COEPD

Center Of Excellence For Professional Development

Use-case diagram

The most important aspect of modelling a system is, capturing the dynamic behaviour of the system. In UML (Unified Modelling Language) there are 5 diagrams available that help model the dynamic nature and Use-case diagram is one of them.

The purpose of a use-case diagram is capturing the dynamic behaviour of a system. In short the purpose can be written down as follows.

  • Gather requirements of a system
  •  Get an outside view of the system
  •  Identify internal and external factors affecting the system

 

To begin with a use-case diagram the following items need to be identified.

  • Functionalities (use-cases)
  •   Actors
  •   Relationship between the actors and use-cases

 

Types of relationships in a use-case diagram

  •   Relationship between an actor and a use case
  •  Generalization of an actor
  •  Include between two use cases
  •  Extend between two use cases
  •  Generalization of a use case

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Example of a use case diagram using all the relationships mentioned above

Picture courtesy: http://www.uml-diagrams.org/examples/use-case-example-airport.png

Brainstorming Techniques

            . The brainstorming is one of the technique in requirement elicitation process.

Purpose: To generate more number of ideas from a group of people on a specific issue and determine which idea is the best solution.Brainstorming is more effective with the group of 8-12 people.

Diagram:

  
Do:   - Capture everything/Every idea of participant.

         - Encourage all the participants even for their small idea.

         - Ask clarifying questions.

Don't:  -Don't evaluate idea straight away with the participant.(eg: this is more expensive etc).

           -Never force the participants.

 Steps to perform Brainstorming technique:

        1).Prepare:  - Develop a clear and concise definition of the are of interest.

                            - Even inform the topic to all the participants before conduct brainstorming.

                            - Decide who will be included in the session and their role.

                            - Determine the time limit for the group to generate the ideas.

                            - Establish criteria for evaluating and rating the ideas.

        2).Conduct: - Group needd to share their ideas without discussion and criticism.

                             - Visibly record all ideas.

                             - Encourage the participation to be creative,share exaggerated ideas,build on the ideas of others.

                             - Don't limit the number of ideas as the goal is to elicit as many ideas as possible within the time period.

         3).Wrap-up: - Once the time limit is reached,using the predetermined evaluation criteria,discuss and evaluate ideas.

                             - Create a condensed list of ideas ,combine ideas where appropriate and eliminate duplicates. 

                             - Rate the ideas by using various techniques eg- multi voting.

                             - Distribute final list of ideas to appropriate parties.

Advantages:We can come up with very innovative ideas and requirements so it can be efficient way to stakeholder to define their requirements.

Disadvantages:People can;t easily brainstorm ideas when required to do so.Some people find brainstorming is much harder than other techniques.

My experience with SWOT Analysis

“A concept that enables to manage change successfully is SWOT analysis” – Albert Humphrey.

This is very true. While I was working with Mahindra, our project was to design a Logistics network across 13 plants all over the country.There was lot of material transfer happening between supplier to plants and within the plants on daily basis. Our goal was to provide an IT solution to the randomized work that was being happened and make it a standard process. The project has taken two years to design and implement it but change happened. This eventually resulted for increase in productivity, revenue and most importantly organized work.

SWOT analysis is determining our or organizational strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.Once they are determined, they help in taking an initiative forward or abandon it by comparing with these factors. In the above example change happened as they recognized their strength ( IT department or solution) and aligned it with improving their weakness(randomized work). Thus they changed their weakness to strength by recognizing their strength and aligning appropriately to their weakness.

Similarly, not using your strengths properly may become one of organizations biggest weakness. Organizations asset is the people or employees which it has and it is the biggest strength. Not utilizing them properly would result in low productivity and non standardized work. For instance, while I was working with Apollo, due to the cancellation of the project I was working on, I was told to handle admin department. My core-competency is operations but handling admin department would be entirely new for me and which also would result in Non standard work.Thus they have converted their strength into weakness.

Opportunities and threats are the external factors which influence an organization to take an initiative or abandon it. For instance, decisions like whether to enter into a new market or not? Can be concluded by analyzing opportunities and threats involved.

Altogether SWOT is the initial step forward to bring change in the organizations point of view or some change in the process. It is also applicable in personal or professional realm of an individual.  

Fishbone Diagram

Purpose:

        The fish bone diagram or cause and effect diagram is a simple graphic display that shows all possible causes of a business problem in a process.It is also called as Ishikawa diagram.

       The design of a diagram looks like a skeleton of a fish.It's typically works from right to left,which each large bone of the fish branching out to include smaller bone containing more details.

Diagram: 

The main reason to use fish bone diagram:

1.Display relationships- Fish bone diagram captures the associations and relationships among the potential causes and effects displayed in the diagram.These relationships can be easily understood.

2.Show all causes simultaneously- It illustrates the each and every possible cause so makes it a great tool for representing the problem to stakeholder.

3.Facilitate brainstorming- Fish bone diagram captures the all causes so that it is a great way to stimulate and structure brainstorming  about the causes of the problem.

4.Help maintain team focus- It determine,the team focused on what data need to be gathered.So it helps to ensure that everyone is collecting information in the most efficient way.


Advantages:

              1.The fish bone diagram is easy to implement and creates an easy to understand visual representation of the causes,categories of causes and the need.

              2.It identifies the cause and effect relationship in a problem.

              3.Even after the need  has been addressed the fish bone diagram shows areas of weakness that one exposed can be rectified before causing more sustained difficulties.

              4. Fish bone allows for prioritizing relevant causes.So that the underlying root cause is addressed first.


Disadvantages:

               1. Fish bone diagram doesn't solve any problem it can help only in the identifying possible causes of problem.

               2. It is not very good at pointing out which  of the possible causes most important.

               3. The complex interrelationships of multiple factors are difficult to show on a fish bone.

               4.we required extremely large space to draw and develop the fish bone diagram.              

              

Solution Assessment and Validation

It is a process which is used to check whether the solution provided is matching with the requirements provided or not. Generally, to validate the solution provided there are two document tools used. They are Requirements Traceability Matrix (RTM) and Requirements Specifications Documents.

In this process, the Business Analyst plays a crucial role by selecting the most suitable solution approach towards the requirements provided and also by doing review and finalizing the solution approach. Any major mistake in performing the above duties by BA will lead to the scope creep or even sometime lead to Project Failure. Apart from these duties BA will also look for alternate solutions and communicates effectively to the stakeholder. 

Solution evaluation is the process of evaluating current or suitable solution after or before the operation of the business. The evaluation should be on constant basis.

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