naturally it is error prone.

Pros – FPA estimation Technique

The ideal estimation technique could be function point analysis (FPA), which is an algorithmic estimation technique. FPA is a size and effort estimation technique based on features.This technique covers all aspects of software development like:

  • Number of interfaces
  • Number of screens
  • Data stores and interactions & more…

FPA also considers environmental factors such as type of application. A mid-sized project with 1,00,000 concurrent users expectations will have need more effort than 100 concurrent users expectations. This aspect is often overlooked in the other estimation techniques.

There are multiple environmental factors which can be useful for different scenarios.

Cons – FPA estimation Technique

It has a learning curve and requires some experience to be able to estimate using this technique.

Learning FPA

Here are some of the picks for learning FPA

IFPUG Documentation (Though a little dated)

FPA in Agile

FPA with examples


Maintenance Projects

I include change requests for enhancements and bug fixing in maintenance projects. These are characterized by much better availability of information. The system is already in place.

A WBS (work break down) based estimation technique is an ideal choice. it’s possibly one of the simplest estimation techniques.

In this estimation technique, we decompose the requirements into smaller units of work (by creating work break down structure). Each unit of work is then estimated for effort in days or hours. A sample break down structure is shown below:

Once the coding effort is estimated, you can roll it up to estimate the total effort including testing, requirement study etc.

Pros – WBS Estimation Technique

It’s a simple to understand estimation technique and can be easily learned.

Cons – WBS Estimation Technique

Just like any other estimation technique, it is also dependent on individual’s assessment and is prone to being biased.


New Software Project (Small Project)

We can use WBS estimation technique for small projects as well as discussed above.


Subjectivity in software Estimation Techniques

Software estimations are conducted by individuals and they are prone to being biased (not intentionally though). The reasons could be:

  • An expert developer estimating for programs, it will always be on lower side
  • A domain expert estimating the functionality
  • A normal professional typically underestimates

These reasons can be eliminated by simple modifications to any of the estimation techniques.

Eliminating subjectivity – Method I

In case of WBS estimation technique, we can ask two developers to give their estimation. This will average out the subjectivity without too much of effort. The estimation sheet will look as shown below:

We can easily take the average to arrive at better coding estimate. In case of FPA (typically done by project managers), we can ask two project managers to create FPA estimations and then take average.

Eliminating subjectivity – Method II

This is a more accurate technique to eliminate subjectivity. In this technique, a simple weighted average is calculated to arrive at the most likely estimate.

The estimation needs to created for the following scenarios:

  • Minimum time to finish (a)
  • Maximum time to finish (b)
  • most likely time to finish (c)

Then use the formula, best time to finish = (a+4b+c)/6

Conclusion

Software estimation technique has always been dependent on individuals. Many experts feel that software estimation is an art rather than a science. In my more than two decades of experience, lot of my estimations proved to be wrong. But I used the learnings to improve my next estimation. If you are expected to estimate, always be open to ask questions and learn from previous mistakes.

It’s also a good idea to refer to estimations of similar types of projects or ask your colleagues who have been involved in similar projects.

About Techcanvass

Techcanvass offers IT certification courses for professionals. We are an IIBA endorsed education provider (EEP), iSQI ATP (for Certified Agile Business Analyst Training) as well as Agile Testing alliance partner for CP-SAT certification training in Selenium.

 

Business Analysis Basics

Business Analysis Basics

In this business analysis basics tutorial, you will learn – what is business analysis, role of a business analyst & responsibilities of a business analyst. Business analysts have been gaining importance in the IT industry, especially in the last few years. This trend is expected to become better in the coming years.

They play an important role by enabling the customer organizations implement a software solution effectively and efficiently. Business analysts work as an intermediary between the customer and the software teams to understand & capture the requirements and communicate with the technology team.

This blog post on business analyst basics is intended for any professional (IT or non-IT professional), who would like to become a business analyst.

What is Business Analysis?

International Institute of business analysis (IIBA), Canada defines business analysis as:

Business Analysis is the practice of enabling change in an organizational context, by defining needs and recommending solutions that deliver value to stakeholders.

Business analysis is the discipline of identifying business needs, determining the best-fit solution and measuring the effectiveness of the solution. Business analysis comprises of three key elements as shown below:

Business Analysis fundamentals

Problem Analysis and Definition

The first element of business analysis is to understand the problem/needs of the customer. This is possibly the most important element of business analysis practice. Identifying the correct problem is necessary before we can attempt to solve it.

Albert Einstein once said,

“If I were given one hour to save the planet, I would spend 59 minutes defining the problem and one minute resolving it,”

Nothing highlights the importance of using right techniques and methodology to understand the problems or needs, correctly. Needs are high level problem statements or business goals. The needs must be detailed out to help the software development team to develop a software application. The detailed version of needs is referred to as requirements. We will discuss requirements and how does it evolve, in the tutorial later.

Solution Evaluation

The second element of business analysis is to determine – how to address or to solve the customer needs. Evaluation of a solution can be conducted on multiple parameters, some of them are as shown below:

  • Cost vs benefit
  • Risks analysis
  • Financial analysis like Net present value
  • Features of the solution & others…

Basic evaluation can be done based on cost and benefits (popularly known as Build vs Buy). How does it help the customer? This analysis helps in taking a decision to develop a solution from scratch or buy a product from the market.

For example, a customer may decide to develop a Financial accounting system from scratch or may decide to buy a product like SAP, Oracle E-Business suite or Tally.

PS: The actual development and implementation of the solution is done by technology team and is not part of business analysis practice directly

Solution Assessment

The third and last element of business analysis is about measuring the solution effectiveness. This is done by planning and implementing the ways to measure “What was supposed to be achieved as business goal?”.

For example, if the customer organization wishes to improve the revenue in a state by USD 1 million, this is a rather straight forward measurement.

Similarly, we can ascertain the metrics (the parameters to measure) and capture the data to compute the metrics, once the solution is implemented. The actual values of metrics vs the expected value of the metrics indicates the success or failure of the solution. Corrective measures can be taken to fix the problem.

In this chapter, We discussed the business analysis practice and its elements. Now We will focus IT business analyst and their role and responsibilities:

  • Who is a business analyst? Who is an IT business analyst?
  • What does an IT business analyst do? What are the roles & responsibilities of a business analyst?
  • What are the required skills of a business analyst?

Who is a business Analyst?

A business analyst is a professional who is engaged in the business analysis activities. A business analyst may not be conducting all the business analysis activities in every project or initiative. However, a business analyst must be aware of these skills.

The focus of this tutorial course is to discuss the Business Analyst role in the IT industry.

Role of an IT business analyst

An IT business analyst works with customer as well as technology team on a day-to-day basis. The diagram below shows high-level view of an IT business analyst role:

Business Analyst Role

An IT business analyst works as an intermediary between the customer and the technology team to understand the customer needs and communicate it to the technology team.

Business Analyst’s Responsibilities

A business analyst performs multiple tasks during the software development process. We can list down the key responsibilities of a business analyst as below:

  • Eliciting Requirements: One of the primary responsibilities of a business analyst is to co-ordinate with the stakeholders to gather requirements for a software system. Business analysts use one or more of the elicitation techniques to do so. Eliciting requirements involves multiple steps and we are going to discuss it in detail.
  • Preparing Requirements Specifications: Once the requirements are understood, analysed and reviewed, a document is prepared in the appropriate format for the stakeholders as well as for the software development team to take it forward.
  • Managing requirements and changes to the requirements: Requirements need to be kept up-to-date throughout the life of the software in existence. Requirements can be managed using techniques such as RTT, Backlogs etc. It’s quite common to have changes to the requirements during the software development lifecycle and business analysts handle the changes to the requirements using a defined change request process.
  • Functional Testing: Business analysts also conduct functional or system level testing, where they check the business processes and scenarios before the system is handed over to the customer for User acceptance testing (UAT). The customer team tests the software before accepting it for their usage.
  • UAT Co-ordination: During the testing conducted by the customer stakeholders, the business analyst co-ordinates with the technology team to get the defects fixed.

The diagram shows the responsibilities of a business analyst:

Business Analyst Responsibilities

In this business analyst basics tutorial, we discussed about the business analysis fundamentals, role of a business analyst and its responsibilities.

Related Articles

If you are a business analyst aspirant, you may like to know about the certifications. Refer to the article- Business analyst certification for beginners.

A list of Free business analyst training courses may also be a useful resource for you on this Techcanvass Blog. These free courses will help you to build on the learnings from this business analyst basics tutorial.

You can explore this blog for more articles, resources, videos and certification exam resources.

About Techcanvass

Techcanvass offers IT certification courses for professionals. We are an IIBA endorsed education provider (EEP), iSQI ATP (for Certified Agile Business Analyst Training) as well as Agile Testing alliance partner for CP-SAT certification training in Selenium.

We have a Business analyst training course with domain training in-built into it. This training program offers you the opportunity to get certified with ECBA certification as well as have banking domain understanding.

Business Analyst Training - ECBA Certification

Business Analyst Course

Business Analyst Training with Banking

Business Analyst Training with Banking

Agile Business Analyst Training

Agile Business Analyst Training

Business Analyst Training with Trade Finance

Business Analyst Training with Trade Finance

 

 

 

ECBA Exam Simulator

ECBA Exam Simulator

BA Training with Healthcare Domain

BA Training with Healthcare Domain

BA with Investment Banking Domain

BA Training with Investment Banking

Are BRD and SRS different or they represent the same thing?

BRD vs SRS

Business requirements document (BRD) and System requirements document (SRS) are used interchangeably in the software industry? Are they the same or they are different?

What is the purpose of creating these documents?

Business Requirements Document

Business requirements document captures business requirements, as the name of the document suggests. Business requirements are high level description of business needs. The business requirements are written using the customer stakeholders perspective.

For example, business requirements can be written as,

The visitor will be required to be a member of the website to access member-only features with proper authentication.

Another example of business requirement,

The invoice will be created by the administrator by the finance manager and will be approved by finance director.

So, who prepares the business requirements document?

Business requirements document may be prepared by a business analyst even before the project starts. The BRD document is shared with the software companies before the start of the project.

Intended Audience: Business Analysts, Business users, Project Manager etc. But this document is not prepared for developers/programmers.

System Requirements Specifications document (SRS)

System requirements document (SRS) describes the requirements for the proposed system and it is much more detailed and in-depth document than the BRD. SRS describes the requirements or the features of the software system, which is going to be developed.

The visitor can register as a member by entering the following details:

  • Name
  • Email ID
  • User Name
  • Password

The name and email are mandatory fields.

The details in the SRS document is captured to enable developers write the code for the proposed software.

Contrast it with the BRD details and you can realize that the perspectives are different as well as the detailing.

The elements of an SRS are discussed and described in one of our posts.

However, I have seen many instances where BRD is used to refer to a document, which is very similar to SRS. So, don’t get surprised but now you know the difference.

About Techcanvass

Techcanvass offers IT certification courses for professionals. We are an IIBA endorsed education provider (EEP), iSQI ATP (for Certified Agile Business Analyst Training) as well as Agile Testing alliance partner for CP-SAT certification training in Selenium.

We have a Business analyst training course with domain training in-built into it. This training program offers you the opportunity to get certified with ECBA certification as well as have banking domain understanding.

Business Analyst Course with ECBA Certification

IIBA ECBA Training

Business Analyst Training with Banking

Business Analyst Training with Banking

Agile Business Analyst Training

Agile Business Analyst Training

BA Training with Healthcare Domain

BA Training with Healthcare Domain

 

7 productivity tools for business analysts

In this post, I am going to discuss 7 productivity tools for business analysts. As a professional, we always strive to be efficient and productive. This is true for business analysts as well. Subject matter expertise, discipline, continuous learning and tools contribute significantly towards making a business analyst perform above par.

The tools, which I am going to discuss in this post, can help you in the following ways:

  • By adopting conversational presenting than just a static and linear presentation
  • Using a Voice enabled task organizer with unified view across devices
  • Managing and collaborating requirements online and visually
  • By allowing you to create super cool prototyping automating scenarios
  • & more….

7 productivity tools for business analysts

Prezi

A presentation software++…

Communicating requirements with stakeholders is part and parcel of a business analyst’s work life. A business analyst uses presentation software and other tools to do so.

Microsoft Power point is a fantastic tool but Prezi is a notch ahead.Prezi uses motion, zoom, and spatial relationships to bring your ideas to life and make you a great presenter.

Prezi has some distinct advantages over power point:

  • Prezi allows you to define your own path for presentations unlike Power point, which follows a linear path. A great feature, when you are demonstrating the system screens and processes.
  • Prezi has a zoom function. This allows you to zoom into a specific area of slide for emphasis – Again a great feature for demonstrations.

 

You can find more information and features about Prezi here…

yUML

A script based UML modelling online tool…

This one is my personal favourite. I don’t like drag and drop effort to create UML diagrams (or any other diagrams). I find it cumbersome and complex. This online tool is cool as I can create use cases, activity and class diagrams by writing just a few lines of code.

Let’s take an example of a basic use case model as shown below:

The script for the above diagram is just 5 lines of English like script as shown below:

You can do the same for class diagrams and activity diagrams.

The best part is that it is completely FREE. Another such tool for drawing sequence diagrams online is WebSequenceDiagrams. This is also a Free tool.

iPlan

Free requirements management tool….

A requirements management tool to manage processes, process diagrams and to collaborate. iPlan enterprise is a suite of products and requirements management is one of the tools in the suite.

Key features of this tool are:

  • Create a functional decomposition structure starting with the business vision
  • Manage requirements traceability
  • Capture history of requirement changes and maintain link to the change request.
  • Document the test cases at each level to be triggered while review or testing.

iPlan requirements management tool as part of iPlan enterprise is FREE for 5-users team for upto 5 projects.

Axure

A collaborative and scenario modelling tool….

Axure is a prototyping, collaboration and specification tool, which can be used for developing mock ups during the requirements elicitation phase. The feature to annotate diagrams and prototypes helps you to specify requirements along with prototypes.

You can create a team project and collaborate with team members during the requirements elicitation phase. The offshore team can collaborate with Business analysts to develop proof of concepts or review them.

Read these business cases described on Axure website to know how you can use them.

Evernote

A personal productivity tool….

Evernote is an app designed for note taking, organizing tasks lists, and archiving. It’s a cool application allowing a business analyst or any professional, for that matter, to organize their work efficiently.

Evernote app works on multiple devices and syncs seamlessly to present a unified and consistent view of your tasks and ideas.

Some of the important features, which is really worth considering:

  • Use speech-to-text feature of Evernote to dictate notes
  • Take notes in a variety of formats, including: text, sketches, photos, audio, video, PDFs, web clippings and more
  • Use camera capture to easily scan and comment on pieces of paper, including printed documents, business cards, handwriting and sketches
  • Sync everything automatically across any computer, phone or tablet
  • Create, share and discuss with the people who help get your work done, all in one app
  • Set reminders to keep yourself on top of activities and write to-do lists

 CardBoard

A user stories mapping software for Agile Business Analysts and Product Owners….

A simple to use software to create visual mappings for user stories. A user story map is an effective decomposition technique used during the requirements analysis and modelling phase.

User stories are mostly used in Agile methodologies but can be used in others as well.

Some of the features of this tool are:

  • Create user stories map collaboratively
  • Sync it with project management tools like JIRA, VersionOne etc
  • Flexible tool – Change the map from anywhere

It has a Free subscription plan with unlimited boards.

Other Alternative: Realtimeboard also has a FREE plan with upto 3 members. It’s not a specific user story mapping tool but does provide that feature.

TopTeam Analyst

Requirements definition and management software…

The only End-to-End solution for Requirements Definition and Requirements Management with integrated Agile process. It’s part of TopTeam suite, which is an application life cycle management tool.

This tool has the following features to help you in your business analysis activities:

  • Develop requirements models
  • Develop navigation enabled prototypes to simulate application behavior
  • Generate test cases from use cases
  • Establish and maintain requirements traceability

About Techcanvass

Techcanvass offers IT certification courses for professionals. We are an IIBA endorsed education provider (EEP), iSQI ATP (for Certified Agile Business Analyst Training) as well as Agile Testing alliance partner for CP-SAT certification training in Selenium.

We have a Business analyst training course with domain training in-built into it. This training program offers you the opportunity to get certified with ECBA certification as well as have banking domain understanding.

Business Analyst Course with ECBA Certification

IIBA ECBA Training

Business Analyst Training with Banking

Business Analyst Training with Banking

Agile Business Analyst Training

Agile Business Analyst Training

BA Training with Healthcare Domain

BA Training with Healthcare Domain

Which are the required skills for becoming a business analyst?

The Context

A common question for every business analyst aspirant is – What should I learn to get into this role? Which are the required skills for becoming a business analyst? Does it involve learning any programming skills?

The good news is that the minimum required skills (MRS) are actually not too complex to acquire and can be acquired with reasonable effort. Also, it does not involve any programming skills.

Required Skills for Business AnalystYou can become a business analyst in IT industry, even if you are:

a) A programmer

b) A testing professional

c) A UI Developer

d) A business development professional

e) A travel professional

f) An operations professional

Business Analyst role is one of the most promising one in the IT industry.

However, Please remember:

There is no shortcuts in life

Be ready for the initial 6-12 months grind, to lay a strong foundation for a great future. Once you spend the initial months applying the learnt skills, the journey becomes easier and quite rewarding.

So, what are the skills of a new business analyst?

Business analyst is a multi-faceted role. Success as a business analyst is dependent on multiple skills. If we look at the complete skill set for a business analyst, it may look like as shown below:

Business Analyst Skills

But to become a business analyst, you need a small sub-set of above shown skill set. We call it minimum required skills (MRS) for a new business analyst.

New Business Analyst Skills

 

I believe that these are just the right skills for an entry level business analyst, no matter which domain you are coming from?

Break down the skills for me

So, lets get into the specifics and break down these skills into 5. You must learn the following skills to be able to clear business analyst interviews:

a) Writing SRS/FS (Systems Requirements specifications or Functional specifications) document using customer requirements

b) Requirements modelling using UML or DFD/ER diagrams

c) Functional Testing

d) SQL Basics

e) Oral and written communication skills

I feel that these are the skills which should be able to help you clear any job interview provided you update your resume. Your resume is what recruiters look at and that is how you get a call for the interview.

How do I know if I have learnt the MRS skills?

You might acquire these skills either through a professional training course or self-learning. During your learning process, you should keep measuring/testing your knowledge regularly to check if you are going in the right direction?

Last but not the least, you should reach a stage where you are capable of preparing a requirements specifications (SRS) from business requirements. The SRS should be detailed enough to help developers develop the system.

Check this case study to detail out the requirements from business requirements:

Use Case case study – UML Modelling

 

Do I need any certifications?

Certifications provide credibility to your resume and is the only way to give confidence to the recruiter about your knowledge. IIBA, IREB and BCS are some of the organizations, which provide entry level certifications for business analysts. Read the following post to know more:

Business Analyst Certification for beginners – ECBA Certification

About Techcanvass

Techcanvass offers IT certification courses for professionals. We are an IIBA endorsed education provider (EEP), iSQI ATP (for Certified Agile Business Analyst Training) as well as Agile Testing alliance partner for CP-SAT certification training in Selenium.

We have a Business analyst training course with domain training in-built into it. This training program offers you the opportunity to get certified with ECBA certification as well as have banking domain understanding.

Business Analyst Course with ECBA Certification

IIBA ECBA Training

Business Analyst Training with Banking

Business Analyst Training with Banking

Agile Business Analyst Training

Agile Business Analyst Training

BA Training with Healthcare Domain

BA Training with Healthcare Domain