Sunday, August 10, 2008

Collecting Business Requirements

A common mistake of consulting companies is to insist the corporation they are working for deliver business requirements in specific formats. This makes the corporation they are working for do a lot of work. Because collecting and reforming information is difficult it is likely that the corporation will cut out requirements that are key to understanding their true needs.

It is the business analyst's job to determine what facts and questions should be asked to arrive on an agreed project plan, statement of work, or other agreement documents.

In truth getting all the business process and planning files in any format is the true way to be of service when gathering business requirements for any project, especially larger ones, or as a precursor to complete front and backend makeovers.

So here's the Business Analyst’s pledge –
If a company wishes to communicate their requirements in Latin poetry using Laurel leaves on Liberia, or burped up and tap danced in Berber;

If they chose instead to use sign language in Swahili or communicate via syncopated smoke signals in Sioux;

If a company's requirements are laser etched on Einstein's black box, written in the photovoltaic solar panels on Al Gore's roof or bloviated on FOX's news ticker;

If a corporation chooses to communicate via Morse code on a submarine in the Antarctic or spell them out in runes using fireworks over a Chinese work house;

Whatever business requirement, whether in pidgin or cuneiform, the business analyst will be johnny on the spot to collect it… no matter the format.
Basic advice about collecting business requirements:

o Tone. Use company name instead of third person (not "we", "they", "you", "them" )
o Format. footer, document properties, title block
o Bullets: use them
o Outline: use it
o Organization: clean up and gather like thoughts together, remove excessive technical details from business docs

Here's some heavy design advice from our fave Web Design Coder SEO (Search Engine Optimization) Rapper Chubbs:

Art is Immortal!


Your site design is the first thing people see
it should be reflective of you and the industry
easy to look at with a nice navigation
when you can't find what you want it causes frustration
a clear Call to action to increase the temptation
use appealing graphics they create motivation
if you have animation
use with moderation
cause search engines can't index the information
display the logos of all your associations
highlight your contact info that's an obligation
create a clean design you can use some decoration
but to try to prevent any client hesitation
every page that they click should provide an explanation
should be easy to understand like having a conversation
when you design the style go ahead and use your imagination
but make sure you use correct color combinations
do some investigation, look at other organizations
but don't duplicate or you might face a litigation
design done, congratulations but it's time to start construction
follow these instructions when you move into production
your photoshop functions then slice that design
do your layout with divs make sure that it's aligned
please don't use tables even though they work fine
when it come to indexing they give searches a hard time
make it easy for the spiders to crawl what you provide
remove font type, font color and font size
no background colors, keep your coding real neat,
tag your look and feel on a separate style sheet
better results with xml and css
now you making progress, a lil closer to success
describe your doctype so the browser can relate
make sure you do it great or it won't validate
check in all browsers, I do it directly
gotta make sure that it renders correctly
some use IE, some others use Flock
some use AOL, I use Firefox
title everything including links and images
don't use italics, use emphasis
don't use bold, please use strong
if you use bold that's old and wrong
when you use CSS, you page will load quicker
client satisfied like they eating on a snicker
they stuck on your page like you made it with a sticker
and then they convert now that's the real kicker
make you a lil richer, your site a lil slicker
design and code right man I hope you get the picture
what I'm telling you is true man it should be a scripture
if it's built right you'll be the pick of the litter
everyone will want to follow you like twitter
competition will get bitter and you'll shine like glitter
if you trying to grow your company will get bigger
design and code right man can you get with it

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Moving to the Bay Area

I recently accepted a new job in the Bay Area and with the significant help of friends and neighbors I relocated to California. Yah!

My new consulting job is very exciting because it allows me to use many more of my skills and 20 years experience in the Web and software arena for the company

Looking for a place to live is more more challenging here than I imagined and more than twice as expensive as Seattle for the same space. The lifestyle and food of the San Francisco area is however, downright amazing.