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Software Requirements Blog -
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A professional blog dedicated to business analysis and project requirements.
Updated: 17 hours 14 min ago

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

Isn’t Santa really just a Product Manager?

Tue, 12/23/2014 - 17:30
I used to do some fun holiday jingles requirements-style. I fell out of habit with it a few years ago, but luckily they are timeless and can just be reused! That said, I was trying to get in the holiday spirit to try again this year, and I found myself going down a different path. […]
Categories: Requirements

It’s beginning to smell like the holiday season!

Mon, 12/22/2014 - 15:00
It’s about that time of year now when people are thinking of what to get others as gifts during the holiday season. Each year my family does a Yankee Swap (which may also be known as a White Elephant), which means that I need to get a gift which has one requirement: $20 or less. […]
Categories: Requirements

Use Cases 101: Let’s Take an Uber

Thu, 12/18/2014 - 17:30
I was recently asked to prepare a handout giving the basics of use cases for an upcoming training session. It struck me as odd that I needed to start from square one for a model that seemed standard. Use cases, once ubiquitous, have largely been replaced by process flows and other less text-heavy models. As […]
Categories: Requirements

On Communicating with Resistant Stakeholders: Process Flow Storyboards

Tue, 12/16/2014 - 17:00
Determining how best to communicate requirements to stakeholders on your project can be difficult if you have a challenging audience who has resistance, for whatever reason, towards the project you’re working on. I was working on a project several months ago in which one of the major stakeholder groups felt that the work we were […]
Categories: Requirements

Revealing Invisible Requirements

Thu, 12/11/2014 - 17:00
This blog post was written with Karl Wiegers based on our Software Requirements, 3rd Edition book. No matter how thorough a job you do on requirements elicitation, there is no way to be certain that you have found them all. No little green light comes on to announce “You’re done!” You should always plan on new […]
Categories: Requirements

Project Communication Tips and Tricks

Tue, 12/09/2014 - 17:00
Ever had one of those projects where it seemed you spent most of your time either trying to track down the right person to talk to or trying to get team members to talk to each other?  How do you deal with a project team or stakeholder group that has significant communications dysfunctions? Having struggled […]
Categories: Requirements

Defining Proper Success Metrics on Business Objectives Models

Thu, 12/04/2014 - 17:00
The Business Objective Model (BOM) is one of the foundational  models we use as part of the Seilevel  requirements methodology.  The BOM defines the rationale for doing a project.  Every BOM has the following key component parts. 1.  Problems  – the business problems to be solved or addressed 2.  Objectives – the targeted objectives or […]
Categories: Requirements

Business Analyst vs Project Manager

Tue, 12/02/2014 - 17:00
I seem to run into this question a lot recently  “What’s the ideal relationship between a Business Analyst and Project Manager role?” so I thought I’d address it here. First off, some people do fill both the BA and PM roles. I understand that but also think it’s far from ideal. Different skills are required […]
Categories: Requirements

Knowledge Transfer and Validation

Thu, 11/27/2014 - 17:00
I’ve just wrapped up a 2 ½ year consulting engagement. Typically, when I leave a client, I have been on a project and my focus is on completing as many action items as possible and making sure I have transitioned the remaining action items to someone. My team members generally already understand the project. This […]
Categories: Requirements