BA Book Reviews

After reading only a few pages of Requirements by Collaboration by Ellen Gottesdiener, I came to understand why this book is such a pivotal read for BA’s, PM’s or anyone else involved in the requirements development collaboration process.
This book is a powerhouse of information about facilitating groups to define customer needs and specify software requirements. It has experienced so many excellent reviews and feedback. Ellen Gottesdiener pours her years of experience into this book capturing the many aspects of Click to continue

As I look at my copy of The Software Requirements Memory Jogger, the cover is slightly worn, some pages have the edges folded down and some are marked with pen or small sticky notes. This book gets a lot of use at my desk. It continues to serve me as a reference tool, or “memory jog” even after reading it through years ago. Lets explore a little bit on why this continues to be the case, and why this book is a valuable resource to have for any business analyst.

I first read this book shortly after it was released.  After that, I became a big fan of Ellen Gottesdiener.  Her books, newsletter and website blogs are a powerhouse of information of benefit to Business Analysts everywhere.  I recommend the book to BA’s at any level in their career as well as Project Managers and to those in a facilitator role. A small, almost pocket size guide, it still surprises me that so much information is contained in it about the tasks related to software requirements.

The Core of the Book

The book focuses on tools, techniques and models to elicit, analyze, specify, validate and manage software requirements and even includes a case study to show you how to use the tools and techniques at each step in the requirements process.  Confused about terminology? The book also includes a comprehensive glossary.

If you want to learn more, references and resources can be found at the book’s appendices.   Quick tips and cautionary advice are included throughout the book. Each tool is defined by what questions it answers as well as tips for how to use it and other names in which the tool may be known. Ellen uses a variety of techniques to depict the information in the book; lists, tables, diagrams and applicable case study examples. The book can be read end-to-end or utilized as a desktop reference tool or whenever you just need a “memory jog”.

Key learnings of the “Jogger”

  • Definitions of the types of requirements.
  • Key practices that promote the creation of excellent requirements; such as, trace the requirements origins and how they link to other requirements and system elements
  • Setting the stage for good requirements development.  I like how Ellen discusses why a Vision Statement is important here.
  • Developing a requirements risk mitigation strategy.  Ellen provides examples of some common strategies to get you started.
  • Developing stakeholder categories and profiles.   Ellen provides a template for documenting the important information about stakeholders with sample text.
  • Descriptions of elicitation techniques; what they are, why do it, how to do it and factors to consider with each technique.
  • How to use models to analyze the requirements.
  • Factors to consider when selecting a requirements elicitation technique. For example, consider the number of stakeholders, if it’s a large group then a survey may be a good technique to use.  Also, keep in mind the time it takes to review and compile a large number of responses in your project planning.

Sticky Factor

  • The practical, easy to understand information that is so relevant to Business Analysts is what really kept me reading this guide.
  • It’s small size makes it quite portable, and quite handy for reference anywhere.

Author Cast High Level Walkthrough

Yamo did a high level book walkthrough of the Jogger with Ellen. TheBACoach Podcast episode 9 (TBAC 009) covers both the books that Ellen authored, and I highly recommend you listen to this episode.


(Usefulness – 1 thru 5)

  • TheBACoach team rates this book at a 5 (Highly Recommended)

Have you read the Jogger? What parts of this book did you like the most? Please use the comments section below to give your feedback.

The Business Analyst Coach Podcast Artwork

I am really excited to be presenting the first episode of the “Author Cast” series, where I will be interviewing expert authors in the field of business analysis.

What could be better than be honored to have Ellen Gottesdiener as the first guest to kick-start this series. In this episode I got to learn Ellen’s background, and how she became a business analyst, expert facilitator, and her journey into authoring two great books “Requirements by collaboration” and
“Software requirements memory jogger”. I was really inspired by her career growth and ideas she has on facilitation.

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