Monthly Archives: January 2017

A Mind-Map View of the BA Decision Focus Argument

I use mind-maps in my day-to-day business analysis work, and I use them more often when exploring subjects I want to write about in a blog post.  So it should come as no surprise that I built a mind-map for my recent article The Role of the Business Analyst – It’s Time for a New Perspective.  And I have continued to expand on it and I continue to think about my perspective on the subject.

Given that, I figured some of you who are not as familiar with mind-maps might find it interesting to see the mind-map I have been working with (updated as of today) and maybe get some ideas how you might use them for your own needs (either professional or personal).  I am currently using the MindMaple ‘Lite’ software, but you can find links to it and several other mind-mapping packages on the Mind-Mapping Software page of the wiki.

Here is the mind-map.  Click the image to see a larger version.

A mind-map view of my argument for BA's to take a decision-focus.

As always, comments and feedback are appreciated.

The Role of the Business Analyst – It’s Time for a New Perspective

The conceptual role of the business analyst has evolved over the years.  Unfortunately, in my opinion it has not evolved enough in either the minds of most business analysts or in the minds of those who employ them.  For far too many the role of Business Analyst is still one that is focused only on project work and for most of those it is one that begins and ends with requirements.

But that concept of the role of the Business Analyst is one that I emphatically disagree with.  I believe that it inhibits the application of business analysis skills to situations where they could benefit the organization and which thus reduces the value the business analyst can provide to an organization.

While the IIBA has attempted to change this view with the new definition of what a Business Analyst does in BABOK v3.0, I think that definition also misunderstands and short-changes the role that the business analyst can play in an organization.  I believe that even the newest IIBA definition  continues to tie business analysis (as both a function and a job) too closely with the project environment.  And that this close conceptual tie to project work is holding back the profession and limiting its value.

So with this article I want to build on the concepts I started putting forward in April 2016 with my post “Have we mis-identified the core purpose and value proposition of Business Analysis?”  I want to put forward for discussion a new perspective of business analysis that I hope will both broaden and clarify the concept of what a business analyst does, and how it can provide value to organizations.

I want to do this not only because I believe it represents a needed change for the field, but because I feel that that the recent entry of the PMI into the business analysis arena, and especially their role definition for business analysis, threatens all of the progress made over the last decade in moving the concept of business analysis away from a requirements focus.  And that if those of us who practice business analysis can’t make a broader, clearer, and more robust definition of business analysis the default understanding of the field; we may soon be back to being thought of as just “those people who write software requirements”.

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2016 Site Overview

Due to work and other commitments I ended up taking December 2016 off as far as new material for this website goes.  But I have several articles and wiki pages in progress and hope to get the new material coming soon.  In the meantime, here are some quick statistics for the website for the 2016 calendar year vs. the 2015 calendar year:

  1. Unique site visitors were up over 45% to roughly 48,400
  2. Returning visitors increased from 13.1% of site visitors in 2015 to 15.5% of site visitors in 2016
  3. Mobile traffic was up over 100%, but still made up under 15% of visitors (no surprise)
  4. The top countries that visitors to the site came from were:
    1. United States (27.0%)
    2. United Kingdom (9.8%)
    3. India (6.7%)
    4. Australia (6.6%)
    5. Canada (6.1%)
    6. Germany (4.0%)
    7. Netherlands (2.4%)
    8. France (2.0%)
    9. South Africa (2.0%)
    10. Philippines (1.6%)
  5. The most popular pages on the site in terms of page views (other than the home page) were:
    1. Responsibility Matrix wiki page
    2. Context Diagram wiki page
    3. My blog post on Why I Chose not to Renew my IIBA Membership
    4. Decomposition wiki page
    5. Stakeholder Onion Diagram wiki page
    6. My blog post on using OneNote for Meeting Notes
    7. Stakeholder Communications Matrix wiki page
    8. Benchmarking wiki page
    9. Stakeholder Salience Diagram wiki page
    10. Data Dictionary wiki page
  6. But the pages that people spent the largest average time actually reading were:
    1. Interviews wiki page
    2. My blog post “Better Business Analysis through Problem Statements”
    3. Decomposition wiki page
    4. VMOST Analysis wiki page
    5. Observation wiki page
    6. Unified Process wiki page
    7. Stakeholder Salience Diagram wiki page
    8. Data Dictionary wiki page
    9. Kano Model Prioritization wiki page
    10. My blog post “We are not Business Analysts”

For a web site that I work on during my personal time, without earning any money from and as a way of giving back to the community, this was a tremendously successful year.  The increase in returning site visitors to over 15% of unique traffic is extremely gratifying given that most users find this site through search sites like Google and DuckDuckGo.  That means that people are finding the material I write valuable enough to come back.  I am also very happy that several of my posts are attracting attention and being read.  It’s good to know I’m not just spouting off into the wind.  At least some of the time.  🙂

But honestly two of the things in the list above that I really appreciate is that the wiki pages for VMOST Analysis and Kano Model Prioritization are among the articles people spend the most time reading.  Both of those pages are (in my opinion) probably the best references on those subjects you will find on the internet.  The fact that they are there tell me that there is an audience who appreciates the occasionally months of work I put into researching some of these topics.

So to all of you who come here and find value in what I have put together with this site, I thank you.  Especially those of you who continue to come back, and those who take to the time to read some of the very long pages I put together when I try to make an exhaustive resource.  You can get a quick summary in a lot of places, but I hope that this will be where you come when you want detailed information.  And that continues to be my goal for the site.

I hope you all enjoy nothing but success and happiness in this new year.