Author Archives: iagadmin

Get Your Priorities in Order

Let’s talk about setting priorities…  Not life priorities, prioritizing requirements.

Prioritizing requirements is one of those activities that can be either super easy or crazy tough.  If you planned ahead, prioritization is surprisingly easy.  Prioritization needs three major ingredients:

       1)  A large group of stakeholders that know development priorities need to be set

      2)  A set of business objectives

      3)  An application with at least some complexity

 Here’s why:

The larger the group of stakeholders, the more important it becomes to have a way of prioritizing requirements.  Let’s face it, if you only have one stakeholder, priority setting is really much more an executive decision than a process.  However, if there are a lot of stakeholders, the process of priority setting needs to be objective, and business analysts can add value.  In fact, the larger the group, the more the rigor needed in methodology.

Read the complete blog article by Keith Ellis of IAG Consulting and the thread of comments and discussion on the topic on BA Times website at

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Quick Reference Guide: Business Analyst Training

Business Analysis is one of the fastest growing roles in information technology.  With this growth comes the need for effective business analyst training to build and develop their particular core competencies.  Here are a number of key points to keep in mind when training BAs:

Make Consistency Your Priority – It is crucial that all analysts perform their function in exactly the same way.  A lack of consistency on the business analysis side means that organizations fail to consistently get a handle on their portfolio of projects, struggle to be more efficient at sizing projects and setting delivery expectations, and are poor at communicating needs to IT delivery stakeholders.

Separate Elicitation Methodology from Documentation Methodology – Elicitation is how you go ‘get’ the information you need.  Documentation is how you ‘write it down’.  Unfortunately, many organizations confuse the two. Organizations must be sure that analysts are strong in both areas. Remember the adage “garbage in, garbage out” – if you wish to prevent garbage into the templates or tools, then the organization needs to make a concerted effort to improve the approach to elicitation. 

Don’t Underestimate the Magnitude of Change Required – Business analysis is very complex.  It’s not uncommon that an executive will underestimate the magnitude of change and expect that 1 week of training is enough.   A BA must be strong in each of the six capability areas, and all five associated processes.  Limited training will lead to knowledge and skill gaps that will affect results. Whatever the approach, don’t underestimate the magnitude of change required, and don’t focus the target of training too narrowly.

Business Analysis Excellence is Achieved through Experience – Analysts must make the methods and techniques of facilitation second-nature.  A BA must also have enough breadth of experience with different groups of stakeholders that they know how to apply these to the situation at hand.  This can only be achieved through experiential learning.

Targeting Development of Soft Skills – The role of a BA is ultimately to communicate business needs.  Effective communication requires judgment, business acumen, and leadership in addition to the core analytical, oral and written skills that are usually associated with the role.  These soft skills simply cannot be ignored. 


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