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Written by Helmut Ortmann
Requirements are fundamentally important as they are about building the right system.
Yet the failure of requirements is the primary cause of project failure.
How many times do we forget passwords AND user names? This is a clear example of the risk associated with the reliability of the human memory and associated human error. Let's consider the management of the myriad detail accumulated throughout the requirements planning process and the steps of Eliciting, Documenting, Analysing and Communicating. Oh, and let's not forget Tracking, Validating and Verifying!
So spare a thought for the Business Analyst, whose whole focus is on capturing requirements, to ensure successful project outcomes. Or to put it another way, the task of translating the needs, wants and expectations, of all user stakeholders, into technical language for the developers and others, to ensure that they - the users - are are going to get the functionality, that they need, want and expect from a system. This is not a petty task and it can take months. Meanwhile, there is the probability, due to complexity, that not all of the requirements are going to be addressed because of a number of factors, not least, their having been lost or forgotten.
However if effectively managed, requirements identification and supporting traceability improves the overall project outcome, simply because time will be saved, less money will be spent, and most importantly, the customer will be happier.
The Requirements management process has seen much change in the past 20 years and two of the most obvious are the involvement of the customer in all phases of the process and that the requirements process itself is now dynamically linked into an agile culture of continuous integration and delivery. The increase in software defined business, is driving the growth and importance of application delivery within encumbent enterprise and with ever more startups disrupting their industries, enterprise needs greater levels of automation to compete and to deliver quality, quicker than competitors.
In the past Requirements were captured in hand written paper documents, which in time, were augmented with spreadsheets and word documents. The rigour of the process left space for improvement. Today, requirements associated material is held in a central repository and updates are visible to all stakeholders. Enterprise Architect can capture all of the different information that records requirements information, be it from Word, Excel, Visio, handwritten notes, video or audio.
In the past Requirements was an isolated process that had built in “wait” or handover periods before being consumed by the other phases of the project life cycle. Today these gaps are closed with automation and requirements are integrated across the development life cycle, with many other functions. The end result is less time to delivery.
Organisational cultures of resistance to change, identified by a bulwark of divisional and departmental silos and a reluctance to co-operate, increased the risk of failure for the change process. Today, technology based collaborative platforms are increasingly being adopted as they are inclusive, breaking open silos, empowering stakeholders and drawing them together.
The progress of development projects lacked transparency for most key stakeholders, right to the point when business took delivery. Whatever visibility the stakeholders had, was gathered from assumptions, rather than from objective data. Today, key stakeholders form an integral part of the development team and have access to progress charts and dashboard metrics.
In the past, the management of shareholder supported organisations held tightly to the overarching goal of ensuring change was minimised or avoided, so as to maintain the value of their shares. Today the digital imperative, as opposed to the business imperative, says be prepared to change, or risk oblivion.
These examples are a reflection of the changes in the Requirements Management process, which in the development model of today, supports iterative requirements gathering and continuous delivery of software. It has become an Agile practice approach, being adopted to address the challenge of digital transformation. This collaborative, iteration based business lifecycle, between requirements and stakeholders, has given rise to DevOps, a strategy for managing continuous change.
Enterprise Architect is unique in its ability to support Requirements throughout the development lifecycle and to deliver the benefits of the Agile practice approach. Requirements can be defined in the model, or imported from other tools including Visio.
Recently, through agreement with IIBA, Sparx Systems is in the process of developing the Enterprise Architect Guide to BABOK Implementation. Through the power of this collaborative, visual modeling platform, the extension provides the Business Analyst with a fully augmented BABOK user experience.
On March 29, 2017, the public Beta launch of Tools & Techniques for BABOK Guide v3 was announced - please visit the Sparx Systems website for more details.
Sparx Systems is proudly sponsoring the Building Business Capability (BBC) conference, the official event of the International Institute of Business Analysis (#IIBA) at Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, during Oct 31 - Nov 4.
The @BBCapability event provides attendees with insight into Business Analysis & Architecture, Business Rules & Strategy, plus Business Strategy & Transformation, in the pursuit of business excellence. A delegation from Sparx Systems will showcase the powerful Business Transformation features within Enterprise Architect.
Enterprise Architect posseses a powerful suite of features, specifically targetted at the Business Analysis profession - From the initial, yet critical Requirements Engineering stages of any project, through to Business Modeling, Business Process Simulation and onwards to Documentation.
Sparx Systems is also in partnership with the BBC event host IIBA, working closely with chapters and the core leadership team towards the provision of a reference model of the Business Analysis Body Of Knowledge (BABOK).
For more details about the BBC event, and Sparx Systems' involvement at the event, please visit the BBC website.
IIBA Japan, in conjunction with a number of organisations, will be hosting the 'C3' Business Analysis conference during early June located at Fukurashia Shinagawa Crystal Square
'C3' aims to encapsulate 'Change by Creative Collaboration' by creating a forum for attendees to share ideas with a 'fusion of knowledge' based on change management.
Sparx Systems Japan will be an exhibitor and also conducting a 45 minute presentation at the event - additional details will be available in the future.
Dates: June 10 and 11
Venue: Fukurashia Shinagawa Crystal Square
For more details please visit the event website (in Japanese): http://www.iiba-japan.org/news/topics/c3-change-by-creative-collaboration.html
At the start of this year, the training organization TwentyEighty Strategy Execution released a report titled The Top Ten Business Analysis Trends for 2016, which examined a number of the forces effecting change in the work of business analysts (BA). Amongst its findings, the report noted an increased focus on modeling and collaborative communication, which it attributes to an evolution from the BA's "traditionally tactical role to one of true alignment to overall business strategy to better meet customer needs.”
This finding mirrors much of the current commentary regarding BAs. Views from analysts and observers indicate an involvement of the BA in overall enterprise improvement. Moving away from “gathered and managed” requirements as indicated in the recent article on BA Times by the staff at Watermark Learning. Expectations of the role are changing from one of project-based software delivery, to one of overall strategy execution - resulting in an increased purview of people and processes, as well as technology.
From a quick review of the IIBA®'s Business Analysis Competency Model1, we can surmise this evolution is also indicative of the emerged BA career path, with senior BAs expected to perceive the "overall picture and how individual actions fit within it"1. This is no small feat, considering some of the factors which can hold progress back.
The TwentyEighty report notes the pressures for and against the evolution of the BA role. It notes there is often pressure to provide the weighty and static requirements documents that limit a BA's flexibility to evolve and adapt to ongoing business needs. This is where tooling can help.
Platforms such as Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect can help mitigate these pressures, by keeping BAs connected with and manage the changes within the enterprise. They can remain connected with business and IT teams, helping to produce flexible requirements documents using corporate-formatted templates, using just a few button clicks.
Further to this, modeling techniques such as BPMN, org charts, strategy maps, business rules, enterprise architecture frameworks such as Zachman and UPDM, in addition to balanced scorecards, help demonstrate meaningful links between corporate strategy and execution. They are then communicated with the teams responsible for development. When a platform is shared, its easier to be a part of the same team.
The execution of established strategy can be facilitated using a shared environment and communication tools, including in-tool 'model mail', cloud services, team review and document generation. Communication tools keep domains continuously connected across different geo-located teams.
Heatmaps, use case modeling, business process simulation and Enterprise Architect's tractability matrix can ensure corporate strategy is realized. The new Kanban diagrams in version 12.1, provide high level insights which allow analysts to zero in on potential gains by calling attention to standout processes.
A free read-only version called EA Lite, is available to download from the Sparx Systems website making it a lot simpler to engage executive management in the progress of work items, helping to promote buy-in and keep a project on track by demonstrating its connection with business value.
In a new initiative to integrate business analysis best practices into the modeling environment, Sparx Systems has established a strategic partnership with the IIBA and is currently developing a BABOK® Guide v3 Reference Model to be delivered within Enterprise Architect.
As the role of the BA expands to take in so much more of a company's strategy and requires ongoing connectivity with many different teams - smart, integrated platforms can help mitigate some of those pressures and facilitate opportunities for innovation that can go otherwise unexplored.
Sparx Systems offers a free 30 day trial of Enterprise Architect from the Sparx Systems website: www.sparxsystems.com/try
1. International Institute of Business Analysis™ (IIBA®) (2011). Business Analysis Competency Model. Toronto, Ontario, Canada: International Institute of Business Analysis. 16.
How to combine Sparx Enterprise Architect and BABOK to manage Requirements in a modern way?
Days when Business Analyst was using only Word and Excel applications together with e-mail program are slowly fading into the past. This is a good thing. There are many tools that allow us to work faster and smarter. One of them is my favorite Sparx Enterprise Architect. The tool so powerful and versatile that it's hard to find single person who used all of its features :-)
Personally, I used Enterprise Architect in my work for past several years to design IT systems and prepare documentation of them. I used a lot of built-in features of Enterprise Architect to streamline my work and improve quality of my deliverables. Among them Relationship Matrix, powerful template functionality for document generation, extensive support for Use Case modeling.
Among many other things, BABOK Guide defines list of commonly used requirement attributes:
- Absolute reference: provides a unique identifier. The reference is not altered or reused if the requirement is moved, changed, or deleted.
- Author: provides the name of the person who needs to be consulted should the requirement later be found to be ambiguous, unclear, or in conflict.
- Complexity: indicates how difficult the requirement will be to implement.
- Ownership: indicates the individual or group that needs the requirement or will be the business owner after the solution is implemented.
- Priority: indicates relative importance of requirements. Priority can refer to the relative value of a requirement or to the sequence in which it will be implemented.
- Risks: identifies uncertain events that may impact requirements.
- Source: identifies the origin of the requirement. The source is often consulted if the requirement changes or if more information regarding the requirement or the need that drove the requirement has to be obtained.
- Stability: indicates the maturity of the requirement.
- Status: indicates the state of the requirement, whether it is proposed, accepted, verified, postponed, cancelled, or implemented.
- Urgency: indicates how soon the requirement is needed. It is usually only necessary to specify this separately from the priority when a deadline exists for implementation.
Source: BABOK Guide V3, page 45.
As it is stated, those are most commonly used, which means that this list is not written in stone and each Analyst must decides which to use. Actually, for this exercise we have a special task in BABOK Guide named Plan Business Analysis Information Management.
The purpose of Plan Business Analysis Information Management is to develop an approach for how business analysis information will be stored and accessed.
Source: BABOK Guide V3, page 42.
Since I read the Mastering the Requirements Process: Getting Requirements Right (which was quite sometime ago) I extended my requirement attributes list with those two:
- Fit Criteria
Justification is a rationale for requirement. It explains why requirement is needed by stakeholder(s). It is very important attribute as it allows to distinguish between real requirements and solutions requested by stakeholders that pretend to be requirements.
Fit Criteria's aim is to make sure that requirement is verifiable. It means that there is defined way of proofing that the requirement is met. This attribute directly addresses one of the characteristics of a good requirement which is Testable. (Have you ever seen requirements like: "System must be easy to learn" or "System must be user friendly" and wondered What the hell this means? I bet you did! :-) )
Enhanced Requirement Attributes Addin for Sparx Enterprise Architect
Sparx Enterprise Architect does not support all of the mentioned above attributes out of the box. Some are there, but not all of them. You may add missing ones as TaggedValues in requirement element, but working this way on a daily basis is hard and miserable.
To address this problem I created Enhanced Requirement Attributes Addin for Enterprise Architect. In short ERA addin (addin means plugin). It adds new properties window which is dedicated only for Requirement type. When you double click on any Requirement element this new window will be opened by default. Properties for other element types will be opened in EA's default properties window.
Sometimes you may still want to open Requirement element in default properties window, just click 'Default properties' button, or press Alt+Enter keys on the selected element.
Requirement properties window aggregates in one place all most important attributes that were described above. This makes reading and editing a requirement very easy. Requirement properties windows supports:
- Some of BABOK / Volere additional attributes
- Rich edit functionality for Description attribute
- Key shortcuts (Ctrl+S - save & close and Ctrl+W - close without saving)
All of the additional attributes are stored as TaggedValues of Requirement element. This a built-in functionality of Enterprise Architect. There is no custom solution for storing information. As you can see in the picture below, you can access and edit those attributes in normal properties window.
This means you may use ERA Addin without worrying about compatibility. You can be the only person on the project or in your organization using ERA Addin and other Analysts & Architects will still be able to view and edit Requirement without problems. Of course it will not be as easy and convenient as in ERA Addin, but important thing is that you will not break anything!
ERA Addin does not use any custom UML Profile, it works with default, built-in Requirement type. So you can start using it on your already created requirement models without any conversions or problems with migration. There is also no risk, if you will not like ERA Addin you will simply uninstall it, there will be no impact on your model.
Generation of documentation
ERA Addin was created with easy reporting in mind. It comes with a Requirements Details template that is used to generate documentation about all additional requirement attributes. Here you can download sample document with generated documentation about requirements in Stakeholder package.
ERA Addin is free to use for everybody including commercial purposes. It is redistributed under Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Public License.
Event: IIBA® Business Analysis Professional Day
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Date: 19th October 2015 (8am-5pm)
The IIBA® Business Analysis Professional Day is a highly interactive, conference-style event and is the official conference of the IIBA Australia Chapter. Attendees from a diverse range of industries will have the opportunity to share ideas about how to face the challenges of modern business analysis.
The Business Analysis Professional Day will include a number of specialist streams from some of the most respected experts in the world of business analysis who will share practical skills that can be immediately put to use
The event is an excellent networking opportunity. Attendees from a diverse range of industries will have the opportunity to share ideas about how to face the challenges of modern business analysis.
Whether you are new to business analysis or an advanced practitioner, the Business Analysis Professional Day will help you to advance your skills and knowledge.
Sparx Systems - Silver Sponsor
Sparx Systems proudly supports this event as a Silver Sponsor and will be in attendance to showcase Enterprise Architect.
Attendees to this event will also be able talk to key personnel from Sparx Systems to discuss how Enterprise Architect can be used in their business environment.
Join Us On April 23 and 24 2014
We are delighted to announce the second Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect North America conference.
With dedicated tracks for Business Analysts and Enterprise Architects, the 2 days will provide valuable content from speakers across industries and countries, plus networking opportunities, to help you deliver improved productivity from your use of Enterprise Architect. Book Now!
KPMG LLP, a key sponsor for this event, is hosting the conference at their Toronto headquarters office.
Call for Speakers:
A few opportunities still remain for speakers to share their productivity and project stories. We'd love for you to join us, but note that the closing date for speaker submissions is February 28th, so don't delay. Click here if you wish to be a speaker.
Call for Conference Partners:
We are also happy to invite Sparx Systems Global Partners to join us at this event. Click here if you wish to be a conference partner.
See you there!
A “Business Analysis Survey “was conducted by Sparx Systems (India), in collaboration with BA Convention and IIBA™ at Bangalore , India.
The outcome of the survey revealed some interesting insights about the Business Analysis in India, which is garnering increasing importance in the realms of the Indian IT industry.
Though it was an elaborate survey which covered various aspects of business analysis in India, the below responses are more relevant to this EA user community
- Requirements gathering and Use Cases writing are still the primary tasks assigned to Business Analysts
- 75 % of the participants agree that one third of the project efforts are spent on corrections or repetitions
- 80 % of the participants advocated the usage of Requirements Management and Business Modelling tools improve the quality of projects
- 62 % of the respondents felt that initial upfront cost involved in procuring and training of modelling tools act as a deterrent
This is a strong indicator that the Business Analysts and organizations are looking for a Cost effective , Easy to Learn and Comprehensive tool to address their needs.
Enterprise Architect is the potential tool to address the above demands with
Rich Feature Set
Enterprise Architect’s Requirements Management, Use Case Modelling, Business Process Modelling, End to End Traceability and Project Management capabilities helps organizations to eliminate usage of multiple tools.
Enterprise Architect 11 provides a number of features including the Specification Manager, Charts and Dashboards, Enhanced Docx documentation, OSLC support and much, much more. Each of these features will address the needs of the Business Analysts.
Easy to use:
The intuitive IDE of Enterprise Architect enables ease of Use and quick learning, even for the non-technical associates.
Compared to other traditional Business Modelling tools, Enterprise Architect is less expensive and can address the cost concerns of Business Analysts.
With its rich feature set, ease of use and cost effective advantage, Enterprise Architect is the right choice for the Global Organizations who have their extended presence in India through outsourcing or subsidiaries.
Please click here for the details of the survey.
On October 8th, 2013
in Nuremberg, Germany,
you are invited to join the next
This gives EA Users in Central Europe the best opportunity this year to learn, share and explore Enterprise Architect best practice.
The venue is the RInghotel Loeuw's Merkur in the heart of Nuremberg.
Building on the experience gained at our hugely successful London event in May, the day will include a range of speakers, workshops and exhibits.
Choose sessions from any of the 3 tracks of content:
- Track 1 - Systems Engineering Focus (in German)
- Track 2 - Business Analyst Focus (in German)
- Track 3 - English stream (including presentations on TOGAF, MDGs, and User stories to inspire and encourage wider adoption of EA in your organisation)
With many speakers and topics unique to this event, and supported by Sparx Systems, this is an event not to be missed.
The registration fee of just 97€ will provide you with access to practical EA knowledge and experience, lunch and refreshments!
Visit www.eausergroup.com to find out more and book your place.
PS. There are only 150 places available, and they are selling fast, so to make sure that you don't miss this great opportunity, BOOK NOW.