Business Analyst Fundamentals eLearning

written by: Jackie Wyche on March 20th, 2014

ASPE is pleased to announce that we now offer our Business Analyst Fundamentals course in a self-paced e-Learning environment!  This course follows the same great format and topics of our in person training with the convenience of completing it on your own time. You will complete a series of 15 modules designed to help you enhance your business analysis skills and expertise.  These modules are video based with exercises, required readings, and assessment questions to enhance your comprehension along the way.

The Business Analyst Fundamentals self-paced e-Learning will teach participants crucial skills to help them thrive in the BA domain.  By taking part in this course, you will learn how to:

  • Define the Business Analyst profession
  • Understand requirements from the business perspective
  • Bridge the communication gap between business stakeholders and technology solution providers
  • Clearly document and communicate the scope of your projects
  • Target your analysis and understand consequences of solutions
  • Ask targeted questions to discover root causes, not just symptoms
  • Capture and verify business requirements
  • Negotiate with business stakeholders and developers
  • Improve communication skills through hands-on practice
  • Organize and categorize project requirements
  • Understand activity decomposition and modeling with simple graphical method

While this course is an indispensable tool for the Business Analyst to have in their arsenal, it is also highly recommended for Project Managers, Systems Analysts, and anyone who wants to enhance his or her business analysis skills.  To learn about 20 immediate benefits of taking the Business Analyst Fundamentals e-Learning course, visit


Web Seminar Recap: Transitioning from a Waterfall Mentality to Agile

written by: Tegan Smith on April 17th, 2014

Many Agile Transformations are approached from a nuts-and-bolts perspective. “Learn these techniques and then you’ll be Agile.” However, your ceiling of organization agility will be greatly diminished if that is the approach taken.

During this one-hour web seminar on April 15th, Leslie Morse presented “Transitioning from a Waterfall Mentality to Agile”. She detailed how you should mentally prepare for transitioning from Waterfall to Agile. We consider this the “inside-out” approach to learning. If you’re able to first prepare yourself with an understanding of the philosophy and values of Agile practices, and understand key concepts related to change (e.g. The “J” Curve Effect) then your ability to move through the change in methodology is much easier. Participants in this webinar explored a set of traditional mental models that are required to transform as you adopt Agile practices.

Want to hear an expert’s advice on this transition process? Download the presentation slides from our Web Seminar Archives or download the Recording.


Web Seminar Recap: Project Management 101

written by: Tegan Smith on April 17th, 2014

Why Enterprise Project Managers are Getting Back to the Basics

There are some big changes happening in the way large companies approach project and program management. In many ways the profession of project management is being “reloaded.”

On April 10th, ASPE President David Mantica, Product Manager and PMP Chris Knotts, and VP of Enterprise Sales and PMP Jennifer Valdez presented the free web seminar, “PM 101: Why Enterprise PMs are Getting Back to the Basics.”

Missed this presentation? Download the presentation slides from our Web Seminar Archives or download the recording.


Web Seminar Recap: 7 Management Skills to Develop In Your Organization in 2014

written by: Christie Marsh on April 11th, 2014

Managing, in the traditional sense, is a thing of the past. Monitoring processes, scheduling work and directing activities are all useless and mind-numbing for both the manager and the managed. What is expected of leaders in today’s organizations has evolved. Leaders must now drive team empowerment, coach, mentor and drive autonomy. Management and bureaucracy slow things down. Top talent today will no longer deal with dictatorial direction from on high.

This evolution in leadership is a direct result of our shift to a knowledge worker economy. We no longer manufacture, but instead create and automate. To succeed, organizations must develop “T-shaped employees,” who possess deep technical expertise, but also a wide breadth of professional skills. However, most middle-managers or upcoming managers have only stove-piped technical knowledge, so being thrown into leading self-organized, self-directed teams is a recipe for disaster.

On March 8, 2014, ASPE President David Mantica discussed 7 skills that you need to develop in your organization in 2014.

In this one hour session, he covered topics on: Data Analysis, Emotional Intelligence, Collaboration and Communication, Conflict Resolution, Coaching/Mentoring, Facilitation and Negotiation, and Change Management.

Click here to listen to a complete recording of this presentation for free.  You can also download the slides from this presentation at no cost by visiting our Web Seminar Archives.



Introducing the PMI Professional in Business Analysis (PMI-PBA) Certification

written by: David Mantica on April 7th, 2014

I’m sure the first question coming to mind is, “What is the PMI-PBA Certification?” or “What is the PMI Professional in Business Analysis Certification?”  Those are the correct questions to ask and this blog post will answer them.

Based on its research PMI has decided to put significant emphasis on the practice of requirements management.  They recently launched on their website the Requirements Management Knowledge Center of Excellence (CoE).  As part of this CoE activity they will develop and roll out a Business Analysis Practice Guide later in 2014 which links BA practices with the Requirements Management section of the PMPBOK v5.  In 2015 they will come out with the Practice Guide in Requirements Analysis.

To drive this initiative forward they have developed the PMI-PBA Certification.  You do not need to have the title Business Analyst, but you must have real world experience in business analysis to qualify.  PMI is defining business analysis work as “the evaluation of an organization’s needs—followed by the identification and management of requirements—to arrive at a solution.  In short, it is the discipline of working with stakeholders to “define an organization’s requirements in order to shape the output of projects and ensure they deliver he expected business benefit” (PMI Professional in Business Analysis (PMI-PBA) FAQ, 2014)

The first step in the development of this certification is the pilot phase.  The pilot starts May 12th.  That is the time PMI will start taking applications.  Part of the certification process is an exam – the exam for the pilot will run through August 4th.  It takes five days for an electronic application to be reviewed, so to be assured an opportunity to take the exam during the pilot you will need your electronic application submitted by July 28th.  A paper application can take up to two weeks, so a paper application must be in by at least July 14th.  This assumes you will NOT be audited.  Audits are random and a higher level of detail related to experience must be presented.  You have 90 days to fulfill the audit requirements and PMI reviews audit materials in 5-7 days. If you are interested in more information about the pilot, email If you make the pilot cutoff you will be refunded 20% of your fees after the pilot period.

The two other critical areas you must have for your application is fee structure and eligibility requirements.

Fee structure

Computer base test Member $405
  Non member $555
Paper base test Member $250
  Non member $400
Re-exam CBT Member $275
  Non member $375
Re-exam PBT* Member $150
  Non member $300
CCR (recertification) Member $60
  Non Member $150

*Re-exam PBT is not available during pilot

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What Questions You Should Be Asking About Your Data

written by: Kaete Piccirilli on April 3rd, 2014

For most of us out there, data analysis is a bit of an enigma. But there are some things we should take a look at when reviewing data that is put in front of us. For example you probably wouldn’t buy a house or a car without asking some questions first. Therefore, it’s a good idea to ask some questions about data when in a meeting or looking at an article.

  1. Where did the data come from?
    It’s good to know who did the research and how the data has been pulled. And even if the data is a reliable or identifiable source, you still want to know. For example if someone did research on the effects of residual oil in an ocean, was it conducted by say, BP? But also remember that just because the report came from a person who has a financial or vested interest in the data, doesn’t mean that it’s bad data or an analysis. Just remember to review the data with a grain of salt and look it from multiple ways.
  2. Has the data or analysis been reviewed by a group of researchers’ peers?
    All Medical and Scientific Journal studies are reviewed by a board of peers who have expert knowledge in the same field before the data was published.
  3. What was the method for data collection?
    Did it come in the form of a survey, were people selected at random or was it a self-selected sample? Was the data cherry-picked? For example, was the data presented only pulled out to show exactly what the individual wanted people to review. Make sure the numbers are taken out of context. Data can look different when placed in multiple contexts. If you say that the high school dropout rate declined by 5% from 2000-2010 as compared to 1990 to 2000, but didn’t review that there was a higher population rate of people in the same age group as compared to the two decades, the high school dropout rate may not have, in fact, actually dropped but stayed steady.

All of these questions apply to any type of data review, regardless of the type of work you may do.  Interested in learning more about data analysis and review? Check out our Data Analysis training course to learn more!


Tracking the Cost of Unproductive Meetings Electronically

written by: Rob Snowden on March 31st, 2014

According to CBS News Moneywatch, professionals lose 31 hours a month due to unproductive meetings which equates to 4 working days a month.  Of the 11 million meetings in the US annually, 50% of the time is wasted.  Seventy three percent of professionals admit to doing unrelated work in meetings and an astounding 39% reported dozing off in meetings.

There are two inexpensive/free ways to track and display the cost of any meeting in real time to make participants aware of the costs.

An iPhone App, MeetingCalc, is 99 cents.  You enter the number of attendees and the average hourly rate of the attendees, and the app starts running.



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Daily Stand Ups Saved

written by: Rob Snowden on March 28th, 2014

Once it was realized that the website was far from ready, it was significantly fixed in relatively short order.  In the latest issue of Time Magazine, Volume 183, No. 9, the approach was described regarding how the team of experts was assembled, but it was the way they operated was  a lesson to be learned.   The team was comprised of experts that truly wanted the challenge of fixing a critical and high visibility project.  Here are some of the highpoints of the article:

  1. They were shocked to discover there was no dashboard for engineers to measure what was going on in the website.  In five hours, that was the first thing they built.
  2. They next needed to decide if the site was worth fixing or to start over.  It was worth fixing.
  3. They realized that the government was not used to shipping products to consumers.  Instead, everything was opened to everyone at once.  It should have been opened in small concentric services “so you can watch it and fix it.”
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