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Friday, November 20, 2015

Sunday, October 2, 2011

How to know, you are not doing SCRUM?

Scrum is an agile, lightweight process that can be used to manage software development using iterative, incremental practices. Scrum does not dictate which practices must be used and because of this reason at times you will see team deviates from SCRUM standards.

Below are some of the things you might observe to identify that you may not be doing SCRUM

• Sprint is shorter than 2 weeks or longer than a month.
• Sprint does not deliver workable product.
• Estimates and detailed task list are expected at the beginning of a Sprint.
• Most of the progress is measure by amount of tasks completed (instead of tasks remaining) for the Sprint.
• Team is expected to complete specifications before development proceeds.
• There is no testing involved in the Sprint.
• There is very little co-operation within the team.
• Individual are responsible for designing and deliveries.

So are you really doing SCRUM?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

What is Sprint Review?

A Sprint review is usually held at the end of the sprint to verify and inspect the deliverables. During the Sprint review, the development team, product owner and scrum master collaborate about what was done in the Sprint. In this meeting, the development team will demonstrate the deliverables to get feedback and confirmation.
Sprint review is a four-hour time-boxed meeting for a standard 4 week sprints.

The Sprint review will include the following:

- The product owner will agree on what items are completed and which ones are not completed
- The development team will demonstrates the deliverables and answers any questions
The development team could also discusses what went well during the Sprint, any problems that were identified during the Sprint and how were they resolved
- The product owner will update the product backlog and present the new items

The Sprint review hence will produce an updated product backlog which will be used for the next Sprint planning meeting.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Five pillars of a great Business Analyst

What makes a good Business Analyst, a great one?

Discover what are the pillars that constitute, support, and transcend a good BA into a great one. We need great Business Analysts to execute projects, change businesses, lead and educate teams, create an atmosphere of trust, and get things done!

In this E-book you will discover and learn:
- The most fundamental aspect of being a Business Analyst and why it is easily missed, by most.
- How the changing social contexts are transforming the way we interact, and what a BA should know?
- What makes you an indispensable emotional worker, as a Business Analyst?
- Key concepts that help you understand each pillar, with real stories and examples
- Action items(we all love these, as BAs) to help you implement and realize the essence of the five pillars

This E-book is available from

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


Our vision is about making New Zealand the recognised leader in I.T. innovation and practice.

The Getting I.T. Right Initiative ( is all about how we do this.

Despite some great progress in standards and methodologies, we are still experiencing a very high project failure rate. A conservative measure suggests that collectively we lose in excess of over $1.5 billion each year. Do these scenarios sound familiar? Our experience and research indicates some the following key reasons for project failure:

Lack of Strong Sponsorship and Governance
We have all worked in projects where sponsors were not committed, lack understanding of the project and have not been actively involved in the project strategy and direction. This then impacts on the uptake rate of change and adoption of the change.

Wrong Reasons
Projects are started for the wrong reasons. Some are initiated purely to implement new technology without regard for whether the technology is supportive of the business needs or strategy. The converse of this is a project that does not support existing technology, resulting in major scope creep and resultant expenditure.

Not enough dedicated staff (project managers and project team members) allocated to projects. Project team members lack experience and do not have the required qualifications. Line-staff believe that they will be able to succeed in project leading but are only 40% available to do so. Focus in this regard is not on the delivery of the project, but on the comfort zone of the project manager and his own time management. Incomplete project scope. No clear definition of the project's benefits and the deliverables that will produce them.

Part of our plan is educating business owners, directors and executives to work together and to work with the professional bodies and user groups to promote best practice. We can do this through the promotion of this site and with your support we can lobby the correct people and groups, e.g. IOD, MED, Chamber of Commerce, NZCS, etc.

So if you are frustrated with working on projects that dont deliver, that are de-scoped, with customers that are disengaged, and would like to work in a place that I.T. delivery is seen as a vital part of the businesses success, you are given the right tools, your colleagues are enthusiastic and you deliver cool things that make a real difference, then please support this initiative. You can do this by:

Registering your support on the site itself
Becoming a Linkedin member

Sharing with Facebook>?Getting-IT-Right-NZ?202191233125814

Following us on Twitter

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Marketing Strategy

Marketing strategies serve as the fundamental of plans designed to meet market needs and reach marketing objectives.Your marketing strategy should follow from your assessment of the market. The first thing you will do is to identify the market you are in? How will you address that market? What are the current needs of the market?

Marketing strategy are made up of the following

Product Strategy:
This section should address about your product or services you are offering, what are your specialties for the given market. What makes you different than anyone else offering similar product or services? Make sure you collect all the testimonials of your existing customer.

Pricing Strategy:
This section should address pricing model of your product or services, make sure your pricing model can be used by your smallest customer to the bigger ones.

Advertising Strategy:
This section should address your current business plans for promoting your products or services. How are you going to get your customers attention to your product? Plan your marketing platform, what, how, where and when will you advertise? Do you have a dedicated budget for promotions? What are your promotion strategy for now, 6 months from now and 1 year from now?

Position Strategy:
What is an idea market position for your business and how do you plan make an impression to your existing and new customers, this section also covers branding of your business.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

What is the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge (BABOK)?

The Business Analysis Body of Knowledge is the sum of knowledge within the profession of Business Analysis and reflects what is considered currently accepted practice. As with other professions, the body of knowledge is defined and enhanced by the business analysis professionals who apply it. The BABOK describes Business Analysis areas of knowledge, their associated activities and tasks and the skills necessary to be effective in their execution.

The BABOK provides a basic reference for anyone interested in the profession of Business Analysis. The primary purpose of this guide is to identify the Business Analysis Knowledge Areas that are generally recognized and accepted as good practice. The Guide provides a general overview of each Knowledge Area and the list of activities and tasks associated with each.

The BABOK is intended to describe and define business analysis as a discipline, rather than define the responsibilities of a person with the job title of business analyst. Business analysis may be performed by people with job titles such as systems analyst, process analyst, project manager, product manager, developer, QA analyst, business architect, or consultant, among others.

Knowledge Areas A knowledge area groups together a related set of tasks and techniques. The Guide to the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge is not a methodology. While it defines the activities, tasks and knowledge that a business analysis professional needs to know, it does not do so from the perspective of prescribing an order or sequence.
Specifically, the knowledge areas do not define a business analysis methodology. They do define what the BA needs to know to work within any analysis process or overall so-utions development methodology. While the flow between tasks and knowledge areas may appear to follow a well-defined and progressive sequence, this structure was primarily developed for pedagogical purposes. In reality, business analysts are likely to find themselves performing tasks in all knowledge areas in rapid succession, iteratively, or, in the case of a requirements workshop, simultaneously!

Business Analysis Planning and Monitoring is the knowledge area that covers how we determine which activities are necessary to perform in order to complete a business analysis effort. It covers identification of stakeholders, selection of business analysis techniques, the process we will use to manage our requirements, and how we assess the progress of the work in order to make necessary changes. Business analysis planning is a key input to the project plan, and the project manager is responsible for organizing and coordinating business analysis activities with the needs of the rest of the project team.

Elicitation describes how we work with stakeholders to find out what their needs are and ensure that we have correctly and completely understood their needs.

Requirements Management and Communication describes how we manage con-flicts, issues and changes and ensure that stakeholders and the project team remain in agreement on the solution scope. Depending on the complexity and methodology of the project, this may require that we manage formal approvals, baseline and track different versions of requirements documents, and trace requirements from origination to implementation.

Enterprise Analysis describes how we take a business need, refine and clarify the definition of that need, and define a solution scope that can feasibly be implemented by the business. Here we will talk about problem definition and analysis, business case development, feasibility studies, and the definition of a solution scope.

Requirements Analysis describes how we progressively elaborate the solution definition in order to enable the project team to design and build a solution that will meet the needs of the business and stakeholders. In order to do that, we have to analyze the stated requirements of our stakeholders to ensure that they are correct, assess the current state of the business to identify and recommend improvements, and ultimately verify and validate the results.

Solution Assessment and Validation covers the role of business analysis once the pro-ject team is ready to propose a solution. It describes how we assess proposed solutions to determine which solution best fits the business need, identify gaps and shortcomings in solutions, and determine necessary workarounds or changes to the solution. It also describes how we assess deployed solutions to see how well they met the original need in order to enable businesses to assess the performance and effectiveness of projects.

Underlying Competencies describes the behaviors, knowledge, and other characteristics that support effective business analysis.

Friday, July 22, 2011

How to be a high performing Business Analyst

Being a Business Analyst can be very tiring, you may be juggling more than one project, meeting various stakeholders, managing deadlines all while gathering requirements. There are days where you seem not getting anywhere and have the feeling that you have made no progress whatsoever and haven’t delivered anything tangible. To avoid getting in this situation being productive is very important, after all we all want to achieve more with less effort.
Over the last few years I have performed various activities to increase my productivity and I could share some of them with you.

Make use of all the spare time
There are times where you find yourself waiting in queue or traveling to work these are great time to do something useful, if you use public transport you could take reading material with you and if you drive to work, make sure you load your iPod with podcasts or other training materials.

Use the right moment
Every one of us has the favorite time of the day when we feel very energetic and creative, use those times for analysis or creative thinking.

Be efficient
We all find our self doing some work again and again, like documenting meeting minutes or drawing process diagram, make sure every time you do something new store it in a repository which you could use when you have to perform the same task again.

Now this can be hard to some people, as a BA we tend to take more tasks than what we need to, try to delegate the tasks to other team members, I recently found that I nominated someone in my team to be the scribe in the meeting it gave me more time to run the workshop and concentrate on gathering requirements.

Take breaks
It is very important to take regular short break, go for a walk or visit the kitchen, it is an excellent place to meet people and build relationship with your stakeholders and users.

Say NO
I must confess I am not very good at this but there will be times when you have so many things to do, if you take any more work you will not be able to perform well and it is best to say no in those instances.

Tidy your workspace
I know this sound obvious but you will be amazed how great and energetic you will feel when you have a tidy desk.

Involve in Social Activities
To be effective it is very important to balance work with rest, attend the social events at work, find yourself a lunch buddy or even start a book club at work.

Staying health is very important to be productive make sure you stay healthy by eating healthy food, exercising and sleep well.

Allocate fixed time for certain tasks
If you find yourself doing certain activities which take forever and before you realize you have already spend more than required time, identify those tasks and before you start them allocate certain time and stop working on it when the time elapsed, you may want to continue working on it after you have completed some other task.

Taking time off work

Make sure you regularly plan your holidays, there is nothing more energetic to take a day off every now and then from the work environment and do something you are interested it, that way when you come back to work you are more focused and rested.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Change Control Board (CCB)

I am sure you have come across this term many times so let us explore what it mean, a Change Control Board (CCB) is a group of people (or committee) whose main responsibility is to make decisions regarding whether or not proposed changes should be implemented. The change control board normally has project sponsor or a representative of the sponsor, product manager, project manager and BA, they may also include representative from each department/division for better visibility in the organization and to take informed decision.

The main purpose of the CCB is to ensure that proper (and agreed) process is followed for every change request; CCB will ensure that an impact analysis is performed and cost of the change is derived which will used to accept or reject the changes.

Depending upon the authority granted to the CCB they may approve the changes or have to go to steering group and/or project sponsor for approval.

CCB may also be responsible for change management and informing affected individuals/departments, if this is the case make sure you choose people who are influential as they can play a very important role in managing and communicating the changes.

Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be -John Wooden.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

5 Whys

5 Whys is a very important techniques a BA could use to determine the root cause of any problem faced by the organization, the critical element to this technique is to challenge the underlying assumptions business has for any given problem, this technique is very simple and works very well in a heterogeneous group setting.

There are basically three steps to conducting a 5 Whys technique:

1. Invite all the stakeholder who are aware and/or affected by the problem.
2. Write down the problem at hand, now ask the first “WHY” question to the group. Why do you think this is happening? Chances are that the group may come up with few answers. Write down all the answers below the question, make sure you do not discard any answers.
3. Now repeat the above step four more times for every answer going one level down, make sure you write the answer below the earlier answer.

This technique does not mandate you to ask the question 5 times, but it is generally believed that it usually takes about 5 levels to get to the root cause of the problem, you may ask less question or more depending upon the problem. Make sure that the current assumptions are challenged and the group does not stop at the symptoms, remember the goal is to find the root cause of the problem so in theory stop asking why only when the group cannot answer any further. Document all the answers in plain English (business language), avoid any technical jargons. As a BA (and moderator) in the meeting make sure that the purpose of the meeting is to learn and improve and not to blame and vent out.

Some of the advantages of this technique are
- Easy to understand by business and technical people alike
- No need of any special tool

Always remember if you do not ask the right question you will never get the right answer. I will leave you with a very interesting and relavant quote.

“Do not look where you fell, but where you slipped.” - African proverb

Friday, May 21, 2010

Power of Acknowledgment

I appreciate acknowledgment every now and then, a good acknowledgement in fact makes my day as long as it is real, sincere and heartfelt.

Now if that makes me happy I am sure that makes others happy too, but how often do we acknowledge people, not very often, it is difficult, we are so verbose when things go wrong but the same enthusiasm is lacking when things go right.

If you acknowledge someone you inspire and motivate them, it is also very crucial for a healthy relationship. Delivering an acknowledgement is an art and if done correctly can be very powerful else it may have an entire opposite effect.

Below are some of the tips on delivering effective acknowledgment

Tip 1: Communicate only when you are happy, your message will be heartfelt and will appear genuine.

Tip 2: Differentiate between Acknowledgement and Compliment. Acknowledgement is about recognizing their accomplishment and to show that what they did has made a great difference. Compliment is just being nice, kind of good manners.

Tip 3: Use facts and examples to support your acknowledgement rather than generic thank you statements.

Tip 4: Be honest, do not acknowledge when you don’t believe in it, most people can see right through and you can actually come across insincere or every phony.

Here are some myths about acknowledgement

Myth 1: Only positive people should be acknowledged. There are always people in team who bring positive criticism; even they need to be acknowledged.

Myth 2: Rare acknowledgement is more precious. In fact the more generous you are with your acknowledgment the better it is.

Myth 3: People are just doing their job. Most people want to go a great job and everyone does a great job but every acknowledgment makes them work harder and feel treasured.

Myth 4: Individuals should not be acknowledged, it is bad for team morale. I some time think the team concept has gone too far, as must as the team delivers but the members within the team are the one who makes it happen. The best strategy is to compliment the team and acknowledge the individuals.

I would like to mention a very recent incident, I was on a flight to Melbourne for a user conference when the air hostess was serving food, she gave me two choice Ham salad or spinach roll. I ordered spinach roll, just before serving me she said ‘Sir I know you ordered spinach roll but I feel I should mention that it has beef in it, will that be ok with you?’. I think she guess that I am a Hindu and don’t eat beef but that comment was so sincere that it touched my heart, I told her ‘Thank you very much for asking, I don’t mind eating beef but thank you for caring”. In fact also wrote a letter to the airline to acknowledge the great service I experienced. I am sure that the air hostess felt happy to receive an acknowledgement but I was happier to give one, in fact giving acknowledgment is a win – win situation.

Practice this skill on daily basis, try to acknowledge at least one person every day, you will see that you create so much positive energy and enthusiasm.

Monday, May 3, 2010

The five ‘P’ in a team formation

Here are the five areas to be discussed when forming a team.

I am sure you will agree that this is perhaps the most important area of the team, after all it is the people who makes the team. Success of any team depends upon getting the right balance of people in the team. In an agile environment it is very crucial to create a cross functional team, not just based on their roles and experience but also their personality.
Team is just not about picking the best people from the organization, it is a combination of people to form the best collaboration. Do not hesitate to pick someone who may not be very experienced but that person may be a good team player and will bring the best of people around him/her.

No one can guarantee success if the team has no clear purpose. The entire team must be clear on what the purpose of the team are, it is also very important to align the purpose of the team to the vision and goals of the company, this way you always get buy in from the senior managers.

Ensure that the team fits into the organization structure in such a way that it adds value to the company, draw people from various part of the organization to ensure that most of part of the organization are well represented.

Discuss and agree with each team member their responsibility and authority, discuss what the boundaries of the team are?

Plan is all about the structure of the team, who will do what, when and how? Who is running the team? You may want the team member to decide amongst themselves the detail plan.

These above areas are important to address because they directly affect the team's ability to achieve its goals.