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Tuesday, 29 November 2016 22:47

Requirements for Digital Transformation

Requirements are fundamentally important as they are about building the right system.

Yet the failure of requirements is the primary cause of project failure.

cogs triptych 844x160

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.

Requirements Coques2 175x100However 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.

Requirements Coques3 175x100In 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.

Requirements Coques 175x100These 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.

Published in Sparx Insights

BBC Las Vegas 2016

 

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.

Published in Events

iiba jp logo

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

Published in Events
Thursday, 21 January 2016 01:48

The Agile Business Analyst

“It's not the technology that's scary; it's what it does to the relations between people that's scary”

- Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

Everything Changing:

We are all aware that we are living in a period of unprecedented disruption where everything that we thought as being the status quo, business as usual, is changing rapidly.  Technology ‘disrupts existing markets and value networks, displacing established market leaders and alliances’.  Popular examples are Uber which is challenging the taxi industry model. Then there is AirBnB challenging the accommodation industry model and 3D printing which is challenging the manufacturing model.  

However, in a recent interview Jay Scanlan and Paul Wilmot from McKinsey, posit that unlike a pure play disrupter such as Uber, “our incumbent organizations and our incumbent clients have a broader range of concerns that they need to address. And they have a broader range of customer needs and consumer demands that they want to fulfill.”

Unlike start ups, incumbent organizations hold valuable assets like people, finance and data, etc. Scanlan and Wilmot pose the question as to how incumbents will strategically use these assets to defend themselves against aggressive competition, as digital disrupts their industry.

 

agile cycle 300pxAgile... The New Norm:

In the face of this change, the adoption of Agile approaches to project management is growing.  It is expected that in 2016 the US Federal Government General Services Administration will solicit bids for a number of major agile projects.  This follows the piloting of agile projects last year by 18F, an agile development consulting arm, within General Services Administration.

A recent survey of development and IT professionals, shows that Agile is now the norm. The majority of development teams and projects now embrace the methodology, while pure waterfall approaches are in the minority. The study conducted by HP in 2014 consisted of an online survey of 601 software developers and IT professionals  representing over 600 organisations,  where 400 + described themselves as “pure agile”.

According to Gartner “Digital business will require application leaders to explore development outside of traditional IT and to ensure fast-paced incremental releases in order to be competitive.”  Just as digital transformation is changing role of application leaders such as the CIO, so too it is impacting the role of the Business Analyst (BA) in the private and public sectors.

 

The Agile Business Analyst:

The BA has traditionally embraced the rapids of change much like a canoeist. Using the IIBA Body of Knowledge (BABOK) as both their map and compass, they engage the volatility and uncertainty of change. With an innate capability they navigate successful transits, piloting by their experience and understanding of the different currents and hazards.  

Agile presents great opportunity for the BA.  In the process of connecting people and engendering understanding, improving product quality and increasing customer satisfaction, they have the potential to play many roles, to become the consultant.

A key finding of the HP survey was that the majority of participants agreed that “the primary motivators for Agile adoption are associated with improving team collaboration and increasing software quality and customer satisfaction.”

Becoming increasingly involved in Agile projects and addressing the growth in the variety of concerns of the stakeholder (the Customer) will require that the BA leverage the use of Agile tools.  This technology will enable the BA to help their clients find ways to make Agile work for them.


BABOK  3.0 Reference Model - an Agile Approach:

babok mindmap shotRecently, through a collaboration agreement between International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA) and Sparx Systems, a BABOK 3.0 Reference Model has been developed in Enterprise Architect.

This Reference Model provides case studies covering every knowledge area, task and technique in the BABOK Guide. Each case study contains hundreds of examples utilizing diagrams, matrices, charts, documents, and a plethora of tools.  This functionality with many others is combined with the power of Enterprise Architect.

The Reference Model links the BABOK 3.0 to a rich and complete User Guide that provides help and guidance with every aspect of using Enterprise Architect.  Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect is the control center supporting real time collaborative Enterprise Architecture planning, building, testing, deployment and communication across all domains and stakeholders.


Enterprise Agile Adoption:

As the constraints of the traditional enterprise architecture approach are replaced by the force of digital convergence and transformation, executives seek agile enterprise architecture approaches and technologies that are fit for purpose.  The tools deployed to manage that architecture are critical to the success of digital transformation.

Detailed descriptions in the Reference Model will teach the Business Analysts how to use the tool to complete tasks and perform techniques including process modeling and requirements management. Videos, slideshows and white papers add to the rich set of guidance that will help BA's become an Agile Business Analyst assisting organizations to become more purposeful in how they choose to adopt Agile.

Seeking customer feedback and quickly improving the product, fuels the success of many disruptive technologies.  This is the approach of Sparx Systems to the ongoing development of Enterprise Architect. As Sparx Systems CEO, Geoff Sparks notes, “Agile development provides a shared and flexible team experience through complete transparency, iterative development and constant feedback - it has been the essential design goal of Enterprise Architect for over a decade and it will remain just as valid today.”

 

Additional Information:

Published in Sparx Insights

 

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.

For More Information and Tickets visit the EventBrite website

 

           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.

Published in News

IIBA has signed a collaborative agreement with Sparx Systems Pty Ltd.

IIBA is committed to forging value-add relationships with corporations, associations and business stakeholders to create greater connections and engagements across the business analysis community. These new Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) will provide support, products, services and connections to practitioners and their organizations, which will help them deliver a strong BA practice and achieve organizational success.

The IIBA has more information on their website.

Sparx Systems Pty Ltd.

Sparx Systems and IIBA share similar interests and commitment in expanding the value each provide to their respective stakeholders. By supporting each other’s efforts in specific areas, this new collaboration will provide greater value to IIBA Membership, Sparx Systems users and the overall business community.

Key outcomes will include:

  • The potential integration of BABOK® Guide v3 with Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect (EA)
  • Offer access to possible references, tools and extensions to increase productivity and performance on all levels of their business activity
  • Support business analysis and related practices through IIBA Chapter events, including presentations on business architecture, process modeling, and other related techniques, as well as vendor tool demos and user group discussions
  • Joint approach to access new networks and relationships with other markets
  • Develop a strategic approach to engage academic institutions through outreach and research programs

Please read the attached press release for more information.

Published in News