Beyond the Tools: Techniques to Get Stuff Done
Hello. Out there my. Name is Kurt Wondra I am a business, analyst, with skyline, technologies, and the, webinar that you're currently watching is titled, beyond, the techniques tools, to, get stuff done really. The intention of this webinar is to go over a couple of different tools, that, I've used over the last couple of years that I think have been really effective and efficient and hopefully, other bas can also learn, from some of the lessons that I've learned and perhaps, you can apply those same tools in your day to day life when. We think about the IT environment that, we as bas live within we. Often look at our developers, and say they have a lot of tools at their disposal they. Have coding, and coding tools like, visual studio is one that jumps out they also have other platforms. Where they can go to write their code and they, also have a lot of different languages. And you know the different programming, languages that they have also. Serves as another tool, for, them to implement the functionality, that we ask them to implement and there's. A bunch of other different tools that we've seen our developer, friends utilize but. Sometimes I think what we as bas fill that utilize is that there's a number of tools open for, us to use as well and hopefully, throughout. The course of this presentation we. Get you thinking about some different, ways and different different approaches, that you can use to add into your toolbox. To. Perform, our day-to-day business analyst, activities. So. Moving. Forward a. Couple. Of key learning objectives I want to call out here throughout. The course of this webinar I want, to be able to add a couple new new, tools into, your be a toolbox, you're not necessarily that, I think you're gonna go back to your day to day lives and use, these tools verbatim, the way I described them but, maybe keep them in your back pocket, for whenever a situation presents, itself where, one of these tools might be very appropriate to use I, also. Want to give you some information to. Help you determine what. Are the pros and what, are the cons of using these tools the. Thing I want to make sure to emphasize is that there, is no one, silver, bullet there's. No one perfect tool, for, each and every scenario. Now. Us is BA need to take a step back and say okay, given the situation that, I'm in given. The stakeholders. I have the. Maybe the developer, team members that I have the, maturity of the team and a bunch of other factors what's.
The Right tool for the job and. We kind of have to think like carpenters, in that sense where when we walk into a house with a lot of repairs we, have to figure out the right tool for the right job. You. Know we can use a the, butt end of a screwdriver to hammer in a nail but. That really isn't necessarily, the best tool for that job so. Part, of what I want to do here today is also talk about some of the pros and cons with a few of the tools that I'll mention and. Lastly. That leads into the third bullet point you see on your screen I really. Want you to be able to articulate, some, of those pros and cons and the value, of these tools back, to your team's, really. I'm not trying to arm the, rest of you bas that are watching this with some new tools I'm really, trying to help the teams that you are a part of and a, lot of these tools have. Significant. Value not just for the business analysts but, for the team at large. But. To. Get everyone, else on your team to adopt, a new tool. Or a new platform, or try, something new you, really have to be able to talk to them about what's, in it for them and there, certainly are some benefits to, the rest of your teams of the tools that I will mention here. Taking. A step back and looking at this holistically, you, know this presentation, is really focused, on how, do we get stuff done quickly. And effectively how. Do we get started really. Quick and how do we hit the ground running, on a certain project the, word that comes to mind for me is jumpstarters. So, a lot of the tools that I talk about here, I consider. Them jumpstarters. To bigger and better things. And. Also. One, thing I think that it's very important, for us to recognize is, that business, analysts, often really. Set the tone for, our teams, and by, teams, in this context, I'm not just saying our development, teams I'm saying, our stakeholders. Our, sponsors. Our, development, team members our project, managers are two ways every. If, we're, asked to be the people to kind of centralize, a bunch of that information and disseminate it the way we need to for a given project or product, we. Can really set the tone and influence, how the rest of the team operates. So. This presentation is focused around some, continuous, improvement, efforts that perhaps you. Can take some of these nuggets of information back with you and improve. Your teams by, utilizing, some of these tools a. Couple. Of the main bullet points of topics. We'll cover today first. I want to set the stage and we're kind of midway through that already we've been setting the stage a bit as we go and. I also want to talk about a couple, main, components. Of every, business analyst, day-to-day job a background. Our backlog management, is a big one that a lot of us perform day in and day out a number. Of us do some diagramming, and modeling and there's, lots of different flavors of diagramming. And modeling to pay attention to and. Ultimately. We, as business analysts, are the center points for a lot of the communication, and collaboration of. Our project, teams and there's some tools that can really help make, that communication, and collaboration much. More effective, and, at the end we have a couple of closing remarks. So. As we continue down the set the stage level here one. Thing early on in my business analyst, career that I heard a lot from you, know from different peers in the industry was, we. Just don't have the tools for that in my organization. Or yeah. It'd be nice to try something different but yeah we just don't have the manager support for that, long. Story made short I heard a lot of different, excuses, and it kind, of it, made me sit back and think is, this. Truly. The case or, or. Maybe some of those peers just not looking, hard enough, for the tools that truly can add value to them. So. Again with the point of this whole webinar being, beyond. The, techniques, tools, to get stuff done here, are a couple very simple. And easy practical, tools, to get started with so, that you. Don't, necessarily have the excuse of well, we just don't have the tools available.
Now. Again the tools I'll mention they. Don't work for every scenario for, every requirement for. Every team for, every, IT organization. There. Just isn't one silver, bullet for all of that however, a number of the tools that we will go over today, have, a lot of practical applications. And are very flexible to be used in a variety of ways so. Let's talk about backlog. Management, whether. Your current role is that of a business analyst, or a product, owner or, you do a blend of both, anyone. Who's in an agile environment right now you're, definitely doing some form of backlog, management. There's. A lot, of different flavors of, backlog, management, however you. Know we. SBA's we probably have a certain way that we like to manage our backlog, if I went and grabbed another ba and pull them into the room right now they probably have a certain way to manage their backlog which, is different, from my way doesn't. Mean any one way is right or wrong it. Just means there's, a lot of variety, here, you. Know I see a lot of parallels to managing a backlog to, the term writing. Requirements. A lot. Of us write requirements and we, write requirements in a number of different ways and I'm, willing to bet if we sat ten business analysts, down gave, them the same set of information, I'll. Say like verbally or through a presentation and, then, said okay write, those requirements out, in a, product. Backlog item or a user story or whatever form, we wanted those requirements to be we. Would probably get, ten different. Outputs. From that exercise. So. It's really interesting that a lot, of us are managing a backlog but. A lot of us have different flavors in the way that we do manage that backlog, so what. Is that I'll say. Inconsistency. Even though it's kind of a negative word but don't take it that way what. Does that inconsistency. Typically, lead to that. Inconsistently typically. Leads to what I'll call the enterprise, level tools, for. Managing a backlog and a. Lot of us have used some of these larger. Tools before you'll, see a couple on your on the screen here the STS, Rally. And JIRA, these, are really, big tools, with a lot of pieces of functionality. And. You know for example a lot of these tools you get things like burn up chart and burn down charts, which are really important if you're running in an agile fashion, release. Planning and iteration planning portfolio. Management, you. Know budget spend, you could do the plan versus actual you, can do a number, of different things with these larger, larger tools, and, there's. A number of pros. To, these, particular tools, for. Example there's enterprise ownership, so you do have some layer, of consistency, across, the organization, when it comes to managing backlogs, and this, could be you know managing backlogs, for different products, or backlogs. For different projects at least you have like one platform that, perhaps your team of bas is all using. We. Mentioned that paid tools typically. Equate, to, many, more will, say many tools built within them and then. Also from an overall IT perspective, one. Thing that the IT leaders, of today are often asked, is to manage, the whole IT organization. Manage, the whole IT portfolio, and, sometimes. That can be really hard when you're trying to mash together data, and inputs. From, completely, distinct, in different systems so. Sometimes it's really handy, to have one system, kind of serve as that enterprise, level tool that, everyone within the organization, uses. There's. Also cons to some of these tools. For. Example they do take a long time to set up they. Often involve you know someone on the networking side maybe, the partition, a server or get some space allocated, for a particular application, there's. Probably some security, and role-based authentication that has to happen there's. A large, purchase, price tag that could could, accompany one of these tools. There's. A number of different cons that come come across with some of these larger tools then. Probably the main one the one that sticks out to me is even. Though these tools have, a lot, of great, additional. Features the. Ones we talked about like burn down charts, burn up charts release, planning, iteration. Planning time, tracking, etc. Rarely. Are all of those tools, used, in harmony, to, their fullest potential and when you're not using a tool to its fullest potential, you're, leaving, some return on investment, on the table, and that's not really a smart decision either. You. Know another thing I see a lot of times is that even, though you're using one, particular platform. There's, inconsistency. Across, the teams, namely. The BAS with, how they're utilizing that, platform, and that's, where it really becomes important, for the.
BAS, At your organization. To, have probably. Some consistent. Standards, of how they operate how they write stories or, the documentation, that gets included I don't. Want to say that the personal flavor needs to come out of that work but, I'm saying there, should be a little bit of consistency, across the, different teams so, have you ever heard of a center of practice, or a center of excellence amongst. The team of bas that's, kind of what those groups aim to, do. Now. As a consultant, I see, these enterprise level tools a lot, you. Know do with different clients that will go into will utilize different tools even, some of them utilize the same tools but in different, ways the. Significance, there is that, there. Is some, ramp up time just. To learn how a given organization, is utilizing, a particular. Tool because. They may not be using the tool the way maybe I personally, prefer they. May not be utilizing, the tool the same way the last client I worked with preferred they're. Probably using, it in their own way shape or form so. My job is to try to understand, how, the. Organization, is utilizing, that tool so, that you know me and my team can fit into that ecosystem, as smoothly, as possible, now. All this talk about the enterprise level tool is great but. We, kind of seem to get off track from where we started here we. Were talking about managing. A backlog. So let's. Let's get back to basics okay. What. Does our Bible, is bas what does the ba Bock tell, us about. Managing, a backlog and. Actually this is this is really simple to. Manage a backlog, there's four, key, elements, there's. The items in the backlog you. Need to prioritize, them you, need to estimate them and you, need to manage changes. That's. It. So. Over the last couple minutes we talked about all whole nother. Set of functionality. And many tools that some of those enterprise-level, backlog. Management, tools bring to the table but. If we look at the BA back it seems, to tell us something, pretty differently, about, what we need to manage a backlog. So. What, does this mean what does this mean Curt, sometimes. Us as BAS need to take a step back and realize, let's, not scope, creep ourselves, in our day-to-day work I. Like. To translate what the BA Bach tells us into. What. I call the let's, get stuff done level. So. Let's let's leave, all those frills, and everything else outside and let's focus on how do we get stuff done fast, how, do we jumpstart, an effort how, do we get up off the ground as efficiently.
And Effectively, as possible. So. To me I see three main things that we need to do whenever, we're looking for a tool to, help us manage our backlog, first. We, need to be able to collaborate, with our team we. Need to be able to work very closely with our product owners that are setting the direction of the, product, we. Need to be able to work in coordinate, with different stakeholders, that are affected, by the work we're performing, we. Need to work with our technical, leads and our other developers. We, also need one spot of, information. For our QA analysts, so they know how they're going to measure success we. Need one central location to collaborate. Very. Simply we need to be able to create those product backlog items. Whether. You want to call them PBIS, whether. You want to call them user stories, I've seen them called cards, put. Any synonym, in here you want you, need to be able to create items that. Make, up the full product backlog and, lastly. You have to be able to plan and prioritize, that. Work items. Need to bump up the priority list maybe to the top maybe. An item that was really hot last month has now fallen. To the bottom of the list for whatever reason, but you need to be able to prioritize that, list some. Running number from 1 to X whatever, X is at the bottom of your list. That's. What I think we need to focus on as ba is when we talk about the get, stuff done. One. Thing I want to point out now I want to kind of change the topic to what. Things don't we need at. The get stuff done level, you. Know we don't, need the service desk to me managing, licensing. And permissions, about getting, people access into, certain workspaces, and not that's, a little bit of added overhead. We. As bas for our for our direct teams don't necessarily, need portfolio, management, perhaps. We don't even need release management, even, time tracking, so. There's a number of those other bells and whistles and other tools that, while. They are nice to have maybe. They're not exactly. What we need to truly jumpstart, the effort that we're working on and that leads me into the first tool I want to talk about today this. Tool is called Trello. So. What is trouble for those of you that haven't used it I think, of it as an online bulletin, born, back. In my house growing up my mom and dad had one of those cardboard bulletin, boards with the actual tax where, you would push a tack through a piece of paper and hang it on the bulletin board that is. Really what I think of Trello except, it's a virtual version of that Trello is made up of multiple, boards, what, you see here on the screen is one large board, and each. Board, is, made, up of multiple lists, that's each gray, stack, right here and, each. List, contains, multiple, cards. Now. If you want me to translate that real quickly into what that means for us as ba is a board. Translates, to a project or product, each. List, translates, to a status. Of a particular pbi and, each. Card represents a. PB I a product backlog item, so.
Some Other really useful features. That I found about Trello that I've applied in some of my my past ba responsibilities. Have, been attaching. Documents you, can attach Word documents, PowerPoint, documents, XML, documents, pictures, etc, directly. To one of these cards. There's. Different labels, and you can kind of see on the screen here there's colors. You. Could designate certain. Colors to represent, whatever, you're trying to label. For example maybe you're trying to identify certain, cards that all are part of the same feature or. All are part of the same epic you. Could use labels to measure releases, one. Color represents, the main release one color represents, the June release etc. Etc you, can. Also assign. These cards, to a particular, person who has access to the board if we, look on the screenshot real quick we can see four little boxes over here, each, box corresponds, to someone who has access to this Trello board and then. We can see the, different individuals, that have been assigned to, each card, and, I. Think my favorite feature about Trello, and it's the one that everyone, loves using its, drag-and-drop, to. Move the cards from one list to the other all you do is simply click drag, drop it's. The one feature everyone loves right, you. Know on a more personal note at home. My wife and I actually have a like a home to-do list or a honey-do, list of things we need to accomplish around the house and that's. A very simple Trello board right kind. Of like what's depicted on the screen there's a to-do, column whole. List of stuff there's, a doing things, that are in progress and there's, a done column things that we've had we've accomplished, now. That's a very simplistic example, but. It's. An example that can be expanded, to account for different. States, aka different lists then, maybe you, need on your particular project. Now. Why, do I like Trello and why am i bringing it up to you guys I've. Actually brought Trello into a couple of different organizations and, a couple different project teams that I've worked on and I've really, been amazed, at how fast, people, who have never used it before catch. On. Again. Maybe it's that fun drag-and-drop functionality and, everybody loves but. It's really simple just to get started and there's not a big learning curve you, guys, probably want to see it in action you know, it's one thing to see a screen shot it's. Another thing to see it in real life, so. What, I've done is I've gone and created a product, backlog, and a sprint backlog, for us to reveal now. I'm not going to go over exactly. What the definition, of product backlog, and sprint, backlog, is but. Just, for the sake of being brief a product. Backlog is a list of, all the different work items that, are desired to be performed, on a particular, application on. A particular, program, on a particular, system etc, and a. Sprint backlog, is more of a short-term. Collection. Of items from that product backlog, that the team is going to work on in perhaps. A two or a three week, time frame often. Call the Sprint. So. For our example here I had, to pick some sort of a product to kind of talk talk with you guys about and, the, idea I just went through was, her 1 2 was a vehicle management application. What. You're seeing on the screen though those are my two vehicles, yes. I am one of those guys who actually names. His vehicles you're. The silver one is Sharona and the blue one is babe the Big Blue Ox as, you. Can tell I like to add a little bit of flavor here and there, so. The idea I had for my product, or my, my. Concept, for you is a vehicle, management application. Because. Oftentimes it's hard for me to remember which. Vehicle, that I get the oil change on last I, replaced. Tires on one of them last, spring which one do I have to replace tires on and a, number of different things so I, kind. Of thought hey everyone, or most everyone drives, a vehicle probably. Everyone has some things they want to manage about owning, that vehicle or leasing, that vehicle, so. Let's, talk about a vehicle management application. A. Few. Other pieces of information to, talk about here I also. Thought that this vehicle, management application. Wouldn't, just have a consumer, front-end perhaps. There's, a particular. Portion of the application where, your local service providers, would login they, could perhaps put. Some coupons in there for customers, to consume they. Could see some demographic, information about, people in their area or. Maybe they could use it as a touch I'll point to their customers. In their area I also. Thought another section of the application could, be for manufacturers, may, an example I thought of as if a manufacturer, needs to issue a recall, perhaps.
A Notification could, be sent to all, customers. With a vehicle that's affected, to, say hey headed, into your local service center there's been a recall get, that part replaced. And a notification can also be sent to the service centers to say hey, there might be a whole influx, of this type of vehicle coming in for a recall you, may want to stock up in the warehouse so. Those are the three different angles that I thought of for my vehicle. Management application. Concept. So. Like I said earlier I did create an example, product backlog, and an example sprint backlog, for, us to look at so. Let's hop over there and see what it looks like alright. So here. We have the, product backlog. For, my vehicle management, application. This. Is a simple, webpage with. A couple of different lists and there. Are cards within each list and what. These cards all relate to they, all relate, back to a pbi product, backlog item so. Here you can see I've actually named. The, lists, with, kind of the appropriate, statuses, that I have for, my, particular product. Backlog items as they move through the course of their lifecycle I have. Brand new ideas which get plunked over here perhaps, these are ideas that aren't yet refined, they, still need need me to do some more digging or working with our stakeholders, to determine exactly what functionality, we need. There's. An eliciting, requirements, bucket aka. We're currently in the process, of, extracting the needed information and translating. That into requirements. For the team to execute on I have. A list of a, PBIS, that are ready for my product owner to come in review, and if, he likes it approve. It and then. A list of PBIS, that are ready for the team to pick up and start working on in the next sprint. So. What, are some of the things that we talked about a few minutes ago when we talked about the get stuff done level and. We said we need to be able to collaborate easily, with our teams. This. Is a web-based application, everyone. Here in 2018, has a web browser so. Very simple, ease of access, about, getting to this born. We. Also talked about being able to create product backlog items you. Know how easy it is to create a product backlog item in Trello, you. Hit the add link, you. Hit my new key and my great new idea. And if you can spell better than I you actually. Spell, idea right and. Boom. You're, done you've. Just created a new product backlog item it was that simple and lastly. We. Talked about Neath the need to be able to plan and prioritize the work now. Just in the left to right here across the screen you can see the planning, going on these. Stories are ready for the team to consume but, the rest of them aren't yet, and. When it comes to prioritizing. The work maybe. My product owner says you, know hey this this next tire rotation, notification. That's the most important, thing I want next so. I'll just click drag. Drop. Paste. Boom. And with that said there, you have a product, backlog, in Trello. Now. Some of the other things that we did not touch on but I just want to call out real quick you'll, notice that a few of these PBIS, have images one, of the neat things about Trello is that when I attach, a document specifically. An image based document, it comes. Through right on the card which, is kind, of handy I haven't seen that in some of those enterprise level tools that we talked about earlier. If. You take a peek at some of these you'll notice I've put the problem, statement into the description field of each of these product, backlog items to, have some level of consistency, across them. Also. You'll notice that some of them have these colored, labels, so, for example I'm classifying, this, PPI is an integration, based PPI. That's. The same with this guy he has the same yellow color but. This one has integration, also, the green, money-saver. Label. Again. These labels can be very flexible to, whatever your need is. One. Other piece I want to call out is the conversation. That, appears down below it's, really easy for people to collaborate on one given card and I really like this approach much better than all the, email chatter that goes on I'm, sure all of us get plenty of email each and every day we don't necessarily need more so. Having. All the conversation. Related, to this particular, deliverable, in one. Spot is really, handy and for, someone to write their comments. They can key in whatever, their comment is and hit, save it's, that simple over. Here there's also some other buttons you can play around with if you want to be notified of when changes happen to a particular, PB I hit, the watch if.
You Want to move from one list to the next you mean you can do the the drag and drop that's my preferred or you, can do the move and it can tell you which list do you want to go to. You. Can assign due dates or target, dates etc, etc, so, hopping, back over and do our presentation. Now but. Before I do that I want, to talk to you guys about the Sprint backlog because we didn't talk about that at all so. Let's say for example these top two stories, they, are ready to be developed. By the team and be, the, team is ready to pull them into their sprint I can. Open one of these stories I can, say move and I'm. Gonna move to, the Sprint backlog, board. To. The first list. Now. In Trello, I'm. Gonna go back to my boards. I'm. Going to go to my sprint. Backlog, board and here. You can see that story is, now on this board with all of its same information, and all of its same details and. From. Here when the team starts working on it they will slide this card into the in progress status. When. It's done they'll move it into dev complete, and all the way left to right through this board, so. Here's how you can see that you can structure a whole product backlog, and then, individual, sprint backlogs, for, each sprint that your development team goes through assuming. You're utilizing an agile format. Now. I'll hop back over into the presentation. Another. Thing I really like about, Trello. Is that it has a number of tools and addons I really let you take it up a level so. The difference, I think between a tool like Trello that starts, simple, and has available add-ons from. Some of those enterprise, level tools we talked about earlier is that, Trello, doesn't, come with all of that baggage right away and all those added features right away because, those can be a bit overwhelming. The. Approach that they take is, here's a simple, Trello board feel. Free to enhance, it as you see fit so a. Couple of power-ups I'd encourage you to take a peek at our things, like Google Drive or, onedrive integration, this is specifically. If you want your documents not, to be stored on trelles cloud storage but you want to house them maybe, in a company, owned online. Repository, you can do that, there's. Integrations. With slack if you use that to collaborate, with your team, one. One great one that I really like is the voting, feature, and I'll actually show you how to enable that really. Quickly here. So. Let's jump back to our product backlog and. Let's. Say we wanted our stakeholders, to vote on the, stories that they find most important, pretty. Simple idea right. We. Can go show menu. Power-ups. I, want. To find the voting power up. Boom. I've enabled it. That. Wasn't hard I can. Click out of here. Now. When I click into one of these Trello cards, a new button has just shown up I can. Vote for. This particular, PBI, and really, in this context, what I'm saying is hey, I want, this to be one of the items on the top of the list because this one's most important, to me, as. You can see a visual representation here, of the number of votes if you, click in the card you can see it has one vote if, you want to see who voted for it just, click on it and there you go that's. One very simple, power up that Trello, gives you that, is very interesting. To add and add a lot of value to your team, so. I think Trello is a really great tool to hit the ground running especially, if you have a brand new product or a brand new project, or you. Know maybe a really tight deadline you, just need to start developing.
As Soon as possible, it's. A way to just get going, now. With. That said there are a couple of cons of the tool you noticed, when I created, a new PBI, all I had to do is key in a name you. Know there's not a lot of governance, over that, meaning, I didn't, have to key in a number of other different pieces that, our development, team is certainly going to need before, they can deliver on whatever that pbi was created to do so. When, you use it like Trello you do have to add some level of process, to, using it you, saw how before I put the problem statement into the description field for each of those cards, you need, you need to have some level, of process, to you to utilize Trello, in a consistent way so, that your teams get the information that they need so, I'd like to move on now pass. Backlog, management, and pass Trello, into. Another. Day-to-day, technique. That we as B A's often. Perform. Diagramming. And modeling, you. Know one thing I've learned through the years is that business analysts, are really. Great at the written word be. It problem, statements, acceptance. Criteria. Functional. Specs project. Charters cost justification, documents. You. Name it we're really good at writing things. Diagramming. And modeling however. Yeah. Some of us are a bit more hesitant we're, a bit worried about doing that. You, know diagramming, and modeling is definitely. More, of an art form than, a science, but. There's a number of different ways that we, can diagram, and model things to. Really improve. Knowledge. Sharing across our teams, some. Particular. Forms of diagramming, I've done is data flow diagram, what. Data originates, where and, where does it go. Process. Modeling. You, know how does a key set of business users manage, a particular, process, and how, are we going to code bring some brand new technology to, support that process. Prototyping. Is a form of modeling. Scope. Modelling, is another way to visually, represent the, scope of a given project, and. There's more and more beyond, that so. When it comes to diagramming, and modeling, how, do we as bas get over some of that fear, and how do we how do we embrace the art form that is diagramming, and modeling, well.
Let's Cut right to the, get stuff done level how, do we hit the ground running and get. Something, accomplished, as quickly as possible, so. When I think about that get stuff done level as it relates to diagramming. And modeling you, know I really need to be able to save diagrams, off so that I can later pick them back up and edit them and. I really want to here are those diagrams, for people to collaborate with me on and I. Also probably, need to output them to a format. Like PDF. Or JPEG or. PNG so. That I can share them across the organization. Also. I'd really like to start right now meaning, I don't, want to have to write a long email to my boss to say hey can you buy me this tool it, costs this much my, justification is XY and Z I don't. Want to go through that red tape I just like to start delivering value, to my team as soon as possible. And. It'd also be nice if I utilize a tool that had some examples, for me to build from you. Know I I really, like to use whiteboards and I draw a lot on whiteboards, but. They don't necessarily give, me some of the functionalities, that we're talking about here. You know I've even taken pictures of my whiteboard designs, and then sent them out in emails they. Just don't give the value that I'd hoped, but. There is another team another tool that I really think provides. That value and I've received some really good feedback on and that. Tool is draw, dial, so. Draw that IO is another free, tool online so. Just, like Trello you can get to it through the browser it is, free, to access free, to create an account and, as. Long as you have an internet browser on your machine you can utilize draw dot IO doesn't. Get simpler than that there's. A big library of, starter templates that you can use to get started from fast and it. Utilizes everyone's. Favorite functionality. Which is the drag and the drop. There's. No software, to install locally. On your computer, no license, key information a key in no, manager, approval, or info security, approval, or etc etc you. Can just hit the ground running and go. And. Lastly there's many different ways that you can save, your work and, export. Your work which, really makes it a great collaborative, tool I'd, like to show you some examples, of models that I've put together and, then we'll jump into seeing the tool in action. First. Off here's. A scope model regarding, that vehicle management application. That I mentioned earlier on in the presentation I. Mentioned. That there were gonna be four key, modules, of that, application, that was going to be a module for or users. Or consumers the. User. You know you watching this and me of the world kind of a consumer, level there's. A layer for service. Centers so the place you take your vehicle to get them those oil changes, those tire rotations, etc, there's. A piece of functionality that's, specific, to the manufacturers. And, there's. Also a big, piece of functionality regarding. The vehicles, that, are owned by these users. So. This is a very simple, and very crude, diagram that I was able to throw together really. Quickly in draw, that aisle and it gives you a very good visual representation of the key components, in the, application, that I was talking about prior. Now. While this looks simple. And it, looks Elementary let's. Pause for a minute and talk about what this is not. This. Is not a, 15-page. Functional, spec document, this. Is not a four-page long email, that no one's going to read, this. Is a very very simple. Visual to, highlight some of the main components of, the, scope of the project that my team will be embarking on to build this application. So. This particular, visual, gets, across the message that, those. Very long documents. That I could write. It. Gets across the exact same message which is much more clearly and concisely and it saves everybody, time here's. Another example I put, together a process model, of a very simple process flow, of something, that may exist in the app let's, say a manufacturer. Issues a recall, so. For example, the, manufacturer, issues that recall, the. App is going to say hmm, have we notified, all the, affected, vehicles and, their owners well. No, we have not so. Let's let's, pick an owner and let's. Say has that particular owner enabled. Notifications. If. No well we're not going to push any notifications. We'll just add something to that users, you know dashboard, when they sign in through the website but. Let's let's say for the sake of example that. Owner has enabled notifications, oh great. Are, they open for mobile push notifications.
Great. Let's send them one do. They also want to get email notifications. Great. Let's send them one and on. And on through this process so again. This is this process, flow that you're looking at this isn't a very complicated, process, when you think about it but. It's representation. In more of a visual form, is, very, clear and concise and, in this particular, kind of a process flow is something. That your key stakeholders, your product owners your managers, as, well as your QAS, and your developers, can. All look to as one system of one source of truth and everyone, can walk away with a very very similar. Understanding. Of what, the application is supposed to do let's see, draw, at i/o in action. We'll. Go back to the browser, we'll, go draw it on i/o. By. The way it's wwg, audio that's, it pretty simple when. You get there it asks you do you want to create a new diagram or open an existing for. The sake of this example I'm, gonna show you guys how easy it is to get. Started or get started with editing a document you, had already started, I'm. Just gonna eggs out of there go. Into my file explorer, I have. A saved XML. Document, which. I'll, actually show you this file explorer I have, a saved XML, document, I can. Drag drop. It right in the browser and boom, here is my same process, flow that I just, showed you guys so. Let's, say for example. That. We wanted to log. Information. Regarding. The times that we send notifications, to our users, now. That's a very logical step, here because perhaps there's a cost incurred, with doing push notifications. Especially. Through a mobile phone perhaps, by email whatever, the case may be so. We need to add another node into this diagram, to. Add a node I hover, over this box there's. A little arrow if. I click on that it. Creates a connector, and another. Node, in this process flow where I can say log. Information. Regarding. Sent message. So. That I have a history of knowing who. And when I've sent that push notification. To and. Then. We can say you know this this connector, shouldn't, go there anymore, I want. To click drag, drop, done. Perhaps. We want the same kind of logging here again. Hopefully you can spell better than I can. Boom. Drag. Drop. Done. It. Was that simple. There's. Also a number of styling, components, that you can add here you see I have a red background on, this node a green background here, if. I just click on any one of these given nodes there's, a style tab over on the right-hand side where, you can set the background color, you can, set the the fill you can set the. Font color you. Can do a number of different things with this with each particular, element and style it as you see fit. Now. When I'm done I can, obviously say hey file save. In. This case I had the file saved locally on my device but, I would actually strongly, encourage you guys to save right to like Google Drive or onedrive, because. Then you get the auto updates, and the auto saves that occur for you which is pretty handy but. Let's say you want to download right to your device it, downloads an XML, this. Is in essence that same XML, that I dragged and dropped into the browser a couple minutes ago to, bring in some of my past work. Now. An XML, document really, isn't shareable. You know across the organization, to some of your key business users. But. One, thing Giada Daioh has that I find really handy, is it has the. Export, function, so. Let's say we want to export this as an image file that everyone, can look at on their machine we.
Want To export, as a PNG. Download. It to my device, boom. There we go now, I have a format, of this this, model that, I can copy and paste send, it in an email attach, it to a user. Story or a pbi and my team is ready all ready to go. So. That's draw dot IO in a nutshell it's, a really easy tool, to get started with to do some very basic process. Basically. And. Modeling, regardless. Of exactly what type of diagramming, and modeling you want to do the. One thing I guess I'd take a step back and really encourage us all as bees to do is to think about how. Yes, we are really really good at the written word but. The written word isn't always the, best tool, for the, job, sometimes. We need to and it's, uncomfortable for me too sometimes. We need to use a different tool to represent, information in, a different way namely. Visually. Like, through diagramming, and modeling and draw. Dot IO is just a really good tool to get started with because it's, free be it's simple to play around with so, if, it's not for you great you didn't really lose anything and you didn't have to you know justify, it to your manager to make a capital expenditure, and have, you, know someone on the service desk installed, on your machine etc. Etc so, let's. Move onward let's. Now talk about communicating. And collaborating. We. As bas, really. Need to communicate and collaborate effectively and, the, pressure on us continues. To increase, year. Over year month, over month day. Over day all, of us are really being asked to help our teams operate, as efficiently and, effectively as possible and. There's. A lot of challenges that are ahead of us the. World today is a bit different from the world yesterday the, one thing I want all of us to remembers bas is that we can really, serve as change agents we can really serve as leaders in how, we communicate. Now. When, we go back and talk about the be a Bock the, BD Bach talks about a few competencies, regarding. Communication. Interaction. They. Talk about verbal, communication. Nonverbal. Written. And listening. For, distinct, pieces of, communicating. And both. Transmitting. And receiving a, message. Also. There's a number of different ways we need to interact and some of the interaction, skills that the ba ba calls out our, facilitation. Leadership. And influencing. Teamwork. Negotiation. And conflict resolution, and also, teaching. Kind of coaching, as you go along. It's. Not easy to do all of those things and to do all of those things well. And oh. By the way let's say you have a team with, a couple, members that are geographically, located in another part of the world, that's. Another variable overcome. Let's. Say you have, different, members that have utilized different, tools before to communicate, that's. Another obstacle. Let's. Say you have team members who some prefer email some. Prefer I am, some prefer slack and some, prefer a phone call. Somehow. Us as bas need to find one way, not, necessarily one way but we need to find a ways to most effectively and efficiently communicate. With, all those team members so. That they get the key information that they need to do their jobs and to do them well so when I boil this down to the the get stuff done level you know how do we, effectively. Communicate. And collaborate. The. One thing I want us all to remember is that the more rich the, interaction. The better it will be. Now. You're actually seeing my face through this webinar and that was one thing I wanted to have happen because, I know when I watch, a webinar that does not include the presenter it's, really really easy for me to just wander away from the presentation, and start multitasking. It, loses, focus but. When I see someone's face and I can see their reactions, and I can see their hand movements like what you guys have seen from me in it. Hooks, me in and it it secures me a little bit more to that presentation. And that's, because, it's more rich, it's more real so. At the. Get stuff done level how, do we make sure to instill that rich form of communication. The. One thing we got to remember is that different, conversations. Require different mediums, yes. We all send a lot of emails but, an email probably isn't, the best means for constructive, criticism, at times because, we all know how much ambiguity can come across in just the written word through, email.
Also. Email in and of itself can just be off-putting, maybe, you've sent 80 emails in one day but, someone seeing your name show up 80 times in their inbox. They. They're probably sick of seeing your name and subconsciously. They're going to turn off to actually looking at your email and giving, you the information you need, we. Talked about making a real time and make it rich and, you also want others to be able to collaborate. And communicate as, well. Some. Really great tools that I recommend that you guys play around with that I've used on past team are things like Google Hangouts and slack, Microsoft. Teams is another one where, you kind of combine your. IME. With, some of your collaboration. In one place and you, get your teams out of their email inboxes, because. We, all get way too many emails every single day let's admit it so, anything we can do to lift, our teams out of that email inbox and go, into a different platform it. Seems to have a lot of benefits, in today's warm taste world. Another. Tool that I've used a lot is screencast-o-matic. Just. Like Trello and just like draw dot IO this, is a free, online tool, that, you can access through a browser it. Does download, a a small plugin on your machine but what, it allows you to do is to, record, consider. It mini screencasts. So, you can record your screen like what I'm doing here you, can record your video like what I'm doing here and. You can do that in short little stints if you're doing like a walkthrough or a demo of a certain piece of functionality, or. You're just wanting to collaborate with your team in that rich way I, find. That this to be very effective versus, again, writing a 15 page document, or a 4 page email a simple. Three, to five minutes, screencast. Really, goes a long way to helping your team understand, the message that you're trying to get across. Skype. Is another tool that I've used a lot of again for IME also. For recordings. Very similar to what what I mentioned for screencast-o-matic. And, another. Thing that I've seen teams do in the past that's been really helpful is what we call a virtual. Colocation. Meeting, this. Is really helpful for teams with geographically, diverse team, members we. Will put like a four-hour time time, chunk on everyone's calendar, maybe, once a week and we'll call it our virtual, colocation. Time. Really. What that is it's an out is it is an online Skype communication. Where. People can join the conference call and if. They don't have anything to say or talk about with their fellow teammates, they, can stay on mute.
Otherwise. If there's a question or things pop up as they're working they, can pop off mute and say. There's, something in this requirement document, that's not making sense to me can we walk over it and. In. That interaction maybe it's just two people that are contributing, to the conversation at, hand but. All the other team members are there on the phone as well and. If something, should happen to pop up that maybe affects someone else's line of work or that confusion, also. Impacts, someone else then. They can hit. The unmute button and, they can join a part of the conversation, as well the. Goal of those Skype meetings, is to as, much as possible try. To make it as though all team, members are physically, sitting in the same area, in the same building, where, naturally. We all spin our chairs around and we just talk to each other when something comes up so. That virtual colocation meeting is a way of creating. Something like that in an online sense, one. Example of a tool that I mention on this list was that screencast-o-matic. Tool, and. This is really handy especially if you don't have a tool like Skype in your organization, or you can create simple screen captures, I created. One here I'll bring it up as an example hey. Everyone welcome, to my short, little video of using, the screencast-o-matic. Application. As you. Can see right now you're looking at my screen the. Application. Itself is recording, my mouse movements, as I. Click you also see a different, effect and oh. By the way not, only can you see my screen you, can also see my pretty face as well this. Particular tool, works out really great when you're trying to record, like, a knowledge sharing session. Or a demo that, you perhaps may want to rerun, or replay a couple, months down the road or a couple years down the road in. Any event this particular, tool really allows you to capture different things that are on your screen as well, as some, good real rich, text, information or. Real world information like my facials, and nonverbals, as, I'm trying to deliver the information across, so. Hopefully, this helps feel, free to check the tool free to use you click, on a downloadable, link and pull, you, can do exactly what I'm doing here thanks. Everyone and you, also may have noticed that through using that tool there are different, like annotations, you can say or visuals, regarding, the mouse movements, and the mouse clicks. Which are really handy, when you're trying to record a screencast that future, people are going to be looking at so. What's next. We've, talked about a number of different things today we've, talked about going beyond the techniques and using a couple real-world tools as jumpstarters. To help us get our project, started quickly to. Help us be efficient, and help us be effective, with our teams. But. You're probably asking yourself so. Curt what do you want me to do with this information, I'm. Glad you asked so, here's what I want you to do. Experiment. And learn. You. Know if you try what you if you do what you've always done you'll get what you've always got, we. As bas really, need to be leaders in the sense that we're, always going to be looking to continuously, improve not. Just for ourselves and, our own skillsets, and our own careers, but. Also on behalf of the teams we work with we, want to be a better and stronger team member every, step of the way so. Feel free to play around with some of these tools do. Some google searching to find other tools and use, those play, around. Also. Keep your eyes open, you, know there's a number of tools that we mentioned here, in this webinar I wish.
I Could have download a few more of them for you but, check out tools like slack asana. Drawdown. Io lucid. Chart skype. Slack. Microsoft, teams, screencast-o-matic. There's. A number of other ones, Jing. Is another, one that I've used just to capture little. Screenshots, here and there it's been really handy keep. Your eyes open for other useful, tools, that other bas are doing and then. Take. That information back, with you to your teams and say hey, I found this cool new tool that can help me do this this and this I think, this tool can help us alleviate, some, of the communication, concerns or some. Of the requirements, issues, we're finding, gaps or, some, of the discrepancies between what the stakeholders are saying and what the developers, aren't interpreting, it as etc. Etc so. Experiment. And learn keep. Your eyes open for other tools on the horizon, and. Determine. Ways that you can bring those, new tools into your team, again. Recapping, our presentation, today there. Were a couple key learn objectives, that hopefully, you, took away out of this meeting I wanted. You to be able to have a few new tools in your toolbox, you, know maybe you've heard of trouble before maybe you've heard of draw dial but, maybe you haven't thought about them in the context, that I mention them you. Know maybe you've heard of screencasting. Tools but. Maybe you haven't thought of how to practically, apply them in your workspace, my. Goal today was just to present you with a couple new tools that perhaps you can use on your teams to, really be that jumpstarter, tool and to help you be more effective and efficient, to hit the ground running on your project, I also. Hope you had a few pros and cons of the different tools you know like, I said earlier there's not a one-size-fits-all, tool. There, is no silver bullet but different, tools work great, in different, situations, so to be able to understand, which tool is best for, a given scenario is incredibly. Valuable and, we've touched on a few of those today. Lastly. Beyond. The value for you the BA I want. You to be able understand, why, this. Tool is valuable, to your whole team. Ultimately. These tools are meant to help increase the, whole efficiency, and, effectiveness of the team at large so, it's not going to be enough for you to say well I'm going to change what I do by using this tool that Kurt mentioned you. Need to make sure your team is aware of what tool you're using why. You're using it and the value that they're gonna get from it because, when they see that, they're gonna think huh. This, ba is really interested, in continuously. Learning, and trying to come up with better ways for us to do things and, subconsciously. What that's gonna do to every member of your team is that's, gonna make them think outside, of the box to say what. Other tools, or other ways can we do our job then maybe can make us more effective and efficient, than we are today and, by. Doing this we become, leaders. Through doing, we become thought provokers. And that's, really what we want to do on. Our project teams, with. That said I really want to thank everyone for your time for listening, to this webinar. It's, been great recording, it for you if you ever have any questions feel free to email me at the email address on your screen, and. I look forward to hearing from you, appreciate. It bye-bye.