Don’t miss 50% off eLearning!

written by: Admin on November 10th, 2015


2015 is quickly coming to an end, and now is a great time to plan for the next year’s training.

We’re currently offering our self-paced eLearning courses at half price to those who purchase before the end of the year with the code ELEARN50. Don’t worry about the expiration date; you can buy now and learn later.

eLearning is:

  • On-Demand: access to the course 24 hours / 7 days a week
  • Self-Paced: course is completed on your own time with access to stop and save at the end of each module
  • Interactive: modules are video based with exercises, required readings, and assessment questions

Get the same great content and instruction as our in-person training without having to leave your home or office, and with an average cost savings of 80%.

Check out our eLearning curriculum’s and find your next course:


BA Abuse: The Solution Starts with You

written by: Dave Caccamo on November 3rd, 2015

I teach a number of Business Analysis courses and hardly a class goes by where at least one student doesn’t complain about how the BAs are treated in his or her organization.  That treatment can range from the condescending up to, and including, the outright rude.  One student told me that the very first words out of the mouth of a VP she was about to interview were “I don’t do stupid.”

I’m not sure exactly where some managers get their basic skills in management (or for that matter, their training in being a human being), but apparently for some people a little remediation wouldn’t be a bad thing.  So how about a short list of reminders?

  • Being direct isn’t being rude.  It is getting to the point.  Being rude is showing disrespect to the other person.  Of course, one can be both direct and rude, but the two don’t have anything to do with one another.
  • Want respect?  Give it.  Remember that respect is at the very foundation of ethical behavior.  Rude people are very often unethical ones as well.
  • Don’t lower yourself to the rude person’s level.  In other words, don’t respond to rudeness with rudeness.  Tactically it isn’t smart to give up the moral high-ground, but more importantly why would you want to imitate the very action that you dislike?
  • Don’t enable rudeness.  You are worthy of respect as both a BA and as a human being.  Insist upon it.  Respectfully.
  • In the end, you can only control your own behavior.  There is no silver-bullet response that will work 100% of the time – other than to remind yourself to be mature in your reactions.

Easier said than done, huh?  But it is possible.  Think about how you plan to respond the next time someone is rude.  “Grade” yourself after a run-in with a rude person – how did I respond; did I keep my “cool” – that sort of thing.  If it helps, keep a log.


Web Seminar Recap: The Scaled Agile Framework

written by: Admin on October 30th, 2015

IT Organizations have been using Agile methodologies for years to deliver more value to their customers in less time. While frameworks such as Scrum, Kanban and Extreme Programming enable frequent communication from individual teams to their customers, often we find organizations will still rely on Waterfall relics such as Status Reports, Change Control Boards and multiple meetings to enable this communication beyond the scope of the team and those local goals. The Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe), developed by Dean Leffingwell, outlines an approach to help organizations harness the power of Agile throughout the enterprise and then provides a framework to ensure a consistent cadence and alignment between teams, projects, portfolios, and programs moving the entire organization in a shared, positive direction. SAFe seeks to keep everyone informed, engaged, and involved while focusing on delivering the maximum amount of enterprise value.

This 1-hour web seminar was presented by Jenny Tarwater on October 29, 2015. Jenny defined what SAFe is, how it is being used by today’s leading development innovators, and how to use SAFe to lead the adoption of Lean and Agile methods across your enterprise.

Missed this web seminar? Catch up by downloading the presentation slides and recording.


Web Seminar Recap: Testing In An Agile Environment

written by: Admin on October 27th, 2015

Often, the Tester role is not clearly defined or understood. This is especially true for teams transitioning from traditional methods. The Tester’s role is not a defined role in Agile development. The “Team” is considered to be “generalists”, with cross-functional skills. The Tester brings special skills and a unique perspective to the project. The Agile environment changes our traditional ways of testing. Many of those techniques still apply and Agile has introduced new testing strategies and methods.

On October 22, 2015, Robert Tyson presented a 1 hour web seminar on Testing In An Agile Environment.  He provided insight into the Tester’s role on Agile projects. Webinar attendees gained an understanding of the Tester’s role on the Agile project along with the quality responsibilities of the entire team. Participants gained an understanding of the value that the Tester brings throughout the Agile cycle and the whole team’s responsibility for quality.

He also discussed other topics such as:

  • How the Tester’s role changes
  • The Tester’s role in the Agile framework
  • Strategies to apply to testing

Missed this web seminar?  Catch up by downloading the presentation slides and recording here.


New PMP Exam: Remember These Key Points

written by: Dave Caccamo on October 19th, 2015

PMI recently rescheduled the roll-out date for the new PMP exam and, of course, anxiety among potential applicants is high.  And, of course, many training organizations are attempting to leverage this anxiety to the advantage of their current sales.  However, before anyone stresses out too badly, please note a few key points:

1.  The test is still based upon the current version of the PMBOK Guide.  Any PMP preparatory course that is a good overview of the Guide (and not just an exam-cram session) remains a very appropriate tool for preparing for the test.

2.  The changes to the exam are based upon the updated PMP Exam Content Outline which, in turn, is based upon the new Role Delineation Study.  This study added eight (8) new tasks to the already existing group.  If you have read and reviewed the PMP processes (and understand their respective purposes), you probably already have at least a tangential understanding of these new tasks.

3.  Even a cursory examination of these new tasks makes it quite clear that this test update is about better integrating the newest of the Knowledge Areas, Project Stakeholder Management, into the exam structure.  This Knowledge Area is extremely important to the recently-adopted PMI-PBA exam, so an appreciation of the broad outlines of that examination should help a student gain an understanding of how these additional tasks will be reflected in the new version of the test.  So when evaluating a prep class, a fair question for a PMP applicant to ask is to what extent the course materials reflect (and the instructor demonstrates) an understanding of the role of the PMBOK Guide with regards to business analysis?


Understanding the Matrix of Processes

written by: Dave Caccamo on October 12th, 2015

A common mistake PMP applicants make is to view the matrix of processes (shown on page 61 of the PMBOK Guide and below) as a set of activities.  They attempt to construct some sort of dependency network of processes as part of their efforts to understand how all the project parts fit together in the real world.  Their motives are understandable, but in doing this they run the very real risk of seriously misunderstanding just what the processes are.  The principle difference between an activity and a process is that processes are logical constructs that describe project functions in the abstract (and often pulled out of actual context).  Unlike activities, they are not a set of tasks that follow one after another.  Logical constructs (as abstractions) can not only be done concurrently, they can also be viewed as integral parts of a bigger whole.

pmbok map

For example, you look over at your cubical mate and (once again) he is asleep.  Being the conscientious team member you are, you diplomatically wake your workmate before the customer should stumble upon him.  Looking at page 61, what process did you just accomplish?  Well obviously by waking him you have helped to keep the project on schedule (Control Schedule), but have you not also in some way kept the project on budget as well (Control Costs)?  And would it be a great stretch to also say you in some way, shape or form you also were implementing a corrective action that puts you firmly in Direct and Manage Project Work?

In other words, while it may be helpful as part of your initial studies to view project processes as activities, please remember they are actually processes.  When this difference is clear to you, it is a good indicator that you truly understand an essential purpose of the PMBOK Guide.


PDU Change From PMI and What It Means For You!

written by: Tom McGraw on September 29th, 2015


PMI is making changes to their certification programs that will affect PDUs provided by their Registered Education Providers (REPs).  The new program was launched based on PMI analysis, determining that a sole focus on technical skills for PMI credential holders is no longer sufficient for what the individuals face in their day-to-day work.  The new program, emphasizes not only the need for technical training, but now also requires a set number in two new categories: Leadership and Strategic/Business Management.

For individuals with a certification expiring prior to November 30th, 2017, you are still held to the previous model, requiring 60 total regardless of categorization in one of the three areas of the Talent Triangle.  Once you do renew your certification in that time frame, you will be held to the new standard for your next cycle.

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