Business analysts are great! No really—BAs create clarity, manage impacts, spot dependencies, network, build shared understanding, and record critical information for anyone coming along later. Daaaaaamn—that’s a lot of helpful things!
But it isn’t the BA role that is magically helpful, it is the things that we do that enable all that goodness. Which is why it is so frustrating that there is such an incredible amount of unhelpful nonsense on the internet regarding BA tools. Plenty of editorialisation on the benefits of a particular method or activity, but very little concise guidance on how to use them.
To fix this—we created the Jimmy Methods. There’s a BA tool you can use to tackle every dilemma, and a tried and true Jimmy Method for the ones we use the most!
- Concept model: clarify the words and concepts within a domain.
- Story map: document an entire system’s functionality.
- User story: describe user requirements by why, not what.
- Acceptance criteria: define a feature in yes or no terms.
- Value/effort map: work out what to work on next.
- Process model: summarise a complex series of actions.
- ER diagram: visually represent your system’s entities.
- State diagram: define your entity’s lifecycle.
- Stakeholder map: determine who needs what, when, and to what detail.
- RACI: clarify who should be involved.
Disclaimer: Using the Jimmy Methods as outlined has given us the best outcomes, most of the time, in most scenarios. But there’re plenty of reasons why some of the steps outlined might not work in yours. So, as with everything in life, apply mindfully!
Need to document a process? There’s a Jimmy Method for that. Don’t know what to pick up off the backlog? Try prioritising by value and effort. Comms issues getting in the way of your team? Get clarity of who your stakeholders are with a Stakeholder Map.
Or, if you’re entirely new to business analysis, well, start with the basics: Having good Acceptance Criteria is critical for any work involving software development. Plus it is easy. Just think testable and you’re most of the way there.
If you’re really stuck, this handy Jimmy methods guide page has everything you need to know!
if you spot any errors or mistakes—spelling, grammatical, or otherwise—please reach out and let us know so we can correct them. We’d also love to hear from you if you think our advice is total batshit as we’d be keen to understand your approach!