Free 1-Hour Professional Skills Boot Camps for SDLC Professionals

written by: Admin on January 9th, 2015

Start 2015 off Strong with Free Professional Skills Training for SDLC Professionals

As an SDLC training company, we have the privilege of working very closely with a large number of SDLC professionals around the world. Constantly having our ear to the ground, we hear over and over how important it is to SDLC professional to maintain strong business and communications kills in order to thrive and maintain continued career growth.

The fulfillment of this need in 2015 has become a major priority for ASPE-SDLC. In response, we have developed a series of 1-hour boot camps that will be presented in the form of free webinars.  These boot camps will be focused, information packed, skills building sessions covering the most critical professional skills need for long term career growth.

Professional Skills Boot Camp Schedule:

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The Difference Between the CBAP and the PMI-PBA Exams Explained

written by: Rob Snowden on February 24th, 2015

The CBAP is oriented around the BABOK, and the BA role excludes topics like design, testing, coding.  Therefore, any questions on the test with answers that hint of these other topics cannot be readily removed as possible answers.  Not so on the PMI-PBA test.  It is based on 11 text books, most of which have the words BA, analysis, or requirements in the titles but two don’t – the PMBOK and Data Modeling Essentials.  One question in particular is still stuck in my head – “You, as the BA, have just completed the design document.  What is the most likely next step for you to do?”  Well, from an IIBA point of view, the right answer would be “Apply for a job as a developer since I’ve stopped doing BA work!”


The CBAP test had 150 multiple choice questions vs. the PMI-PBA, which had 200.  I studied extensively for the CBAP and didn’t study at all for the PMI-PBA.  But I passed both, and I’m not a particularly good test taker.  I learned testing strategies during preparation for the CBAP and I believe this helped me considerably with the PMI-PBA.  Maybe it was partly because I was in the PMI-PBA pilot group.  Maybe it was partly because I wasn’t stressed at all about taking the PMI-PBA because I didn’t expect to pass it. I thought I was going to fail it but at least know how to approach it for the second try at it.

Maybe because of my decades of experience in BA work, contract work, and training, I’ve just absorbed so many shreds of information that I was able to get through it.



Web Seminar Recap: From Agile to Continuous Operation

written by: Jennifer Johnson on February 20th, 2015

Continuous Operation: the holy grail of a product release!

We’ve seen tools pop up to enable it. Microsoft TFS allows the fully Agile developer environment. Stuff like Jenkins and Git allow highly streamlined version control and deployment. On the operations side, admins can spool up countless new server instances in the cloud, auto-configure them with ease, and seamlessly collaborate with their developers.

We hear about companies like FaceBook and Etsy releasing software to the production environment so often that it becomes one steady flow of deployment, from development to customer-facing release. Glitches can be fixed so fast…changes implemented so rapidly…that applications are virtually updated in real time, without customers ever knowing.

Meanwhile, the rest of us struggle with the same old IT project challenges we’ve had for years: delays, inaccurate requirements, version control issues. Problems during release and operations that didn’t show up in Dev. Is it reasonable to think that normal, everyday IT shops can achieve the kind of results we read about on the DevOps blogs?

This one-hour  Q and A  presentation occurred Friday, February 13th with our resident Agile release and TFS expert: Bryon Brewer. Missed this web seminar? You can find the slides and recording here.


Web Seminar Recap: Agile Primer: A 360 Degree Look at What it is and How it is Used

written by: Jennifer Johnson on February 16th, 2015

Over 250,000 people have become certified in some form of Agile practice or flavor. The industry standard body for Project Management, PMI, has introduced a certification for Agile (PMI-ACP introduced officially in Jan 2013). Steven Denning has written a book about his development of a new flavor of Agile for management and leaders called Radical Management. IC Agile, a world-wide standards organization for Agile, is even working on a designation for using Agile in marketing and product management.

There is not much more proof needed to show that this thing called Agile is here to stay. The reality is that the vast number of SDLC and business professionals might have heard of it, but really don’t know what it is. Or they were given a small snap shot picture of an element of how it works.

In this fast-paced one-hour web seminar presented on February 10th, 2015, by David Mantica, a methodical approach was taken to provide a full picture of what Agile is, how it works, who is using it and how you can use it.

The following topics were covered:

  • What is driving the need to use Agile
  • How management and workers need to change to utilize Agile successfully
  • Break down of what Agile is
  • The two fundamental concepts of Agile: Self-organization and Iterating
  • High level overview of the Agile Practices and Organization
  • Work vs Role
  • Development unit / Business unit
  • ScrumMaster
  • Product Owner
  • User Story / task board / burndown
  • Five levels of planning in Agile
  • Estimating in Agile
  • Sprint aka Iteration
  • Definition of Done
  • Retrospective
  • Rolling to the next iteration
  • A quick look at Agile Flavors
  • A look at who is using Agile and How
  • Roadblocks and Challenges
  • Certification options

This information was covered in an introductory and compare and contrast way to allow you to get an objective picture based on your experience. Agile is not a panacea or a methodology. At its foundation, it is a way of working that permeates everything you do at work.

Continue reading for the remaining questions and answers from the web seminar. If you missed the presentation, you can find the slides and the recording here.

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Is Business Analysis a Role or a Skill Set?

written by: Dave Caccamo on February 16th, 2015

A good friend of mine (an extremely experienced BA) and I were talking recently and the subject of Agile came up.  During the conversation he asked my opinion about how a BA fit into an Agile (and specifically, a Scrum) team.  I told him that my thoughts are that, both by temperament and training, the BA is ideally suited for an Agile environment – at a junior level as a member of the team, as a more mature practitioner as a ScrumMaster, and that at the highest level, as a representative of the Product Owner.  I don’t think my answer was what he wanted to hear.

“But then he wouldn’t be a BA,” was my friend’s reply.  And in a nutshell, there is the issue.  As one writer has put it, the question facing the BA world is as follows:  Is Business Analysis a role or is it a skill set?  My answer came firmly down on the side of a skill set.  But for my friend, as with many other BAs I know, the question borders on the existential.  If the BA skills can be performed by individuals who are not formally identified as BAs, what is going to happen to the profession?  Will it be subsumed under some Project Management rubric as a mere subspecialty, or might it even cease to be identifiable in the not-too-distant future?

I am sure that there are pros and cons to the question (after all, no change comes without cost), but I think we would do well to keep our eyes on the people rather than the role.  Roles come and roles go, and those roles that cannot (or will not) change are destined to go very, very quickly.  In the end, what we call ourselves is far less important than what we are.  If we wish to look at ourselves as threatened by changes in project methodologies, then we will quickly be seen as roadblocks and impediments to success.  But if we view ourselves as positioned at the very forefront of those same methodologies, what we call ourselves will be less important than the fact that we are leaders.


Which Exam Should You Take: CBAP or PMI-PBA?

written by: Rob Snowden on February 9th, 2015

I passed the CBAP in December, 2011, and passed the PMI-PBA in July, 2014 (Not notified until October, 2014).  Why is PMI doing this?

The bottom line is that the IIBA sees the BA as a strategic partner, invested in the success of the business.  The PMI sees the BA as being focused on project work, hence the focus project issues and the impression is that the BA skills are those possessed by someone with a different role on a project – a PM doing BA work, or a BA doing testing, or even a BA doing development work.    The role of the BA, in general, is so broad that multiple certifications may be necessary.


Web Seminar Recap: What is the PMI-PBA test really like? Find out from someone who took it.

written by: Jennifer Johnson on February 2nd, 2015

The Project Management Institute has created its own certification for Business Analysis – the PMI-PBA (Professional Business Analyst). But unlike the IIBA’s CBAP certification, there is no Body of Knowledge to use as a reference. Instead, PMI provided a list of 11 text books from which the test would be developed. So how was the test different from the CBAP? Is it something you can actually study for? What was learned from taking the test, and actually passing it! This one-hour long seminar was presented by Rob Snowden on January 29th, and provides an overview of the application process and tidbits about what the test was like. If he can pass it, you can too.

Missed the seminar? You can find the slides and recording here!


Web Seminar Recap: Using Kanban with TFS 2013

written by: Jennifer Johnson on February 2nd, 2015

Don’t spend so much time chasing down information! Instead of project tracking, start project managing with the Kanban board in TFS 2013. Kanban boards offer a way to visually manage your work. You can easily understand what work is in progress, understand where issues are, and spot bottlenecks.

In a one-hour session held on January 23, 2015, Bryon Brewer walked through using the Kanban board as well as how to customize the board for your team.

Missed it? Find the slides and recording here!