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Software Requirements Blog - Seilevel.com
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A professional blog dedicated to business analysis and project requirements.
Updated: 4 hours 25 min ago

Visualizing data in the RAW

Thu, 02/26/2015 - 18:46
During the search for a better, easier ways to create images to represent software concepts, I’ve come across a few tools that do a good job creating basic, official-looking graphs. Many of these tools offer teaser trials in hopes of inducing you to buy a full featured version. Not so with the open web app […]
Categories: Requirements

Challenges of Being a Young Consultant

Tue, 02/24/2015 - 17:00
Being a consultant can sometimes be awkward. You get to a client site, and you are expected to work with brand new people who you may have never met. These people do not know your skill-set, they’ve never seen your work or heard your reasoning, and in some cases they might be wondering why you’ve […]
Categories: Requirements

Geeks with Empathy – The Key Traits a Business Analyst Must Possess

Thu, 02/19/2015 - 17:10
I recently participated in a Panel Discussion on the state of the Business Analyst Profession held by IIBA of Austin. One of the questions we tackled was the following: “What are the key traits that a Business Analyst must possess?” There are many qualifications and abilities that a good analyst must possess. The ability to […]
Categories: Requirements

One Stop Shopping

Tue, 02/17/2015 - 22:01
I get asked about my favorite tips and tricks for writing stories in an agile backlog.  One of my tips is to make it EASY for the engineers – give them “one stop shopping”.  Engineers aren’t lazy, but they don’t like having to hunt about for the documents and other artifacts they need to be […]
Categories: Requirements

Happy Agile Valentines Day!

Thu, 02/12/2015 - 17:00
Roses are red Violets are blue We’re going agile, How about you? It’s 6 weeks into the year and I know at least a handful of you are working for organizations who set a 2015 initiative to transform IT to agile practices. So how’s it going? Given we are 6 weeks into the year, and […]
Categories: Requirements

Homer Simpson, Difficult Stakeholder

Tue, 02/10/2015 - 16:00
I am a firm believer that any situation in life or in business can be traced to an episode of either The Simpsons or Seinfeld. In The Simpsons season 2 episode “Oh Brother, Where Art Thou,” the patriarch of the Simpson family designs a car, which provides a surprisingly sophisticated look into project team dynamics. […]
Categories: Requirements

Starting a Requirements Business – Getting Started

Thu, 02/05/2015 - 16:00
“You don’t tell the market what you are selling, the market tells you what it will buy” - I talk to a lot of people about starting businesses and a lot of them still think that a comprehensive business plan that takes months to develop is a key component to starting a business. It turns […]
Categories: Requirements

Sticking to our Guns

Tue, 02/03/2015 - 16:00
I’ve been working on a program that has certain been a challenge, both from the subject matter, the extremely short timeframes given (imposed governmental regulations that must be met), to the stakeholders (who have day jobs to perform as well). Everyone is under pressure, which can make for some short fuses as well as poor […]
Categories: Requirements

Setting boundaries in Agile Requirements Management

Thu, 01/29/2015 - 19:05
I was once part of a team at a consumer-facing technology company, who described themselves as incredibly fast-paced, operating within a rapidly changing environment. This team was smaller (4 developers in a 10-person business unit), so I expected the ability to get things done quickly to be one of our strengths. Upon joining, I was surprised to hear […]
Categories: Requirements

How a Background in Science Will Prepare Me for a Career in Software Requirements. Part I: Requirements Analysis as a Practice in Reductionism

Tue, 01/27/2015 - 16:30
“Reductionism: The theory that every complex phenomenon … can be explained by analyzing the simplest, most basic physical mechanisms that are in operation during the phenomenon.” Think about any software product that you have ever used. For the most part, you care about the whole of the product, which is the collective effort of all […]
Categories: Requirements

How a Background in Science Will Prepare Me for a Career in Software Requirements

Mon, 01/26/2015 - 16:30
 “What do you plan to do with your degree?” It’s a question most everyone hears in college. For some, it’s easier to answer than it is for others. If you majored in a concentration that traditionally qualifies you to apply for graduate school, this question can be particularly difficult. I received my degree in Neuroscience […]
Categories: Requirements

Business Analyst Tip: Seilevel Approach Works

Thu, 01/22/2015 - 16:00
I still remember my first project at Seilevel, more than 9 years ago. I struggled with the information flood and came out of that project with at least one clear goal:  to get better at acquiring new information.  In October, I started on a new project with a new client in an industry new to […]
Categories: Requirements

Government Regulations from a Requirements Perspective:

Tue, 01/20/2015 - 16:00
Recently, I have been working with a large financial service provider to help them comply with regulations revolving around the Dodd-Frank regulatory bill passed after the financial crisis of 2008. The Dodd-Frank bill itself is 848 pages while the regulations born out of the law amount to almost 14,000. To give a little perspective, that […]
Categories: Requirements

Interlocks in Agile

Thu, 01/15/2015 - 16:30
One of the questions we often get from companies/projects trying to move to Agile methodology is how does an Agile team deal with interlocks, especially when those interlocks are on the Waterfall methodology and want their requirements and commitment a year to a year and a half in advance? To be clear and upfront, I […]
Categories: Requirements

“A Poor Craftsman blames the (requirements) tool”

Tue, 01/13/2015 - 16:00
The decision to use a requirements tool is dependent on a number of factors: size of project, number of system interlocks, global teams, specific business objectives tied to real dollar figures, just to name a few.  In this post I will describe the key benefits of using a requirements management tool early on to capture […]
Categories: Requirements

BA Tips and Tricks for 2015

Thu, 01/08/2015 - 16:00
As a guide to less experienced business analysts here at Seilevel and out there on the Internet, and because a specific colleague of mine requested I write this post (this is for you Amanda!!), I wanted to share several tips and tricks that I have uncovered in the past couple of months that have made […]
Categories: Requirements

Developing Soft Skills in Product Managers

Tue, 01/06/2015 - 16:00
Much is made of and written about the “hard skills” that a Product Manager must possess. She should be analytical, critical, methodical, detail oriented and master of a vast array of models, methodologies and techniques. But I find very little emphasis in the popular writings or training in our field about the “soft skills” that […]
Categories: Requirements

State Changes and Process Flows

Fri, 01/02/2015 - 17:15
I’m working on two projects right now that both involve business objects that undergo several state transitions based on actions taken by a user. We quickly turned to State models to help conceptualize all of the possible object states, possible transitions between them, and the actions that trigger the transitions. While those models were incredibly […]
Categories: Requirements

Educating the Business on what a Business Analyst Does

Tue, 12/30/2014 - 17:00
I’ve got a new project where my main subject matter expert, John, is relatively new in his career.  This is the first “IT” project that John has been involved in, and this is the first time that he has ever worked with a business analyst. And it has been fun educating John on what a business analyst […]
Categories: Requirements

The Work/Life Balance

Fri, 12/26/2014 - 17:30
Back in the day when I was an intern, I worked for a large corporation that promoted this idea of a “Work/Life Balance.” Most of my fellow interns thought it was just a catchy buzz-phrase or a sales pitch, but I have always embraced the idea. As the child of two work-a-holics, I am VERY […]
Categories: Requirements