BA Quicktips

Sign in Russian with a symbol that is recognisable

How a wet floor in Belarus convinced me that diagrams beat text!

I’ve always found using pictures, diagrams and models an effective way of describing and communicating ideas.  I was fortunate enough to be visiting Minsk, Belarus recently and it struck me how useful pictures and diagrams really are.  Being in a foreign country, with a completely different language and even a different alphabet means that it’s difficult to find a frame of reference.

However, pictures transcend language.

Take the example below.  Even if you can’t speak Russian, I’d hazard a guess you can make an educated assumption about what this sign is trying to convey:

Book Review : Made to Stick (by Chip and Dan Heath)

One of the core competencies of any business analyst is communication.  This covers a vast array of tasks; from communicating requirements to stakeholders right through to preparing a presentation for the CEO.   If a BA can’t communicate succinctly, accurately and precisely, then they aren’t going to last very long in the job!  And it’s not just… 

Treadmills, coffee and error messages!

I was travelling on business a few weeks ago, and was fortunate enough to be staying in a hotel that had a gym.  One morning I was using a treadmill, when I inadvertently dislodged the safety key (this sort of thing often happens when I try to function before the first coffee of the day!)

As you’d expect, once the safety key was dislodged, the treadmill stopped. Trouble was, I didn’t immediately realise what I had done. The lack of caffeine was clearly affecting my neurons! I looked at the treadmill’s digital display for help — and the error message displayed was ambiguous to say the least.  I thought I’d share a photo with you:


A treadmill with a digitial display showing the word "True"

Error messages can be confusing!


The treadmill’s digital display showed the word “True”.  I have no idea what this means — perhaps “True” is the result of a logical test, or perhaps it’s the name of the manufacturer of the treadmill.  Perhaps it was a homage to the 1980’s Spandau Ballet song of the same name.  Either way to an end-user, without any context it doesn’t mean anything at all.

White china piggy bank (a metaphore for value)

Listen to me speak at : Hints & Tips for promoting the Value of the BA Role with Senior Stakeholders

I recently recorded 5 minutes of audio for, where I outline some hints and tips for promoting the value of the BA role with senior stakeholders.   This is a subject I’m passionate about.  All too often, Business Analysts are seen as little more than “stenographers” who write down what stakeholders say.  The reality… 

Stakeholder Management (Video)

As Business Analysts, it’s normal for us to interact with a wide range of stakeholders on our projects. Actively engaging with and managing our stakeholders is incredibly important, as it can increase the likelihood of success in our projects. At the recent IIBA conference, I gave a short presentation on Stakeholder Management.  It is in… 

BA Quicktips : Time Management

As business analysts, it’s essential that we manage time effectively. I’m sure we’ve all worked on projects when there just don’t seem to be enough hours in the day. Not only do we need to manage our own time, but we also need to make the most of the time available with our users or other business stakeholders. This can be a tough call sometimes