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Information Science, Knowledge Management and the Business Analyst

In today’s fast changing world, information, and technology are changing the way organizations and nations operate. The quality of information available to an organization, its ease of use and systems of dissemination can make the difference between organizations that thrive and those that get left behind in the archives of history. To understand this better, let’s look at the science of information.

Information science is the discipline that deals with managing information, from creation to final archiving or destruction. It is concerned with the generation of data, the associated technologies, and the transformation of data into information and knowledge. What is information? Let’s begin by defining data.



Data can be described as independent entities, , numbers, letters etc. that on their own do not convey any useful meaning. Consider the following data set:  ‘A’, ‘John’, ‘boy’ ‘good’ ‘is’ ‘1’, ‘class’ ‘and’ ‘in’  ‘number’ ‘his’ . Each entity on its own does not really convey any useful meaning. However, when this data is put through a transformation process, with a pattern or structure, it conveys a meaning ‘John is a good boy and number 1 in his class – these entities which has been structured or patterned becomes information within the system.



Information can therefore be described as data with a meaningful pattern to the system receiving it, such that it can change the state of the system. In other words when information is received by an individual, an organization or a system, it must be meaningful to that system: they have been transformed by this information. In some cases, the information received enables them to take an action or make a decision. This change in state might be from a current (as-is) state to a future (to-be) state, or just a change in position from point a to b, or from a less informed state to a more informed state.



Knowledge: When information has been fully understood, digested, and internalized by a system such that the system can reproduce it in various forms and disseminate it easily to others, it has become knowledge to that system. For example, an employee may build up their knowledge of a domain through multiple channels: training, conferences, water cooler conversations etc.  and become an expert with a full understanding of the subject area. They can simplify it into various forms and train others: the information they have absorbed has become their knowledge.

This relationship between data, information and knowledge can be represented as shown below in a knowledge circle.



The importance of knowledge to an organization can never be overemphasized. Organizations can thrive or fail depending on the quality of knowledge that exists within them. Knowledge in organizations exists in two forms: explicit and tacit knowledge.

Explicit knowledge is the knowledge that exists in the public domain of an organization. It is in their culture, in their SharePoint systems, books, journals… It is documented and widely available to all.

Tacit knowledge is the knowledge that exists within individuals and SMEs, it is unwritten, can be heuristic, is veritable and often lost when such individuals are no longer with the organization.

Seeing the value of knowledge to the continued existence of organizations, how can businesses best elicit the knowledge within their domain? How can they ensure the quality of their information, and extract valuable tacit knowledge from SMEs? Answers to these questions lies in the domain of business analysis.




Business Analysts

Business Analysts are change agents who often sit between the business and technology arms of an organization. They help the communication between the business and technology, ensuring data from both sides is translated into meaningful information which both parties understand, ultimately causing a change in the state of the organization. Business Analysts help organizations move forward from a current state to a future state.

Business Analysts by nature of their training can elicit tacit knowledge from SMEs, document the knowledge and ensure organizations do not increase their technical debt when valuable employees leave. They are also well placed to investigate and scrutinize the volume of information accessible to an organization by verifying and validating it with SMEs before such information is used in business decisions, thus improving the quality of an organization’s information and knowledge.


Some of the Business Analysts’ skills include the following:



Concluding Remarks

The knowledge circle will continue to be at the heart of an organization’s growth. Organizations which harness their knowledge correctly will continue to outperform their counterparts, and Business Analysts who understand their role in this circle will continue to be great assets and instrumental to the success of their organizations.



User Stories: A Vital Step to Craft Successful Software

Simple and easy-to-understand user stories are the key to designing and developing successful software applications (products). Mastering the art of writing user stories is crucial for product owners and business analysts. Want to explore more about user stories? Here you go!


User Story 101

The foremost step in developing a project is to have a clear view of what needs to be created. Clarity is the most crucial element in software application design and development to end up with the most efficient solution.

User stories are the step-by-step documentation of a process, which describes the actions and results. It is an agile software development tool that mentions the features from the users’ perspective. The well-documented user stories are the foremost step in the agile development process to design and develop a software application that users love to use.

The primary purpose of writing a user story is to define project deliverables and how they will bring value to the user. No matter how complex a product or project can be, user stories are always written in simple terms. It needs to be as simple as possible so that a non-technical person can understand the document. There are some key considerations that make the creation of user stories even easier.


Key elements of a user story

  • Simple, straightforward content
  • Keeps users at the focal point
  • Collaborate with team members to gather details
  • Emphasis value deliverables


Apart from this, Business Analysts should also focus on making the entire teams’ and stakeholders’ participation by adding an INVEST element to the user story.


I – Independent (Self-contained without overlapping actions)

N – Negotiable (Keep the scope for negotiation to design a user-centric product)

V – Valuable (Must deliver values to the end users)

E – Estimable (Estimate, prioritize, and fit into sprints)

S – Small (In the form of small stories to complete in a couple of days)

T – Testable (Confirmation via pre-written acceptance criteria)


These elements are crucial in writing well-documented, to-the-point user stories to initiate the product development process. Once you understand the basics of user stories and how they should approach, it becomes easier to create those accurately.




Now that we have understood what user stories are and their key elements, let’s explore why Business Analysts need to master the skill to write definitive user stories. 


Why a BA needs to master the skill to write user stories

User stories are the foundational documentation that works as a blueprint while working on a project. The simple and easy-to-understand documents help the entire team to adhere to the project requirements and develop user-friendly features and functionality.

Moreover, it offers a contextual overview before the initiation of a project so that the team can understand what they need to work on. Also, they can think creatively and employ their best efforts to craft a user-centric product.


The most important benefits of user stories include.


  • Higher clarity on business values and project deliverables
  • Improved collaboration and visibility across the team
  • Prioritize features and functionality of the product
  • Efficient use of the end-users’ feedback
  • Minimize potential risks like communication gaps, technical flaws


As the user story conveys information about potential users and their actual needs, well-written user stories are essential to developing function-rich software applications. Business Analysts should understand the concept of user stories and focus on crafting user stories that drive value for the businesses via developing user-centric products.


When user stories are created

Generally, user stories are written at all software development stages BEFORE the development is initiated. Especially, while shaping product ideas, prioritizing features, and functionality, and during the development phase.


Who is involved in creating the stories

Business analyst, product owner or project manager, development, and design team, and sometimes stakeholders. Primarily, a business analyst or product owner writes the user stories; however, the entire team’s involvement is essential to create well-versed user stories that contribute to developing a user-centric, feature-rich software application.


How to create user stories

User stories are generalized documentation of why the product (software app) will be created and how it will take action. Here’s a simple way to create user stories that lead to a successful project development process. As mentioned earlier, keep users at the focal point along with what and why.


  • Who is the user story for?
  • What action is required?
  • Why is the action important?


The most commonly used format to create a user story:

As a <user>, I want to <complete this action> so that <I want this function>. Business analysts and the other team members can add other details to make the user stories to-the-point document.



  • As a <user>, I want <to have to sign up feature> so that< I can log into the system>
  • As a <customer>, I want <to receive text notification when the item arrives> so that< I can pick up the item right away>.
  • As a <customer>, I want <to have online payment terminal> so that< I can pay online for purchases>
  • As a <manager>, I want <to generate multiple reports on dashboard> so that< I can monitor team’s progress>


In short, user stories need to be created before product development initiates. The understanding of users and what actions they need to take and why the action is necessary must be reflected in the user story. A well-documented user story will aid in creating a blueprint for project development that will lead to a successful software application. Usually, a product owner is assigned to form user stories; however, a business analyst must know how to create user stories that drive the design and successfully develop a product or software.


Business Analysis Amalgamation with Product Management

In today’s fast-paced business environment, organizations constantly seek ways to improve their processes, products, and services. Business Analysis and Product Management are two key areas essential to achieving these goals. Traditionally, these functions have been viewed as separate disciplines, with Business Analysts focusing on identifying and analyzing business requirements, while Product Managers focus on the development and management of products and services.

However, there has been a growing trend towards amalgamating these two functions to create a more integrated approach in recent years. By combining Business Analysis with Product Management, companies can benefit from a more holistic understanding of customer needs, more effective use of data, and improved collaboration and communication between teams.

An Overview of Business Analysis and Product Management:

Business Analysis is the process of identifying, analyzing, and documenting business requirements, processes, and workflows. The role of a Business Analyst is to help organizations improve their processes and systems by identifying areas of improvement, gathering and analyzing data, and making recommendations for change. Business Analysts often work closely with stakeholders and other teams within an organization, including IT and project management.

Product Management, on the other hand, is focused on developing and managing products or services. The role of a Product Manager is to identify market opportunities, define product requirements, and work with cross-functional teams to bring products to market. Product Managers must have a deep understanding of customer needs and market trends and/ or the ability to manage budgets, timelines, and resources.

 Benefits of Amalgamating Business Analysis and Product Management:

While Business Analysis and Product Management are distinct roles, there are many benefits to amalgamating the two functions. Here are a few of the key advantages.

  • Better understanding of customer needs:

One of the key benefits of amalgamating Business Analysis and Product Management is the ability to better understand customer needs. By working together, these two functions can create a more complete picture of customer requirements, preferences, and pain points. This can lead to better product design, more effective marketing, and higher customer satisfaction.

  • Alignment towards Business Goals:

Amalgamating Business Analysis and Product Management also improve team collaboration and communication. These two functions can ensure that everyone is aligned on business goals, product requirements, and timelines. This can lead to better project outcomes and faster time to market.




  • More practical use of data:

Another benefit of combining Business Analysis and Product Management is effectively using data. Business Analysts are skilled at collecting, analyzing, and interpreting data, while Product Managers deeply understand market trends and customer needs. These two functions can leverage data to improve product design, pricing, and marketing decisions by working together.

  • Faster problem-solving:

Amalgamating Business Analysis and Product Management also lead to faster problem-solving. By having a team of experts who can analyze data, identify issues, and recommend solutions, organizations can respond more quickly to changing market conditions or customer needs. This can help companies stay ahead of the competition and achieve their business objectives more effectively.

  • Better outcomes over outputs:

Finally, combining Business Analysis and Product Management can improve project outcomes. By working together, these two functions can ensure that products are designed to meet customer needs and that projects are delivered on time and within budget. This can lead to improved customer satisfaction, increased revenue, and a stronger competitive position in the market.

The amalgamation of Business Analysis and Product Management can benefit organizations looking to stay ahead in today’s competitive business landscape. By combining these two functions, companies can improve collaboration and communication, better understand customer needs, use data more effectively, and achieve better project outcomes. Whether a small start-up or a large enterprise, an integrated approach to Business Analysis and Product Management can help you achieve your business objectives more effectively.


3 Effective Techniques for Root Cause Analysis

Root Cause Analysis is a method of identifying the underlying cause of a problem or fault. It is a systematic process that involves gathering information, analyzing data and identifying the root cause of the problem. The goal of Root Cause Analysis is to solve the problem and prevent it from happening again in the future.

The process of Root Cause Analysis begins with identifying and defining the problem. This includes gathering information such as symptoms, causes and effects of the problem. This information is then analyzed to determine the root cause of the problem. The analysis may involve using tools such as cause and effect diagrams, flowcharts, and statistical analysis.

In the past I have performed Root Cause Analysis in a number of occasions, and I found the following 3 techniques both effective and easy to use.


Technique 1: “5-Whys” Analysis

The “5-Whys” Analysis is a simple yet effective problem-solving technique that helps users quickly identify the root cause of a problem. This technique was made popular in the 1970s by the Toyota Production System, which aimed to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their production processes.

The strategy behind the “5-Whys” Analysis is to keep asking “why” and “what caused this problem” until the root cause of the problem is identified. By asking “why” repeatedly, you are able to dig deeper into the problem and uncover underlying issues. This is the basis for the “5-why” analysis.


The “5-Whys” Analysis is a straightforward process that can be used by individuals or teams. First, clearly define the problem and then ask “why” it is happening. The answer to this question will then lead to a second “why” and so on, until the root cause is identified. It is important to note that it is not always necessary to go through all five “whys” and it can take less or more “why” to get to the root cause depending on the complexity of the problem.

This technique can be applied to a wide range of problems, from simple to complex. It is a valuable tool for organizations to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their processes, as well as to reduce costs and improve customer satisfaction. It also helps teams to work together to find a solution by encouraging open communication and collaboration.



The “5-Whys” technique is a simple and effective method for identifying the root cause of a problem. However, it is important to avoid asking “why” repeatedly in a literal and consecutive manner, as this can make stakeholders feel interrogated and uncomfortable. Instead, consider using alternative expressions of “why” and adopt a gentle and non-confrontational approach in your communication and body language to create a relaxed atmosphere.


Technique 2: Fishbone Diagrams

The Fish-Bone Diagram, also known as an Ishikawa Diagram, is a tool used to identify the potential causes of a specific problem or effect. It is a graphical representation of the relationship between a problem and its potential causes and is often referred to as a cause-and-effect diagram. The design of the Fish-Bone Diagram is shaped much like the skeleton of a fish, which is how it gets its name.

Derived from the quality management process, it’s an analysis tool that provides a systematic way of looking at the effects and the causes that create or contribute to those effects. It allows teams to identify the key factors that may be affecting the quality of a product or service and to focus on those areas that need improvement. To use the Fish-Bone Diagram, first, clearly define the problem and then brainstorm the potential causes in the various categories.

The Fish-Bone Diagram is a simple yet powerful tool that can be used in a wide range of industries and fields, including manufacturing, healthcare, service, and education. One of the Fish-Bone model that is commonly used in manufacturing is the 5 M’s. The 5 M’s are Manpower, Machine, Material, Method, and Measurement. Manpower refers to the people, Machine includes equipment and technology, Material includes raw material, consumables and information, Method refers to the process and Measurement includes inspection and environment.





The Fish-Bone Diagram is a visual tool that illustrates the relationship between a problem and its potential causes. To effectively use this technique, it is recommended to have a physical whiteboard or butchers paper to draw the diagram on. However, it may not be the most suitable option when working remotely as you cannot draw it as quickly with your mouse as with a marker.


Technique 3: Brainstorming

Brainstorming is a powerful tool for identifying root causes of problems. The brainstorming process involves bringing together a group of people with relevant knowledge and experience to generate a wide range of ideas and potential solutions. The goal is to remove inhibitions and encourage the free flow of ideas. The brainstorming session is typically led by a facilitator who guides the group through the process and ensures that everyone has the opportunity to contribute their ideas.

During the brainstorming session, all ideas are recorded and no idea is criticized or dismissed. This allows for a diverse range of ideas to be generated and evaluated. The facilitator may also use techniques such as mind-mapping, word association, or random word generation to stimulate the brainstorming process. After the brainstorming session, the ideas are evaluated and analyzed to identify the most likely root causes of the problem.

Brainstorming can be an effective way to generate ideas and solutions quickly and efficiently in a group setting. It allows for the collective knowledge and experience of the group to be leveraged and it helps to identify potential root causes that may not have been considered by individuals working alone. It also encourages participation from all members of the group and fosters a sense of teamwork and collaboration.



Brainstorming sessions can be time-consuming, especially if many ideas are generated, and it takes time to evaluate and analyze all of them. Also, strong personalities or highly dominant individuals can dominate the brainstorming session and prevent quieter or less confident individuals from contributing their ideas. An experienced facilitator is a must-have to the success of a brainstorming session.



Once the root cause of the problem is identified, a solution can be developed. It is important to not only solve the immediate problem, but also to address the underlying cause to prevent it from happening again in the future. Implementing a long-term solution is critical in order to improve the overall performance and reliability of the system.


Root Cause Analysis is an important technique for business analysts to perform their job duties because it helps to identify the underlying causes of problems or issues within an organization. By identifying the root cause of a problem, business analysts add real value to the organization by addressing the problem at its source, rather than simply addressing symptoms. This can lead to more sustainable and long-term improvements in the organization. Overall, Root Cause Analysis is a crucial tool for business analysts to use, when permanent solutions rather than temporary fixes are required.



  1. International Association for Six Sigma Certification, “Root Cause Analysis”,
  2. Toyota Global, “5 Whys”,
  3. ASQ, “Ishikawa Diagram”,
  4. Mind Tools, “Brainstorming”,
  5. National Safety Council, “Root Cause Analysis: A Guide for Effective Incident Investigation”,

Best of: 6 Personal Traits That a Professional Business Analyst Should Have

Business analysts are facilitators, communicators, agents of change and negotiators.


They have to understand the needs and purposes of a business in order to consider technology solutions.

They need degrees and certifications, skills, experience and domain knowledge but they also need critically important soft skills to be most successful and become CEOs in the future. Here are some of the personal skills they need.

1. Good communication skills

Business analysts must have communication skills as they have to communicate with a variety of stakeholders. They need to understand why what they’re doing has value and then articulate that to stakeholders. This includes convincing people to work on activities that may not be their top priority.

For example, a business analyst might have to persuade a Sales Director to help define performance metrics for the upgrade of a CRM database.

Good communication skills involve both verbal and written communication. Business analysts who have excellent verbal communication skills but battle with the written words may decide to receive help from writing services with skilled writers at Essay Mama.

Various forms of communication, such as workshops, meetings and other informal methods may be necessary to bring every stakeholder on board.


2. Active listening skills

Business analysts use active listening skills to make sure that all stakeholders are heard. They understand the importance of making eye contact with speakers and always attempt to identify exactly how they feel about what they are saying.

Observing words and body language is important for them to get to the bottom of what is being said. To do this, they must know how to dial out any internal or external distractions.

Business analysts can keep an open mind and acknowledge different opinions as well as know when to move the subject along. They are able to take all input into account without being too ruffled by disagreements. There will always be disagreeing stakeholders and part of their skill is in being able to handle this.

Holding excessively lengthy sessions is not necessary for them and they understand that these often lead to a lack of interest and attention. They prefer web conferences over traveling to different offices and hold meeting. This saves times and shows that you believe in working fast and don’t mind being tech-savvy.

They and honor confidentiality agreements and are generally seen as being above listening to any office gossip. This enables them to establish trusting relationships where they follow through on commitments.


3. Problem-solving skills

Many business analysts say that what they love most about their work is solving problems. Problem-solving can combine analytical thinking and creative thinking. It involves resolving cases of conflicting information, incomplete information, missing information etc.

Solutions aren’t always simple when problems occur within a company. Analysts often have to examine multiple scenarios and operations to find a solution. Understanding the problem usually involves exploring the overt symptoms, in the form of the effects on costs, sales, and performance metrics.

Examining every aspect of the situation provides context and a greater understanding of the big picture. All parties need to have input and give feedback. They have to answer many questions posed by the business analyst such as “why do you need this?”, “what does this mean?”, and “what happens next?”

Finding a solution involves some kind of change within the organization. For example, putting the change into practice could involve augmenting technology or improving a process. The ideal scenario when solving a problem is not only to solve the current problem but to ensure that it never occurs again.




4. Analytic skills

Analytic skills are necessary to be able to interpret business needs and translate them into practical, operational requirements.

Business analysts have to analyze information from a variety of sources, such as documentation, surveys, existing systems and requirement gathering sessions. EssayHave is a reliable custom writing service that’s available to write papers, such as research papers, if necessary.

Business analysts are passionate about analyzing data and usually have a variety of different ways to analyze it. They want to see what they can do with it and how they can tease different facets of meaning from it.

Everyday interpretations of data can easily fall into patterns that can hide shades of meaning. Critical thinking and valuable analysis are not necessarily straightforward. Good analysts will resist trying to come up with a neat solution to solve the problem before extensively analyzing data. Of course, analysis paralysis can also occur and they have to understand when to stop analyzing.


5. Multi-disciplinary skills

Many business analysts have expertise and experience in IT and their domain. However, it also helps to have experience in performing tasks in unrelated fields across various industries.

Those with such experience are more easily able to elicit information, interact with stakeholders and identify opportunities. They know more about the world, business trends, tech updates and have a deeper knowledge of the processes of business.

They can leverage this knowledge to apply information and techniques to their current project. Their wide range of knowledge affords them with innovative ways to deliver value. They tend to be more versatile and to avoid the thinking that certain tools, techniques and work products are suitable for every situation.

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6. Decision-facilitation skills

In consulting with managers and offering advice to developers, business analysts need to exercise sound judgment. After they have received input from all the stakeholders and assessed a situation, they need to facilitate the making of certain decisions.

The goal is not just to bring about change but to bring about the right change. Business analysts need to help others to make the right decisions so that the right needs are met. If a decision isn’t made, nothing happens.

Good business analysis involves defining all the decisions that need to be made, who will make the decisions and the information the decision-maker will use to make the decision. When multiple people need to make a decision, they are not always on the same page. Getting buy-in from all decision-makers takes some skill.


Concluding thoughts

Finding the best business analysts can take some time and effort. The above traits can help to identify individuals who have the potential to be great, even if they don’t have the experience yet or are in different roles.

Individuals who have a unique blend of the right hard and soft skills are usually most successful as business analysts. They know the importance of communicating and listening properly and are adept at managing and analyzing large amounts of detailed information. They know how to present and articulate value to stakeholders enabling them to make the right decisions.