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Accelerating the quality and speed of needs assessments, requirements elicitation and requirements documentation
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-Business Requirements Definition
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Business Analysis White Papers

We believe we have the world's most efficient methodology for extracting business requirements and detecting missing functionalities within a specification. Our practice teams continue to research best practices in developing business requirements. You will find each paper loaded with statistics and presenting practical techniques on extracting business process, determining business requirements, and extracting the business case for a technology initative:


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Detailed Content Descriptions:




The Executive Briefing on the Issues Surrounding Getting Business Right


This executive briefing presents: business case statistics, issues to consider, risks and benefits, and evaluative tools. Each page is structured as its own ‘mini-white-paper’ as well as being part of the whole.

Executive Summary

This paper is designed as an executive briefing on the issues surrounding getting business requirements right. The white paper is structured so that each page is its own ‘mini-white-paper’ but each is also part of a total look at better structuring requirements documents, processes and content completeness.

At the end of this paper is a one page ‘tear-out’ summary which is both a shortened distillation of the content, and a diagnostic tool to start a peer discussion on your organization’s performance.

In short: we propose that Business Requirements are a process that needs executive attention. Not only is this a central enabling process for business strategy execution, it is one that requires discipline to be able to make it perform well. In addition to the monetary case presented, there are executive issues in the templates, completeness, and process behind business requirements



Accelerated Elicitation within a Use Case Environment on Large Scale Assignments


10 pages describing various approaches where Use Cases are used, and how to adjust these approaches to more efficiently manage larger scale projects. Essential concepts in requirements risk assessment and Use Case documentation techniques.

Executive Summary

Companies that have adopted a Use Case standard for documenting business requirements are experiencing the positive benefits of requirements reuse and superior quality results. However, this is often done at the expense of timeliness and with the cost of a wearying grind for stakeholders. As the scale of a project rises past 100 Use Cases, so too does the risk that the requirements project using this structure will end up in a continuous loop of discovery, with Business Analysts continuously finding new requirements with significant enough impact in enough separate areas that the requirements are never deemed complete.

This paper compares alternative approaches to ensuring that a Use Case approach will be successful in a larger scale implementation and draws on publications by Rational (RUP) and the UML authors Booch, Rumbaugh and Jacobson to examine how companies can reduce the risks of these approaches while increasing the efficiency in execution for stakeholders. This paper draws on Digital Mosaic's experiences in managing projects with in excess of 1,000 Use Cases to examine business impacts from these changes and recommendations in process change for managing larger initiatives.

GETTING BUSINESS REQUIREMENTS RIGHT: Fixing the highest-leverage stages in the System Development Life Cycle


7 pages of statistics on impact of requirements stage on systems development, special focus on scoping techniques used in early stage assessment. Answers key questions on determining the completeness of requirements.

Executive Summary

This paper describes a methodology that brings the early stages of the SDLC up to a high level of maturity: consistent, proven, and optimized for success. This drastically reduces the downstream problems that plague many IT projects, and substantially enhances the predictability of cost and timelines. The larger the project the higher the risk, therefore a sound elicitation methodology is an essential element in the selection of an ERP system, or in contemplating an enterprise-class application.

The methodology focuses on two intertwined steps, defining project scope, and eliciting requirements, solving the problems that account for 98% of the errors in these two stages :

  • How do you know if the requirements are complete?
  • How do you know if the requirements have been correctly and unambiguously identified?

This paper provides the answer to these questions, and how to get this answer this in a highly compressed timetable, putting a project on a stable foundation, and engaging stakeholders to secure their buy-in and enthusiasm.

Delivering Systems that Deliver Value: A Tactics Guide to Harmonizing Business requirements and Usability


16 pages of detailed techniques on how to harmonize business requirements with usability objectives so that developed systems are both more useable and


REVIEW: Bravo. This is a very readable white paper that offers a rigorous approach to getting at the real user and business requirements prior to embarking on a major development project. There’s a lot of sound practice squeezed into these pages, with value for even the seasoned business analyst. -- John Pickett VP & editorial director, IT World Canada

Executive Summary

This paper is about describing processes and techniques that improve the probability that a large scale system will deliver value for an organization. This is a 'how to' tactics guide that first identifies a different set of project risk factors than those exposed in project management guides. We believe that these paint a clearer picture of why some types of projects get into trouble even though the business case for implementing the system and the project management are excellent. This paper then looks at the underlying skill gap that creates poor quality requirements and usability. We propose a different set of focal points for companies when dealing with higher risk projects and give readers a set of tests to review past tactic success and whether or not the future approach is likely to work. In this area, we propose specific techniques for harmonizing the approach to conducting business requirements to those used to set usability objectives. While these domains have not been well integrated in the past, we will show techniques that create an integrated, more systematic approach that achieves results.

Finally, this paper proposes a set of techniques for refining the benefits delivered by a system, and creating a plan which manages the delivery of these benefits through implementation. We do this by focusing again on harmonizing usability objectives setting and business requirements elicitation techniques. In practice, this means that systems delivery and their business sponsors can engage in a discussion not only on more detailed benefits, but how to manage benefit delivery as part of systems delivery.

This paper deals with the complex analysis issues that surround big projects and brings together into a single guide the tactics that help a project team win where the majority of projects fail to deliver the value intended by their sponsor.



GETTING CONSENSUS ON BUSINESS REQUIREMENTS: TIPS AND TRAPS


8 pages with tools for self assessment and project assessment. Benchmark statistics that quantify risks in larger projects, spending on various stages of the typical project cycle.


Executive Summary

Out of every 100 IT projects started, 94 will start over again at least once. Before your company launches its next package selection, implementation or upgrade, make sure you don't cripple the project from the start by failing to identify your requirements - the number one reason that projects spin out of control. Make sure that your company has a clear understanding of how important the requirements definition stage is, has a proven way to carry it out properly, and doesn't skip this critical phase in the rush to get an RFP out of the door.

This white paper summarizes some of the key lessons we have learned through our industry-leading requirements definition practice. Here are tools and ideas you can put into practice immediately:

  • A self-diagnosis - does your company have a requirements gap that affects the probability of success for all projects, not just complex ERP package implementations?
  • What can you do in the requirements stage to improve the probability of project success dramatically?
  • Tips and traps we have learned in consistently building consensus around a robust and detailed definition of requirements.


THE ROI OF ROI: Converting business promise into business value


7 pages describing the techniques and tools needed to better deterimine and measure project return..


Executive Summary

Over 40% of companies rely on single point metrics such as ROI to set investment gates for funding technology related initiatives. However, the ROI itself is virtually useless. It is the process underlying getting to this number that is valuable. The ability of an organization to convert investment promise into business value repeatedly is the key source of competitive differentiation.

This paper presents an alternative to ROI as a gating process that focuses on how better to realize benefits from an IT investment. Conversion effectiveness starts with a managed approach to harvesting benefits that is firmly rooted in the investment business case. This paper presents the Business Case Roadmap, a simple yet pragmatic tool for bridging the conversion effectiveness gap, and grounds its opinions in hard research and facts.

The HOW not the WHAT of Defining Business RequirementsThe importance of accelerated requirements gathering

4 pages describing differences between elicitation methodologies and documentation methodologies. How do you get good execution on a good documentaiton method?


Executive Summary

With requirement gathering representing as much as 10% of system development lifecycle costs, it is increasingly important to accelerate the gathering of business requirements. This directly improves both scope control and implementation time in large engagements.

This paper looks looks at some of the key issues in accelerating requirement definition and getting a content collection process that people like.

BUSINESS ANALYST TRAINING BUILDING COMPETENCIES AND BUSINESS VALUE

6 pages describing role of the business analyst and challenges for business analysts managers in building the competencies to meet this role. This paper discusses the issues associated with improving the approach to requirements elicitation. Finally, this paper suggests 5 value builders and 5 pitfalls to watch post training.

Executive Summary

This white paper looks at the role of a business analyst, their competencies and practical steps needed in improving the value of this function to the corporation by revisiting the focus of training programs.

Too often, the focus of analyst training is on theories, methods and templates that are not immediately actionable. Focus your business analyst training dollars to get tangible results. The true measure of training success is how easily business analysts can apply their learning to achieve job success. Digital Mosaic wants to see a tangible change in productivity - both in current work, and in assessing the quality of work on prior assignments. Without this ability to apply learning on the job, little in the way of benefit is gained.

Inside an Accelerated Requirement Gathering Methodology: The power of working with business events


11 pages describing how an acclerated elicitation methodology is structured.

Executive Summary

Focusing on business events with users to gather business requirements enables users to better describe requirements and systems professionals to better turn these requirements into systems needs for requirements gathering and scoping. Event-based analysis is not prone to the same problems that can terminally wound a development initiative in estimating scope, or translating from one stage to the next in complex development. Our experience has shown that the more complex the assignment, the more development teams must rely on process rather than the individual skills and collaboration between business and IT users. They must have a stronger process for gathering business requirements.






White Papers Available

The Executive Briefing on the Issues Surrounding Getting Business Right

Business Requirements Collection

Accelerated Elicitation within a Use Case Environment on Large Scale Assignments

Business Requirements Collection

GETTING BUSINESS REQUIREMENTS RIGHT: Fixing the highest-leverage stages in the System Development Life Cycle

Business Requirements Collection

DELIVERING SYSTEMS THAT DELIVER VALUE: A Tactics Guide to Harmonizing Business requirements and Usability

Business Requirements Collection

GETTING CONCESUS ON BUSINESS REQUIREMENTS: Tips and Traps

Business Requirements Collection

THE ROI OF ROI: Converting business promise into business value

Business Requirements Collection

The HOW Not the WHAT of Defining Business Requirements

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Business Analyst Training: Keys to Building Competency and Business Value

White Papers for Business Analysts

Inside an Accelerated Requirement Gathering Methodology: The power of working with business events

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Digital Mosaic

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