Business Analysis Techniques for Information Systems

Hi there,

I"m just starting out as a business analyst and it would be of great help to me if you could please clarify the following BA issues with me.

Can you please provide more information in terms of the most common techniques a BA should use when trying to create a software solution for a business in terms of the following:

1. Business gathering techniques?
2.Analysis and design techniques?


3. When gathering business requirements, at what point do you know that you have collect all you require from the business units? Is there a way to measure this?
4. When coming up with test cases, it's usual that it comes from the use cases you've generated in the analysis stage. But this doesn't necessarily ensure that it's a full prove test method - how is one able to determine a suitable number of test cases outside from the use cases?

Many thanks,
Who is Participating?
moorhouselondonConnect With a Mentor Commented:
1. Get the client to show you the procedures that the company currently uses.  Computer systems should mirror the way the business works, not the other way round *unless* the companies procedures are inefficient, but this will become apparent when talking to the client.  So if the company manufactures widgets, you might start by asking how the components to build the widgets are acquired - design, specification, purchase orders, delivery notes, invoices, QA.  Then you have to turn these component parts into widgets through some manufacturing process.  How is that manufacturing process administered?  ...and so on.  

2. Next, you draw a block diagram of the entire company's processes.  The way to think about this is to start off with one box with the company name on it, with one arrow going in, and one arrow coming out).  In: components.  Out: widgets  (the MD might like two arrows coming out: Money).  Not very useful, so you gradually carve up the block into smaller blocks, until you get to the stage where you know you can give it to a third party to implement it.  Note that a computer system such as this is not a computer system full stop.  There are interfaces between the computer system and humans which are crucial to the success of the overall process.  These interfaces can best be visualised as Forms, these forms can be integrated into the block diagram too.

3. Difficult to know without in-depth talks with the client.  The client should be made aware that anything that they haven't told you about is going to cause problems to the design later on when suddenly remembered.  The block diagram is your tool to talk to the client with.

4. Take actual business data and run it in parallel to the manual system.  Do the results differ?  Yes, then work still needs to be done.
jleemoore26Connect With a Mentor Commented:
Have you ever came acorss a methodology called PRINCE2 (the successor to PRINCE) ?  Projects In Controlled Environments ?  There are a few sites on the net that clearly explain the rules, documentation and processess involved with this methodology.  It is very informative and just what you may be looking for.  You can also find case studies on the net of companies that have successfully used this methodology.  This methodology includes clear definitions of boundaries (when to start various processes) etc..  It is a recognised project management methodology and you can sit exams to become a PRINCE Practitioner which, if you are starting out as a Business Analyst, may instill confidence in clients.

The level of detail I would need to go into to explain this methodology would be too much to post on this site, so a good starting point would be to go to

Good luck
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