Sunday, December 30, 2007

Life: A Seasonal Antholpendium

It started as a few pictures of Christmas in the Beach.


It turned into a two day project, learning to use Pinnacle Studio , all to create a 60 second video of Walter.


Life is good.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Observations: Sards in Sardineville

I am jammed into the 501 streetcar, with a lap full of gifts, and a face full of ass. No, I said I was on the streetcar, not the street. This, the Friday before a Tuesday Christmas, is rather a busy commuting day. I walked a block West to get on the car at all. Many riders can not reach a hand hold, but no matter - there is no room to fall.

The red rocket is not just full - it is full of interesting characters: a drunk who asked the time, time and again; an elderly woman praying into a plastic bag; a gaggle* babbling about their adventure TTC adventure, laughing and hanging on to the poles in the doorway; a scruffy man yelling "Merry Christmas, man!" out the window to a friend on a bike; two men moaning and bitching about, well, everything; Santa - I mean really, he looked like Santa! - standing to my left.

Not a comfortable ride, but a good ride, filled with mostly happy, smiling - and tired - faces.

Happy Ho Ho!

*"Gaggle" is the official collective noun for teen girls: pod of whales, murder of crows, gaggle of girls. I'm not certain, but I think the collective noun for teen boys is a "bluster". Actually, that might apply equally to just one teen boy. And now that I consider it, is there one for commuters? A "quest" of commuters? A "rush"? A "crush"?

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Business Analysis: My Professional IQ

I just took this 'how good a BA are you' test at Take the quiz before you read my responses, below - it will make much more sense.

Julian's BA IQ Test SCORE: 74%

PASSED [Whew. -Ed.]

Congratulations on your Business Analyst IQ rating. (Note: 75th percentile means that you scored higher than 75% of those taking this test.)




Your overall Business Analyst rating is:


Analytical Thinking & Problem Solving


Requirements Elicitation and Analysis


Professional Knowledge


Logical Reasoning and Systems Thinking


Information & Process Modeling






Julian's Answers and Commentary



My Answer

"Correct" Answer



The figure is cut out and folded along the lines to form a cube. What is the letter on the face opposite the face labeled A?



Did the rotation wrong in my head, and deserved the fail - I could have modeled the solution.


Which of the following statements do you most agree with:

b) While the sponsor may own the requirements, the analyst is responsible to assist in defining it.


Aside from the grammatical problem (plural in first clause, singular in second), the question is ambiguous. I think they were trying to say: "The BA is responsible for the definition of requirements, regardless of who owns the requirements."


The best way to identify data requirements is:

b) Through the description of business activities or use-cases.


This is true if the context for the activity is a Customer or User driven scenario. Like all 'Best Practices' it is only true in context. It is equally "best" to identify process requirements based on information needs - particularly in a highly regulated environment, where the data produced must conform to an external standard - regardless of how you produce it.


Which of the following is NOT a characteristic of a good Business objective?

b) accurate


Poor question. Presumes that SMART (where A = Achievable) is the sum total of all 'good' attributes for a business objective. These are likely useful. They are not the whole story. I suspect accuracy - or rather, known degree of accuracy - is a fairly critical attribute of an objective.


An RRSP (in Canada) or a 401k (in the US) is best described as a:

d) investment

c) account

Um. Okay? I'm pretty sure I've got investments in my RRSP, and that daily withdrawals and deposits are not a big feature of the RRSP, and that it's money I put away to gather interest for a later time, but hey, I'm a bit of a monkey and I don't know what a 401k is.


Price is to Order as:

e) Cost is to Product

c) Balance is to Account

What sort of trick question is this? I just took six comparisons to get my answer. I wonder what they did. 


Price is:

Cost is:

Balance is:


a calculated value

:) a calculated value

:) a calculated value


charged to someone

:) charged to someone

:( charg… oh. nope.


based on the components of the Order.

:) based on the components of the Product.

:( based on the transactions to date


unique to the Order

:) unique to the Product

:) unique to the Account


fixed at time of Order creation

:) fixed at time of Product creation

:( recalculated with each new transaction


A five letter word - the same length as Order

:( A four letter word - not the same length as Product

:) A seven letter word - the same length as Account


A user enters a person's name to retrieve their customer profile. How many possible types of outcomes could there be?

d) 3

e) 4 or more

Outcomes are (usually) the successful results of the execution of the process - what the process is supposed to achieve. In this case there are 3: match 0, match 1, match many. 

Perhaps 'types of outcomes' is the trick. This may mean categories of process termination states. But wait - there are still 3:

  1. process completed successfully (built working car),
  2. process failed successfully (built car),
  3. process failed due to exception (factory evacuated due to weevil infestation).

I guess 'types of outcomes' means 'possible effects from the cause and other factors', in which case the answer is infinite. For example:

  1. User enters name in Customer Profile Search.
  2. System retrieves 0, 1, n matching names to User.
  3. Meteor strikes computer centre (exception condition).
  4. System displays error message "Iridium overload. Please devolve to dinosaurs." (exception response)
  5. User bangs forehead on keyboard until shockwave hits. (exception outcome)

Infinite answers are not terribly interesting to me. Fun to tear apart though.


How many grammatical errors are their in the following sentance: Except for external documentation that affect legislation, the appropriate supervisor must authorize each document. This policy will effect all personnel and assure that we conform to recent corporate directives.

a) one

d) four

Let's ignore the spelling error in the question.

No, really, try.



The second sentence is out of scope. (Grammatical errors: 0)

Without the context for the first sentence, grammatical integrity may be ensured by pluralizing the word 'affect'. It's still meaningless, but grammar and meaning are separate concepts. (E.g. The sentence "Colourless green ideas sleep furiously." is grammatically correct in English, and also has no coherent meaning.) In this case, I'm not sure what sort of external document might influence legislation, but I do know that supervisors do not authorize them. (Grammatical errors: 1)





Did any of you feel ripped off when you discovered that there are really only 19 questions (not the 20 promised at the top of every screen)? Sheesh.


Good night.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Life: Vacations - Not just for goofing off anymore

I'm in New York with Kath, staying at her father's house. The dogs love it here, even if it is a 9 hour drive - and I like it just fine too. This vacation is a working vacation - but that's because there is no clear division for me between being creative for work or for the IIBA or for myself. For example, in the last month I produced a 30 minute TV show for BMO, reviewed the extenisive notes that Mike and I made on Powers of Darkness, and created a technique for BABOK 2.0 (Requirement Configuration Management).

In each case I am creating something, thinking about things I enjoy, and having a grand time. Now if I could just add 30-40 hours to each day...