analysis has shown
us what we need to
do to ﬁx our
and systems. It also
allowed us to
identify the projects
that will yield the
highest value.” The authors of Mastering the Requirements Process and the Volere
requirements techniques, bring you their business analysis masterclass.
Business Analysis — what is it for?
Business analysis provides the In short, business analysis is of the real, underlying business
foundation for almost every kind about understanding the real policy, and the root cause of any
of business change. The craft of business and providing ways to problems within this business.
business analysis is to investigate make it better. Further, the analyst must
the business, to ﬁnd its problem communicate this understanding
The business analyst is a
hot spots and recommend ways so that all stakeholders arrive at
modeller and a communicator.
to improve them. Business the same view of their business.
Models are used to understand
analysis is a combination of The analyst understands what
the processes, information and
modelling, systemic thinking, people do, not what they say
behaviours that make up the
innovating, communicating, root they do if he or she is to help
business. This understanding is
cause analysis, persuasion and bring the enterprise to its
not superﬁcial, but a knowledge
several other analytical skills. optimal state.
Business Analysis — who is it for?
Business analysis is almost • Business Analyst or similar titles. We also ﬁnd
everyone’s job—every employee • Systems Analyst Users and Software Customers
has some responsibility for beneﬁt from learning state-of-
• Project Leader
effective business improvement. the-art business analysis
The most likely job titles you • Requirements Engineer techniques, and how they can
would ﬁnd at this course are: • Product or Program Manager contribute to this vital activity.
This Course — what do I get?
By attending this two-day course • Deﬁne the most beneﬁcial partitioning the business for
you will learn how to: scope for the analysis project. easier understanding.
• Discover real business needs, • Use models to understand and • Be better at interpersonal
not just the most talked-about communicate the business communication.
ones. processes, and ensure • Think systemically, and ﬁnd
stakeholders also understand. truly the best way to improve
• Improve the business processes
by applying automation or • Understand how to employ your client’s business.
other means. business events as a way of • Be a better business analyst.
2. Topics — what will I learn?
MASTERING BUSINESS ANALYSIS Business Analysis —what are we trying to do? The response to the event is modelled as an end-
Business analysis is about improving your business. to-end process. This gives the analyst the
To do this, business analyst studies the enterprise advantage of seeing the big picture, as well as
and establishes the difference between the business ﬁnding more and better opportunities for process
as it is, and as it wants to be, or should be. improvement.
The business analyst employs systems thinking to see Systems Thinking – not getting carried away with
past the technological bias of the current way of solutions, but seeing the essence of the business
doing things, and see the ideal business—what The essence of the business—or the real business
should be happening. This involves looking at a —is quite different from the current solution, and
wide scope of business processes, seeing the essence indeed different from the proposed solution. The
of the business, and ultimately delivering a model essence is not a solution at all, but the underlying
of the desired future state. business seen without the burden of technology. By
discovering the essence of the problem, the
The desired future state takes advantage of business analyst avoids the age-old problem of
business opportunities discovered along the way, as developing what is asked for, only to ﬁnd that it is
well as ﬁts with the management’s goals for the not what is needed.
The essence is an abstract statement of the
Modelling Business Processes – techniques for business; one that is free of technological bias. By
studying the business’s response to the event gaining this pure statement of the business, the
The business analyst may use a variety of business analyst ensures that any system built is the
modelling tools to arrive at a complete and agreed right one, and one that lasts longer than any
understanding of what the business is currently current technological fad.
doing. The current state is by no means the desired
future state, but nevertheless provides a baseline for Systems thinking means looking at the business as
future improvements. It is also vital that the all a whole, not just one small part of it, or one
opportunities for improvement are recognised at business user and his software system. The
this stage. systemic-thinking analysts is concerned about the
effect of one part of the enterprise on another, and
We use Business Process Modelling Notation the detrimental impacts of changes.
(BPMN) as a standard way of modelling the
process. This is an established technique that is The Human Element – interviewing, resolving
easy enough for business users to understand well conﬂicts, facilitating workshops, communication
enough to participate in the modelling process. skills
The business analyst is above all a communicator.
We also look at alternative ways of modelling, each He or she is charged with understanding a piece of
having its own advantages. Scenarios are perhaps the business using information collected from the
the most “business friendly” way for the business people in that business. Clearly, the needed skill is
analyst to show the stakeholders what their an ability to talk to people, listen to them, and then
business is doing, and what it is supposed to be ensure that both parties arrive at the same
doing. UML models are also popular. understanding of the enterprise.
Data models show the information used by the Moreover, the business analyst frequently has to
business. In discovering the stored information, the facilitate workshops, and to use communication
business analyst uncovers almost all of the business skills to bring the sometimes disparate viewpoints
policy. Data are often confused with database to a consensus.
design schemas, but here they are used in “business
normal form” as an easy-to-understand way of Delivering – now that you understand the business,
discovering the underlying business policy. here’s how to bring about the changes to improve it
A thorough understanding of the enterprise mans
Business Events – organising my analysis that the business analyst is able to identify the most
Business events are things that happen outside of beneﬁcial changes to the business. Usually, this
the business, but are signiﬁcant in that the business means developing software systems, but sometimes
must respond to the event. By discovering the it means updating and changing the business
business events, the business analyst sees the actual processes to be more effective.
triggers that make the business function.
The business analyst is also charged with
Business analysis is concerned with modelling the identifying the high-value projects. These are the
response to the business event. This response is ones that give give the greatest advantage for the
known as a business use case or BUC, and is the cost and effort expended, and the ones that result
basis for the subsequent investigation of the in the most beneﬁcial changes to the enterprise.
3. Mastering Business Analysis — what’s in it for me?
MASTERING BUSINESS ANALYSIS Our businesses thrive or struggle on the This two-day course in business analysis gives you
effectiveness of their business processes, both the skills and tools to discover your client’s real
automated and manual. Businesses with good business, and to determine and demonstrate the
processes provide better service and are more best ways of improving it.
responsive to their customers. The converse is true.
This course is a natural companion to Mastering the
Business analysis is the craft of enlightened Requirements Process, where we teach the art of
improvement to business systems and processes. requirements writing. The models and
Moreover, business analysis gives you ways of understanding produced by Mastering Business
identifying the areas where improvement projects Analysis are the optimal input, and foundation for,
will yield the highest value. your requirements process.
Instructors — learning from experience
James Robertson is a consultant, teacher, author, James Archer has worked in many different
project leader whose area of concern is the application areas using the Volere approach. He
requirements for products, and the contribution has always managed to come up with innovative
that good requirements make to successful solutions to the business problems, ones that have
projects. His work in the area of business analysis proved to be cheaper to implement and provide
and requirements gathering is valued by clients in greater customer satisfaction in the long-term. He
many parts of the world. has always taken the approach of discovering the
essence of the business problem before leaping
He is co-author of Mastering the Requirements Process, into technical solutions, and customers provide
Second Editions (Addison-Wesley 2006), glowing references to James’s skills.
Requirements-Led Project Management (Addison-Wesley
2005) and the Volere approach to requirements James also speaks on various aspects of Business
engineering. He is also a founder of The Atlantic Analysis to organisations across the UK including
Systems Guild, a think tank known for its running popular workshops at the Government IT
innovative systems engineering techniques. Profession Conference. He is a co-founder of the
Business Change Special Interest Group of the
4. Mastering Business Analysis — how do I get it?
MASTERING BUSINESS ANALYSIS
Please contact one of the principals of: In Australia please contact Software Education
The Atlantic Systems Guild In Belgium, for training and consulting, contact
11 St. Mary's Terrace I.T. Works
London W2 1SU
United Kingdom For training in Italy contact Technology Transfer
Tel: +44 (0)20 7262 3395
Email James Robertson Training in the Netherlands is handled by Array
Email Suzanne Robertson Seminars
For all needs in the New Zealand please contact
In Norway please contact the Norwegian
Seminars and consulting in the United Kingdom
are available from IRM UK Strategic IT Training
In-house and public seminars the United States
from Software Quality Engineering