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Essential Skills for Business Analysis™

To stay competitive in today’s fast paced economy, companies need to deliver innovations that meet business or market needs without spending time on the wrong problem or rework for missed requirements. This foundational course provides students, regardless of their title, the essential business analyst skills necessary to identify the best solutions and realize significant value on their projects. It supports the IIBA BABOK® industry standards and PMI’s PBA.

Business Analyst Skills

This course explores the breadth of business analyst skills, tasks and interactions expected in a professional role. It provides a complete foundational set of practical tips and hands on exercises to build expertise and confidence using requirements delivery strategies, independent of methodology.

Business Analyst Skills

Classroom Experience

Highly interactive exercises provide students opportunities to practice and reinforce techniques during class. Regardless of the participant’s skill level, the workshop cases and discussions inspire learning insights for every level of experience. This is an excellent course to be held onsite at your organization to level set analysts across the organization. It provides consistent terminology, project participant roles, templates, and suggested standards for an organization to use as a starting point to add their unique customizations.

Students are encouraged to bring projects into class for exercises and to develop a more personalized post-class action plan to take their project to the next step. This class also includes our Make Learning Stick program to ensure the knowledge gained in class is converted to long term memory.

Learning Objectives

  • Define business analysis and requirements
  • Elicit requirements from stakeholders using a variety of effective techniques
  • Practice creative thinking skills to engage stakeholders, uncover needs, and identify new approaches and ideas
  • Compare and contrast analysis techniques in order to select the technique(s) that will most appropriately:
    • support your understanding, critical thinking and problem solving
    • communicate information to stakeholders to enable review and their understanding of requirements
  • Reduce confusion and development errors by creating excellent requirements that can be easily understood by outsourced or distributed teams
  • Get the most out of your models and diagrams by asking the right questions during analysis
  • Identify why the project is being done (business drivers) in order to ensure the right analysis effort is being performed and so that requirements efforts can be appropriately prioritized
  • Create a context level diagram to identify interfaces, data flows, and high-level processes associated with the project, that is valuable both for planning and communications purposes
  • Apply an approach to manage and record requirements decisions
  • Describe the difference between validating that you’ve built the right solution and verifying that you’ve built the solution right
  • Discuss strategies for content organization and collaboration, and describe why being more organized increases team agility



  • Define business analysis
  • Discuss what requirements are and how they are utilized in analysis
  • Describe requirements elicitation and techniques available
1 hour

Putting Requirements Elicitation into Practice

  • Describe how to use 11 different elicitation techniques to understand stakeholder requirements 
    • Document Analysis
    • Observation
    • Interviews
    • Surveys, Questionnaires
    • Requirements Workshops
    • Brainstorming
    • Focus Groups
    • Interface Analysis
    • Prototyping
    • Reverse Engineering
    • Competitive Analysis
  • Improve your elicitation skills by:
    • Practicing several elicitation techniques
    • Utilizing active listening techniques
    • Enhancing critical thinking skills
    • Using various techniques for increased brainstorming results
  • Choose the appropriate technique(s) for your project 
3 hours
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Getting the Most Out of Elicitation

  • Describe the considerations for planning elicitation
  • Choose the most appropriate elicitation technique(s)
  • Ensure the right people are involved in elicitation activities
  • Validate your elicitation results
  • Confirm stakeholders have a shared understanding of requirements
3 hours

Introduction to Scoping

  • Define solution scope and explain its applicability and purpose
  • Differentiate between solution scope and project scope
  • Identify the components of scope and explain the purpose of a project initiation document
  • Describe the value of scoping your area of analysis
.5 hour

Define Project Context and Purpose

  • Survey the Project
    • Explain how to assess a project within the larger context of the enterprise
    • Identify the documents and information valuable to summarizing project objectives
  • Create a Statement of Purpose
    • Differentiate business drivers from the problem to solve
    • Compose a well-defined problem statement
    • Formulate a project statement of purpose
  • Define Project Objectives
    • Define project approach and clearly state business objectives
    • Construct a project glossary and illustrate its value
2.5 hours

Depict Other Key Scope Parameters

  • Distinguish and express key scope parameters and explain their importance
    • Risks
    • Assumptions
    • Constraints
  • Plan for detailed scope elicitation
1 hour

Scope Your Area of Analysis

  • Express scope with graphical representation
    • Illustrate components of graphical scope & order of definition
      • Identify external agents
      • Analyze and Identify data flows
      • Distinguish project boundary
      • Formulate purpose-driven name
  • Complete scope with text documentation
    • Detect stakeholders from scope context
    • Analyze scope parameters for impacts on analysis planning
1 hour

Prepare to Communicate Scope

  • Evaluate and prepare scoping results
    • Indicate newly identified project information
    • Identify important actions performing a final quality check
    • Produce formal context DFD (scope diagram)
  • Validate Scope with Stakeholders
    • Explain process of validating your area of analysis
    • Describe considerations when planning communications about scope and impacts
    • Explain the importance and describe an approach to gaining stakeholder agreement on scope
1.5 hours

Scope Summary

  • Define a baseline
  • Describe the value and purpose of baselining the results of the scoping effort
  • Describe next steps for business analysis after scoping
    • Identify the transition to requirements management
    • Identify options for requirements analysis and elicitation
    • Explain how scope is used throughout the project
.5 hour

Introduction to Requirements Analysis Techniques

  • Describe requirements and the importance of requirements analysis
  • Provide guidance on how requirements analysis techniques are applicable within any methodology
  • Compare and contrast the requirements analysis perspectives: what vs how and AS IS vs TO BE
.5 hour

Breaking Down Requirements into Core Components

  • Define the four core components that make up all requirements
    • Data
    • Process
    • External Agent/Actor
    • Business Rules
  • Describe what the core components represent
  • Identify the importance of core components to your audience
1 hour

Using Analysis Techniques to Your Advantage

  • Describe how particular analysis techniques:
    • drive quality analysis
    • communicate requirements perspectives effectively
  • Go beyond documenting requirements solely with text – describe how diagrams and models can also be used for analysis
  • Compare and contrast the different requirements analysis techniques when preparing to communicate with your audience
    • Context Data Flow Diagram
    • Process Decomposition Diagram
    • Entity Relationship Diagram
    • Glossary
    • Decision Tables
    • Workflow Diagramming
    • Use Case Modeling
    • User Stories
    • Prototyping
  • Create the right analysis approach based on your stakeholder’s learning style
  • Confirm the analyzed requirements with stakeholders
4.5 hours

Developing an Analysis Approach

  • Review elicitation and analysis techniques
  • Workshop – What is your Analysis Approach?
    • Work in groups to select techniques and determine your approach to a given case study. Students may use their projects.
    • Rate your outcome with the Analysis Checklist provided
    • Revise your approach as needed and present
  • Discuss success criteria for an analysis approach to getting started and/or moving your project forward
  • Discuss why you chose each particular elicitation and analysis technique in your approach
  • Define Excellent Requirements characteristics
  • Requirements Management: Organize and capture requirements
    • Describe why being more organized increases team agility
    • Distinguish the different levels of requirements categories and explain their area of focus
    • Describe the different kinds of requirements information that needs to be included in your requirements repository
    • Compare and contrast approaches for effectively organizing, filtering and reporting your requirements-related content
4 hours

Swimming with the Sharks

  • Workshop – Swimming with the Sharks
    • Work in groups to create an approach for overcoming real world obstacles that effect projects
    • Describe key strategies for having difficult conversations with SMEs and maneuvering through office politics
    • Describe options for increased stakeholder engagement with a Quick Tip job aid
    • Discuss approaches to resolve conflicting needs, including prioritization options
    • Define methods for performing traceability and impact analysis
3 hours

Course Summary

  • Bringing it all together
  • Develop an Action Plan with next steps on the student’s current project
.5 hour

Appendix – Job Aids

  • Elicitation Techniques – What, When & How
  • Tips for Ensuring Quality in the Context DFD
  • Risk Responses and Planning
  • Considerations for Analysis Checklist
  • Quick Tips: Stakeholder Engagement

Appendix - Overview of Application Development Methodologies

  • Discuss various methodologies for application development and their history.
  • Learn which models are used in each methodology:
  • Waterfall
  • Agile
  • Iterative
  • Prototyping
  • Incremental Development
  • Spiral/RUP
  • RAD
  • Extreme Programming (XP)
  • Object Oriented Methodologies
  • IDEF