It can be difficult to keep up with the most popular business analysis techniques. Do you know which methodology analysts have the most experience using? How about diagramming techniques?
We conducted a survey of over 1,100 business analysts (68% with over 5 years experience) which gave some interesting results as to what business analysis techniques are the most popular.
When it comes to software development methodologies, 68% said they had experience with waterfall development, 46% said iterative whilst object-oriented (44%) and agile (34%) also rated highly.
Assuming that many of these analysts would be working for large organisations – with mainframe systems – it’s not surprising to see waterfall so widely represented. We can also conclude that analysts need to work on a variety of different applications – iterative, OO and agile being very common on web services and client/server projects.
Whilst the most regularly used diagramming technique was flowcharting (63%), when it comes to formal diagramming techniques, use case led the way (55%) followed by data flow diagrams (42%), activity diagrams (38%) and context diagrams (34%). Entity relationship diagrams were still widely used (30%) and “new kid on the block” BPMN came in at 13%.
Note that Business Process Management (BPM) scored highly in the methodologies section (52%) but didn’t show a correspondingly high result for BPMN usage. Perhaps this indicated that BPM was interpreted as a generic term covering methodology, software products and general process improvement?
For requirements gathering, 67% said interviewing was the most frequently used method. Requirements workshops came in at 45% and JAD sessions 34%.
The survey showed there were a bewildering range of tools, techniques and methodologies in widespread use. Probably too many for the poor analyst to master. As always, it comes down to the old saying – it’s not what you know it’s how you use it!
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