Archive for March 2007
- If the unit value is selected as '%', the value for the gas should be between 0 and 100. If the unit value is PPM (parts per million), the value for the gas should be between 0 and 10000.
- If the gas flowing in the system is oxygen then the precision of the value should be to one decimal place. If the gas flowing in the system in not oxygen then the precision should be to two decimal places.
- Gas flow concentration is measured in Percent or PPM.
- Precision of measurement is different for oxygen and other (non-oxygen) gases.
This by no means mean that the details are being omitted here. It just means that the details are being deffered to the validations or the acceptance criteria section of the requirements document.Why is this difference so important to understand? Well, as a Business Analyst one of the pitfalls is getting into details too soon or getting too technical. In the interest of time with the client or keeping the communication restricted to plain and simple English it is very important to understand the process in as simple terms as possible. This also increases the chances of the business representative to actually read the requirement and comment on its correctness.
- That's not my job.
- I don't have the bandwidth for this.
- There's only so much I can do.
- The bottleneck is that right now it's just me handling all this.
- Brings out more information related to processes and the pain points. People feel comfortable in discussing the responsibilities of roles rather then a person or themselves.
- Makes decision making more objective. Tasks are approached and analyzed in an impartial manner.
- Communication becomes more effective.
- What's the business this client is in?
- How do they provide value to their customers or how do they make money?
- What's bothering them?
- What are they good at?
- What do they want to do?
- How do they know if what they want to do is what would help alleviate their problems?
- How would they know if what they did is helping them when their proposed solution is implemented?
- What are the priorities in the solution space?
The quintessential BA
The following are some actual job descriptions I have come across over the years on the job boards related to Business Analyst positions.
--- 5+ years of experience with equity and annuities.
--- Must have solid 7+ years with Healthcare specifically claims, provider and insurance.
--- Should have worked for a minimum Ten years in a telecom or communications field.
The question is
“Is there such a thing as a generic BA who can function across industries?”
In other words
“Is it necessary to posses a specific domain knowledge to perform as a Senior BA”
For starters lets look at our fictional Generic BA, Joe.
Joe has worked for many years with a software product and/or services company. He started as a junior BA straight out of school and learned everything on this job. He has mastered the art of people skills. He knows all about requirements gathering, cost estimation, functional and non functional specifications and spends his days storyboarding, brainstorming, building use cases and working with activity and sequence diagrams. He accompanies select sales force to capture client requirements and grievances. He easily translates requirements into technical specifications and can fluently talk GeekSpeak and ClientLingo. He organizes meetings, facilitates discussions and consolidates notes. In a nutshell he is the perfect BA for his company.
But Joe has hit a ceiling with his company and is tired of his boss. Joe wants a change. Joe wants to move to NYC from SFC and work for an Asset Management company as a Senior BA. Joe applies for a position that matches everything on his resume except the dreadful 5+ years in Finance or Investment Banking domain. Would it be wiser for the bank to hire our stellar BA, Joe over an average BA who hasn’t shown much potential except the requisite experience?
Tough call. Depends on the situation. Whatever the job requires. Yada yada yada…
Joe is pissed. He should be. Or should he not?
Well it really, really depends. You can learn the terms of trade on the job and master the lingo. You can pick up threads and find your way through the nitty-gritty’s of the business. As long as you know the basics and techniques you can adapt to pretty much any new environment.
But sometimes; scratch that, most of the times the incumbent is expected to jump-start and contribute from day 1 and knowing the domain helps, helps big time. It shouldn’t supercede the inherent talent and caliber. Therefore the employers have to ask themselves, “Is this person the quintessential BA I am looking for?”
This decision, as always, is not an easy one.
I just don't understand why, in this day and age when we have all these electronic means and tools to track projects, somebody would use a style that not only antiquated but also inefficient. This is a place where we gets things done; nobody has time to do thisThis left me thinking and wondering if there were people on the earlier teams that I had worked with who did not express their astonishment। But most important of all, this led me to write about it today so that the power of putting pen to paper (as we used to do earlier) is not lost and underestimated. Here's a few reason why I think this technique works:
- It's simple and fast - all you need is a few markers and index cards and a dry wall. Moving things around is very simple.
- It's highly collaborative- everybody can participate and see their ideas/tasks make to the wall.
- It's visible to everyone - team member don't have to log in to any system to see the progress.
- It's collectively owned - no one person owns the card wall. Everyone updates with their progress.
- It's current - the chances are that the next time the team meets somewhere close to the card wall, they'll update it right there and then. This keeps the card wall better updated than any other electronic tool that I have seen and used.
- What did I do since we last met yesterday
- What am I planning on doing between now and until we meet tomorrow
- What obstacles need to be removed to accomplish this task, if any
- It's a good start for a day, much more disciplined. I get to work on time to ensure that I don't miss the meeting.
- I look at the day ahead with 8-10 hours and hence I am more focused.
- With afternoon stand-ups the rush to finish work is, usually, during the late mornings and that distorts the spread of work load; it becomes more uneven.