Importance of Team Dynamics

Listening to everyone’s excitement yesterday over the win of the NBA title of Cleveland over Oakland was great.  I thought the sportscaster I listened to made a very astute observation.  While everyone believes LeBron James is a great player, maybe the best in the league, this person’s observation was that Oakland was made up of better players but that Cleveland actually has a better team.

That’s a great comment and one that is likely quite true. Continue reading

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Certification Exam Preparation: Understanding Beats Memorization

Understanding vs. Memorization
Why does RMC focus on understanding rather than memorization?  As RMC’s project management practice leader I’m often asked: “why can’t I just memorize the process names, inputs, tools, techniques, and outputs (ITTOs) and pass the exam?” The answer to this question is quite simple.  Understanding works, memorization does not, especially in the context of the PMP® exam. Let’s discuss understanding vs. memorization. Continue reading

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Death by a Thousand “Little Mistakes”

Paying attention to the details is good business analysis

How many little mistakes do you see?
I open the newspaper in the morning and see a typo. I open my email and see a grammatical error. I go to a web site and a menu button doesn’t work. How many “little mistakes” do you see in a day? Corporations are pushing employees to work faster and get products to market sooner. Is this agile or is this sloppy? Many companies sacrifice analysis and attention to detail to increase revenue but it won’t pay off in the long run. Continue reading

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Satisfying Stakeholders with Agile Requirements

As organizations work to be more agile and nimble, people responsible for eliciting and analyzing requirements are working to find new ways to understand and communicate about user and product needs. Continue reading

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Cut the Costs of Regulations, Hire a Business Analyst!


Regulatory Costs

In the United States (and I am sure other countries), we hear lots of complaints about the cost of regulations. This is especially true during a presidential election year. The paradox of regulatory complaints is that some candidates argue complying with regulations is too costly, while others argue that the cost of not having enough regulations risks the safety of our community. Regulatory costs (or the costs of lax regulation) are not just monetary but also environmental, societal and can result in a degradation of our values and way of life (e.g. lead in our water system). I would like to suggest that more analysis would help curb the costs of regulation. Continue reading

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PMI-PBA® Domain: Analysis

img_blog_2016033PMI-PBA® Domain: Analysis. The third in a series of posts about the creation of our PMI-PBA Exam Prep study guide. (The first domain is Needs Assessment and the second is Planning.) PMI calls the third domain Analysis, but it is more appropriately named Elicitation and Analysis because it includes both topics. Elicitation is the asking of questions and research needed to discover requirements. Analysis means to break down a whole into its components for study. So this domain includes the communications necessary to learn about the business and its requirements, along with the analysis work needed to break down the requirements and really understand the needed solution. All aspects of business analysis are important, but if you had to name the core of it all, this is it: Elicitation and Analysis. Continue reading

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Yourdon – I hope his Death March was peaceful

Upon learning of the death of Ed Yourdon I immediately went to my bookshelf and started reviewing his books. Mr. Yourdon didn’t know me, but I feel as if I knew him. Throughout my career, he always seemed to be there when I  needed some direction or a new approach to analysis. I recommend many of his books but one in particular was very important to me: Death March. Continue reading

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Leadership without Authority

I’m reading “Leadership and the One Minute Manager,” by Ken Blanchard. The book discusses “situational leadership,” which essentially means that a manager’s leadership style must vary depending on the competency of the person being managed.   As I was reading the book I realized that these management styles, while probably relevant, would not initially apply to most project managers. Continue reading

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PMI-PBA Domain: Planning

The second excerpt from our upcoming study guide

PMI-PBA Domain: Planning

This is the second in a series of posts about the creation of our PMI-PBA Exam Prep study guide. In my first post I talked about the Needs Assessment Domain and this post will highlight Business Analysis Planning. The PMI-PBA (Professional in Business Analysis) designation recognizes professionals who have experience and knowledge performing business analysis work. Business Analysis work is performed by people with many different titles and this is especially true in studying the Planning Domain. Project Managers recognize the critical importance of planning in project success. PMs have expertise in thinking ahead about how their projects will best be accomplished. They often consult with experts and known project team members to develop their plans and assess risks. This strategy of distributed planning is supported by the PMI-PBA Domain called Planning (and referred to as Business Analysis Planning in PMI’s Business Analysis for Practitioners: A Practice guide

Studying for the Exam

Ideally, experienced business analysis professionals develop business analysis plans by considering: 1) the characteristics of the business need or proposed solution, and 2) the stakeholders, and 3) the context or environment within which the solution will exist. These three aspects of planning build upon the knowledge gained in the Needs Assessment Domain. During planning we decide which elicitation techniques, analysis and modeling techniques, requirements management procedures, and validation procedures will be used during the project. Another important component of planning is agreement about the stakeholder’s acceptance criteria. Some of the techniques which you will need to know for questions in this domain include stakeholder analysis, interviewing, document analysis along with the traditional PM planning tools like a work breakdown structure (WBS) and estimating.

PM/BA Collaboration Point

PMs and BAs work closely together while planning to make sure that the business analysis activities will support and enhance the other project work. When a PM does not have a business analysis professional on his or her team, he or she has to develop business analysis plans along with the other project management plans.

Stay Tuned!

Regardless of how you plan for business analysis activities, the PMI-PBA Planning Domain outlines the key considerations necessary to develop a solid plan. People studying for the PMI-PBA exam should pay close attention to the Planning Domain as it sets the stage for the work of the remaining 3 domains. Look for my future posts as I tackle the next domain chapters: Analysis, Traceability and Monitoring, and Solution Evaluation.

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PMI’s new Requirements Management: A Practice Guide

A bridge between two detailed standards

One of the reasons I haven’t yet finished my PMI-PBA Certification study guide is that I wanted to make sure I was in alignment with PMI’s Requirements Management: A Practice Guide (see my blogs series on the development of my study guide ). For those of you who may have gone on holiday early, PMI published its new practice guide in December. At the date of this post it is still free to download so I suggest you get a copy now: Continue reading

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