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So we are back again, with yet another interesting business analyst topic and this time it’s going to be more fun, as we will learn about the tools we as business analysts need to use every day. To be very frank, these tools have made our lives easier and much more professional. They help them to give a formal and analytical look at all our data and analysis. Let’s see which all we would be learning today -
Well, I seriously feel, it looks like a digital sketch that is very handy and articulate. This is one of the best tools for mock-ups and wireframes. It helps to design the exact UI which a developer needs to develop and so it makes the requirement much easier to explain to the development and testing team. In Balsamiq, you think of anything related to requirement, you can just search in the right corner of the application and surely you will get a field to represent it.
Another vibrant feature is the option to add comments in the highlighted color and its drag and drop option is very user-friendly. That’s the reason it is always called low-fidelity sketch wireframes to visualize your ideas and innovations. This tool can be integrated with JIRA plugin, and so for each story, if there is a Balsamiq wireframe it is always attached to that requirement.
I would quote this tool as a collaboration of creativity and intelligence analysis. It gives a true sense of prototyping and a sketchbook look.
This tool is used to make decision models and helpful for the analyst when working with modeling frameworks and software. It can collaborate with the business rules and things can be tested with real-world examples. Whenever the decision model is ready by a pencil, test it and make a decision maker project out of it and test the real-world scenario.
Who does not know this tool? Even developers, testers, senior managers, DevOps everyone tries to make use of this tool to draw flowcharts, process flow diagrams, database diagrams, deployment diagrams, organizational charts, ER diagrams, UML diagrams, network diagrams, etc.
This tool allows export and import capability and it is synced with One drive so that you do not lose your data. The diagrams can be exported in various formats - jpeg, png XML(which helps others to open and edit if needed), pdf, URL.
The representation of the business process in a diagrammatic way forms business process modeling notation. The reason organizations are using it is because of its capability to go beyond flowcharts and solve complex requirements. Since they focus on modeling framework, they have a repository where details can be stored and fetched whenever needed.
This is quite a powerful and high-level tool. With this tool, the entire product design can be implemented. This can sync with multiple other tools like - Confluence, JIRA, Microsoft Teams, Trello.
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The tool is provided by IBM and used to manage the requirements. The tool is helpful when dealing with datasets and its query because a database integration can be done with this tool. It can also be synced with MS word, and it can easily show the relationship between requirements.
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MS Office has actually made life simpler and enhanced the quality of work that we as an analyst put across. It has so many applications and software’s that use of all these is not even required for business analysts, but yes those which are effective for our work really bring out the quality at par. Let’s some of the key features of each product and the value they add to the work of the business analysts.
PowerPoint – Oh, this is something that raises our presentation level above standards. Imagine a scenario where an analyst creates multiple wireframes, mockup screens, product walkthrough guidelines, etc. But the preparation of all these would be an indifferent tool, but would all those tools be appealing in terms of presentation. The answer is no, so here comes PowerPoint with its fascinating features to add that appeal to our work.
The simple wireframes and UI designs can directly be made in PowerPoint. Now say an analyst does a market analysis and he/she needs to make any chart out of the data. This can also be done in MS PowerPoint. This application can also be used to present business plans, summary, highlights all being captured in separate slides.
MS Excel – This application is very intelligent and quite useful especially in today’s world of data. Now that data analysis is also getting associated with business analysts, excel helps to analyze all this data. The best part about Excel is that it helps to convert any raw data into useful information. There are many business analysts who are not pro with SQL, but if they know how to handle excel, most of their data-related work is done. It helps to segregate data into various sheets, thus carrying heavy data into a much collaborative manner. Since it can extend to play with a large data set, it also supports calculation and macro programming.
MS Word – I always feel, word document can be a combination of both Excel and PowerPoint, but that is solely my perception towards it. The reason I say so is that you can play with multiple data sets in word as it has an option to insert tables, whereas it can also help to picture your requirements as it supports all those tools. The important documents in the business analyst world are being prepared in MS Word. The documents which a BA prepares in word are – Business Requirement Document, System Requirement Specification, Functional Requirement Specification, Use-Case Document, Business Process Document, etc. Since it helps to prepare such confidential documents, it gives the facility to make them password protected. Word comes up with an inbuilt dictionary and checks on grammar.
MS Visio – The name itself says that it is something to help the visualization of the need. This makes us draw the process flow diagram and it is much more advanced than a flow-chart diagram. It does not restrict the drawing in one direction of the screen rather it keeps expanding the screen as the diagram grows in any direction. It has so many templates available that it gives real insights to all the real-world examples and use-cases. Since it is integrated with Office 365, you can work on its web version or even install it on your desktop to formulate your business process. This helps to represent information in a graphical mode with advanced diagrams and templates.
Notes, one of the basic parts of a business analyst job. Notes help them to remember each and every detail of what is being discussed in the meetings.
It is not possible to remember all verbal communication, and so notes help here. Still, there is a preference for sticky notes, notebook, and hand-written data, but to keep things in the track we need something on the digital platform. Notes keeping tools helps best to capture the meeting minutes which are a crucial part of any discussion.
Yes, the digital tool by Microsoft to take notes on a laptop, desktop, mobile phones or tablets is OneNote. These notes can be organized in date format so that you can remember what details were captured when. It supports Android, MAC, Windows. The good thing is notes can be shared and thus add extra effort for everyone to capture notes in a single meeting.
This tool allows capturing notes only on a mobile. Imagine a situation where you suddenly met someone important related to your business.
You need to remember all the details as part of that conversation. So here Evernote comes to rescue.
This tool can be used to capture notes, photos, and videos.
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Now when agile and business analysts come together, how can we forget JIRA. JIRA plays a vital role for business analysts as it captures the user stories, the epics, and various tasks. It facilitates us with the capability to attach wireframes, link the Confluence page to it and also sync testing tools. The integration of testing tools like TestRail helps BA’s to review the test cases along with the requirement and give sign off in JIRA. It helps business analysts and product owners to maintain their backlog and keep aligning them with sprint backlog whenever needed.
It collaborates developers as their Git can be synced with it, testers as test rails get synced with it and business analysts as all their user stories, wireframes are captured here. Hence JIRA is an important tool that is used by business analysts. JIRA links Epic, user stories, and tasks together and adds them to the sprint board, so as it is easy for business analysts to track all the requirements.
The demand for business analysis is increasing day by day, and that’s why there are so many tools coming up in the market. They actually make requirements simple, give a standard format and reduce the expense of any organization. It's worth trying hands on each of these tools. I hope you had a great learning experience with all the information shared in this blog. Happy Learning Learners!!
I believe in knowledge sharing and bringing change in people's lives. As a business analyst by profession, I love to explore everything about the way businesses should drive. I keep in touch with the latest business analysis updates.
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