2015 IT Skills and Salary Survey – Now Open

written by: Traci Taylor on October 6th, 2014

How does your salary compare to national averages? What skills are in demand in the competitive job market? Which certifications and training impact salary? Help us discover these answers and more by participating in our 2015 IT Skills and Salary Survey.

ASPE-IT and Global Knowledge are conducting one of the industry’s most extensive and comprehensive studies of IT and business professionals. Last year, more than 16,300 from around the globe completed the survey. By providing insight into your profession, we can make this year’s survey even bigger.

We invite you to be part of this important research to identify IT and business pros’ salary trends, valuable training and certifications, and other fundamental topics. Completing the survey will take approximately 10 to 15 minutes, and you’ll receive a complimentary copy of our IT Skills and Salary Report when it’s published in March.

Complete the survey by October 24th to be entered in a random drawing to win one of eight $250 American Express gift cards.

Get started now!


ASPE Now Has 5 PMI-PBA Certified Instructors

written by: Traci Taylor on October 30th, 2014

ASPE Training is excited to share that we now have five instructors who all have their Professional in Business Analysis (PMI-PBA)® Certification  from the Project Management Institute (PMI)®. All instructors went through the process to be eligible as well as the process to sit and pass the PMI-PBA exam. We are pleased to announce the following instructors now hold the new PMI-PBA certification.

Dave Caccamo

Dave, VP of Project Management Training Practice for ASPE Training, is a project management professional and curriculum designer in the areas of business analysis and project management is a seasoned expert in professional training and project leadership,  is one of the longest serving SMEs to teach and develop courses for ASPE. With three decades of experience in quantitative methods, engineering, economics and project management, Dave is a consummate teaching professional, both in higher education and business instruction. Starting with his time as a nuclear submarine officer in the Navy and later a research reactor operator at NC State University, he has built a long career and an impressive skill set. Areas of expertise include business management, information technology, and strategic planning and implementation. Dave has substantial industry and academic experience.

In addition to the PMI-PBA certification, Dave holds a PMP, PMI-ACP, CSM and a Master’s in Economics.

Kelley Bruns

Kelley, VP of Business Analysis Training Practice for ASPE Training, has more than 25 years of experience in the learning and development industry. Kelley’s expertise lies in needs analysis, research, project management, business analysis, problem identification and solving, curriculum development, instructional design, facilitation, succession management, and instructor-led training. Kelley has spent her career helping people learn how to transfer their knowledge to the workplace and their personal lives in order to provide a strong return on investment. She is uniquely talented at applying the knowledge, skills and wisdom she has experienced in her lifetime to help others learn best practices without having to learn the hard way.

In addition to the PMI-PBA certification, Kelley holds a PMP, PMI-ACP, CBAP, CSM, Certified Development Dimensions International Facilitator and a Master’s in Adult Education.

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Introducing SAFe 3.0 for Agile Users

written by: Jennifer Johnson on October 29th, 2014

This content was originally posted on www.scaledagileframework.com

The authors and methodologists working with Scaled Agile Framework have released 3.0, the latest version of SAFe. The approach of this framework has been refined with the introduction of new content and improved guidance for businesses. The ultimate goal of this new framework is assisting an enterprise to organize itself around value delivery more effectively and to coordinate a large hierarchical flow of value through a business.

This new version focuses on providing an extensive amount of guidance to the business intellectual with the improved representation of the Portfolio level and the optimized organizational structure. Below are listed some of the crucial changes in the updated framework.

  • Enhanced Portfolio level with new metrics and strategy that connect methods to vision.
  • Optimized Lean-Agile budgeting that goes beyond traditional project cost accounting. This can be useful in combatting a false sense of cost control in a business.
  • New and deeper guidance on releasing software and the ability to synchronize multiple Agile Release trains.
  • The expansion of code quality practices – this is essential for those businesses that depend on software.
  • A look into the Lean-Agile Leadership for those teachers and learners, and direction on the related responsibilities.

The creators of SAFe 3.0 hope to improve the clarity of the framework businesses use today, allowing each and every one to achieve the benefits they deserve. Each improved task enhances the effectiveness of the business and the value streams that flow through it from team to team.

To learn more about the new and improved SAFe, and other available Agile courses, visit ASPE-SDLC. Sign up for a class today and begin implementing this framework into your business!


Web Seminar Recap: Project Rescue and Recovery: A Real-World Overview

written by: Tegan Smith on October 28th, 2014

Projects fall behind, run over budget, or simply fail all the time. Changing market conditions, reduced budgets and staff levels, long working hours, increased available metrics, high turnover, and other influences all demand our continued efforts to manage “out-of-control” processes, projects, and results. This one-hour presentation by veteran project rescue specialist Darrel Raynor is a dive into how we can do it in the real world.

Implementing an effective Project Rescue/Recovery methodology focuses on value measured by Return on Investment (ROI). This lens forces us to see both our projects and each step of our processes according to that measure, so we can begin to get projects back on track. These methods can deliver value at any phase of a project, including areas that are seldom analyzed. We will touch on:
1. Discover the 5 Project Recovery techniques that should be used on any and all projects and operations.
2. Learn the common language and terms of Project Recovery learning areas, projects, and professionals.
3. Learn the basics of DMAIC: Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control methodology.
4. Assess if Project Recovery and Lean processes are a fit for your organization

This one hour seminar on Project Rescue and Recovery: A Real-World Overview was held on October 23rd by Darrel Raynor. Those who missed the seminar can download the slides and recording here!


Skills Necessary for Highly Effective Business Analysis

written by: Jennifer Johnson on October 23rd, 2014

This content was originally posted at http://www.batimes.com/

Effective business analysis is essential to the success of a project or product. This process includes a set of tasks and techniques to enable the discovery of solutions for an organization to achieve its goals. A business analyst can be anyone, regardless of title or role in a business, though subject matter expertise is not enough for an effective business analyst.

This article focuses primarily on IT business analysts, and expands on current competency models outlined in IIBA’s BABOK. The purpose is to highlight the competencies of a BA that are necessary for the successful understanding and incorporation of requirements.

  • Business Analysis Practices: These are not specific to any domain, and various tasks can be located in BABOK. These tasks are necessary to produce consistent results on projects and allow the BA to hear out the stakeholders and discover the needs of a business before beginning to look at requirements.
  • Usability Engineering: A project will fail if the end-user cannot use the system. Therefore, an integral part of business analysis is discovering a way into the end-user’s “mental model” to focus on creating a user-centered design.
  • Object Oriented Analysis: A Business Analyst should apply object-oriented techniques to tasks to prevent communication gaps between the Business Analyst and the project team. Converting requirements can often hit a road block if the BA is unable to use Unified Modeling Language to produce use cases and diagrams that describe and document requirements.
  • Quality Control: It is crucial that the requirements be verified and validated, as well as the solution, in order to confirm it meets the needs of the business. An essential tool of the BA, User Acceptance Testing differs slightly from System Testing, and should include stakeholders in the process in order to prevent defects. Sometimes the BA may need to support the System Testing, and therefore it is important to know how it is performed.
  • Documentation: The single biggest contributor to an effective business analysis is documentation. Poor quality requirement documentation can result in a large percentage of defects discovered during testing. Ambiguous documentation creates miscommunication between the levels, as all assume the other has a similar extent of knowledge about the subject. Think of it like the game ‘telephone’: the BA provides documentation and the next team member interprets it. If the documentation is not clear and specific, the end-user will receive a product that does not meet their needs!
  • Business Domain: This includes industry verticals, such as finance, insurance, automotive, etc.  Subject matter experts are not necessarily business analysts, but it is important for the BA to be an SME in their own business domain.
  • Business Process Management: The ability to understand and analyze current and future business processes enables the BA to identify problems and opportunities. BABOK discusses business process modeling and process analysis techniques but process design, transformation and performance management are central to the analysis process.
  • Technology Awareness: Most businesses revolve, or are affected by some extent by IT. Therefore it is crucial for the BA to understand that technology can help solve problems in some cases. A good understanding of SDLC is also essential, and programs such as Agile will directly influence analysis activities of the BA and other team members.

The BA of today should consider these competencies essential for becoming an effective and successful analyst. Programs like Agile can be useful to the BA in understanding the business process and how to effectively produce a business analysis according to user requirements.

Want to learn more about this topic? ASPE offers a Business Analyst Boot Camp  to provide you with fundamental analysis tools and techniques necessary for effective business analysis.


Mastering Business Analysis is Easy

written by: Traci Taylor on October 21st, 2014

Or not…


It’s not an easy profession and it’s extremely competitive. In order to set yourself apart from the masses and put a mark of distinction on your resume you need CBAP certification from the IIBA. Recognizing their demonstration of the knowledge and skills necessary for effectiveness and a professional level of competence in business analysis principles and practices, CBAPs are achieving worldwide recognition. We can’t teach you to walk on water, but our CBAP training course will prepare you for certification – guaranteed.

Learn more about guaranteed CBAP training from ASPE-SDLC.


Web Seminar Recap: Expert Q&A – Data Quality: How to Keep it Clean

written by: Tegan Smith on October 17th, 2014

It’s a perennial problem for everybody: Over time, data quality degrades. Human error gradually accumulates, weird duplicates pop up, corruption happens – the list goes on.

How can we do better with our data hygiene and keep our quality standard high when it comes to our information? Data can be our most valuable resource, if it’s a current, well-maintained repository of useful information. Taking small steps now and every day can yield big payoffs in the future if those steps gradually amass a high-fidelity treasure trove of information that can be mined and modeled.

This one-hour open interview with Triangle data guru Damian Herrick was held on October 15th, 2014. Damian is a consulting partner on analytics and enterprise data analysis, and he answered questions about how to maintain high quality standards when working with data.

Missed this seminar? Download the slides and recording here.


An Inside Look at Business Analyst Training with ASPE-SDLC

written by: Traci Taylor on October 13th, 2014

In case you haven’t checked out our YouTube channel lately, we’d like to share with you an inside look into Business Analyst training with ASPE-SDLC.

We sat down with long-time business analyst training instructor, Mary Zarba, to discuss ASPE’s Business Analyst Boot Camp and also got some feedback from our BA students. Mary explains how her business analyst training courses focus on process and organizational change and the elimination of repetitious work. She uses a lot of real-life, practical “what-if” questions to push her students to think outside of the box.

Students were pleasantly surprised that business analyst training with ASPE was more involved and interactive than they had originally anticipated. With an increasing demand for certified BAs rather than experience alone, students were eager to put this type of hands-on training on their resume.