From Not Knowing What Questions to Ask to Delivering a High-Value Solution that Actually Meets the Requirements

Learn the 8-Step Business Analysis Approach to Any Software or
Business-Change Project

BAE2.0What if there was a step by step process that could radically transform your professional career? One that would earn your stakeholders’ trust and respect?

Would you want to know that process?

Well, I’ve got it.

I’m Laura Brandenburg and I’ve been a business analyst since 2002 and I created Bridging the Gap back in 2008, and we’ve helped over 1,000 professionals like you start successful, fulfilling careers in business analysis.

There is a step-by-step approach
to being successful
as a business analyst.

Once you know how to walk your project team step by step through the business analysis process, then there isn’t really any ambiguity about what to do next and you are even able to come up with realistic and credible timelines that keep your project managers happy.

All of a sudden, you start to experience some other amazing benefits as well. Your stakeholders start showing up to your meetings, because they don’t want to miss out on the decisions and, well, even the fun. (That might sound odd, but I’ve always been told that I can make a boring process like business analysis at least a little bit fun!)

To help you create more success with a structured approach on your first or next project, we’ve put together the BA Essentials Master Class. This is a virtual course that you have the luxury of working through at your own pace.

When you go through the course, you’ll find the 8-step business analysis process helps you to know exactly how to take the best possible business analysis approach to any type of software or business-change project or business analysis project, even if you find yourself in an agile software development environment, and even if you find yourself in a new organization, new domain, and working with a new project team.

What’s more, successful completion of the course earns you 12 PDs or CDUs for IIBA® certification or re-certification, and 12 PDUs/Contact Hours for PMI® certification. And you can even get credits for work you are already doing (or should be doing) anyway, since we count your real-world application of the course materials (that you receive confidential, real-time instructor feedback on) against your credits for the course.

You’ll learn exactly how to
start a new project
even under time pressure

With the 8-step business analysis process, you’ll know exactly where to start – in Step 1 – Getting Oriented. After going through this lesson, you’ll learn what kind of information you are looking for to get moving quickly and where you are most likely to find it.

From there, you’ll walk step-by-step through the business analysis responsibilities you might be expected to fulfill, and learn how to make the best possible decisions about what to do, when to do it, and how to maximize the success of your projects.

Our 8-step business analysis process takes reality into account – and the reality is that many projects start behind schedule and many business analysts are forced to do high-quality work in the least possible time.

  • You’ll discover how to choose the right deliverables and techniques to ensure a successful analysis effort while meeting your project team’s critical information needs (so they actually read the requirements).
  • You’ll learn how to choose the best business analysis techniques given the context of your project, stakeholder mix, and responsibilities so you are working as effectively as possible.
  • You’ll learn how to create a business analysis estimate and timeline that you can confidently commit to.
  • You’ll find out how to get started on a new project quickly even when you are given very little information to go on.
  • You’ll learn how to sequence your business analysis work in an iterative fashion so that your implementation team can start working before you even finish the requirements.

When you go through the course, you’ll receive video, audio, and written lessons walking you through the 8 steps in the business analysis process and map out your approach, timeline, and estimate using our Business Analysis Plan Template.

The end result is that you create requirements documentation that’s actually read and used, without any unnecessary overhead. And do this for one project after another and you’ll be perceived as a valued contributor and professional business analyst.

I was glad to learn from the course that I was already performing a large percentage of the activities, which reinforced the feedback I had received from my clients.

The timing of the course was good too in that I was in the middle of a project and it pointed out areas where I needed to concentrate, even backtrack a little, to keep everything cleanly moving forward.  It reminded me that I need to ask “why” more often because the groups I work with try to push changes/projects through and I realized I wasn’t always understanding why we were pursuing them.

The course informed me of areas where I am lacking, especially in the initial stages of a project and where I need to be more upfront with the stakeholders to ensure I am involved from the very beginning and have that initial understanding.

– Laura Sanders, Course Participant

Learn core BA principles
that apply regardless of your
domain, solution, or methodology

While every project is unique and has nuances that make it special, there are essential principles that guide effective business analysis to drive project success. This process is designed to help you find your path to success regardless of your domain, type of solution, or methodology.

The 8 steps can guide you to success in each of the following situations:

  • Use them to map out the requirements for a small update to an existing system, which might be completed via a short project or an agile sprint.
  • Use them to map out the requirements for replacing a legacy system with a new off-the-shelf component, a project that’s likely to take several months or more.
  • Use them to map out a business process change on a non-IT project.
  • Use them to map out the requirements for delivering an entirely new product or capability, even if the team hasn’t decided whether to build or buy the technology or invest in a combination of both.
  • Use them to map out the requirements for any project where some aspect of the organization or technology needs to change to deliver new value to the organization.

In the course, you’ll learn the principles and receive the guidelines so you can apply them as it makes sense in your unique project situation. 

And yes, these steps apply even if you find yourself in an agile software development environment. In fact, we’ve added a special bonus lesson walking you through exactly how to be an agile business analyst and how to apply this process to work more effectively on an agile team.

Along the way, you’ll become confident in your ability to succeed in any domain or business environment because you’ll understand the common principles that drive success and be on the lookout for the most common issues that drive projects off-track.

Let’s take a deeper look at some of the issues we specifically help you work around through the course.

Be prepared to handle the
most common project pitfalls

While the 8-step business analysis process will help you proactively avoid many pitfalls, projects are impacted by several external factors that can’t be directly controlled. A successful business analyst watches for these issues so they can be dealt with in such a way that has a minimum impact on the project.

Let’s look at just a few of the examples you’ll learn about within the course:

  • You’ve been assigned to work on the detailed requirements but the project scope is unclear, even though the sponsor has moved forward with signing a contract with a key vendor.
  • You are given a timeline when little is known about the scope of the project.
  • Technical stakeholders are moving ahead designing and implementing a solution that won’t meet the business objectives of the project.
  • Business stakeholders go back to “business as usual” even when given new technology that’s supposed to make their work easier.
  • After scoping the project and starting the detailed requirements, a competitor releases a competing feature and your sponsor wants to change direction immediately.

In each step of the business analysis process, we highlight the 3-4 most common issues business analysts face in fulfilling the responsibilities and experience-tested approaches for resolving the issues or avoiding them in the first place. This is the kind of practical experience-driven knowledge you don’t find in most business analyst textbooks.

The BA Essentials Master Class really helped me to validate my own practices as well as giving guidance of how to progress on a project as a Business Analyst. This is great training regardless of where you are in your career and helps to promote best practice. I recommend this training as well to those that are newer to the profession and want guidance on how best to proceed within a project. Well written material with some templates provided as well. Solid course.

– Stephanie Cracknell, Lead BA

Discover why you might not
be receiving the positive feedback
you expect on your projects

But not all issues are external to business analysis. Lacking guidance and structure for their activities, some business analysts create their own problems. And to be perfectly honest, many professionals filling business analyst roles simply don’t know what good business analysis looks like.

If you are a new business analyst, you’ll learn how to avoid the most common business analysis mistakes. (And if you aren’t moving up the BA career ladder as fast as you’d like or recently received negative feedback about your work, the 8-step approach will help you make appropriate adjustments.)

Let’s look at some of the more common criticisms made of well-meaning BAs and what you’ll learn about avoiding them:

  • You’ve been told that you are “too business oriented” and aren’t sure how to address this issue without sacrificing your relationships with business stakeholders. You’ll learn to invest in stakeholder relationships while also working within the project’s constraints.
  • Business stakeholders tend to push you into making project commitments early and then you find yourself back-treading later and damaging the relationship. You’ll learn to elicit information without making unnecessary commitments.
  • Your project manager is frustrated because the scope tends to get bigger as you go on, resulting in projects where either the timeline extends significantly or relatively few of your detailed requirements actually get implemented. You’ll learn to watch out for scope creep and manage throughout the entire project lifecycle.
  • Developers and testers complain that your documentation is difficult to use and doesn’t give them the information they need to be successful. You’ll learn to package requirements in a way that works for your business and technical stakeholders.
  • Your manager wonders what’s taking so long to get the scope and requirements for the project detailed so the development team can start working. You’ll learn how to create a business analysis plan and communicate the value of every activity you are working through.

These are common issues that new business analysts face and it’s not for lack of will, dedication, or skills. It’s often simply that they lack the appropriate structure to guide their activities and ensure they are effective.

BA Essentials Master Class was very informative and enjoyable to me. I have learned so much from this training that will assist me in my workplace and I already started implementing BA strategies and techniques which I gained from this training.

– Ibrahim Qaed

As a new B.A., starting a business analysis is one of the hardest parts. This course has given me templates and foresight in what to look for that will definitely push me past that initial and most difficult hump.
– Matt Sanders

The 8-step process gives you the structure to handle any project professionally. So let’s take a deeper look at the 8 steps.

A quick look at
what you’ll take away from
each of the 8 BA steps

So, first off, when you join the BA Essentials Master Class today, you’ll receive detailed information about how to apply the 8 steps in the business analysis process.

In addition to the video lessons, you also get full-text PDF transcripts to refer back to a key point and downloadable audio mp3 files you can take with you on the go.

Let’s look at what’s covered in each step.

Step 1
Get Oriented

After completing this lesson, you will be able to get oriented on a new project or in a new domain so that you can start actively contributing as quickly as possible.

You’ll learn best practices for:

  • Clarifying your business analyst role and getting a clear picture of the current state, even if there is incomplete documentation.
  • Determining the primary stakeholders to engage early on in the project so you can gracefully navigate the corporate structure and culture.
  • Avoiding mistakes such as repeating work that’s already been done or rehashing previously made decisions.

This is where you learn how to learn what you don’t know you don’t know. This step gets you the information you need to be successful and effective.

Step 2
Discover the Primary Business Objectives

After completing this lesson, you will be able to discover the primary objectives to be delivered by the project so that you can ensure the scope of the project addresses the true business need.

You’ll learn best practices for:

  • Discovering the “why” behind the project, or the reasons for the change. (We cover how you can use 7 different business analysis techniques to discover the true problem to be solved in this project.)
  • Starting the project off with a shared understanding of what needs to be accomplished and handling irreconcilable competing interests so that your project doesn’t suffer from poor definition.
  • Fully engaging with business stakeholders without making commitments that you have to backtrack on later.

A set of clear and actionable business objectives ensures that you don’t end up with a solution that solves the wrong problem or, perhaps even worse, a solution that no one can even determine is successful or not.

Step 3
Define Scope

After completing this lesson, you’ll be able to clarify three different types of scope and enable your primary stakeholders to agree on a complete and clear scope statement for a project.

You’ll learn best practices for:

  • Differentiating between 3 different types of scope and using these definitions to resolve many conflicts that surface when scoping a project.
  • Discovering solution approach ideas and selecting the best options, before you move into full-on solution mode.
  • Responding to the scenario where the scope is defined without proper analysis so your project doesn’t get derailed by the wrong scoping decisions. 

On its own, a clear and complete scope statement creates a lot of project momentum. It will also guide all of the subsequent steps of the business analysis process.

Step 4
Formulate Your Business Analysis Plan

After completing this lesson, you will be able to create a business analysis plan that includes what deliverables you’ll create, what stakeholders will be involved, and what timelines you’ll be driving toward.

You’ll learn best practices for:

  • Choosing the most appropriate types of business analysis deliverables and techniques and ensuring your plan covers the complete scope of the project.
  • Identifying and engaging stakeholders in the business analysis process and getting them to commit to a course of action.
  • Creating defensible estimates and timelines for your business analysis work.

In the absence of defining a credible and realistic plan, a set of unrealistic expectations may be defined for you. This step gives you the structure from which you’ll be able to communicate a logical and defensive plan, estimate, and timeline for your project.

Step 5
Define the Detailed Requirements

After completing this lesson, you’ll be able to start work through the detailed requirements deliverables and establish a rhythm that enables parts of the solution to be started before you are finished with all of the requirements.

You’ll learn best practices for:

  • Eliciting and analyzing detailed information so you can draft, review, and finalize each requirements deliverable without missing any requirements, but also by creating “just enough” documentation.
  • Being on the lookout for scope creep and manage requirements changes, especially the kind that naturally happens as the result of diligent elicitation and analysis during this stage.
  • Sequencing your deliverables to maximize your effectiveness. (We’ll discuss 3 different approaches that work on both agile and more traditional teams.)

This step gives your team the design-ready requirements so that the implementation and testing process can deliver what the business really wants and needs and ensures your team doesn’t overlook any necessary requirements that would impact your stakeholders approving the implementation.

Step 6
Support the Technical Implementation

After completing this lesson, you’ll be able to ensure that the technical aspect of the solution meets the business objectives of the project by collaborating with architects, developers, and testers, and engaging business stakeholders in user acceptance testing.

You’ll learn best practices for:

  • Being a true liaison with the technical team, and ensuring the solution design fulfills all of the requirements, without stepping on anyone’s toes.
  • Collaborating with quality assurance professionals so they can ensure the business needs and wants are met in detail.
  • Making yourself available to answer questions, repackaging requirements, and when necessary, leading user acceptance testing efforts.

All of these efforts help the implementation team realize the intended benefits of the project and ensure the investment made realizes a positive return.

Step 7
Help the Business Implement the Solution

After completing this lesson, you’ll be able to support the business stakeholders as they implement the solution so that the entire solution ultimately delivers the intended result of the project.

You’ll learn best practices for:

  • Ensuring the business community is ready to use the new solution without creating work-arounds that return them back to business-as-usual.
  • Collaborating with professionals across the organization to ensure this work is accomplished vs. being actively engaged in the work yourself.
  • Handling technical delays so they don’t disrupt a positive business/technology relationship.

This step is all about ensuring all members of the business community are prepared to embrace the changes that have been specified as part of the project.

Step 8
Assess Value Created by the Solution

After completing this lesson, you’ll be able to assess the value created by the solution so that your organization can understand whether or not the project delivered the anticipated return on investment.

You’ll learn best practices for:

  • Evaluating the actual results achieved through the project, even if the original business objectives were not clearly stated.
  • Communicating the project results and handling the scenario where the project doesn’t actually accomplish the intended results.
  • Helping your organization mature in terms of establishing baselines, measuring results, and setting measurable targets for future initiatives.

After completing this step, it’s likely you’ll uncover more opportunities to improve the business which will lead you to additional projects.

Bonus:

The Agile Business Analyst

After completing this lesson, you’ll be able to apply the 8-step business analysis process in an agile software development environment.

You’ll learn best practices for:

  • Roles the business analyst can fill on an agile software development team and why these are necessary, so you stay relevant without stepping on toes. You’ll even walk-through 3 case study projects and learn how the BA role differed in each one.
  • Applying the business analysis process in an iterative or agile environment to help your team become even more effective at delivering software to meet the true business needs and solve the entire business problem.
  • Customizing your business analysis approach to be relevant and effective in an agile environment, because many of your traditional approaches will not work the same.

The vast majority of organizations today are working in some form of agile, so even if you are in more of a traditional or iterative environment, it’s worthwhile to understand agile principles and how business analysis applies.

How the self-paced,
virtual course works

When you join the BA Essentials Master Class today, you’ll be starting a self-paced, virtual course that will walk you through the 8 steps to being an effective and successful business analyst. You get the luxury of starting exactly when it makes sense for you and participating in the course on your own schedule.

But that doesn’t mean you’ll be in this alone. You’ll receive email access to our instructors who can answer any question you have about applying the coursework in your real-world project environment. What’s more, you’ll receive weekly guidepost emails to keep you focused and moving, and a business analyst planning template you’ll use to apply what you’ve learned.

Let’s take a quick look at each component.

Lessons cover the entire
8-step business analysis process

We cover the entire 8-step business analysis process in a series of video, audio, and written lessons.

  • You’ll receive access to new lessons each week, each covering one step in the 8-step business analysis process and the role of the agile business analyst. You’ll receive your first 2 lessons immediately upon making your investment.
  • Lessons are provided in video mp4 and audio mp3 format so you can stream them or download them to your mp3 player and listen to them when it’s convenient for you.
  • Full-text PDF transcripts are also provided so you don’t have to take detailed notes or if you want to quickly refer back to a key point.

Video lessons range from 26 to 52 minutes each, so they are easy to incorporate into your work day or commute.

(Since these lessons are available for you at any time, there’s no need to reschedule your work commitments or weekend plans and you can fully participate in the course regardless of where in the world you live. Simply carve out an hour or two each week to work through them when it’s convenient for you.)

Weekly guidepost emails
keep you focused and moving

Each week you’ll receive an email from us letting you know about the new lessons you have access to and addressing some of the more frequently asked questions that come up about the topics.

These emails will help you stay focused and remind you to carve out a little bit of time each week to make it through the lessons, so you can receive all of the benefits of becoming a more effective business analyst. They’ll ensure you stay motivated and moving, even though you are participating in a self-paced format.

But there’s one more component of the course, and it’s essentially important. So let’s talk about that next.

The Business Analysis Plan Template
makes your learning actionable

We want to be sure you have everything you need to apply the business analysis essentials in your work as a business analyst. That’s why you’ll receive a Business Analysis Plan Template as part of the course materials.

The planning template is in a spreadsheet format and provides a milestone checklist of the key business analysis responsibilities. You’ll also find notes that remind you of the key aspects of each responsibility so you won’t always have to refer back to the detailed and comprehensive course materials.

The template is editable so you can add your own tasks, fill in your estimates and timelines, and incorporate notes to remind yourself of key points. You can use it to plan out your approach and then share it with your manager, stakeholders, or project manager.

With the on-demand lessons, weekly guidepost emails, and Business Analysis Plan Template, you’ll be fully prepared to get on track for this project or start off your next project professionally.

Gain confidence with
confidential instructor feedback
on your real-world project work

One of the biggest challenges with any course is incorporating what you have learned theoretically into your real life at work. The unique Bridging the Gap learning model is specifically designed to take you beyond book learning and into actually implementing a better business analysis approach.

  • First, you receive access to our certified instructors to ask any question about the course materials or how to apply the BA process in your real-world project work via email.
  • Second, this confidential on-hand support lasts for a full 60 days, so you have plenty of time to receive support on a variety of real-world project situations.
  • Third, guidance is provided on your actual project work, not a fictitious case study, so you don’t have to do something ‘extra’ just to benefit from or complete the course. (And if you aren’t currently working as a business analyst, don’t worry, we provide plenty of scenarios for you to apply business analysis principles outside a formal BA role.)

As a participant in the BA Essentials Master Class, you’ll translate learning into experience with unprecedented, confidential access to our trusted mentors.

Instructors

 

How you can earn
12 PDs, CDUs, or PDUs/Contact Hours

The BA Essentials Master Class has been endorsed by the International Institute of Business Analysis™ (IIBA®) for 12 PDs or CDUs. Bridging the Gap has also been reviewed and approved as a provider of project management training by the Project Management Institute (PMI). Bridging the Gap has agreed to abide by PMI established quality assurance criteria. Successful completion of the professional credit option of the BA Essentials Master Class qualifies for 12 PDUs/Contact Hours.

Your professional credits are backed up by a Certificate of Completion, which you can also use to prove to your employer that you finished the course successfully.

iiba-endorsed-course

You’ll earn a Certificate of Completion by completing a workbook that includes evidence that you’ve applied or thought through each step in the business analysis process.

  • You have a full 60 days to complete and submit your workbook. We’ve found our participants like having such a long instructor window, as it means that they have plenty of time to complete the course at their own pace, apply their learning, and get any doubts or concerns addressed that come up during their business analysis work.
  • Each of the exercises in your workbook should take about a half hour to complete – you’ll be writing brief descriptions of how you have or will apply each step of the business analysis process.
  • The exercises could very well be part of work you are doing anyway as they are designed to help you apply what you learn at work. While we provide alternatives if you don’t have a real-life project to work on, you won’t be forced to work your way through a fictitious case study just to complete the course.

Earning a certificate of completion is a great move if you are seeking certification or re-certification, work for employers requiring a Certificate of Completion, or are looking for extra individual instructor support on your real-world projects.

Here’s a quick summary of
everything you are about to receive

With the BA Essentials Masters Class, you’ll receive everything you need to walk through each of the 8 steps to successful and effective business analysis. And your investment is just $997.

Remember, if you want a different result in your career, then you have to be willing to take some type of different action. Think about how your career will be different when you can commit to applying a structured process for solving the right business problem on each and every project. How about when you receive real-time feedback from our expert instructors on how to apply the process to YOUR unique career situation? What would be possible then?

And while $997 isn’t a small price tag – the investment pales in comparison to a typical college program where you’ll experience a fraction of the real-world learning we’ve built into the BA Essentials Master Class. In fact, many of our participants come from college programs and need our training to fill in the gaps between the theoretical knowledge they get in school, and how business analysis happens in the real world.

You get enough of the theory to be successful too – so think of this investment as saving you the tens of thousands of dollars you might invest in a degree program and getting right to the good stuff – what you really need to be successful as a business analyst.

Let’s take a quick look at everything you are about to receive when you join the recently updated and expanded BA Essentials Master Class today:

  • 10 lessons in mp4 video and mp3 audio formats, along with PDF transcripts.
  • Weekly guidepost emails to help you stay focused and motivated.
  • Business Analysis Plan Template you can use to create a project timeline.
  • 6 months online access to course materials. (You can also download them for future use.)
  • Instructor feedback on your real-world business analysis project as documented in your workbook. (Kept confidential.)
  • Certificate of Completion, provided requirements are met.
  • 12 PDs/CDUs/PDUs/Contact Hours for PMI or IIBA® certification or re-certification.
  • 60 days of support with direct email access to our certified instructors.

Enroll now – click below to join the
BA Essentials Master Class

Click the “Join Now” button below to join the updated version of the BA Essentials Master Class for $997 or 3 payments of $347.

One Payment of $997

3 Payments of $347

 

iiba-endorsed-course

“I have always been told that I’m a problem solver. I was soul searching for a career that I would find fulfilling and came across business analysis. Bridging the Gap made me realise the potential & how much I would enjoy formally taking on the role of a BA, something I had been doing informally for quite some time. The BA Essentials Master Class is a full overview, an excellent walk through and very very very much worth the money – if you’re ready to start on this career path, start here.”

– Usman

The course materials are very well written and organized. They have proven to be an excellent reference as I focus on strengthening my business analysis skills. I have a much better understanding of the information I need to solicit from stakeholders, and why.

– E. Willis

BA Essentials Master Class was fantastic! The course allows you to understand what parts you are responsible for in your current position, aspects you would like to get more training on, your strengths, and weaknesses. In others words, it is like an assessment of where you are at, and what you need to do to grow to become the BA you were meant to be!!!

– Adam Haesler

I’m confident you’ll find the course helps you handle all kinds of projects more professionally. You’ll not only have a step-by-step process to guide you on your next project, but confidence in your decisions and approach.

But if for any reason you find the course isn’t a good fit for your work as a business analyst, you are entitled to a hassle-free money back guarantee for the first 7 days.

(If you are registering someone else or registering multiple participants, use the buttons above to complete your purchase and then email us with the participant name(s) and email address(es) and we’ll get them access to the class.)

The Registered Education Provider logo is a registered mark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.