Business Analyst Glossary and Terms
A model that illustrates the flow of processes and/or complex use cases by showing each activity along with information flows and concurrent activities. Steps can be superimposed onto horizontal swimlanes for the roles that perform the steps.
The human and nonhuman roles that interact with the system.
A generic name for a role with the responsibilities of developing and managing requirements. Other names include business analyst, business integrator, requirements analyst, requirements engineer, and systems analyst.
A link between two elements or objects in a diagram.
Assumptions are influencing factors that are believed to be true but have not been confirmed to be accurate.
A data element with a specified data type that describes information associated with a concept or entity.
A point-in-time view of requirements that have been reviewed and agreed upon to serve as a basis for further development.
Tests written without regard to how the software is implemented. These tests show only what the expected input and outputs will be.
Brainstorming is a team activity that seeks to produce a broad or diverse set of options through the rapid and uncritical generation of ideas.
Business analysis is the set of tasks and techniques used to work as a liaison among stakeholders in order to understand the structure, policies and operations of an organization, and recommend solutions that enable the organization to achieve its goals.
A practitioner of business analysis.
A subset of the enterprise architecture that defines an organization’s current and future state, including its strategy, its goals and objectives, the internal environment through a process or functional view, the external environment in which the business operates, and the stakeholders affected by the organization's activities.
An assessment of the costs and benefits associated with a proposed initiative.
Business constraints are limitations placed on the solution design by the organization that needs the solution. Business constraints describe limitations on available solutions, or an aspect of the current state that cannot be changed by the deployment of the new solution. See also technical constraint.
A conceptual view of all or part of an enterprise focusing on products, deliverables and events that are important to the mission of the organization. The domain model is useful to validate the solution scope with the business and technical stakeholders. See also model.
A system trigger that is initiated by humans.
A state or condition the business must satisfy to reach its vision.
A business policy is a non-actionable directive that supports a business goal.
A set of defined ad-hoc or sequenced collaborative activities performed in a repeatable fashion by an organization. Processes are triggered by events and may have multiple possible outcomes. A successful outcome of a process will deliver value to one or more stakeholders.
A higher level business rationale that, when addressed, will permit the organization to increase revenue, avoid costs, improve service, or meet regulatory requirements.
A Business Requirements Document is a requirements package that describes business requirements and stakeholder requirements (it documents requirements of interest to the business, rather than documenting business requirements).
A business rule is a specific, actionable, testable directive that is under the control of the business and supports a business policy.
The number of occurrences of one entity in a data model that are linked to a second entity. Cardinality is shown on a data model with a special notation, number (e.g., 1), or letter (e.g., M for many).
See fishbone diagram.
A quality control technique. They may include a standard set of quality elements that reviewers use for requirements verification and requirements validation or be specifically developed to capture issues of concern to the project.
A descriptor for a set of system objects that share the same attributes, operations, relationships, and behavior. A class represents a concept in the system under design. When used as an analysis model, a class will generally also correspond to a real-world entity.
A type of data model that depicts information groups as classes.
A system of programming statements, symbols, and rules used to represent instructions to a computer.
Software developed and sold for a particular market.
A structured process which captures the key characteristics of an industry to predict the long-term profitability prospects and to determine the practices of the most significant competitors.
A constraint describes any limitations imposed on the solution that do not support the business or stakeholder needs.
Analysis done to compare and quantify the financial and non-financial costs of making a change or implementing a solution compared to the benefits gained.
An analysis model describing the data structures and attributes needed by the system.
A group of related information to be stored by the system. Entities can be people, roles, places, things, organizations, occurrences in time, concepts, or documents.
An analysis model that illustrates processes that occur, along with the flows of data to and from those processes.
An analysis model that depicts the logical structure of data, independent of the data design or data storage mechanisms.
An approach to decision-making that examines and models the possible consequences of different decisions. Decision analysis assists in making an optimal decision under conditions of uncertainty.
An analysis model that specifies complex business rules or logic concisely in an easy-to-read tabular format, specifying all of the possible conditions and actions that need to be accounted for in business rules.
An analysis model that provides a graphical alternative to decision tables by illustrating conditions and actions in sequence.
A technique that subdivides a problem into its component parts in order to facilitate analysis and understanding of those components.
Software requirements that limit the options available to the system designer.
Developers are responsible for the construction of software applications. Areas of expertise include development languages, development practices and application components.
An analysis model that shows user interface dialogs arranged as hierarchies.
An analysis model that illustrates the architecture of the system's user interface.
The problem area undergoing analysis.
A person with specific expertise in an area or domain under investigation.
An activity within requirements development that identifies sources for requirements and then uses elicitation techniques (e.g., interviews, prototypes, facilitated workshops, documentation studies) to gather requirements from those sources.
A person or system that directly interacts with the solution. End users can be humans who interface with the system, or systems that send or receive data files to or from the system.
Enterprise architecture is a description of an organization’s business processes, IT software and hardware, people, operations and projects, and the relationships between them.
The systematic and objective assessment of a solution to determine its status and efficacy in meeting objectives over time, and to identify ways to improve the solution to better meet objectives. See also metric, indicator and monitoring.
A prototype that is continuously modified and updated in response to feedback from users.
Interfaces with other systems (hardware, software, and human) that a proposed system will interact with.
See feasibility study.
An evaluation of proposed alternatives to determine if they are technically possible within the constraints of the organization and whether they will deliver the desired benefits to the organization.
A cohesive bundle of externally visible functionality that should align with business goals and objectives. Each feature is a logically related grouping of functional requirements or non-functional requirements described in broad strokes.
A focus group is a means to elicit ideas and attitudes about a specific product, service or opportunity in an interactive group environment. The participants share their impressions, preferences and needs, guided by a moderator.
A graphical method for depicting the forces that support and oppose a change. Involves identifying the forces, depicting them on opposite sides of a line (supporting and opposing forces) and then estimating the strength of each set of forces.
The product capabilities, or things the product must do for its users.
A comparison of the current state and desired future state of an organization in order to identify differences that need to be addressed.
A list and definition of the business terms and concepts relevant to the solution being built or enhanced.
See business goal.
A prototype that shows a shallow, and possibly wide, view of the system's functionality, but which does not generally support any actual use or interaction.
A stakeholder who will be responsible for designing, developing, and implementing the change described in the requirements and have specialized knowledge regarding the construction of one or more solution components.
A use case composed of a common set of steps used by multiple use cases.
Creating working software in multiple releases so the entire product is delivered in portions over time.
An indicator identifies a specific numerical measurement that indicates progress toward achieving an impact, output, activity or input. See also metric.
A shared boundary between any two persons and/or systems through which information is communicated.
Ability of systems to communicate by exchanging data or services.
A systematic approach to elicit information from a person or group of people in an informal or formal setting by asking relevant questions and documenting the responses.
A process in which a deliverable (or the solution overall) is progressively elaborated upon. Each iteration is a self-contained "mini-project" in which a set of activities are undertaken, resulting in the development of a subset of project deliverables. For each iteration, the team plans its work, does the work, and checks it for quality and completeness. (Iterations can occur within other iterations as well. For example, an iteration of requirements development would include elicitation, analysis, specification, and validation activities.)
A group of related tasks that support a key function of business analysis.
A process improvement technique used to learn about and improve on a process or project. A lessons learned session involves a special meeting in which the team explores what worked, what didn't work, what could be learned from the just-completed iteration, and how to adapt processes and techniques before continuing or starting anew.
Metadata is information that is used to understand the context and validity of information recorded in a system.
A set of processes, rules, templates, and working methods that prescribe how business analysis, solution development and implementation is performed in a particular context.
A metric is a quantifiable level of an indicator that an organization wants to accomplish at a specific point in time.
A representation and simplification of reality developed to convey information to a specific audience to support analysis, communication and understanding.
See business need.
The quality attributes, design and implementation constraints, and external interfaces that the product must have.
An approach to software engineering where software is comprised of components that are encapsulated groups of data and functions which can inherit behavior and attributes from other components; and whose components communicate via messages with one another. In some organizations, the same approach is used for business engineering to describe and package the logical components of the business.
A stakeholder who helps to keep the solution functioning, either by providing support to end users (trainers, help desk) or by keeping the solution operational on a day-to-day basis (network and other tech support).
The business rules an organization chooses to enforce as a matter of policy. They are intended to guide the actions of people working within the business. They may oblige people to take certain actions, prevent people from taking actions, or prescribe the conditions under which an action may be taken.
The process of examining new business opportunities to improve organizational performance.
Defining whether or not a relationship between entities in a data model is mandatory. Optionality is shown on a data model with a special notation.
An autonomous unit within an enterprise under the management of a single individual or board, with a clearly defined boundary that works towards common goals and objectives. Organizations operate on a continuous basis, as opposed to an organizational unit or project team, which may be disbanded once its objectives are achieved.
The analysis technique used to describe roles, responsibilities and reporting structures that exist within an organization.
A validation technique in which a small group of stakeholders evaluates a portion of a work product to find errors to improve its quality.
Any methodology that emphasizes planning and formal documentation of the processes used to accomplish a project and of the results of the project. Plan-driven methodologies emphasize the reduction of risk and control over outcomes over the rapid delivery of a solution.
The process of determining the relative importance of a set of items in order to determine the order in which they will be addressed.
A brief statement or paragraph that describes the problems in the current state and clarifies what a successful solution will look like.
See business process.
A business model that shows a business process in terms of the steps and input and output flows across multiple functions, organizations, or job roles.
A visual model or representation of the sequential flow and control logic of a set of related activities or actions.
A document issued by the project initiator or sponsor that formally authorizes the existence of a project, and provides the project manager with the authority to apply organizational resources to project activities.
A partial or preliminary version of the system.
The degree to which a set of inherent characteristics fulfills requirements.
Activities performed to ensure that a process will deliver products that meet an appropriate level of quality.
The subset of nonfunctional requirements that describes properties of the software's operation, development, and deployment (e.g., performance, security, usability, portability, and testability).
A stakeholder with legal or governance authority over the solution or the process used to develop it.
A real or virtual facility where all information on a specific topic is stored and is available for retrieval.
A requirements document issued to solicit vendor input on a proposed process or product. An RFI is used when the issuing organization seeks to compare different alternatives or is uncertain regarding the available options
A requirements document issued when an organization is seeking a formal proposal from vendors. An RFP typically requires that the proposals be submitted following a specific process and using sealed bids which will be evaluated against a formal evaluation methodology.
An informal solicitation of proposals from vendors.
- A condition or capability needed by a stakeholder to solve a problem or achieve an objective.
- A condition or capability that must be met of possessed by a solution or solution component to satisfy a contract, standard, specification or other formally imposed documents.
- A documented representation of a condition or capability as in 1) or 2).
Metadata related to a requirement used to assist with requirements development and management.
An error in requirements caused by incorrect, incomplete, missing, or conflicting requirements.
The process of apportioning requirements to subsystems and components (i.e., people, hardware, and software).
See requirements package.
An iteration that defines requirements for a subset of the solution scope. For example, an iteration of requirements would include identifying a part of the overall product scope to focus upon, identifying requirements sources for that portion of the product, analyzing stakeholders and planning how to elicit requirements from them, conducting elicitation techniques, documenting the requirements, and validating the requirements.
The activities that control requirements development, including requirements change control, requirements attributes definition, and requirements traceability.
A description of the requirements management process.
A software tool that stores requirements information in a database, captures requirements attributes and associations, and facilitates requirements reporting.
A representation of requirements using text and diagrams. Requirements models can also be called user requirements models or analysis models and can supplement textual requirements specifications.
A requirements package is a set of requirements grouped together in a document or presentation for communication to stakeholders.
See requirements validation and requirements verification.
An analysis of requirements-related risks that ranks risks and identifies actions to avoid or minimize those risks.
Formal approval of a set of requirements by a sponsor or other decision maker.
A matrix used to track requirements' relationships. Each column in the matrix provides requirements information and associated project or software development components.
The ability to identify and document the lineage of each requirement, including its derivation (backward traceability), its allocation (forward traceability), and its relationship to other requirements.
The work done to evaluate requirements to ensure they are defined correctly and are at an acceptable level of quality. It ensures the requirements are sufficiently defined and structured so that the solution development team can use them in the design, development and implementation of the solution.
A requirements workshop is a structured meeting in which a carefully selected group of stakeholders collaborate to define and or refine requirements under the guidance of a skilled neutral facilitator.
A measure of the profitability of a project or investment.
An uncertain event or condition that, if it occurs, will affect the goals or objectives of a proposed change.
Root cause analysis is a structured examination of an identified problem to understand the underlying causes.
A model that defines the boundaries of a business domain or solution.
A type of diagram that shows objects participating in interactions and the messages exchanged between them.
Work carried out or on behalf of others.
A characteristic of a solution that meets the business and stakeholder requirements. May be subdivided into functional and non-functional requirements.
Span of control is the number of employees a manger is directly (or indirectly) responsible for.
A stakeholder who authorizes or legitimizes the product development effort by contracting for or paying for the project.
A group or person who has interests that may be affected by an initiative or influence over it.
A listing of the stakeholders affected by a business need or proposed solution and a description of their participation in a project or other initiative.
Stakeholder requirements are statements of the needs of a particular stakeholder or class of stakeholders. They describe the needs that a given stakeholder has and how that stakeholder will interact with a solution. Stakeholder requirements serve as a bridge between business requirements and the various categories of solution requirements.
An analysis model showing the life cycle of a data entity or class.
See state diagram.
See state diagram..
A requirement articulated by a stakeholder that has not been analyzed, verified, or validated. Stated requirements frequently reflect the desires of a stakeholder rather than the actual need.
Structural rules determine when something is or is not true or when things fall into a certain category. They describe categorizations that may change over time.
A stakeholder with specific expertise in an aspect of the problem domain or potential solution alternatives or components.
A stakeholder who provides products or services to an organization.
A survey administers a set of written questions to stakeholders in order to collect responses from a large group in a relatively short period of time.
The horizontal or vertical section of a process model that show which activities are performed by a particular actor or role.
SWOT is an acronym for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. It is a model used to understand influencing factors and how they may affect an initiative.
A collection of interrelated elements that interact to achieve an objective. System elements can include hardware, software, and people. One system can be a sub-element (or subsystem) of another system.
Techniques alter the way a business analysis task is performed or describe a specific form the output of a task may take.
A system trigger that is initiated by time.
A stakeholder responsible for assessing the quality of, and identifying defects in, a software application.
A prototype used to quickly uncover and clarify interface requirements using simple tools, sometimes just paper and pencil. Usually discarded when the final system has been developed.
A fixed period of time to accomplish a desired outcome.
A classification of requirements that describe capabilities that the solution must have in order to facilitate transition from the current state of the enterprise to the desired future state, but that will not be needed once that transition is complete.
A non-proprietary modeling and specification language used to specify, visualize, and document deliverables for object-oriented software-intensive systems.
A stakeholder, person, device, or system that directly or indirectly accesses a system.
Test cases that users employ to judge whether the delivered system is acceptable. Each acceptance test describes a set of system inputs and expected results.
A requirements document written for a user audience, describing user requirements and the impact of the anticipated changes on the users.
A high-level, informal, short description of a solution capability that provides value to a stakeholder. A user story is typically one or two sentences long and provides the minimum information necessary to allow a developer to estimate the work required to implement it.
The process of checking a product to ensure that it satisfies its intended use and conforms to its requirements. Validation ensures that you built the correct solution. Also see requirements validation.
Analysis of discrepancies between planned and actual performance, to determine the magnitude of those discrepancies and recommend corrective and preventative action as required.
The process of checking that a deliverable produced at a given stage of development satisfies the conditions or specifications of the previous stage. Verification ensures that you built the solution correctly. Also see requirements verification.
Requirements that have been shown to demonstrate the characteristics of requirements quality and as such are cohesive, complete, consistent, correct, feasible, modifiable, unambiguous, and testable.
A prototype that dives into the details of the interface, functionality, or both.
A brief statement or paragraph that describes the why, what, and who of the desired software product from a business point of view.
A type of peer review in which participants present, discuss, and step through a work product to find errors. Walkthroughs of requirements documentation are used to verify the correctness of requirements. See also structured walkthrough.
A deliverable-oriented hierarchical decomposition of the work to be executed by the project team to accomplish the project objectives and create the required deliverables. It organizes and defines the total scope of the project.
A document or collection of notes or diagrams used by the business analyst during the requirements development process.