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Nominal Group Technique

The Nominal Group Technique (NGT) is an advanced form of brainstorming involving five steps.

Step 1. The BA describes a problem or opportunity to all team members.

Step 2. Each team member separately records his or her ideas.

  • At this point, there is no discussion among group members.
  • This strategy promotes free and open thinking unimpeded by judgmental comments or peer pressure.

Step 3. The ideas of individual members are made public by asking each member to share one idea with the group.

  • Ideas are displayed for all team members to see.
  • The process is repeated until all ideas have been presented.
  • Every idea is assigned a unique number.
  • There is no group discussion during this step.
  • Taking the ideas one at a time ensures a mix of recorded ideas, making it more difficult for members to recall what ideas belong to which individual.

Step 4. Ideas are clarified to ensure that all team members understand each item.

  • A team member may be asked to explain an idea
  • No comments, justifications, or judgments are made in this step.
  • The goal of this step is to ensure that all items are clearly defined.

Step 5. The team will vote on each Idea silently.

  • The team will select method of voting.
    • Example: Team members will select their top five ideas by number.
  • Each member prioritizes his or her preferred ideas and arranges them from 1 (worst) to 5 (best).
  • Results are collected.
  • The priority values are tallied and displayed.
  • The ideas with the highest values are selected as the best ideas to implement.
    • The number of items to implement is determined by time, money, and resources available.

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Quality Circles – A tool for improving quality

Improving quality is critical for improving processes, products and services, and increasing stakeholder satisfaction.

A Quality Circle is a group of employees that regularly meets  for the purpose of identifying, recommending, and making process and quality improvements. The Quality Circle will assign a team leader who acts as a facilitator. The facilitator can be a different group member at each meeting. The group may use brainstorming, Nominal Group Technique, or other group techniques; however, Quality Circles discuss their work, anticipate problems, propose workplace improvements, set goals, and make plans. The can meet daily, weekly, or before, during, and after a project to implement and monitor quality improvement initiatives.

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SDLC Core Concepts – 5 Questions to ask

There are many variations to the SDLC; however, they all share similar core activities:

1. What deliverables should be created?

Deliverables or artifacts are items, tasks, documents, modules, etc. which are created as part of a project or process, and will vary in size based on the scope. Deliverables must be documented and tracked–usually by the BA–during the life cycle of the project.

2. How are deliverables created?

A BA working with the development team or SME should identify how deliverables are created, assign tasks appropriately, and determine which processes and methodologies to use to help complete each task and deliverable.

3. Who will create each deliverable?

A PM or delegate should identify individuals who will complete each task and deliverable. The BA should document the skill sets required to complete the deliverables as part of the SDLC process.

4. When will the deliverables be created?

A project timeline should be completed by the BA or a member of the management team. Tasks, milestones, and deliverables will be determined and recorded on the project timeline.

5. Where will everything be documented?

Documentation is a major part of the SDLC. A BA must document the answers to the above questions. Stakeholders, developers, and QA can all benefit from well documented and easily accessible requirements (repository).

Posted in Business Analyst, Deliverables, Process, Questions, Requirements.

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5 things to know when creating a use case

What is a use case?

The use case is a tool that a Business Analyst can use when they want to figure out how a process or system will work or react in various situations. Use cases are designed to describe how an actor can interact with a solution to satisfy a goal or respond in a certain way. Each use case should contain one function or action. Use cases often have primary and alternative actions but all possible outcomes should be documented.

5 things to know when creating a use case:

1. Each use case should have a unique name and a description of their purpose;
2. Use cases have actors that represent a person, group, system, or event that interacts in some way. Actors are often represented by stick people in use case diagrams;
3. Use cases have relationships or associations between actors and represents access to a particular function.
4. Use cases have conditions (pre and post) that happen before or after a certain point in time or action; and
5. Use cases have events that describe what the actors and systems are doing in a local flow.

use case example

Posted in 5 Things, Business Analyst, Tools.

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