BOGO is Back!

written by: Admin on May 23rd, 2014

Bogo2014

Software development is a team effort and making sure the whole team is on the same page is vital to the process.

Buy one class scheduled in July or August and receive a second seat in the same class for free!

This is a great way to supplement training for your entire team. Enter code: SAVE2014BOGO at checkout to receive the discount. When registering, specify “2” in the quantity box; the discount will not be recognized unless you specify you want the second seat. You may also call one of our Training Advisors to register for the course. Second seat is available when first seat is purchased at list price and cannot be combined with other offers.

 

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10 Tips for Passing the PMI-PBA Certification Exam

written by: JT Moore on August 14th, 2014

The PMI Professional in Business Analysis certification was introduced in early 2014 by the Project Management Institute (PMI). Priding ourselves on helping real-world professionals develop their careers through training and certification, we have sent several of our instructors through the application and pilot exam process. What follows is a collection of ten tips from their personal experience.

Our hope is that these tips will help guide you in your preparation before the exam as there is a lot of material to cover. Please understand that the exam is a pilot at the time of this article, so it most certainly will change, evolve and improve.

In general, all PMI Professional in Business Analysis candidates need to constantly keep in mind that this exam was developed by PMI (THE Project Management Institute).  In other words, the exam is going to approach business analysis from a project management perspective.  Inputs, definitions, terminology, tools and outputs will, as much as possible, track to The Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (the PMBOK).

 

  1. Tracking and updating requirement status using traceability
    Study both the “Plan Scope Management” and “Collect Requirements” processes in the PMBOK, especially as they relate to the Requirements Management Plan and the Requirements Traceability Matrix.  Any reference to traceability in the reading list should be reviewed.  Rationale should be per the reading list; terminology per the PMBOK.

  2. Acceptance Criteria
    “Validate Scope” should be reviewed for user acceptance test information in the PMBOK.  These references: The Software Requirements Memory Jogger and the Business Analysis Techniques: 72 Essential Tools For Success both contain the most information related to acceptance criteria.  Search the reading list for other references to user acceptance as this topic is heavily stressed on the exam.

  3. Monitoring requirements and managing changes to requirement
    This is another heavily stressed area.  Specifically target those areas in the readings where change management is discussed.  Look at the Integration Management knowledge area of the PMBOK.

  4. Validating test results
    Despite the fact that most BAs do not consider testing to be one of their primary responsibilities, there are a number of questions concerning testing on the exam.  The PMBOK is light in this area.  As with many other exam topics, a deep dive in this area is not necessary.  Familiarize yourself with a high to intermediate-level view of testing.

  5. Using quality assurance tools to analyze solution discrepancies
    Many of the quality planning/quality assurance/quality control tools are on the exam.  Know especially the figures, charts, and graphs from the Project Quality Management knowledge area, specifically the seven basic quality tools.

  6. Prioritization techniques
    Spend some time familiarizing yourself with the names and purposes of the BA tools presented in the Business Analysis Techniques: 72 Essential Tools For Success. You do not need to know (at present) how to use them, only recognize them as appropriate or inappropriate when provided a project scenario.  Be sure to know MoSCoW and Kano.

  7. Evaluating how well the solution meets the business case
    The Business Case is an important aspect of the exam.  Read the first sections of the PMBOK to understand how the business case figures into the project selection methodology.  Also familiarize yourself with the “Develop Project Charter” process.  Search through the reading list for other discussions regarding the business case.

  8. Identifying and analyzing stakeholders
    Just about any BA reference book will have a large discussion of the tasks necessary to identify and analyze project stakeholders.  Make sure you are using the PMBOK’s terminology, but choose a couple of the reading list books to give yourself a complete understanding of the subject, especially Software Requirements 2, The Software Requirements Memory Jogger, and Unearthing Business Requirements: Elicitation Tools and Techniques.

  9. Validating requirements with tools and techniques
    Elements of validation to study include establishing the level of traceability necessary for requirements validation during the Planning process.  Prototyping, document analysis, and demos are important requirement validation tools and techniques to review in order to ensure requirements completeness, as well as requirements alignment with the project goal, objectives, and business case.

  10. Decision-making techniques
    There is not a section of the PMBOK that covers this area.  Rather, it is spread out here and there throughout the standard.  Specifically look at the various forms of decision making tools (unanimity, plurality, etc.) and check the reading list indexes for decision-making references.  The exam does not probe much deeper than the identification of techniques and, perhaps, the pros and cons of each technique.

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Web Seminar Recap: Introducing the New PMI-PBA (Professional in Business Analysis) Certification

written by: Tegan Smith on August 8th, 2014

PMI (Project Management Institute) continues to meet the needs of Project and SDLC (Software / System Development Life Cycle) professionals by offering another specialty certification.
The industry knows how critical a working relationship between the BA and PM is for project success. Also it is well understood that smaller companies can only afford to have Project Managers yet still need strong business analysis work done. PMI has answered these needs by offering this new certification.
Pilot applications are being accepted through May 12, 2014.
This web seminar covered in depth the PMI-PBA handbook (costs and application requirements), the examination content outline and the reading/outside knowledge requirements. We saved you the time and energy of reading through the 70+ pages of documentation.
ASPE-SDLC promises to be at the fore-front of this critical designation and this is our first step in providing you the information, knowledge, and skills needed to achieve the designation

This one hour seminar, Introducing the New PMI-PBA (Professional in Business Analysis) Certification, was presented by David Mantica on Tuesday August 5, 2014.

Missed this seminar? Download the slides and recording to catch up!

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What Chuck Norris Can Teach Us About the CBAP

written by: Rob Snowden on July 29th, 2014
  1. chuck-norrisChuck Norris didn’t apply to take the CBAP.  He told the IIBA when he was going to pass the test.
    That may work for Chuck, but you will have to complete an application and ensure that you have enough hours over the past 10 years in BA work (7500 hours).    Also, of the 6 Knowledge Areas, you will have to ensure that you have at least 900 hours in 4 of the 6 areas.

    To accomplish this, be very careful when completing the application that you do not check mark any activities that are not true BA tasks.  For each project, for each Knowledge area, there are a series of check blocks that you use to indicate which tasks you’ve completed.  Those check blocks include tasks that are not true BA tasks, but may be PM or QA tasks.  Don’t check anything that is not a BA task per the BABOK.  Additionally, the wording can be tricky – such as did you “Prioritize requirements?”  Well, a BA doesn’t prioritize requirements.  The BA works with SMEs and the SMEs prioritize requirements.   Each error on the check blocks subtracts hours from your totals (the formula for this is unknown – except to Chuck Norris).  Also, you’ll need to indicate the percentage of time spent on each Knowledge Area for each project which is how your project hours are allocated over the Knowledge Areas.  Build a spreadsheet to ensure your results are in keeping with the 900 hour requirement for 4 of the 6 Knowledge Areas.

  2. The IIBA paid Chuck Norris a fee to take the CBAP.
    Maybe so, but you will pay $125 to file an application.  If it is accepted, then the next step is to select when want to take the test and pay a fee of $325 if you are an IIBA member, or $450 if you are not a member.  You have 3 tries at the test, with 3 month intervals each year.  If you do not pass the test or take the test during that year, you have to reapply.
  3. Chuck Norris did not read the BABOK.  He stared it down until he got the info he needed.

    You will not only have to read the BABOK, you will have to memorize many things like definitions.  You must go by what the BABOK says, not what you may have done on a particular project that was successful.  Read, highlight, take a prep course, do practice tests, read, underline, repeat as necessary.

  4. Chuck Norris passed the CBAP by answering each questions with “Chuck Norris.”

    That won’t work for you because there are 150 multiple choice questions and no credit is given for write-in answers.  You not only need to absorb the BABOK, but you need to employ various test taking techniques such as eliminating wrong answers, and carefully reading the question to look for clues of what is really being asked.  No matter how hard you study, you will be faced with questions like “What is the best way, of these choices to do . . .” or “All of these choices are valid except . . . .“  In these cases you will need to perform analysis, which is what you are doing anyway in your job.  You just need to understand that taking the test is like a project with twists and turns and 150 unanswered questions.

     

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Why Software Testers Can’t be Pessimists

written by: Tegan Smith on July 25th, 2014

Do you believe in the elusive “silver-lining” to every situation? If your answer is no, you’re most likely a pessimist. Pessimists are known to anticipate and expect undesirable outcomes. Wouldn’t this trait be great for a software tester whose job is to find out what’s wrong and hunt down the bugs within an application? Though one might think the answer is yes, there are three important reasons the answer should be resounding NO!

  1. Pessimists find things that are not there:
    If you are looking at an app pessimistically it is easy to see so many pieces, glitches, and bugs that could induce problems. Yes, no app will ever be perfect and we would be crazy to think this is even possible. But this not so perfect mindset does not come easily to pessimistic software testers who might not be able to see past inevitable glitches. This can and will create a combative relationship between the developer and the tester.

  2. Pessimism could hinder ability to think clearly:
    Ultimately, testers are hired to simulate use of software in order to find bugs. Going into the process of simulation with a pessimistic attitude could hinder the tester’s ability to think clearly and do the major task testers are assigned to do, which is find places that have the possibility of being improved. If you are always anticipating undesirable outcomes then you will always find the bad in what could be good.

  3. All talk the talk and no walk the walk:
    Testers that discover problems within software or Apps need to be able to prove why it is a problem that needs to be fixed and how the fix will add value to the software. Developers want their testers to provide relevant and useful information in order to reproduce the problem that was found as well. Furthermore, pessimism is often a state of mind that does not come with substantial claims to back it up. If a tester thinks that the app is not going to work, then they better have some good reasons to back their claim up.

All in all, pessimism in the workplace can be a disease that is hard to cure, especially in software testing. As a rule of thumb, it is always better to look at things with the mindset of the “glass half full” instead of empty. Testers should approach situations with a more optimistic point of view in order to accept that no software is ever going to glitch free. Testers, look at your job positively and one can expect positive results in return.

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Web Seminar Recap: Agile Certifications Options Primer

written by: Tegan Smith on July 24th, 2014

Agile has made the leap and is now mainstream.  The reality is, once something becomes mainstream, hiring needs to happen.  When this happens, hiring managers need a baseline to judge applicants.   In comes certification.  The agile certification market has grown extensively over the last two years with both large and small organizations entering the market place.  In this one hour web seminar we will discuss what the components are for a traditional certification program, one that will gain respect and recognition. From there we will discuss the value of certifications from an employer perspective and an employee perspective.  The reality is they are not mutually exclusive.  Finally we will detail the top Agile certification in the market place and give details on steps to achieve each certification, including thought on the best certification based on needs.

Attendees Learned:
-Difference between certification and certificate programs
-What the elements are for certification programs
-How employers use and value certifications
-How employees use and value certifications
-Scrum Alliance certification stack
-IC Agile Certification stack
-PMI Agile based certifications
-Other Agile certifications (Flavor based and holistic)

This one hour seminar, Agile Certifications Options Primer, was presented by Tom McGraw on Wednesday July 23, 2014.

Missed this seminar? Download the slides and recording to catch up!

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So, How Many Use Cases Do I Write?

written by: Mary Repetto on July 23rd, 2014

writingThat is a question we, as facilitators of use case workshops, often get asked and it is a good one.  My favorite answer for all sorts of questions is that “It depends”.  Is it a large system with all sorts of functions or a small with just a few.

Use cases describe functions of the system in a sequential way that shows the steps it takes to complete the function or process of the system.  So, let’s think about who is using the system and just what they need to do.  Once we define everything that needs to be done and get it approved by the sponsor, we have defined the functional scope.  Now we sit down and write a use case for each process or function we have identified.

So, how many uses cases are there in the system?  Well, I guess “it depends”!

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Scrum Basics

written by: Melissa Monroe on July 18th, 2014

Scrum is one of the many subsets of the agile methodology. It places an emphasis on the idea of “empirical process control” which means Scrum uses the actual progress of a project to plan and schedule releases. Projects are broken down into brief work cadences, called sprints. Sprints usually last between one to three weeks. After each sprint stakeholders and team members meet to evaluate the progress of a project and plan its next steps. This approach allows a project’s direction to be changed based on finished work, instead of speculation or predictions. Scrum works because it has a simple set of unchanging roles, responsibilities, and meetings. Scrum not only provides flexibility but stability that teams can rely on when development gets hectic.

Scrum has three roles: Product Owner, ScrumMaster, and team member.

Product Owner:

Responsible for communicating the vision of the product to the development team. They also represent the customer’s interests through requirements and prioritization.

ScrumMaster:

Acts as a facilitator for the Product Owner and the team. They work to remove any obstacles that are preventing the team from achieving its sprint goals. They also advise the Product Owner about how to maximize ROI for the team.

Team Member:

Responsible for completing work. Ideally, teams are made of seven cross-functional members, plus or minus two individuals. The team is responsible for deciding how it will complete the work for each sprint.

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