Business analysts Question


I am applying for a Business Analyst’s position in my company. One of the key skills required for this role is the ability to gather and document requirements accurately. The other requirement is to be able to write use cases following RUP methodology. Can anyone point me to some literature on the above two items. I would like to know what skills should one have to be successfull in this role? Any templates of Requirement Definition docs available? Most importantly what questions to ask to get all requirments out of business users? How to ensure all requirements have been clearly identified? Any tips on asking the right questions as well as ask questions the right way would be extremely helpful. What techniques can one use to ensure a positive attitude from the business users? Any pointers on how to ace the interview will be greatly appreciated.Thanks.

DougBlacker (Business Relationship Manager)

Wow! That’s a whole course worth of materials! I will leave it up to the community to address other items, but I wanted to take a stab at a few of your questions.
First, several of the key documents that a BA is responsible for delivering are Project Vision, Project Charter, Requirements Work Plan, Business Requirements Document, and Business Case. Try doing an internet search on any of these terms to search for templates.
Second, gathering requirements is not typically a one and done meeting. It should be an iterative process and may vary based on the size of the project. Also, the accuracy and number of requirements will vary based on the source. For example, management requirements for the project will help to set the business strategy and justification, but they may not be as familiar with the day to day practices. On the other hand, end user requirements for the project will be numerous and accurate representations of the current system, but they may lack a sense of why the project is needed and resist change.
Third, there are several techniques used to help ensure completeness of requirements. I would suggest developing a Functional Decomposition Diagram (FDD) to use as a framework to assist with understanding the scope of the business and to identify the areas of change. Each function should have a Process Narrative Description (PND) to explain the details of the function. From there, you should be able to move into Data Flow Diagrams (DFD) with Business Process Flows (BPF) for each process block in the DFD. If your company prefers UML, a Level 0 DFD equates to a Use Case Diagram and lower level DFD’s and BPF’s can be tranlsated into Activity and/or Sequence Diagrams. As with FDD’s and PND’s, a Use Case diagram is incomplete without a Use Case Specification.
There are a lot of ways to go! No one way is right unless it is the way that you are comfortable with and accomplishes the task. One last suggestion: check out the International Institute of Business Analysis website at http://theiiba.org for more information and a Body of Knowledge book that is FREE to download.
Best of luck!

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