If you want to speed up the requirements process on your projects (and get stakeholders more open and willing to talk to you), one of the best skills you can acquire is the ability to quickly create visual models.
To help you master making your own visual models fast, we’ve put together the Visual Model Sample Pack – 22 real-world visual samples that cover everything from UML diagrams to white board drawings, so you can easily incorporate more visuals into your requirements process, and get the process moving faster.
When you download your copy of the Visual Model Sample Pack today, you’ll receive real BA work samples from my own personal archive. Each sample includes a snapshot of the actual visual that was included in documentation and presented to stakeholders along with the source file in the native format. (Only confidential or company-identifying information was edited out.)
Keep reading to see how these real-word samples can help you stand out at work as a BA who knows how to get the requirement process moving.
How these real-world samples can help you become an expert at speeding up communication
All 22 of your samples come complete with descriptions of how and why they were created, explanations of the terminology, and common issues to watch out for.
With access to these samples, you can use the Visual Model Sample Pack to:
- Get better input from your stakeholders by incorporating more visual models into your meetings and documentation without investing hours or days in putting the models together. You’ll be able to make these models more quickly than you might think.
- Communicate and analyze complex sets of information more easily. It’s likely one or more models will give you a fresh way to approach a problem. You’ll be able to use these models to solve challenging analysis problems.
- Identify relevant visual modeling experiences from your career background, even if you didn’t use formal visual modeling techniques at the time. You’ll be able to find or recreate your own work samples that you can share in BA job interviews.
You’ll leave your first review of the Sample Pack with tons of ideas for how to quickly and easily incorporate visual models into your projects and swipe files that will get you started creating new visual models quickly. With the Sample Pack as your go-to reference, you’ll be confident that you are creating visual models that are useful, effective, and appreciated.
Learn to create stress-free visual models that speed up your requirements process
If you’re already aware of the more formal notations and tools available to analysts, the idea of incorporating more visuals into your requirements process might seem intimidating – but it doesn’t have to be that way at all.
Formal models can be overwhelming because they require applying sophisticated collections of notations in picture-perfect ways to communicate even the simplest of concepts.
Informal models are much easier to create and they are appreciated by stakeholders because they are simple to understand. You’ll also find that stakeholders provide a lot more feedback on your more informal models because they don’t appear to be too perfect. And you’ll find it simple to incorporate their input since you saved significant time and effort creating the model in the first place.
Even if you have read a few books on visual models, you might have been surprised that it didn’t diminish the stress of creating visual models into your requirements process.
The sample visual models found in typical books and training materials are created for fictitious scenarios or perfect-world settings. As a writer or instructor, you get to bend and shape the case study so that it demonstrates the concept you are hoping to get across.
Reality is rarely so kind to us analysts.
In the real world, we bend our models to fit our systems, domains, and stakeholders in order to create powerful communication tools.
- We draw quickly and rework models as our stakeholders start sharing new information.
- We apply a small set of easy-to-understand notations that are intuitively understood.
- We leverage easy-to-use tools to capture the models electronically so they are painless to share and maintain.
Stress-free visual models are free of the formality that bogs you down and full of power that encourages collaboration and communication. They are simple to create, simple to maintain, and simple to understand. Easy means fast and fast means you get more done in less time.
Make your visual models
easier to create and
better communication tools
These informal models can actually make your communication better, though that often seems counter-intuitive when you might think it’s taking a shortcut. Here’s why they work so well.
- Informal notations are easier to understand. Your stakeholders spend less time deciphering what the model means and more time sharing new information.
- Less-than-perfect-looking visuals are easier for your stakeholders to comment on. They may be intimidated by a formal model and wary of providing feedback that shows their lack of understanding. Something that looks easily editable is more straight-forward to critique.
- Simple-to-create visuals make it easier for you to embrace new information. If you’ve over-invested in a notation or a sophisticated tool, you are going to be less open to input and changes. You’ll also be thinking about the notation of the model instead of the content. Starting with simple, informal, simple-to-update models helps you focus on how to incorporate new information.
In the Visual Model Sample Pack, you’ll receive samples from my BA work files, whether those samples use an informal notation, are presented in a less-than-perfect format, or created using informal tools. You’ll see what models from a working business analyst really look like which frees you up to begin gaining the benefits of incorporating visual models into your requirements process without worrying so much about the formal details.
Instead of investing hours or days on formal models, you’ll learn how to do what works in your project situation so you can enable faster communication.
Just like the models aren’t pulled from a fictitious case study, the visual model samples aren’t all from one company or project either. They span 10 years of business analysis activity and 6 different organizations.
While some of the models relate together (cross-references are provided so you can see how different models were used together), most are selected from unique projects. This way, you get a flavor of how different visuals are created for different contexts.
We’ll walk you step-by-step through each model so you understand every part (and how to create them quickly yourself)
Along with each of the 22 real-world samples, you’ll receive context to help you understand what they do and how they do it. You’ll learn exactly what kind of business analysis work got done as a result of creating the model.
For each model, we’ll answer the following questions in detail:
- Why was the model created in the first place?
- How was the model presented?
- Who reviewed the model and for what?
Then we’ll walk through the model piece-by-piece so you can interpret it and learn to use the notation in your own business analysis work. Each sample also includes a list of reasons you might create a similar model, along with a step-by-step process for doing so.
What’s more, accompanying each sample is one or more native format swipe files. These files are in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Visio, and Balsamiq. To create your visual model simply open the swipe file in the appropriate software application, start editing, and save your work. You’ll save time hunting for the right elements for your models because you won’t be starting from scratch.
And because even simple models can surface complex issues that can stop you in your tracks if you don’t expect them, each sample also includes an explanation of the most common issues analysts face when creating this type of model along with time-tested ways to work around those issues.
You’ll get clear on all the terminology you need to know with a list of over 100 terms and BABOK® Guide references
The other thing about visual modeling is that the terminology tends to be inconsistent and confusing. One person’s process flow is another person’s workflow diagram is another person’s activity diagram.
Terminology issues surface in job requirements and job interviews. One BA told an interviewer he’d never completed a wireframe, even though he’d created several user interface prototypes throughout his career. Most likely, the employer would have seen the prototyping experience as relevant. If he had known to bring it up, he may have advanced further in the interview process.
Other BAs report being asked to complete specific tasks, like an activity diagram or a business process model. Since the terminology is new, they aren’t sure what’s expected and get anxious about their ability to do their jobs. In reality, they’ve created very similar models before, called them workflow diagrams, and in fact had a lot of relevant experience to draw from.
When you download the Visual Model Sample Pack, you’ll be able to wade through conflicting and unclear terminology to figure out what’s really being requested on your project or what skills you have.
Each sample has a few key features to help you:
- First, we make an explicit connection to tasks and techniques in the BABOK® Guide so you’ll be absolutely clear about what BA activity the model represents.
- Second, we provide a comprehensive list of alternate terminology that can be used to describe the model. Where appropriate, each term is defined and the degree to which the model represents the term is described.
- Third, updated formal models are provided to show how to communicate the information in the informal model using more formal notations. This way you get the benefit of seeing how real BA work was done and how more formal modeling techniques could be used to address the same challenge.
What’s more, the Pack comes with a complete index of over 100 terms that guide you to the most relevant sample. You won’t need to wade through all 22 samples to find the most appropriate model. We’ll help you connect the dots.
Whatever toolset you have, whatever methodology your company uses, you can create visual models like these
One more thing you’ll notice when you download these real-world visual model samples is that the format you see will vary, which reflects the fact that the tools available varied by BA job and contract. So these samples will show you how to put these models into practice no matter what tools you have at hand.
You won’t need fancy tools to create similar visual models. Visio works well and is provided by many employers. In the absence of Visio, simple online tools provide inexpensive alternatives and many have free trials.
A list of inexpensive tools and free trials is provided in the Visual Modeling Guidebook, so you’ll be able to get started right away without a making a big financial investment.
This leads us to the next benefit of the Visual Model Sample Pack.
In addition to receiving 22 real-world visual model samples, each one complete with context and how-to information, when you download the Visual Model Sample Pack, you’ll also receive a 16-page Visual Modeling Guidebook walking you through exactly how to use each visual model sample.
Here’s what’s covered in your Visual Modeling Guidebook:
- How to use visual modeling in your projects, even if it’s not part of your organization’s process or templates.
- A list of tools you can use to create these types of visual models, with the focus being on simple and inexpensive tools that are effective and convenient.
- How to use each part of the Visual Model Sample Pack to get your requirements process moving faster.
- Six approaches for reviewing or collaboratively creating visual models that have moved projects significantly forward in a matter of hours.
- How to incorporate more visual models into your requirements process in a matter of hours, not days so you can get the benefits of the Pack without working a lot of overtime or failing to meet your other job commitments.
Whether you find yourself in an agile, iterative, or waterfall environment, it’s possible and often necessary to incorporate visuals as a communication tool. The Visual Modeling Guidebook will lead you through how to do it.
I have just downloaded your new pack and just about to start going through it. It looks brilliant, so I am confident it is going to help me massively as modelling is a skill that I am constantly trying to develop. – Tom James
Take a quick look at
what you’ll be able to do with
all 22 of your visual model samples
While it will be unnecessary to use every model for every project (the samples are drawn from experience across 10 years of BA work in 6 different companies), here’s a complete list of the 22 visual model samples you’ll receive with the Pack.
This model illustrates the steps a system undertakes to deliver an outcome which can help you work through the details of a complex process. Your example includes both an informal original diagram and a formalized activity diagram in UML notation.
Business Domain Model
This model helps clear up conceptual misunderstandings by clarifying the information created and managed by an organization without diving deep into the database structures.
Competitive Comparison Matrix
This model, which fits easily onto a single PowerPoint slide yet communicates a tremendous amount of information which will help you facilitate prioritization by benchmarking your organization against its competitors.
Data Flow Diagram
This model illustrates how information flows through, into, and out of a system. Originally created as a workflow diagram, updated versions are provided in both the Yourdon and Gane-Sarson Notations.
This model goes deeper than the Business Domain Model, including a matrix of attributes so that your development team knows exactly what data fields to create, along with their associated data types and allowable values.
Evaluation Criteria and Recommendation Summary
These two complementary models will help you gain clarity on what your options are and make decisions from information instead of untested opinions. (I actually hand-created these two samples when screening BA job candidates for a client.)
Feature Brainstorming Mind Map
This model helps you in that early stage of the project when everything is fuzzy but you absolutely need to get something down on paper by capturing ideas, concerns, and benefits in a loosely structured visual format.
This model is a simple requirements tracking tool to help you manage your BA work.
Feature Prioritization and Stakeholder Matrix
This matrix addresses two complementary concerns: identifying the stakeholders needed for different parts of the project and reconciling their competing priorities.
This simple 4-box model shows how information technology investments yield demonstrable value to the business so you can clearly communicate the impact of a program of investments.
This model helps you keep the big picture perspective on how the user interface flows. It’s also great for setting the stage for user interface or use case reviews.
This model shows you how to represent hierarchies of large teams, informal roles and allegiances, and the difference between contractors and full-time employees so you can build a clear picture of who is responsible for what.
This model can help stakeholders make faster and more informed decisions about next steps, ensuring that the organization is learning from its own activities and results.
Process Flow Diagram
This model provides an intuitive way for stakeholders get clarity on how work gets done and appreciate how value is delivered. Your sample includes both the original workflow diagram and a formalized BPMN (Business Process Modeling Notation) example.
Process Improvement Progress Report
This model illustrates the past, current, and future state of a business process that is undergoing continuous improvement so that you can demonstrate the value of continuing to improve a process.
This model helps you answer a fundamental question – what is “in scope” vs. “out of scope” for a project, product, or system – and provides a great reference point for organizing your requirements.
This model illustrates the temporary structure put in place for a project to show who is responsible for what and how different artifacts get reviewed, approved, and ready for implementation.
SWOT Analysis and Opportunity Analysis
These two complementary models help you first clear the air during a challenging decision-making process and then evaluate your go-forward opportunities.
System Architecture Diagram
This model identifies the system components and how they interact as part of the solution. It will help you discover integration requirements and organize your requirements so they make sense to technical stakeholders.
System Context Diagram
This model is a simple tool for identifying integration points between systems and specifying what type of information is passed from one system to another.
Use Case Diagram
This model shows the actors, use cases, and the relationships between them. It’s useful on a project with many use cases to get the big picture of who is using the system and what functionality they can execute.
User Interface Wireframe
This model is particularly useful in generating “yes, but” conversations by showing what an application might look like. Using it can minimize the number of new requirements surfacing during testing.
Here’s a quick summary of everything
you’re about to receive
Once you download your copy of the Visual Model Sample Pack, you’ll have everything you need to include faster and more effective visuals into your requirements process – samples to work from, contexts to apply, and a step-by-step set of instructions for creating each visual model.
Along with the 16-page Visual Modeling Guidebook walking you through how to use visual models to speed up your requirements process, you’ll receive an alphabetized index of 100+ visual modeling terms so you can find the exact model you are looking for, and 22 real-world visual model samples, covering everything from UML diagrams to whiteboard drawings.
Each of your 22 real-world visual model samples will include:
- An overview of why the model was created, who it was created for, and how it was presented.
- A real-world visual, edited only to remove confidential information.
- Where appropriate, an updated sample using a formal notation, so you can experience a breadth of modeling techniques.
- A detailed walk-through of the model, so you’ll understand each piece and part and be able to apply it to your own analysis work.
- An index of terminology used to describe the model.
- Ways to use similar models in your own analyst work.
- A step-by-step guide to creating a similar model so you will know exactly how to get started.
- A list of common challenges and workarounds, so you know how to get unstuck when you face issues applying the visual model.
- Swipe files in native formats (such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Visio), so you can create your own version of the model without starting from scratch.
I’m confident you’ll find the Pack helps you feel more self-assured about creating visual models, even if you don’t have fancy tools or the time to learn formal notations.
Download the Pack Now
Just click the “Add to Cart” button below and get your copy of this pack for only $97. You’ll be taken through our quick, secure checkout process and can download your files immediately.
(Get the Visual Model Sample Pack for only $97 today.)
P.S. Did You Know You Can Upgrade to the Template Bundle and Save $138 Today?
If you are really serious about saving time and applying best practices in your business analysis work, you’ll want to have all of the toolkits at your disposal. What’s more, you can save $138 by picking up all 5 of our toolkits together as a bundle.
Let’s take a quick look at the extra toolkit packs included in the bundle:
Why start from scratch? Save time with annotated templates handling common BA scenarios. Whether you are a new business analyst and not sure where to start on your first project or a seasoned business analyst looking to streamline your documentation, you’ll find templates to start with and work samples to model in this unique toolkit.
Save time writing professional emails with 32 simple, copy-and-paste templates specifically for business analysts. What’s more, the methodical approach incorporated into the templates will ensure you are using email in the most effective way.
Make requirements discovery easy with checklists that cover every important question to ask. When you download the Checklist Pack, you’ll receive over 700 categorized and cross-referenced questions so you can prepare for your next elicitation session with a sense of ease and confidence.
Turn barely managed chaos into a nice, neat list of clearly prioritized projects. When you download the Organizer, you’ll receive a full set of customizable templates and processes to help your organization get organizational buy-in on clear priorities for more focused delivery.
Download the Template Bundle Now and Save $138
Each template toolkit is individually offered at $97. For only $347 (a $138 savings), you’ll receive all the toolkits and can leverage them as part of starting and growing your business analyst career. Click the Add to Cart button below to get all 5 template packs for
(Save $138 and download all 5 template toolkits for only
$485 $347 today.)
I’m confident you’ll find the Visual Model Sample Pack helps you creatively apply more visuals to your requirements process and save time communicating complex concepts on your next project.
You’ll not only have ideas for how to model the requirements, but also samples and steps to work from, drawn from 10 years of experience over multiple industries.
But if for any reason you find the Pack (or the Template Bundle) isn’t a good fit for your work as an analyst, we offer a hassle-free money back guarantee for 30 days following your investment.