John Dewey on Starting with a Problem to be Solved

A problem well-stated is a problem half solved

“A problem well stated is a problem half solved.” – John Dewey

One of the more valuable lessons I’ve learned is that good solutions begin with a clear understanding of the problem to be solved. By starting with the problem, following up with objectives that articulate the definition of  success, and then ensuring that requirements and subsequent solution artifacts and trace cleanly to, and support the original problem, we can avoid the confusion and wasted resources associated with deviating from or adding scope to the solution’s original problem and intent.

Business analyst, these are the reasons your project will succeed

Image credit: Duncan AllenImage credit: Duncan Allen

Let’s face it, lots of software projects continue to fail every year, even after so many advancements in the theory and practice of software development and business analysis. After working on countless complex software projects that delivered great business value, here’s what I learned about the reasons for a project to succeed.

Four Critical Components of a Meeting Invitation

While debates rage as to the effectiveness of meetings in general, and books have been written on meeting organization and management, I’ve found that often meetings go wrong before they even begin because the invitation is missing (or vague in) four critical components, without which the likelihood of full participation and effectiveness is diminished.

Benjamin L. Kovitz on Requirements

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“Without requirements, there is no way to validate a program design; that is, no way to logically connect the program to the customer’s desires.” 

— Benjamin L. Kovitz

If human communication and human memory were perfect, we may not need deliberation and documentation of requirements. Alas, neither is close to true. It is the iterative exercise of modeling requirements, and then documenting them that enables shared understanding to be affirmed, and then shared with those who use requirements to guide design, construction and quality assurance. Requirements are the link between concept and product, and an important standard for measuring solution success. 

Business Analysts and Grammar Police

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Poor grammar and spelling that cause a requirements model to be inaccurate, or difficult to understand and use, are serious because they negatively affect the documentation’s ability to serve its purpose. An otherwise solid, easy to understand document with some errors in grammar and spelling, is not as serious. In either case, poor grammar and spelling should be included in the offending analyst’s professional development plan, and improvement should be encouraged and expected.