Gain Confidence In Your Requirements Specifications in Traditional or Agile Projects

CRAFTING BETTER REQUIREMENTS

2-Month Hands-On Coaching Program

21 PDs, CDUs, or PDUs/Contact Hours

Save $300
through April 25, 2017

Do you ever find yourself wondering if you got a particular requirement “right”? Or agonizing over how to best address stakeholder feedback on your requirements? Or perhaps you’ve only created informal documentation and would like to create a more formal requirements specification or more accurate acceptance criteria for an agile project like an experienced business analyst would.

To address these challenges and more, I’m proud to have partnered with Adriana Beal to offer Crafting Better Requirements – a 2-month hands-on coaching program that will help you improve either your traditional or agile requirements, and can earn you PDs or CDUs for IIBA®certification or re-certification, or PDUs/Contact Hours for PMI® certification.

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 program successfully.

What’s more, you can save $300 on your investment when you join the program by April 25, 2017.

Adriana has offered this program since 2011 and participants continually report gaining confidence in their requirements documentation. And that confidence has led to new job opportunities for some, and more elevated BA roles for others.

“Crafting Better Requirements has been very helpful and informative. The information provided was well-presented and easy to understand. In my opinion, the best part of the course was Adriana’s feedback on the assignments. She did a great job of suggesting improvements while acknowledging what was done well. I really appreciated the opportunity to learn in this way. Having an online, self-paced program meant that I had to remember to do the work but I didn’t have to rearrange my schedule to accommodate the course. Thanks, Adriana!” – Linda Rathburn

“Adriana’s timely and elaborate suggestions throughout this course have been a great help to me. I have been a software developer for the past 8 years and wanted to transition into a Business Analyst role. The components I learnt as part of this course helped me with my interview process. I am glad to let you know that I was interviewing for the past few weeks and I am starting my BA career tomorrow with a new employer.” – Priya (submitted on the day she finished the course)

How Improving
Your Requirements Specs
Makes You a Better Business Analyst

As business analysts, we can really get hung up on the documents we create because after all, our requirements documents are often the one tangible thing we have to show our manager and add to our work samples.

Here are some of the possible outcomes you could achieve from improving your requirements.

  • You graduate from being familiar with informal and ad hoc documentation to someone who is confident in your requirements documentation and communication skills, because you’ve received and incorporated honest, objective feedback from a senior BA mentor.
  • You ensure your requirements are defect-free, avoiding expensive rework that might eventually come back to impact your BA career, and avoiding costly communication mistakes that lead to painful meetings (yes, you know exactly the kind of meetings I mean).
  • You present yourself as the best BA possible. Because requirements documents are often the only tangible output of our work, they get reviewed when it comes to performance appraisal time and tend to survive a BA long after they leave a project or organization. Your work product makes you look good.

Fundamentally, we’re talking about taking a step in one area of business analysis to create some forward momentum towards becoming the BA that wows stakeholders. Craft requirements for traditional or agile projects that are complete and easy to understand, and you might just become the one they want on their projects because you “get it.”

To help you improve your requirements, Adriana Beal is offering a virtual, hands-on coaching program, Crafting Better Requirements. Unlike a lecture-based structure that leaves you struggling to apply the concepts in your own day-to-day work, this program uses a learning model that will give you hands-on, first-hand experience in documenting software requirements, and constructive feedback on your work.

How the Coaching Program Works

The design behind Crafting Better Requirements is about practicing your skills and learning from feedback that aims to correct your weaknesses in requirements documentation and knowledge sharing with business stakeholders and delivery teams.

(It’s important to realize that this program is not a good fit for someone looking to learn from consuming content only as most of the learning will come from your work on the exercises and the feedback you receive on your requirements.)

Here’s a look at what’s included:

  • Short presentations with slides and audio will introduce you to some of the program content. Program content is available online, on-demand so you can work through the materials on your own schedule.
  • Lesson Notes cover the core concepts and link to recommended content to read or watch and explore to learn more.
  • Practice work will ensure real learning. You’ll be working on a mock project, and be given practice assignments for all stages of the requirements lifecycle.
  • Feedback on your work will help you improve by leaps and bounds. Adriana will personally review your work samples and provide detailed feedback via email.
  • Reusable templates will save you time. Use them for your mock project or apply them in your own job.
  • Detailed feedback on your requirements will give you guideposts to learn by. In addition to examples of various types of requirements included in the lesson notes, you’ll receive email rewrites of the requirements statements you produce during the program, so you can see what high quality requirements look like.

“Adriana has been most helpful to me in the preparation of Class diagrams that I wished to add to the requirements I was working on. She understood almost instantly what was important to include in this type of visualization and articulated it a manner that was most helpful.” – Walter Ritchi, Business Systems Analyst at Ontario University Application Center

“Thanks for all your good advice and clear explanations.   I’m currently in the requirements stage of a fairly large project, and this course has really helped me to refine my work.” – EF, Sr. Business Analyst

“I have learnt lots of skills and ideas to apply in our next sprint. I’ve gained so much confidence in using agile requirements from the CBR course and Adriana’s extra help.” – Helen

Take a quick look at
what you’ll learn
in Crafting Better Requirements

The Crafting Better Requirements program includes two separate tracks – one for traditional requirements documentation, like detailed functional specifications, and one for agile requirements documentation, like product backlogs and user stories.

When you join the program, you’ll receive access to the reference materials from both tracks. And the you can choose one track to work through during your coaching with Adriana.

Traditional Track

The Traditional Track is perfect for business analysts who create Software Requirements Specifications (SRSs) or Business Requirements Documents (BRDs) and are looking to improve their existing documentation. It’s also perfect for those who are currently using ad hoc documentation, and looking to formalize the kind of documentation they use to specify requirements.

You’ll learn how to create a formal requirements specification that is well-organized, avoids the most common requirements mistakes, and includes the right mix of textual and visual models.

LESSON 1 – Requirements Overview

After completing this lesson, you will be able to:

  1. Describe what requirements are, and where they fit in the grand scheme.
  2. Identify types of requirements and levels of abstractions in which requirements can be communicated.
  3. Distinguish between requirement and design constraint.

LESSON 2 – Requirements Packages

After completing this lesson, you will be able to:

  1. Describe the difference in requirements documentation between agile and traditional approaches to software development.
  2. Explain the purpose of a requirements document.
  3. Identify the most common types of requirements packages.

LESSON 3 – Writing Better Requirements

After completing this lesson, you will be able to:

  1. Use appropriate language to describe requirements.
  2. Identify the main problems found in requirements statements.
  3. Apply effective techniques to ensure your requirements are free from defects.

LESSON 4 – Creating and Using Requirements Patterns

After completing this lesson, you will be able to:

  1. Explain what a requirements pattern is.
  2. Create and adapt requirements patterns for particular uses.
  3. Use requirements patterns to improve the quality of your requirements statements.

LESSON 5 – Visual Requirements Models

After completing this lesson, you will be able to:

  1. Describe various graphical models that can be used to visually represent requirements.
  2. Identify appropriate modeling techniques based on the characteristics of the requirements.
  3. Apply visual models to augment textual requirements.

LESSON 6 – Organizing Requirements

After completing this lesson, you will be able to:

  1. Organize requirements in meaningful ways (e.g., around relevant processes, solution components, or user goals).
  2. Apply the various concepts learned during the program to produce high-quality requirements documents.
  3. Create one or more types of requirements packages (based on your choice of documentation, including any combination of BRD, SRS, set of use cases, set of user stories accompanied by supplementary requirements and/or acceptance criteria, and other models available in the program reading material).

“I enrolled in Crafting Better Requirements based on a competency gap that I discovered. The biggest surprise of the course for me came during the last lesson when we turned our attention from “textual requirements” to “visual requirements” and I realized that was exactly where I wanted to take my new BA career. I’m now in a Process Analyst role and even though I don’t write requirements, I use a lot of what I learned from Adriana in Crafting Better Requirements to create various process documents. I also know that should my current role expand to include writing textual requirements, I can do it with confidence and success“. – Laura Lentz

“Being involved in a high profile agile project at work lead to challenges I had yet to experience in my experience with traditional waterfall methodologies and led me to the course. Adriana helped me to understand key concepts of the agile approach while providing a lot of background context outside of the course itself. Responses to questions and assignments were knowledgeable, prompt and provided immediate value that I could deliver to my project. I would highly recommend this track to anyone involved in an agile project!” – Michael O.

Agile Track

The Agile Track is perfect for business analysts are looking to expand their skills to include user stories, product backlogs, and other agile requirements techniques. You’ll learn best practices for documenting requirements and managing the requirements process in an agile environment.

LESSON 1 – Requirements Overview

After completing this lesson, you will be able to:

  1. Describe what requirements and user stories are, and where they fit in the grand scheme of software projects.
  2. Explain the difference between requirements documentation and communication in agile vs. traditional projects.
  3. Explain the relationships between the following concepts: user story, use case, scenario, requirement.

LESSON 2 – Crafting User Stories

After completing this lesson, you will be able to:

  1. Describe the template of a user story and its most common variations.
  2. Identify examples of good and bad user stories.
  3. Describe the attributes of a good user story.

LESSON 3 – Documenting Requirements in the Context of User Stories

After completing this lesson, you will be able to:

  1. Create acceptance criteria for user stories as means to document and communicate detailed requirements.
  2. Handle non-functional requirements and technical tasks in projects built around user stories.
  3. Define User Acceptance Tests to validate proper functioning of the software, emulating real-world usage conditions.

LESSON 4 – Managing the Product Backlog

After completing this lesson, you will be able to:

  1. Describe how to build and manage a product backlog.
  2. Describe how to estimate and prioritize user stories in the backlog.
  3. Understand the process of right-sizing user stories.

LESSON 5 – Practicing User Stories and Acceptance Criteria

After completing this lesson, you will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate knowledge of how to transform stakeholders needs and wants into user stories.
  2. Demonstrate knowledge of how to document non-functional requirements and technical tasks in projects built around user stories.
  3. Demonstrate knowledge of how to create acceptance criteria and user acceptance testing for a user story.

LESSON 6 – Practicing User Story Estimation & Prioritization and Developing the Project Vision

After completing this lesson, you will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate how to estimate and prioritize user stories in the backlog.
  2. Demonstrate how to right-size user stories to fit into individual development cycles.
  3. Demonstrate how to use visual models to clarify the overall vision in agile projects.

Improve your requirements skills
by leaps and bounds
with Adriana’s constructive feedback

Adriana has done this before and she’s been thinking about improving requirements for a long, long time. You couldn’t ask for a better instructor or one-on-one mentor.AdrianaBeal-headshot

In fact, for many years now, she’s been quietly developing strategies in pursuit of better requirements. As part of her journey as a consultant, Adriana has worked with numerous C-level executives, senior managers, SMEs, designers, developers, UXers, and testers on high-complexity software projects.

This is good news for you. She gets what you do and knows the challenges that both novice and experienced BAs face in the process of creating requirements documents that remove barriers to communication and correctly describe the properties that a software application must meet to ensure the product achieves its mission. And now she wants to help you excel at producing high-quality requirements documentation.

As a Crafting Better Requirements participant, you’ll receive direct access to Adriana Beal via email. As you go through each lesson, you’ll email her your work, and receive feedback within 2 business days. This is the kind of objective and constructive feedback that will help you improve your skills quickly.

What’s more, because Adriana is an active business analyst who has consulted at numerous organizations, you benefit from constructive feedback from a senior-level peer who has seen what works and what doesn’t in a variety of project situations.

Adriana is one of those people who brings great insight into the requirements process, making sure that requirements are communicated in a way that both non technical and technical stakeholders can understand. Her skills helped our team avoid expensive software development rework and ensured that the software solution not only delivered measurable results, but also met user expectations. Adriana was asked to jump into a complex project only a few weeks prior to implementation to address requirement deficiencies and subsequent software repairs. As a result of her skills, a considerable amount of rework was avoided and the project was put back on track and completely within the allocated budget.” – Arnaldo Carrera, Chief Information Officer at Safra National Bank

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

Crafting Better Requirements has been endorsed by the International Institute of Business Analysis™ (IIBA®) for 21 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 Crafting Better Requirements qualifies for 21 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.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Who can participate in this program?

Anyone who has participated in at least one software development project, in any capacity (such as a project manager, technical writer, subject matter expert, business analyst, developer, tester, or product manager).

Is this program right for me?

That’s an important question. We’re glad you asked.

This program is for you if:

  • You are an aspiring BA that has end-to-end project experience in another role, such as an SME, technical writer, developer, or QA engineer, and are wanting to build your confidence in creating requirements for traditional or agile projects. (If you are not sure if your experience qualifies, email us at info [at] bridging-the-gap [dot] com.)
  • You are a new BA tackling your first project agile project, with a good understanding of business analysis.
  • You are an experienced BA wanting to improve your requirements documentation and communication skills.
  • You are a product owner and/or product manager responsible for creating requirements for your projects.

This program is not for you if:

  • You want to improve your skills in requirements elicitation or requirements analysis. These topics are not covered in this program.
  • You are looking for an end-to-end course that covers all the knowledge areas. This program focuses just on requirements documentation and communication.
  • You have just been assigned a brand-new project and are looking for how to get started, i.e. you have not yet elicited and analyzed the requirements.
  • You don’t have experience in an end-to-end project (in any role).

How does the program work?

Once your registration is complete, you’ll receive your login details to the My Business Analysis Career platform and immediate access to all of the on-demand program materials. There you will be able to download presentations and lesson notes, as well as the assignments that you will complete and send to your coach by email. The hands-on exercises will be based on a “mock-up” project in a topic familiar to you to practice documenting requirements.

What type of support can I expect from the instructor?

You will receive (via email) answers to your questions about the lessons, feedback on your work, and recommendations for extra practice for all coaching exercises, as many times as needed to make sure you get it right. Responses to your emails will be provided within 2 business days.

How many hours will I have to dedicate to the program?

This will be entirely up to you – the more time you dedicate to studying the material, writing requirements and creating additional visual models or acceptance criteria for your user stories, the more skills you will be developing during the program.

Plan on dedicating at least 3 hours per week during the program’s 2-month period to optimize your learning opportunity. Even though there are no deadlines for your exercises, it is recommended that you complete one lesson per week in order to have the time to practice with different methods for documenting requirements during the program period.

What type of program material I will receive?

The program material includes short presentations with audio (with the same presentation in PDF format for you to download), lesson notes also in PDF format, and links to additional resources. Most of the activity will revolve around reading material available on the Web and practicing with hands-on exercises. The program was not designed to provide you with comprehensive study material, but rather to teach you how to apply the knowledge found in books you already have, or in online articles that will be recommended.

I work in an agile environment. Will this program help me?

Yes, and you will benefit from the material in both tracks. The Traditional track explains the difference between more traditional documentation and agile documentation, and lets you use user stories for capturing high-level requirements and acceptance criteria for more detailed specifications. The Agile Track covers additional agile concepts, such as grooming the backlog.

Do I need to read all content from both tracks in order to successfully complete the program?

No, you can opt early on to focus exclusively on the Traditional or Agile track, and only read the material associated with that track. Each track is self-sufficient, and if you want to specialize in agile requirements, even though you may benefit from checking out some of the lessons from the Traditional track (such as the one about visual models), it’s not necessary to achieve the program objectives.

Can I complete both tracks?

Upon joining the program, you’ll receive the materials from both the Traditional and the Agile tracks. You can submit assignments from one track. Each track individually qualifies for 21 PDs /CDUs / PDUs / Credit Hours, so no matter what you choose, you are covered.

If you decide it makes sense to pursue a second track at a later time, we offer a 50% discount on your subsequent investment in Crafting Better Requirements, which covers coaching support through the second track and earns you an additional 21 PDs / CDUs / PDUs / Credit Hours.

Let’s take a quick look at
what you are about to receive

You know that improving your requirements documentation could lead to more career opportunities. Let’s review exactly what’s included in the program.

  • You’ll get honest, constructive feedback from Adriana Beal on your requirements documentation, the kind you’ve been craving and receiving too little of from your stakeholders, peers, and mentors. (Coaching feedback is provided on the Traditional OR Agile track – you can choose your track after you review the materials.)
  • You’ll receive 12 jam-packed lessons on crafting better requirements in textual and audiovisual formats. (All participants get access to content from both tracks.)
  • You’ll work on a mock project to practice these concepts right away, ensuring you take the concepts from the program and translate them into concrete improvements in your requirements deliverables.
  • 21 PDs / CDUs / PDUs / Contact Hours for IIBA® or PMI certification, which are backed up by a personalized Certificate of Completion.

Enroll now – click below to join
Crafting Better Requirements
(and save $300)

With Crafting Better Requirements, you’ll receive everything you need to improve your requirements documentation. Whether you are a business analyst in a traditional or agile environment, or more familiar with ad hoc and informal methods, this program will help you confidently create high-quality requirements documentation.

What’s more, you can save $300 on your investment through April 25, 2017. Join today for only $997. After that time, the investment will be $1297. (Either investment is a great deal for the amount of 1-1 access to an experienced BA instructor like Adriana Beal along with 21 professional credits.)

Click the “Add to Cart” button below to initiate the program registration process and get started improving your requirements documents right away.

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(Join Crafting Better Requirements for $1297 $997 today.)

 

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Once registration is complete, you’ll receive your login information and access to the program materials right away, and can begin the practice work at any time.

“Thank you for the course I felt it was well structured and enjoyable. The feedback supplied by Adriana was constructive and professional and I especially found the extra reading material of interest and doubt that I would have found this material myself no matter how many hours of internet searching I put in.” – Deborah Wells

“This class helped me become more aware of my weaknesses and also gave me tools to strengthen them. I learned a variety of elements and principles in analysis and elicitation domain. I learned how to better craft and compose documents. All exercises were useful and helped highlight key concepts and skills. This class teaches you a skill and puts it into practice. Apart from all, Adriana, is an excellent mentor and advised me on techniques and analytical problem solving skills. Her dedication and professional skills is outstanding.” – Irfan

“Adriana’s feedback has been very thorough and helpful. It has not only helped me learn how to write better requirements, it has also given me glimpses into the uncertainties and messiness in the “real life” of a BA (I am currently working as a Technical Writer even though I have the job title of BA). It is much appreciated.” – Linda Q.

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I think you’ll find that the program will help you improve your requirements documentation and communication skills and is more than worth the modest financial investment (especially to earn 21 PDs/CDUs/PDUs/Contact Hours in the process). But if for some reason you find the program is not a good fit for you, there’s 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 program.)

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