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How to Use Prototyping to Model and Analyze BI Requirements

Rachael Wilterdink Rachael Wilterdink  |  
Aug 15, 2019
 
If you’re involved in eliciting, modeling, analyzing, or consuming requirements for Business Intelligence projects, this post is for you. This is the tenth and final technique in our blog series on 10 Techniques for Business Analysts (BAs) to model and analyze Business Intelligence (BI) requirements.
 

What is Prototyping?

It’s creating a mocked-up version of whatever it is you want to build (before you build it). The official definition of prototyping, according to the IIBA®, is: “Prototyping is used to elicit and validate stakeholder needs through an iterative process that creates a model or design of requirements. It is also used to optimize user experience, to evaluate design options, and as a basis for development of the final business solution.” - BABOK® v3.0
 
Prototyping is a method to provide early modeling in order to identify:
  • Missing requirements
  • Improperly specified requirements
  • Unsubstantiated assumptions
  • Early stages of design
 

What Are the Types of Prototyping?

  • Throw-away
    • Very “rough” version (low-fidelity)
    • Could by drawn on a napkin or a whiteboard
    • Not polished
  • Evolutionary (or Functional)
    • Closely resembles the finished product
    • Higher degree of fidelity
    • Could be developed into working software
 
types of prototyping
 

Pros

Prototyping can be quick, easy, and cheap. It lets you explore a design without much effort so you can quickly get feedback from a user before doing any actual development. Prototyping enables innovation and iterative development. This is an excellent way to prove out a concept without wasting time and money.
 

Cons

If you build a throw-away prototype, you won’t be able to build on it – it just goes in the garbage. But if you build an evolutionary prototype, you’ll be able to save the work you did to create the initial prototype – while building on it based on user feedback.
 

Conclusions

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. In this case, it’s absolutely true. People are visual by nature, and they would much rather have something to look at that “describes” their desired solution without having to read a bunch of words. It’s a fantastic tool that should be in everyone’s toolbox. For Business Intelligence specifically, mocking up dashboards or reports before coding them is an excellent way to validate that you are building what your users want.
 
And that’s a wrap! I hope you enjoyed this blog series and that you’ll be able to add a few of the techniques to your toolbox! Let me know what you think and if you know of any other business analysis techniques that are useful when working on BI projects. I would love to know about them!
 

Free Agile Resources


References:
“IIBA Home.” IIBA | International Institute of Business Analysis, www.iiba.org/.
“PMI.” PMI | Project Management Institute, www.pmi.org/.
 
Business AnalysisBusiness Intelligence

 

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