Business Analysis

Software Development Life Cycle

Software Development Life Cycle, also known as SDLC holds a very strong position in the software development process. The SDLC helps one to determine or come up with an approximate time that will be required to develop a software. Also, it helps in determining the various phases through which a software undergoes throughout its life or while it is being developed. Software Development Life Cycle has various stages or phases, each of which has a specific task and definition. Each process is a successor of the previous one, i.e., the phases should be executed in a specific manner.

SDLC consists of following activities:

  • Planning: The most important parts of software development, requirement gathering or requirement analysis are usually done by the most skilled and experienced software engineers in the organization. After the requirements are gathered from the client, a scope document is created in which the scope of the project is determined and documented.
  • Implementation: The software engineers start writing the code according to the client's requirements.
  • Testing: This is the process of finding defects or bugs in the created software.
  • Documentation: Every step in the project is documented for future reference and for the improvement of the software in the development process. The design documentation may include writing the application programming interface (API).
  • Deployment and maintenance: The software is deployed after it has been approved for release.
  • Maintaining: Software maintenance is done for future reference. Software improvement and new requirements (change requests) can take longer than the time needed to create the initial development of the software.

There are several software development models followed by various organizations:

  • Waterfall Model: This model involves finishing each phase completely before commencing the next one. When each phase is completed successfully, it is reviewed to see if the project is on track and whether it is feasible to continue.
  • V-Shaped Model: This model focuses on the execution of processes in a sequential manner, similar to the waterfall model but with more importance placed on testing. Testing procedures are written even before the commencement of writing code. A system plan is generated before starting the development phase.
  • Incremental Model: This life cycle model involves multiple development cycles. The cycles are divided up into smaller iterations. These iterations can be easily managed and go through a set of phases including requirements, design, implementation and testing. A working version of the software is produced during the first iteration, so working software is created early in the development process.

Business Analysis tools.

Business Analysis is a set of tasks and techniques used as a connection between stakeholders. These help them to understand the firm’s structure and policies. The process can also recommend solutions which help to attain business goals. In order to apply Business Analysis effectively, our analysts employ different analytical tools.

We will discuss all the tools that are commonly used by business analysts. Some of these are more common than the others. Depending on the nature of business and problem, you can use one or more of these tools.

Our Analysts often use SWOT, PEST, MOST and Heptalysis before facilitating business changes. Some of the other tools are de Bono’s Six Thinking Hats, CATWOE, Five Whys, MoSCoW, SCRS, and VPEC-T.

Below, are explanations of the some of the tools used by our consultants.

SWOT Analysis

This is often used in the initial stages. SWOT analysis helps to focus on what the external and internal factors are. The analysis helps to focus on the strengths and identify where the best opportunities are. It helps spot danger and to improve weaknesses.

The 4 factors we work within SWOT analysis are:

  • Strengths: In this step, we identify what advantages your company has. The task is to find which area your company performs best in.
  • Weaknesses: Here, we try to spot areas which could be improved. Try to find what your company performs weakly.
  • Opportunities: Focus on the opportunities you company has. This is often the area where competitors perform poorly.
  • Threats: This step is about the obstacles your business is facing. Often, this is the area where competitors are performing well.

PEST Analysis

This is a framework we use to analyze the external environmental analysis. The process entails learning about various external factors which affect the organization.

It is an acronym of 4 factors. The 4 elements studied in PEST are:

  • Political: This factor studies the current political situation. It also includes the potential political influences.
  • Economic: This factor is about the national and global economy impact.
  • Sociological: This external factor focuses on the ways a society can affect your company.
  • Technological: This factor discusses the effect of emerging technology.

Other variations of the PEST analysis are STEP, STEEP, STEEPLE, and PESTLE. Some additional external factors which can be studied are the legal, environmental and ethical factors.

MOST analysis

To conduct internal environmental analysis, you can rely on MOST.  This tool ensures that your project is well-aligned to the 4 attributes. The 4 factors assessed in MOST are:

  • Mission: Determining where your business intends to go
  • Objectives: Deciding what goals will help attain the mission
  • Strategies: Planning options to help move forward
  • Tactics: Planning how the strategies will be implemented

Heptalysis

We use this tool to run a detailed analysis of early stage businesses. This is done based on 7 essential categories. They are:

  • Market Opportunity
  • Product or Solution
  • Execution plan
  • Financial engine
  • Human capital
  • Potential return
  • Margin of safety

de Bono’s Six Thinking Hats

Our Consultants rely on de Bono’s Six Thinking Hats during brainstorming sessions. It is also known as the Six Thinking Hats. It helps generate and analyze varying ideas and options. It is a useful tool as it encourages specific kinds of thinking. In fact, the analytical tool restricts the group to think in certain ways only.

The 6 colors/moods you should know about are:

  • White symbolized pure and logical facts
  • Green means creative.
  • Yellow suggests bright, optimistic and positive.
  • Black symbolizes negative or devil’s advocate.
  • Red is seen as emotional.
  • Blue signifies cold and control.

CATWOE

CATWOE helps prompt thinking about business aims. 6 important elements make up the acronym. They are:

  • Customers: We identify who are the beneficiaries of your business process. Also, find how the issue affects them. 
  • Actors: Actors are the ones directly involved in the process. They will be part of the implementation process. Try to find out what might impact the actors’ success.
  • Transformation Process: Focus on the processes which are impacted by the issue.
  • World View: Think about the big picture. Ponder about the overall and wider effects of the issue.
  • Owner: This is basically about the person who owns the process. Investigate about him. Figure out what role he plays in the solution.
  • Environmental Constraints: Think about the constraints and boundaries. We make concise efforts toknow how these will affect the solution.

Five Whys

Our consultants might use this tool to find the main cause. This help to understand what is really happening in a particular moment. Try to answer as many ‘whys’ as possible.

MoSCoW

This analytical prioritizes requirements. We do this by allocating a priority, evaluating it based on the validity of requirements. It consists of the following elements:

  • Must have: Without these, you cannot complete the delivery
  • Should have: Without these, you will have to find a workaround
  • Could have: If you have these, the delivery satisfaction will increase
  • Won’t have: You won’t have these now, but you’d like to have them in the future

SCRS

This is another effective business analysis tool. It claims that the analysis must flow from the current state and requirements from high-level business strategy towards the solution.

The term is an acronym for:

  • Strategy
  • Current State
  • Requirements
  • Solution

VPEC-T

We use the VPEC-T technique to analyze the expectations of several parties with different views of a system. Their priorities and responsibilities are different.

  • Values: This step includes the objectives, beliefs and issues of all participants. The concerns can be social, financial, tangible and intangible.
  • Policies: These are constraints that direct what should be done. These also dictate in which manner it can be done.
  • Events: These are the real-world proceedings which fuel activity.
  • Content: Content are the meaningful part of documents, conversations, and messages.
  • Trust: It is essential to establish trust amid users