Introduction to CBAP Tutorial

1.2 Introduction to CBAP

Hello and welcome to the first module of Certified Business Analysis Professional™ (CBAP®) (read as C-Bap) Certification Course offered by Simplilearn. This module will provide us a high level overview of the CBAP® Certification Test. As we move through the course, we will drill down from general requirements to specific techniques and analysis tools that represent the best practices as defined by the International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA). In the next slide, we will discuss the agenda of this module.

1.3 Agenda

In this module, we will cover the purpose of CBAP® test. Then, we will discuss who a Business Analyst is. The required areas of knowledge to be covered in this course, the Business Analyst competencies, and the general analysis competencies are also included in this module. We will also deal with some key concepts that are necessary for this course. Since the CBAP® test requires a candidate to have significant experience as a Business Analyst in the field of on-site analysis, the material offered in this course is a high to medium level presentation of the requirements of the test. It is up to the candidate to use the BABOK® (read as “Business Analyst Body of Knowledge Guide” for this time only) as a resource for a clear understanding of the subject that he or she needs to review in detail. Let us start with the first topic and understand why the CBAP® test is important.

1.4 Purpose of CBAP Test

The acronym CBAP® stands for Certified Business Analyst Professional. The purpose of this certification is to recognize that the specialized individual has demonstrated high level experience in the field of Business Analysis. It also provides immediate credibility to this individual as a professional who has sound knowledge of the best practices, as defined by the International Institute of Business Analysis. This world-wide recognized level of accomplishment can save the potential client’s time and money by assuring them that they have a qualified Business Analyst who is familiar with the best business practices. It also helps the certified analysts highlight their level of competency. In the next slide, we will discuss what a Business Analyst is.

1.5 Who is a Business Analyst

A professional Business Analyst or BA is a catalyst for change. Often, a company may not have the internal expertise for the proper implementation of new processes or applications. However, before changes can be made, a company needs to do an assessment of the existing situation, and evaluate how the changes will affect the client company during and after the implementation of the changes. Moreover, as an independent assessor, the BA can help in identifying a company’s assets and capabilities that will facilitate the solution to the business needs. Problems and politics can act as real obstacles for change within a company. An external, independent, and knowledgeable professional can help in breaking the deadlocks and taking constructive actions to fix problems. He or she can overcome internal inertia against change as well as help to facilitate new solutions and applications. A BA creates a positive attitude of collaboration. A self-confident BA must be able to rapidly develop confidence and trust with clients by being an engineer of change. This happens by the BA being seen as a candid individual and not overly concerned with saying the right thing. His or her objective should be helping the client. Direct unfiltered honesty and integrity are the keys to gaining trust. Being seen as an objective “truth teller” is essential in gaining trust. With the proper attitude, a competent BA can alter the fear of change, into excitement for the challenge and rewards that a change can present. BA needs to be a creative problem solver. He or she should draw from their experience in other projects and knowledge. However, a BA should never hazard a solution until all factors have been analyzed and client buy-in is a high probability. The BA must be able to provide excellent communications and clear understanding of expectations and how those expectations align with the project deliverables. In the next slide, we will look into the areas of knowledge.

1.6 Areas of Knowledge

Knowledge areas define what a practitioner of Business Analysis needs to understand about the distinct phases in a project. As with a formalized quality control program like Six Sigma, the BA needs to plan, document the plan, and implement it. Within the range of the overall planning process, there is a cluster of activities and tasks that that take place within the analysis. Depending on types of projects a BA is accustomed to, each BA develops his or her own process flow as well as accompanying activities and tasks. For the purpose of the CBAP® Certification test, the candidate is not expected to know a specific methodology. He or she should, however, understand the concepts and tools required to support those concepts. The test looks for an understanding of the relationships of the areas of knowledge.

1.7 Areas of Knowledge Breakdown

This slide provides a brief review of the specific areas of knowledge. If there is a need for more in-depth review, BABOK®, (Pronounced “Bah Bok”) published by the IIBA (International Institute of Business Analysis), can be referred to. Business Analysis planning and monitoring is the knowledge area that covers how Business Analysts determine which activities are necessary in order to complete a Business Analysis effort. It covers identification of the stakeholders, selection of Business Analysis techniques, the process that will be used to manage requirements, and how to assess the progress of the work. The tasks in this area of knowledge govern the performance of all other Business Analysis tasks. Elicitation describes how Business Analysts work with the stakeholders to identify and understand their needs and concerns, and understand the environment in which they work. The purpose of elicitation is to ensure that a stakeholder’s actual underlying needs are understood, rather than their stated or superficial desires. Requirements management and communication describes how Business Analysts manage conflicts, issues, and changes in order to ensure that stakeholders and the project team remain in agreement on the solution scope. It also describes how the requirements are communicated to stakeholders and how knowledge gained by the Business Analyst is maintained for future use. Enterprise analysis describes how Business Analysts identify a business need, refine and clarify the definition of that need, and define a solution scope that can feasibly be implemented by the business. This knowledge area defines and analyses problems, business case development, feasibility studies, and the definition of a solution scope. Requirements analysis describes how Business Analysts prioritize and progressively elaborate the solution requirements. This is done in order to enable the project team to implement a solution that will meet the needs of the sponsoring organization and stakeholders. It involves analyzing stakeholders’ needs to define solutions that meet those needs, assessing the current state of the business to identify and recommend improvements, and verifying and validating the resulting requirements. Solution assessment and validation describes how Business Analysts assess proposed solutions to determine which solution best fits the business need, identify gaps and shortcomings in solutions, and determine necessary workarounds or changes to the solution. It also describes how Business Analysts assess the deployed solutions. It helps them see how well they met the original need so that the sponsoring organization can assess the performance and effectiveness of the solution. In the next slide, we will understand relationships under area of knowledge.

1.8 Areas of Knowledge Relationships

This schematic diagram demonstrates the interconnection of the various areas of knowledge that encompasses the entire process knowledge areas in a Business Analysis process. The cycle starts with elicitation, works to requirements management and communication, and takes into its folds the overall Business Analysis planning and monitoring phase. This involves enterprise analysis, requirement analysis, and solution assessment and validation. In other words, the Business Analyst needs to gather facts (elicitation) from the entity and its employees, to gather information about the business requirements. This helps him or her create the goals of the project or the deliverables. Once the deliverables are validated, the knowledge areas shift to the actual analysis process of forming solutions, task design, implementation, quality control, and validation measurements to make sure the BA is able to assess the success of the project. In the next slide, we will discuss competencies of the Business Analyst.

1.9 Business Analyst Competencies

Depending on each BA’s experience and his or her familiarities with the industry, most BAs may specialize in certain competencies. For the purpose of the test, every candidate should be familiar with each of the competencies and how they may fit within the context of the Business Analysis. However, when it comes to software applications, the BA should understand the implications of process flow mapping and the general problems of integration with other applications. This does not mean that a BA should have programming skills. Instead, he or she should understand the needs and requirements. Analytical thinking and problem solving skills support the effective identification of business problems, assessment of proposed solutions to those problems, and understanding of the needs of stakeholders. Analytical thinking and problem solving involves assessing a situation, understanding it as fully as possible, and making judgments on possible solutions to a problem. Behavioral characteristics support the development of effective working relationships with stakeholders and include qualities such as ethics, trustworthiness, and personal organization. Business knowledge supports understanding of the environment in which Business Analysis is performed. Knowledge of general business principles and available case studies promotes better solutions. Communication skills support Business Analysts in eliciting and communicating requirements to stakeholders. Communication skills address the need to listen to the audience and understand clearly what is being said. It also helps in understanding how an audience perceives the Business Analyst. Besides, it helps in understanding the communications objectives, the message, and the most appropriate media and format for communication. Interaction skills support the Business Analyst while working with large number of stakeholders. It involves both the ability to work as part of a larger team and to help that team reach decisions. While most of the work of Business Analysis involves identifying and describing a desired future state, the Business Analyst must also be able to help the organization reach agreement that the future state in question is desired through a combination of leadership and facilitation. Software applications are used to facilitate the collaborative development as well as recording and distribution of requirements to stakeholders. Business Analysts should be skilled users of the tools used in their organization and must understand the strengths and weaknesses of each. In the next slide, we will continue our discussion on the competencies required for a Business Analyst.

1.10 Business Analyst Competencies (contd.)

Business intelligence (BI) systems are becoming more important in translating data into useful information for day-to-day management. For the BA, the BI can provide an incredible source for identifying problem areas and providing general enterprise information. Business process management is a very important aspect in analyzing any company. The BA should be able to understand the process flow of any task quickly and break it down into component parts. Decisions analysis and game theory (which translates conflict and problem resolutions into mathematical models) can be utilized for most tasks. The BA should be familiar with the concepts and be able to demonstrate their use while making important decisions regarding the project. Enterprise architecture is one of the first things a BA will map out. It is important to understand if the organizational structure is appropriate for the business processes, and if the responsibilities and accountabilities are properly placed. Compliance issues management applies to industries where there are specific governmental or industry standards that require monitoring to assure compliance issues. A good example would be health and safety requirements. Quality control (QC) is an important part of any business and the BA needs to be familiar with how the QC needs to be integrated into processes. The BA need not be certified in any system but should understand which recognized program would best fit the project. If there is no QC program, the BA should be able to identify the steps in a process where the QC should take place as well as establish the QC metrics for each step in the QC process. Organizational change management is a critical part of the implementation part of any project. The BA should understand the process of obtaining stakeholder buy-in and setting realistic expectations as well as measureable goals for improvements post implementation. Project management is by default a requirement of performing the Business Analysis. It’s one thing to design a project and another to successfully implement it. The BA must have the ability and sense of urgency to keep to the established milestones as well as provide a constant flow of communications to all interested parties. Software improvements Process is usually based upon proper process mapping. If bottlenecks appear in the flow, a BA should be able to recognize whether it is a structural or a software problem. They do not need to provide specific programing solutions unless it is a part of the project scope. Strategic planning comes after the BA gets a sound understanding of the company, its industry, and its markets. Often, the past experiences and projects undertaken by the BA can help the clients develop new viewpoints and strategies. In the next slide, we will find out the general analysis techniques.

1.11 General Analysis Techniques

In almost every Business Analysis engagement, certain techniques are used to resolve problems, or install new procedures that improve the business of the client. Some techniques are used throughout the analysis process and others are related to technical skills related to a specific part of the project. Brainstorming is a technique intended to produce a broad or diverse set of options. Brainstorms help answer specific questions such as (but not limited to): what options are available to resolve the issue at hand, what factors are constraining the group from moving ahead with an approach or option, what could be causing a delay in activity ‘A’, what the group can do to solve problem ‘B,’ and similar kind of questions. Brainstorming works by focusing on a topic or problem, and then coming up with many possible solutions to it. This technique is best applied in a group as it draws on the experience and creativity of all members of the group. In the absence of a group, one could brainstorm on one’s own to generate new ideas. To heighten creativity, the participants are encouraged to use new ways of looking at things and associate freely among themselves by throwing out spontaneous ideas in any direction. Facilitated properly, brainstorming can be fun, engaging, and productive. Benchmark studies are conducted to compare organizational practices against the best-in-class practices that exist within the competitor enterprises. The objective of benchmark studies is to determine how companies achieve their superior performance levels. This information is used to design projects to improve operations of the enterprise. Benchmarking is usually focused on strategies, operations, and processes. Acceptance and evaluation criteria help to determine which requirements can be used as acceptance or evaluation criteria most effectively. Acceptance criteria describe the minimal set of requirements that must be met in order for a particular solution to be worth implementing. Evaluation criteria are the set of requirements that are used to choose an option from multiple solutions. Either acceptance or evaluation criteria may be used to determine if a solution or solution component can be used to objectively meet a requirement. Acceptance criteria are typically used when only one possible solution is being evaluated and are generally expressed as pass or fail. Evaluation criteria are used to compare multiple solutions or solution components and make allowances for a range of possible scores. We will continue our discussion on general analysis techniques in the next slide.

1.12 General Analysis Techniques(contd.)

Business rules and analysis direct and constrain the organization and the operation of an organization. A business policy is a directive that supports a business goal. A business rule is a specific actionable directive that is under the control of an organization and that supports a business policy. Particularly complex rules, or rules with a number of interrelated dependencies, may be expressed as a decision table or decision tree that explains why a decision is made. A number of basic principles guide the Business Analyst when stating and managing business rules. The business rules should be stated in appropriate terminology to enable domain SMEs to validate the rules. It should be documented independently of how they will be enforced. It should be stated at the atomic level and in declarative format. It should also be separated from the processes that the rule supports or constrains. Finally, it should be maintained in a manner that enables the organization to monitor and adapt to the rules as the business policies change. Data dictionaries or glossaries are used to formally identify and define all the terminologies used by the organization or organizational unit. For example, an organizational unit may differentiate between a client and a customer, where a client is a party with whom the business has an enforceable professional service agreement, whereas a customer may have a much more casual, transaction based relationship with the business. In a healthcare organization, such as a hospital, the term patient may be used, along with its unique definition, rather than either client or customer. Data flow diagrams help the BA to analyze information and process flow and also help to explain and demonstrate how data moves to clients when seeking stakeholder buy-in. The Data Flow Diagram (DFD) provides a visual representation of how information is moved through a system. It shows the external entities that provide data to a system or receive data from a system. It also shows the processes of the system that transform data, along with the data stores where the data is collected for some period of time. Finally, it shows the data flow where the data moves between external entities, processes, and data stores. We will continue our discussion on general analysis techniques in the next slide.

1.13 General Analysis Techniques(contd.)

Data modeling: Not all Business Analysts need an intimate knowledge of Data Modeling but here is an idea of what it is. A data model usually takes the form of a diagram supported by textual descriptions. It visually represents the types of people, places, things, and concepts that are important to the business, attributes associated with them, and the significant business relationships among them. The two most widely used types of data model are: the Entity-Relationship Diagram (ERD) and the Class Diagram. However, there are other modeling notations which remain in use. The notation used is often determined by the technology platform of the organization. ERDs are generally preferred when the model is used as the basis for a relational database, while class diagrams are preferred for supporting object-oriented development. Business Analysts who may have to use those models should understand the unique characteristics of each type of data model — they serve similar purposes but have some important conceptual differences that emerge in practice. Decision analysis is an approach to decision-making that examines and models the possible consequences of different decisions. Decision analysis assists in making an optimal decision under conditions of uncertainty. Uncertainty may exist because of unknown factors that are relevant to the decision such as: there are too many possible interrelated factors to consider, conflicting perspectives on a situation, or tradeoffs between the different available options. Effective decision analysis requires that the analysts understand the values, goals, and objectives that are relevant to the decision problem, the nature of the decision that must be made, the areas of uncertainty that affect the decision, and the consequences of each possible decision. Document analysis may include analysis of business plans, market studies, contracts, requests for proposal, statements of work, memos, existing guidelines, procedures, training guides, competing product literature, published comparative product reviews, problem reports, customer suggestion logs, existing system specifications, among others. Identifying and consulting all likely sources of requirements will result in improved requirements coverage, assuming the documentation is up-to-date. Document analysis is used if the objective is to gather details of existing solutions, including business rules, entities, and attributes that need to be included in a new solution or need to be updated for the current solution. This technique also applies in situations where the subject matter experts for the existing solutions are no longer with the organization, or are not going to be available throughout the duration of the elicitation process. We will continue our discussion on general analysis techniques in the next slide.

1.14 General Analysis Techniques(contd.)

In an interview, the interviewer formally or informally directs questions to a stakeholder in order to obtain answers that will be used to create formal requirements. One-on-one interviews are typically most common. In a group interview (with more than one interviewee in attendance), the interviewer must be careful to elicit responses from all attendees. For the purpose of eliciting requirements, interviews are of two basic types: The first type is structured interview where the interviewer has a pre-defined set of questions and is looking for answers. The second type is unstructured interview which is conducted without any pre-defined questions. The interviewer and the interviewee discuss topics of interest in an open-ended way. Successful interviewing depends on several factors including (but not limited to): the level of understanding of the domain by the interviewer, the interviewer’s experience in conducting the interviews, the interviewer’s skill in documenting the discussions, the interviewee’s readiness to provide the relevant information, the degree of clarity in interviewee’s mind about the required business target and the rapport of the interviewer with the interviewee. Measurement metrics are used by an organization to measure progress. An indicator identifies a specific numerical measurement that represents the degree of progress towards achieving a goal, objective, output, activity, or further input. A key performance indicator measures progress towards a strategic goal or objective. Reporting is the process of informing the stakeholders of metrics of indicators in specified formats at specified intervals. Metrics and reporting are key components of monitoring and evaluation. Monitoring is a continuous process of collecting data to determine how well a solution has been implemented, compared to expected results. Evaluation is the systematic and objective assessment of a solution to determine its status and efficacy in meeting objectives over a period. It also identifies the ways to improve the solution so that it can meet the objectives better. The top priorities of a monitoring and evaluation system are the intended goals and effects of a solution, as well as the inputs, activities, and outputs. We will look into the other general analysis techniques in the next slide.

1.15 General Analysis Techniques(contd.)

Non-functional requirements document the qualities of a system that are important to the following two communities: first, the user community, such as usability, learnability, reliability, etc.; and second, the development community, such as scalability, maintainability, reusability, etc. Strictly speaking, the term “non-functional requirements” only applies when describing a software application. However, the various categories of non-functional requirements may be applicable to other solution components, for which requirements can be developed. For example, reliability requirements for an organizational unit might include specified hours of service, and performance efficiency. A business process might include cycle time to deal with a customer request and may be captured in a service level agreement (SLA). In these cases, an alternative term such as “quality of service” requirements may be preferred. Organizational modeling defines how an organization or organizational unit is structured. Organizational units bring together a group of people to fulfill a common purpose or a goal. This purpose may be functional, that is, the people in question share a common set of skills and knowledge to serve a particular market. An organizational model will define the scope of the organizational unit, the formal relationships among the people who are members of the unit, the roles of those people, and the interfaces between that unit and other units of stakeholders. Problem analysis may include issues, questions, risks, defects, conflicts, or other concerns that needs to be tracked to resolution. A problem tracking system ensures that issues are not simply neglected or lost. For each problem, the tracking tool may include identification of the problem; status updates; assigning of related actions that are required to team members; and tracking expected resolution dates, resolution results, actions and decisions taken, priority, and impacts. The current status of problems should be communicated to all relevant stakeholders. It is important to ensure that problem tracking leads to the resolution of problems in a timely manner. It should also address the issues of eliminating or minimizing the negative impacts, allocation of resources to resolve problems, and identification of root causes of problems. We will continue our discussion on general analysis techniques in the next slide.

1.16 General Analysis Techniques(contd.)

Process analysis describes how multiple people or groups collaborate over a period of time to work. Processes involve a number of activities that are linked in a sequence. A process is repeatable and may have multiple paths for completion. A process is initiated by an event in the business domain, such as a sale of a product to a customer, a request for information by a senior executive, or a failure to complete a transaction. Events may be triggered by actions taken by a person, rules which cause action to be taken, or simply the passage of a period of time. The process model may involve manual activities, completely automated activities, or a combination of both. The process is complete when the objective or the goal of the process is completed. A process model is a visual representation of the sequential flow and control logic of a set of related activities or actions. Process modeling is used to obtain a graphical representation of a current or future process within an organization. A model may be used at its highest level to obtain a general understanding of a process, or at a lower level, as a basis for simulation so that the process can be made as efficient as possible. A requirements workshop is a highly productive and focused event which is attended by carefully selected key stakeholders and subject matter experts, for a short, but intensive period (typically one or a few days). The workshop is facilitated by a team member or ideally, by an experienced and neutral facilitator. A scribe (also known as a recorder) documents the requirements elicited as well as any outstanding issues. A Business Analyst may be the facilitator or the scribe in these workshops. In situations where the Business Analyst is a subject matter expert on the topic, he or she may serve as a workshop participant. However, this must be approached with caution, as it can confuse others as to the role of Business Analyst. In addition, there may be suspicion that the Business Analyst who is also a participant, may unduly bias the requirements documentation towards his or her own viewpoints and priorities. A workshop may be used to generate ideas for new features or products, to reach consensus on a topic, or to review requirements. Other outcomes are often detailed requirements captured in models. While the terms scenario and use case are often used loosely, a scenario is generally understood to describe just one way that an actor can accomplish a particular goal. A use case, on the other hand, describes all the possible outcomes of an attempt to accomplish a particular goal that the solution will support. Scenarios are written as a series of steps performed by actors or the solution that enables an actor to achieve a goal. A use case describes several scenarios in the form of primary and alternate flows. The primary or basic flow represents the simplest way to accomplish the goal of the use case. Special circumstances and exceptions that result in a failure to complete the goal of the use case are documented in alternate flows. In the next slide, we will look into the key concepts.

1.17 Key Concepts

Let us now understand the various key concepts in CBAP®. A domain is the area undergoing analysis. It may correspond to the boundaries of an organization or organizational unit. It may also include the key stakeholders outside those boundaries and interactions with those stakeholders. A solution is a set of changes to the current state of an organization. These changes are made in order to enable that organization to meet a business need, solve a problem, or take advantage of an opportunity. The scope of the solution is usually narrower than the scope of the domain within which it is implemented. They serve as the basis for the scope of a project in which that solution or its components are implemented. Most solutions are a system of interacting solution elements, each of which is potentially solutions in its own right. Examples of solutions and solution components include software applications, web services, business processes, the business rules that govern that process, an information technology application, a revised organizational structure, outsourcing, insourcing, redefining job roles, or any other method of creating a capability needed by an organization. Business Analysis helps organizations define the optimal solution for their needs, given the set of constraints (including time, budget, regulations, and others), under which that organization operates. A requirement is a condition or capability needed by a stakeholder to solve a problem or achieve an objective. A condition or capability must be met or possessed by a solution or solution component, to satisfy a contract, standard, specification, or other formally documented representation of a condition or capability. In the next slide, we will summarize this module.

1.18 Summary

In this module we had an overview of the purpose of CBAP® test. Then we understood who a business analyst is. We discussed the required areas of knowledge that were to be covered in this course. The Business Analyst competencies as well as the general analysis techniques were also dealt with. Finally, we looked into the key concepts that were to be covered in this course. Now, let us go through a few questions to check your understanding on the concepts discussed. The next modules will drill down into the analysis process and discuss how the best practices for business analysis apply during the general analysis.

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