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Business Analysis Foundation


Course Description | Outline | Business Analysis Home


What is Business Analysis?

  • A look at different viewpoints
    • What is being analyzed?
    • What’s the goal?
    • Current trends in business analysis
  • Key concepts
  • IIBA definition
  • Reconciled to common understanding within the organization

The Role of the Business Analyst

  • Key roles and responsibilities
  • The relationship of business analysis to project management
  • Differentiating between business analysis and other “analyst” roles
  • Knowledge and skills required
    • The role of liaison and communicator
    • Technical expertise
    • IIBA-defined Knowledge Areas

Steps in the project/product life - cycle: description, duration, deliverables

  • A generic view
    • Conduct preliminary study
    • Gather requirements
    • Generate alternative solutions
    • Complete the design
    • Create the solution
    • Implement the solution
    • Evaluate and maintain the solution
      • Positioning business analysis (and the business analyst) within the project life cycle
      • Examining the role of the BA prior to project initiation (Diagnosing the business environment)

Diagnosing the business environment

  • Business problem solving
    • Understanding the business environment
    • Capturing business initiatives across the enterprise
    • Diagnosing a business problem or opportunity (i.e.; business initiative)
      • Definition of a problem
      • Finding and verifying true causes
      • The use of the problem statement
    • Techniques to identify business problems and causes
      • Workflow modeling
      • Fishbone Diagrams
      • IS—IS NOT analysis
    • Obtaining stakeholder confirmation

Setting Goals for business initiatives

  • Using problem statement to create the goal statement
  • Quantifying goals – finding the “threshold of pain”
  • Key characteristics of well-stated goal statements
    • Uses the language of the business
    • Is measurable
    • Is clear
    • Is relevant to the overall strategy of the organization
  • An examination of poorly stated goals

Evaluating, selecting, and prioritizing initiatives

  • Employing analysis techniques to assess alternatives
  • Using a weighted-decision model
  • Obtaining stakeholder confirmation

Documenting the project scope

  • How to determine the product scope
  • Outcome oriented development
    • Defining product objectives
    • Creating solution prototypes
    • Working backwards to create the solution
  • Specifying critical project elements and deliverables

Building the Model of the solution

  • Developing output mockups or prototypes
    • Identifying requirements
    • Creating an information model
  • Workflow diagrams
    • Uses in the project life-cycle
      • Current State (As Is)
      • Future State (To Be)
    • Establishing solution boundaries
    • Constructing context, overview, and detail flow diagrams
    • Identifying appropriate detail level
  • Supporting documentation
    • Business rules
    • Data requirements
    • Use Case analysis
  • Confirming with stakeholders

Requirements Definition and Documentation

  • Assessing stakeholder roles and responsibilities
    • Identifying internal and external stakeholders
    • Conducting stakeholder analysis
    • Selecting requirements development templates
    • Producing a requirements development plan
      • elicitation
      • analysis
      • specification
      • verification and validation
      • change management
    • Addressing common challenges
    • Recognizing industry standards (IEEE, etc.)
  • Analysis of Requirements
    • Fact gathering methods
      • Interviewing
      • Observation
      • Questionnaires
      • Research
    • Organizing the facts
    • Determining requirements
      • Estimating the useful life of the solution
      • Calculating future requirements
      • Imposing constraints using value engineering
    • Establishing the concept of a solution
  • Managing Resistance to Change
    • An examination of why people resist change
    • Recognizing symptoms of resistance
    • Developing coping/diffusing tactics
  • Interviewing Techniques
    • Preparation
    • Stakeholder Analysis
    • Planning the interview
    • The art of questioning
    • Role of the interviewer - building confidence
    • The psychology of interviewing

Making the Business Case

  • Using creativity to create alternate solutions
  • Evaluating alternatives to determine feasibility
  • The six factors of feasibility: TRELOS
  • Technical: is it possible?
  • Risk
    • Weighing risks vs. benefits
    • Using the portfolio approach
  • Economic
    • Developing cost estimates
    • Calculating the return on investment
  • Legal: is it against the law?
  • Operational: will it work for us?
  • Schedule: can we deliver it in time?

Communicating the Solution to Stakeholders

  • The proposal structure
    • Analysis of current strengths and weaknesses
    • Objectives to be achieved
    • Description of solution
    • Alternatives for implementation
    • Explanation of recommended solutions
    • Costs and risks
    • Schedule (task plan) to achieve benefits
    • Supporting appendices
  • Preparing and making the presentation
    • Establishing your objective
    • Doing audience analysis
    • Organizing your ideas
    • Using visuals
    • Rehearsing

Supporting downstream development

  • Quality Assurance and Testing
    • The business analyst's role in testing
    • Objectives
    • Requirements
    • Types of tests
    • Key to successful tests - anticipation and reconciliation
  • Procedures
    • The need
    • A successful style - playscript
    • Who has responsibility
  • Training
    • Key to user independence
    • Intended results
    • Time required
    • Who performs it


  • How can the solution be evaluated?
  • When?
  • Who should perform an assessment?
  • Establishing ranges of performance
  • Eliminating undesirable side-effects

Positioning the Business Analyst within the organization

  • Job Title or role?
  • Organization Structure
  • Reporting Relationships
  • Working Relationships
  • Tailoring the business analyst role for different projects
  • Getting Started