Thursday, January 31, 2013

Exploring the BABOK Guide - Introducing a New IIBA Webinar Series

Originally Posted at on Jan 31st, 2013 7:23am
Date: January 31, 2013
Time: 11:00AM EST (UTC-4)
Registration: Discussion: #BABOK and
Presentation: ETBG-s01e01

A Guide to the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge® (BABOK® Guide) is the foundation of the business analysis profession, and the starting point for a business analysis career — but it's not the whole story. In the years since IIBA published version 2, the Business Analysis community has discovered many important implications to the knowledge collected in the book. These discoveries go beyond the text, or interpret the text, in ways that are not always obvious. The Exploring the BABOK® Guide webinar series is our attempt to share these ideas to you, from many points of view. Since many realizations and discoveries are integrated into the Business Analyst Core Concept Model™ (BACCM), it will also be part of the discussion.

Each month, the Exploring the BABOK® Guide webinar series brings together panels of business analysis thought leaders to explore some aspect of the BABOK® Guide, and to provide advice to practicing BAs. These hour-long shows will begin with a presentation and discussion among several panellists, followed by 20 to 30 minutes of Q&A from the audience.
In the first episode, your panellists describe the series and provide an overview of the BABOK® Guide:
  • Kathleen Barret (CEO and President, IIBA)
  • Kevin Brennan (Chief Business Analyst and EVP, IIBA) 
  • Julian Sammy (Enterprise Business Analyst, IIBA; regular panellist)
We will cover three topics:
  • Overview of Exploring the BABOK® Guide
  • Overview of the BABOK® Guide itself
  • Q&A: What do you want to know about the series and the BABOK® Guide?
Will you join our explorations?

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

First BP4BBA Article Published - By Julian Sammy

Best Practices for Better Business Analysis

Today IIBA announced a new members-only publication called BP4BBA. I'm sharing because I'm the first author to be published - and pretty excited! Thanks to my reviewers for their advice, and Paul Stapleton (Technical Writer/Editor, IIBA).

IIBA doesn't have commenting on these articles yet, so please feel free to leave comments and questions here.
Welcome to the inaugural edition of Best Practices for Better Business Analysis™ - a new publication fro IIBA Members. 
Best Practices for Better Business Analysis is a series of peer reviewed articles that provide you with tips, techniques, thoughts, and experience that will have a direct impact on your day-to-day practice of business analysis. 
We hope you enjoy our January article:
CARRDs: Constraints, Assumptions, Risks, Requirements, and Dependencies
By Julian Sammy, IIBA Enterprise Business Analyst
Most requirements documents have a section dedicated to Constraints, Assumptions, and Dependencies (CADs). In theory, CADs play an important role in controlling organizational changes. In practice CADs are often used to shift blame when things go wrong. There is a practical way to address this: restructure all constraints, assumptions, and dependencies as risks or requirements. 
Learning Objectives
  • You can define common attributes among constraints, assumptions, dependencies, risks, and requirements.
  • You can translate constraints, assumptions, and dependencies into risks or requirements.
  • You can plan to represent this information in your organizational context.
Key Arguments
  • CADs cause change agents to inadvertently misrepresent and obscure important information.
  • CADs can be translated into requirements or risks because they all share six attributes (events, impacts, probabilities, timeframes, stakeholders, and responses).
  • Organizations rarely have capabilities in managing CADs, and often have capabilities in managing risks and requirements.
Paul Stapleton, Technical Writer/Editor, IIBA
Your opinions and ideas matter. What do you think?

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Gaben is a Business Nerd

I just listened to the Nerdist podcast #307 — a deep dive into the philosophy, insights, and ideas of +Gabe Newell , co-founder of +Valve, with a little bit about the games tossed in.  +Chris Hardwick interviews Gabe (also known as Gaben), and his girlfriend +Chloe Dykstra chimes in too. (Episode #306 is the reverse — a deep dive into the games with some thoughts on the business tossed in. +Wil Wheaton is along for that ride, and asks a lot of really good questions.)

As I noted in my last post about +Ingress , I'm not a gamer — but I really enjoyed both of these interviews. On the business side, Gaben talks about the fundamental forces and constraints that have driven the structure of modern business, and the disruptions that have transformed business over the last few decades.

Both episodes are worth listening to. Gaben speaks as a gamer,  a consumer,  a thinker,  a futurist, a fanboy, a creator, a storyteller, and as a person.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

How deep is the rabbithole? I'm playing Ingress.

As a rule I avoid video games. For me the options are polar: play games or have life + relationship + family + job + productivememberofsociety + happiness + ... My problem is, I get engrossed. Even bad games can pull me in, in an obsessive way.

So I avoid them. Usually.

+Ingress has my attention.

Today I played for the first time. The app is buggy  (three-day-old-meat-in-the-sun buggy) and the game mechanics are confusing. Heck, I couldn't even figure out if the portal I was hacking was controlled by the #Enlightened or the #Resistance (one team is blue; the other is green - but who is who?), but I hacked the shit out of it, it did. I even got invited to meet up with some other #Ingressors, to take down a portal and level up (I'm just Level 1).

The great thing about this game is that I had to walk around to make this happen. I take dogs on jaunts twice a day. Today we were snooping down alleys for crumbs of dark energy; we circled the Beach library half a dozen times; I saw parts of my neighbourhood I'd never seen before.

Now that's cool. It's not a video game. It's an augmented reality game, with enormous possibilities. If #GoogleGlass is even a tiny bit as good as it could be, this game is going to


fun, for a lot of people.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Review - FAVI SmartStick

I posted this to G+, but I find those posts difficult to track down later - so here's the blog version of the review.

The FAVI SmartStick I got for myself for Christmas has tested well, and I think it's worth it to get more for family and friends. It's a simple device: a $50 Android tablet built into a dongle about 10cm x 3cm x 1cm. It plugs directly into your TV's HDMI port, and lets you run pretty much any android app through your TV. I got it with the FAVI wireless keyboard (I'll just call it the 'keyboard' from this point). I'm watching Netflix on my father in law's big TV right now. The picture is pretty good. (Captain America is streaming over wifi with no hitches).

Addendum 2013-01-01: Now that I'm home from the in-laws, I have hooked the SmartStick up to my own network and 7 year old TV. The experience is still good, and the problems are mostly the same. You'll find more addendums in italics, below.


The physical connections were easy. Getting the keyboard to pair with the stick was easy too. Unfortunately, the pairing is not particularly reliable, and the SmartStick is very laggy, so it was hard to get the setup to work. 2013-01-01: Once I put the dongle on a USB extender to get line-of-sight from the couch to the sensor, life got a lot better. So far it's quite reliable up to about 5m (16').

The SmartStick did let me install Google+ and Netflix, and comes with apps like Plex preinstalled. It took some time for the Play store to load - not surprising on a $50 bit of hardware - but the play store did load and did work. Addendum 2013-01-01: I tried using various launchers to see if I could get a better experience than the default launcher. After a week of fiddling around, I'm back to the default.

It took quite a bit of fiddling to get the SmartStick to recognize the WPA2 secured home network. It really shouldn't have been this hard. It appears that the SmartStick couldn't figure out how to talk to the network when running the setup program. Eventually, I did a 'manual' setup by going through the settings and entering the network information. 2013-01-01: No trouble getting on my home network through the normal android settings.


It took some time to figure out most of the controls for the keyboard, and I still haven't got the standard IR remote to do anything. Netflix is running smoothly, though, with only one little hitch so far. 2013-01-01: The IR sensor is no longer part of my setup at all. The only function that I was using the remote for was the off button - and I can do that on the keyboard with 'FN+CTRL-ALT-DEL'. I'd like the onscreen keyboard to stop popping up, though.

The range on the keyboard is shorter than I'd like. This house has a big living room, so I find myself getting up and standing next to the TV to make it work. 2013-01-01: As noted above - in a smaller room, and with line of sight, the remote is working great.

Using Plex

2013-01-01: I have an old XP machine behind the TV, and run PLEX on it. The FAVI connected to it easily, and browses the content well. I haven't figured out how to increase the image quality yet from "2MB / Quality 6" - but I'm sure I'll be able to.

Comparison to a Phone or Tablet (2013-01-03)

Try this out:

1. Sit where you normally sit to watch TV.
2. Hold your phone a comfortable distance from your face.
3. Keeping the distance from eye-to-phone constant, hold the phone beside the TV.
4. Note the apparent screen size for both screens.

For many of us, the relative size is similar - but even though the relative size of the screens is about the same, the distance plays a factor.

Look but don't touch

The TV has no touch interface, so anything that requires scrolling, gestures or paging is not great, while apps that are mostly select-and-view (netflix, plex, youtube) work really well. If you touch to activate, it'll be fine. If you drag or swipe to activate, not so much. I gave up on most widgets pretty quickly for this reason.

Distant Focus

I have really good retinas, and bad lenses. I can read tiny text on a high-resolution phone with ease (I have an HTC One X and a Nexus 7) and can see the pixels on a retina iPad at 30 cm. Being nearsighted also means that even with great glasses or contacts I can't quite make out the same small text on the more distant TV. Sure, you can update the android settings to have large or huge text - but a lot of applications don't handle that very gracefully.


I'll be buying at least one three more of these. The old XP "media centre" I have lodged behind our TV at home is going to be replaced: it's going to be a Plex server soon, and I'll run all the video I want through the SmartStick. At $50, this is a great deal.

Back to work. Welcome to 2013!

Having spent the last two weeks thinking very little about business analysis or other work, I'm finding it rather challenging to get my head back in the game. This holiday I spent a lot of time on Google+, setting up a community (called +Business Analysis) and connecting my old blog to my new profile. This has rekindled my desire to blog, and regularly. To start things off, here are a few of the things I've been working on.

Yesterday I finished a revision of an article for the upcoming "Best Practices for Better Business Analysis" peer-reviewed publication starting up this month. It's the longer (and better) version of an article in the December 2012 BA Connection Newsletter (both are called CARRDs: Constraints, Assumptions, Risks, Requirements, and Dependencies).

The next article in the Business Analysis Core Concepts Model (BACCM) series is called "Needs and Solutions, Requirements and Designs" and should be out this week (no link yet) in the January 2013 issue of BA Connection.

While working on that piece, I had a set of conversations that seemed philosophical, but were really quite practical. The topic was 'objective vs. subjective reality'. Humans have opinions and perceptions and beliefs and experiences. If something exists independent of those factors, it's objectively real. If something exists because of those factors, it's subjectively real. Weather and love are both real, but they're in different categories.

The thing that knocked me for a loop - and has intense, practical implications - is that the things we call 'objectives' are not objective. Sure, we state them with a variety of objective characteristics (as in a SMART objective that is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bounded) - but the fundamental fact is that the objective has a necessary subjective component that we ignore: value.

All that to say the February BACCM article will be called 'Subjective Objectives'. Coming soon!