Every BA Should Know About These Requirements Tools

If you’re a business analyst, you already know the five key skills you need to be successful. But do you have any ideas about what software can make you more effective at work?

Image (1) computer_screen.jpg for post 687This is a question commonly asked by both novice and experienced BAs. In my experience, it really boils down to two kinds of programs:

  1. Software that allows you to create diagrams of all kinds and mockups/wireframes. Microsoft’s Visio is a prime example but there are many others, including free open-source tools that have most of the functionality that good ol’ Visio has without the steep price tag. Mockflow and Gliffy are good examples.

  2. Software that facilitates the definition and management of collaborative requirements — preferably cloud-based, so it can be accessible through a Web browser; and highly scalable, so it can support large, distributed enterprise development teams. Blueprint is the top player in this category, though it’s kind of pricey. Here again, though, there are many others, many of them free and open-source tools that have some of Blueprint’s functionality. For example, look at Gathershare and Protoshare. Just remember that no low-cost or free software will come with all features you’ll typically need.

When evaluating vendors for both types of software, make sure that the product is scalable, has an easy way to document requirements and business processes, create domain diagrams and glossaries, and support use cases/storyboarding.

In addition, both types of software should be able to create a professional-looking business requirements document as well as test plans based on the requirements you’ve entered.

More is always being demanded of all kinds of software, and the more features that can be packed in for a good price, the better. On that front, the open source, cheaper alternatives are also improving thanks to competition. With time, we’ll only see the selection improve.

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