Essential Skills for Business Analysis

Download PDFThe business analyst skills covered in this course are applicable whether analysis is performed in an agile or more traditional plan-driven approach. This is the perfect course for those new to business analysis, to level set analysts across the organization, or for senior analysts needing to refresh their business analyst skill set. It supports the IIBA BABOK industry standards and PMI’s PBA certification and is an excellent class for individuals seeking the ECBA or other certifications.

Business Analyst Skills

business analyst skills diagramSee our listing for descriptions on each business analyst skill area shown in this diagram.

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 data flow diagram to identify interfaces, data flows, and high-level processes associated with the project, that is valuable both for planning and communications purposes
  • Discuss strategies for content organization and collaboration, and describe why being more organized increases team agility
  • Practice creating an analysis approach to make the most efficient use of elicitation and analysis techniques
  • Learn to address common barriers that face project teams

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Class Experience

Highly interactive exercises provide students opportunities to practice and reinforce the techniques and business analysis skills taught during class. Regardless of the participant’s skill level, the workshop cases and discussions inspire learning insights for every level of experience.

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.

Course Outline

Introduction1 hour

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

Putting Requirements Elicitation into Practice3 hours

  • Describe how to use 11 different elicitation techniques to understand stakeholder requirements: Document Analysis, Observation, Interviews, Surveys and Questionnaires, Requirements Workshops, Brainstorming, Focus Groups, Interface Analysis, Data Mining, Mind Mapping, Benchmarking and Market 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

Getting the Most Out of Elicitation3 hours

  • 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
  • Manage Conflict
  • Confirm stakeholders have a shared understanding of requirements

Introduction to Scoping.5 hour

  • 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 business requirements document
  • Describe the value of scoping your area of analysis

Define Project Context and Purpose2.5 hours

  • Survey the Project
    • Explain how to assess a project within the larger context of the enterprise
    • Identify the documents and information valuable to establishing project context
  • Describe Project Purpose
    • Differentiate business drivers from problem solutions
    • Study problems and opportunities in the organization
    • Clearly state business objectives
    • Define project approach
    • Compose a well-defined problem statement
    • Construct a project glossary and illustrate its value

Depict Other Key Scope Parameters1 hour

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

Scope Your Area of Analysis1 hour

  • 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

Finalizing Scope2 hours

  • 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
  • Baseline the scope
    • 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

Introduction to Requirements Analysis Techniques.5 hour

  • 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

Breaking Down Requirements into Core Components1 hour

  • 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

Using Analysis Techniques to Your Advantage5.5 hours

  • 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
    • Decomposition Diagram
    • Entity Relationship Diagram
    • Glossary
    • Decision Tables and Decision Models
    • Flowcharts
    • Use Case Modeling
    • User Stories
    • Prototyping
  • Create the right analysis approach based on your stakeholder’s learning style
  • Confirm the analyzed requirements with stakeholders

Developing an Analysis Approach3.5 hours

  • 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

Swimming with the Sharks3 hours

  • 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

Course Summary.5 hour

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

Appendix – Job AidsOptional

  • Elicitation Techniques – What, When & How
  • Elicitation Planning Worksheets
  • 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 MethodologiesOptional

  • 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

9 reviews for Essential Skills for Business Analysis

  1. Cari N.

    I currently have projects in flight that I am working on the business requirements. In documenting the requirements, this class showed me that I was working too much in the weeds on the business requirements and I had actually been doing the solution design. So, this class thought me to keep “what” we are trying to solve in the business requirements and not the “how” – the “how” comes into play when the solution requirements and then in the technical design documents.

  2. Kelli D.

    This training was extremely helpful for me since I’m new to the BA position. I will be able to leverage my knowledge to stay more organized and build better business objectives and requirements.

  3. Cathleen C.

    “I used a lot of these techniques or was expected to use these techniques for my job before I even took a course. I see now what I did right and what I could have done much better. Also, I can just use some of these techniques in my everyday work, not just projects. This is a good course and I wonder if all the instructors are like ours. She is BRILLIANT!!”

  4. Jeff C.

    The techniques and presentation in the class promoted great collaboration. It was a pleasure to take this class with valuable tools and techniques made readily available.

  5. Colleen H.

    I hope to see more courses offered by B2T. I felt the breadth and depth of instruction was phenomenal as were the instruction methods. Instructor was enthusiastic and engaging and her attention to what we needed to learn was tremendous.

  6. Todd S.

    Excellent job the instructor did a fantastic job of rotating the material to effectively hit all learning styles, while working through and reinforcing a great deal of information. By applying this knowledge I will be able to without a doubt deliver more value to my organization while strengthening my skill set.

  7. Diana B.

    This is the 2nd time I have received BA training from B2T and am confident this is the best training group!

  8. Carrie F.

    This training was spectacular! It is good for anyone in a business position the company – there is, of course, a great focus on business analysis, but there are other relevant topics that addressed project flow and management.

  9. Pearle M.

    The visual maps and diagrams taught in this class have made it easier (and quicker) for others to understand the data which has allowed me to focus more time on discussion and clarification.

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Aug 20 - Aug 23, 2018 Atlanta (GTA) 8:30 - 4:30 EST Register
Sep 24 - Sep 27, 2018 Live Virtual 9:00 - 5:00 EST Register
Dec 3 - Dec 6, 2018 Atlanta (Perimeter) 8:30 - 4:30 EST Register
business analyst skills
Request Onsite
Length 4 days
Intended Audience

This course is designed for individuals from any discipline who are performing elicitation activities; business analysts, project managers, business systems analysts, product managers, product owners, system architect, process engineers, requirements engineers, or any other project team member. New practitioners will learn the tasks they are expected to perform and why each task is important. Experienced practitioners will adapt their skills and experience and learn new strategies to improve their requirements activities or ideas to help mentor others. This course may also be appropriate for individuals who manage analysis activities and business stakeholders who need a more in-depth understanding of the requirements process and deliverables.

Prerequisites None
Study Guide Essential Skills for Business Analysis Study Guide
Course Exam Essential Skills for Business Analysis Online Exam
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