The Busy BA Reading List, July 23rd 2014 edition

Too busy to crawl the web for interesting Business Analysis content? Not interested by social networks noise? Twice a month, the Busy BA Reading List brings you the best Business Analysis articles and websites I came across while surfing the Internet.

Hey there! Summer is very nice this year, which keeps me away from the computer. But don’t worry, this edition is filled with interesting posts about the Business Analyst involvement in UAT sessions; how to get the best from your brainstorming sessions, and about how failure can lead you to success. Now get out of the pool and read 🙂

From Eric the Business Analyst

These blog posts were published since the last edition of the Busy BA Reading List:

The Business Analyst must be involved in the testing phase of a project!

While the Business Analyst involvement is higher at the beginning of a project, his role is critical to project success until its delivery. Since he defines the requirements of the solution, he can provide a great input during the testing phase, especially in the User Acceptance Tests (UAT). In one of her latest posts, Stephanie Famuyide explains very well how a BA can provide useful input to the actors involved in UAT sessions.

In a nutshell, it’s all about identifying and documenting change requests, evaluating the impacts of defects found, as well as providing support to test cases redaction. In some cases, the Business Analyst can also execute some tests, as a proxy for some users.

One does not simply get in a meeting room and brainstorm

Brainstorming is probably one of the most frequently used Business Analysis technique; it’s especially useful to elicit requirements and find solutions to existing problems. However, the problem with brainstorming (like with any other technique) is that you will not get good results if you don’t apply it right. Mark Monteleone makes a good demonstration of how you should execute a good brainstorming session, in order to get the best results from it.

As with any Business Analysis techniques, they keys to success are all about preparation before the brainstorming session (both from the participants and the facilitator), during the session (by setting up an objective, clear rules & processes, and closing the session properly), and after the session (by cleaning up the brainstorming materiel and summarizing the ideas).

Take U-Turns on your way to Business Analysis success

It’s common to hear that you need some failed attempts in order to eventually succeed. When you drive to some location, taking U-Turns usually happen when you take the wrong path (which should not happen as you should always listen to your GPS anyway); it might make your trip a little longer, but you will still reach your final destination. As Adrian Reed explains it in a recent blog post, as positive and natural U-Turns might be seen in this context, it’s another thing in a business context:

Rather than soldiering on with the project simply because there is so much ‘emotional capital’ invested, this is a time for reflection; is second to market useful and viable? Will it be profitable? If so, that’s great. If not, a U-Turn would be more appropriate. Perhaps we can save the remaining development budget and invest in something different or unique that really will help us gain a competitive advantage. […]

It is far better to make an early U-Turn and head in a successful direction, even if this means short-term pain, rather than stubbornly ignoring the business environment out of a foolhardy sense of pride.

As a Business Analyst, you need to stay aware of possible U-Turns in projects, and you need to be able to take them (or influence your team to do so) in order to reach success. The capacity to disobey intelligently is the key to make it happen.

Do you like what you’re reading?

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Eric Provost

Making sense out of chaos as a BA & UX specialist

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