Business Analysis Quarter

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Business Analysis Quarter (hereinafter, the Quarter) is a lecture introducing the learners to product research primarily through key topics related to business analysis. The Quarter is the second of four lectures of Business Quadrivium, which is the second of seven modules of Septem Artes Administrativi (hereinafter, the Course). The Course is designed to introduce the learners to general concepts in business administration, management, and organizational behavior.


Lecture outline

Validated Learning Quarter is the predecessor lecture. In the enterprise research series, the previous lecture is Feasibility Study Quarter.

Concepts

  1. Business analysis. The set of job tasks and techniques used to work as a liaison among stakeholders in order to understand the structure, policies and operations of an organization, and recommend solutions that enable the organization to achieve its goals.
  2. Requirement. (1) A condition or capability needed by a stakeholder to solve a problem or achieve an objective; (2) A condition or capability that must be met of possessed by a deliverable or its component to satisfy a contract, standard, specification, or other formally imposed documents; (3) A documented representation of a condition or capability as in 1) or 2).
    • Stated requirement. A requirement articulated by a stakeholder that has not been analyzed, verified, or validated. Stated requirements frequently reflect the desires of a stakeholder rather than the actual need.
  3. Business requirement. A higher level business rationale that, when addressed, will permit the organization to increase revenue, avoid costs, improve service, or meet regulatory requirements.
    • Stakeholder requirement. Stakeholder requirements are statements of the needs of a particular stakeholder or class of stakeholders. They describe the needs that a given stakeholder has and how that stakeholder will interact with a solution. Stakeholder requirements serve as a bridge between business requirements and the various categories of solution requirements.
    • Business requirements document. A requirements package that describes business requirements and stakeholder requirements (it documents requirements of interest to the business, rather than documenting business requirements).
  4. Solution requirement. A characteristic of a solution that meets the business and stakeholder requirements. May be subdivided into functional and non-functional requirements.
  5. Constraint. Any global requirement that limits the effort administration and/or effort result. The constraint is usually defined in order to restrict negative affects on business needs and those stakeholder needs that applicable to the particular project or operations.
    • Design constraint. A solution requirement that limit the options available to the system designer.
    • Technical constraint(s). Technical constraints are limitations on the design of a solution that derive from the technology used in its implementation. See also business constraint.
    • Business constraint(s). Business constraints are limitations placed on the solution design by the organization that needs the solution. Business constraints describe limitations on available solutions, or an aspect of the current state that cannot be changed by the deployment of the new solution. See also technical constraint.
  6. Requirements model. A representation of requirements using text and diagrams. Requirements models can also be called user requirements models or analysis models and can supplement textual requirements specifications.
    • Requirement attribute. Metadata related to a requirement used to assist with requirements development and management.
    • Requirement defect. An error in requirements caused by incorrect, incomplete, missing, or conflicting requirements.
    • Requirements allocation. The process of apportioning requirements to subsystems and components (i.e., people, hardware, and software).
    • Requirements traceability. The ability to identify and document the lineage of each requirement, including its derivation (backward traceability), its allocation (forward traceability), and its relationship to other requirements.
  7. User requirements document. A requirements document written for a user audience, describing user requirements and the impact of the anticipated changes on the users.
    • Requirements package. A requirements package is a set of requirements grouped together in a document or presentation for communication to stakeholders.
    • Specification. The exact customer needs that must be satisfied by a product in order for that product to be considered a success.
  8. User story. A high-level, informal, brief, non-technical description of a solution capability that provides value to a stakeholder. In other words, a user story is description of a system requirement written from the customer's or end-user's point of view. A user story is typically one or two sentences long and provides the minimum information necessary to allow a developer to estimate the work required to implement it. Either the product owner or the team writes user stories according to the following structure: as a [type of user], I want to [perform some task (or execute some function)], so I can [achieve some goal].
    • Epic story. A large user story that, in its current state, would be difficult to estimate or to complete in a single iteration. Epic stories are typically lower priority and are waiting be broken down into smaller components.
    • Story mapping. refers to a top-down visualization, or roadmap, of product backlog. The story map starts with a goal or specific functionality, which is then broken down into user stories. A story map is created in tree format either physically, using post-its on a wall, or digitally.
    • Story point. A measurement used by Scrum teams to determine how much effort is required to achieve a goal. In other words, a story point is a non-unit measure used to determine the complexity of a user story. Story points are relative, not absolute, and do not relate to actual hours. They can be anything from Agile T-shirt sizes to the Fibonacci sequence.
    • Storyboard. A tool inspired by the filmmaking industry, where a visual sequence of events is used to capture a user's interactions with a product. Depending on the audience, it may be an extremely rough sketch, purely for crystallising your own ideas.
    • User persona. (1) A fictitious identity that reflects one of the user groups for whom the product is being designed; (2) A detailed hypothetical description or biography of a typical end-user who will be using the product. User personas usually take the form of a written document, complete with stock photo, name, profession, style of living, and other details pertinent to their being categorized as an end-user.
    • Spike. A short, time-boxed piece of research, usually technical, on a single story that is intended to provide just enough information that the team can estimate the size of the user story.
  9. Use case. An analysis model that describes the tasks that the system will perform for actors and the goals that the system achieves for those actors along the way.
    • Included use case. A use case composed of a common set of steps used by multiple use cases.
    • Use case diagram. A type of diagram defined by UML that captures all actors and use cases involved with a system or product.
    • Work product. A document or collection of notes or diagrams used by the business analyst during the requirements development process.
  10. Requirement lifecycle. The cycle through which requirements tend to go through from their collection to implementation.
    PhasePhase gateDescription
    CollectionStated requirementIdea of a business need is identified.
    ConfirmationConfirmed requirementBusiness need is confirmed.
    PrioritizationPrioritized requirementImportance of a requirement to the enterprise outcome is assessed and prioritized.
    OrganizationOrganized requirementUnderstandable view of a requirement is developed.
    ModelModeled requirementRequirement is located on a requirements model confirming its role in satisfying of the business need.
    VerificationVerified requirementThe quality of a requirement is confirmed.
    ValidationValidated requirementBusiness value of a requirement is confirmed.
    ReviewReviewed requirementA requirement is reviewed formally prior to its approval.
    ApprovalApproved requirementA requirement is confirmed to be ready for implementation and/or to be included into the requirements baseline.
    ImplementationImplemented requirementA requirement is stored and/or communicated and/or included into the requirements baseline.
    • Requirements signoff. Formal approval of a set of requirements by a sponsor or other decision maker.
    • Requirements iteration. An iteration that defines requirements for a subset of the solution scope. For example, an iteration of requirements would include identifying a part of the overall product scope to focus upon, identifying requirements sources for that portion of the product, analyzing stakeholders and planning how to elicit requirements from them, conducting elicitation techniques, documenting the requirements, and validating the requirements.
  11. Verified requirement. Requirements that have been shown to demonstrate the characteristics of requirements quality and as such are cohesive, complete, consistent, correct, feasible, modifiable, unambiguous, and testable.
    • Requirements verification. The work done to evaluate requirements to ensure they are defined correctly and are at an acceptable level of quality. It ensures the requirements are sufficiently defined and structured so that the solution development team can use them in the design, development and implementation of the solution.
  12. Validated requirement. A requirement that has been demonstrated to deliver business value and to support the business goals and objectives.
    • Requirements validation. The work done to ensure that the stated requirements support and are aligned with the goals and objectives of the business.

Roles

  1. Analyst. A generic name for a role with the responsibilities of developing and managing requirements. Other names include business analyst, business integrator, requirements analyst, requirements engineer, and systems analyst.

Methods

  1. Decomposition. A technique that subdivides a problem into its component parts in order to facilitate analysis and understanding of those components.

Instruments

  1. Requirements management tool. A software tool that stores requirements information in a database, captures requirements attributes and associations, and facilitates requirements reporting.
  2. Requirements trace matrix. A matrix used to track requirements' relationships. Each column in the matrix provides requirements information and associated project or software development components.
  3. Fibonacci sequence. Originally derived in the 12th century by Leonardo Pisano, the Fibonacci Sequence is a mathematical sequence in which each subsequent number is determined by the sum of the two previous numbers, that is: 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21… Each interval becomes larger as the numbers increase. The sequence is often used for story points, simply because estimates are always less accurate when dealing with epic stories.

Results

  1. Acceptance criteria. Specification for a set of conditions that the marketable must meet in order to satisfy the customer. In Agile methodology, the product owner writes statements from the customer’s point of view that explain how a user story or feature should work. In order for the story or feature to be accepted it needs to pass the acceptance criteria; otherwise, it fails.
  2. Requirement baseline (or, simply, baseline).

Practices

Business Modeling Quarter is the successor lecture. In the enterprise research series, the next lecture is Controlling Quarter.

Materials

Recorded audio

Recorded video

Live sessions

Texts and graphics

See also