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31 October 2016

Corrections to LinkedIn's Course, Business Analysis Fundamentals

LinkedIn's inLearning course (apparently they got it from, Business Analysis Fundamentals, provides plenty of useable information. However, I was frustrated with a number of points. The most damaging were the course's confusion about Validation, Verification, Traceability, and Stakeholders.

  • You validate requirements by confirming that they have authority, are necessary, and meet standards for quality. Validation looks upward.

  • You verify that requirements are met either by lower-level requirements or by the product. Verification looks downward. Methods include Inspection, Analysis, Test, and Demonstration.

  • The course reversed these distinctions and identified only Test as a method of verification.

  • Traceability links each requirement to directly-related higher- and lower-level requirements. Traceability enables validating requirements' authority and verifying their satisfaction.

  • The course's discussion of traceability focused on metadata about requirements' sources. While such information is useful, it is a very minor part of traceability.

  • Stakeholders include everybody who "has a stake in" the project.  The course focused on external stakeholders. It should have included the project team and other internal relationships such as other projects.

  • The course's definition of Functional Requirements includes activities that the project needs to do to deliver the product. It should also have included what the product does and how well it does it.

  • Since the course only half understands what constitutes functional requirements, it classifies Performance among nonfunctional requirements. Project performance is nonfunctional, but product performance is functional.

  • The course treats Transitional Requirements as a separate category. If the project performs a service, transitional requirements can be Functional requirements; and if the project creates a product, they are usually nonfunctional.

  • The T in SMART stands for Time-bound. The course replaces this with Traceable. The substitution is a good one, but it is nonstandard, and it requires that you include temporal requirements in Specific.

As I said, the course provided plenty of actionable content. I would be proud to work with the instructor, and I would learn a lot more from him that he would learn from me. However, we'd have to work out some issues, first.

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