IIBA Business Analyst Europe Conference 2011: Keynotes

Two of my highlights of the event came in the form of keynote speakers.

Ivar Jacobsopn – Use-case 2.0

Firstly, was the impressive Ivar Jacobson discussing the topic of Use-case 2.0. Unlike other methodologies and brands that have jumped on the 2.0 bandwagon, the latest version of the use-cases include a rework to allow for quick adoption by smaller software teams (without having to invest a career in trying to understand how to properly document them).

Perhaps most impressive for me was Ivar passion for using use-cases as a way for agile teams to generate user stories by slicing through the use-case workflows. He was able to show some great examples of how this approach can be used in support SCRUM and Kanban.

We have learnt one thing, we don’t need to document as much… People won’t read it anyway!

Ivar Jacobson 2011

Euan Semple – The Impact on Social Networks on Business

Secondly came Euan Semple (@euan). Now as a former digital marketer and user of social networks I have to confess to not being very excited about this keynote. Yet, what I had anticipated was going to be Social Media 101 was actually something much, much better.

Euan’s background as former Head of Knowledge Management at the BBC made me sit up and pay attention. What was to follow was an insightful and well constructed presentation of Social Networking Tools and how, using examples and anecdotes, they can be used to bring us closer together. Euan made the point that it didn’t matter if we were employees co-located in the same open-plan office or if we were a customers of a multinational, the tools could allow us to engage.

Now I know that there is nothing new in this thinking but what I loved was Euan’s views on using social networking tools as a way to capture knowledge, aid collaboration, break down one-way communication channels in organisations and empower employees. So many times I have seen poorly managed B2C social media failures, and Euan showed us a few, but the real value came in considering what an organisation could do with these tools that Euan suggests “are already being used” to radically change an organisations culture.

Knowledge Retention sounds like something you’d take a laxative for!

Semple 2011


  • Never underestimate the power of passion and humor when presenting – even if it is on a nerdy subject
  • We live and work in a rapidly evolving environment. Both Ivar and Euan showed examples of what had been and gone in the past 10 years. Our ability to learn, adapt and overcome new problems with everchanging tools will be what diffenciates us from those that don’t succeed.

IIBA Business Analyst Europe Conference: Roundup

This week I attended two days of the IIBA BA Europe Conference 2011 (#BA2011).

It was an excellent event and one that attracted practitioners and suppliers for right across the BA spectrum. These included: Business Analysts, Process Managers, Change Managers, Business Engineers, Systems Analysts, Business Architects, Enterprise Engineers and even a few PMs/PMOs!

What will follow in the next few days are my thoughts and notes from sessions I attended and things that I learnt while I was there. These are likely to be broken down into the following key areas:

  • Keynotes
  • Models, Tools & Techniques
  • Networking & Mentoring
  • Case Studies

I read and heard a lot while I was away and am likely to be digesting it for a few more days to come. Hopefully the write-up will be of interest to some of those that also attended.

Understanding Business Rules and Data Requirements

Last week I was thinking about how to capture and analyse business rules and data requirements for a current project. I’ve worked on a number of projects where the focus can often be on either rules or data, however focusing on one while leaving the other out can cause issues further on in the project life cycle. I’ve learnt this on previous Business Intelligence/Data Warehousing projects where over analysis of the data can lead analysts to start to ask more questions of the data then the end-users or owners ever wanted to ask, while key rules are not enforced.

While doing some reading around the subject I came across Mary Gorman’s IIBA Spotlight Webinar on Business Rules and Data Requirements.

But firstly, what is a rule?

A declaration of policy or conditions that must be satisfied…. In order to define, stream or enable our system or process behaviour. (Gottesdiener 2005)

Mary discusses 4 types of rules that can aid a BA in categorising rules and their corresponding data dependencies. These 4 rules are:

  • Term Rules
  • Fact Rules
  • Constraint Rules
  • Derived or Calculated Rules

I am listing them below more for my own reference benefit, but hopefully others will find them useful.

Term Rules
Defining nouns such as “Customer” or “Gift Card” is important. This task is not just for your glossary but for giving context to your system or process. We’re able to identify actors (Customer) from terms based rules and this helps us define the scope or boundary of the work to be undertaken.

Fact Rules
Fact rules are a two way relationship between terms rules. For example:

  • A purchase is paid for by a gift card
  • A gift card pays for purchases

These can be extended to use cardinalities

  • A purchase may be paid for by one or more gift cards
  • A gift card may be paid for by one or more purchases

As we identify fact rules we can determine data attributes. For example:

  • A customer has an address. An address is made up of address lines, city and location.

Defining these data types allows us to define the scope of the rule. For example we don’t want a second address line.

Constraint Rules
Constrain rules can be used to constrain the action of a rule. In this example an expiration date is added to the gift card.

  • gift card expiration date must be equal to or greater than purchase date.

Derived or Calculated Rule
A calculated rule allows us to derive new attributes from existing ones. For example:

  • A gift card date is calculated from the date of activation plus 365 days.

Gottesdiener, Ellen, The Software Requirements Memory Jogger: A Pocket Guide to Help Software and Business Teams Develop and Manage Requirements. Goal/QPC, 2005