Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Business Requirement to Project Delivery

Basic Business Analysis Lifecycle

1. Project Plan

Planning includes creating a work plan. Planning is a team event. You need to collaborate with business users, stakeholders throughout the phase of the project. Every day is not a Sunday similarly no two projects are same. You may have large or small, complex or simple projects but planning is critical part of every project. As a Business Analyst the primary role during planning is scope of the effort.

2. Project Scope
Before starting to define and documenting project scope we need to know why the project has been initiated and goals of the project. The business analyst needs to thoroughly analyze business problems before jumping to a solution. We can identify the opportunity or problem the company needs to address.

3. Analyze and Communicate Requirements.

As a Business Analyst this is very important part of requirement gathering. As a business analyst you need the understand business needs and find the root cause of business problems. Then you discuss the requirements with business users and stakeholders. You must communicate the requirements effectively and efficiently to all the parties. The task also involves categorizing the requirements and ensure the project is solving the right problem.

4. Design

Once the requirements are gathered and approved by the business users the development team starts working on implementing the solutions as stated in the requirement document. The business analyst should be available to support the design and development team even though it’s not his expertise area. If the business analyst who knows the system in and out can work with development team more efficiently.

5. Build Solution.

Once all the requirements are gathered then the business and project team need to make a decision whether to build the system internally, outsource the project and buy a prepackaged solutions. At the same you role is to ensure the solutions stills meets the business need as stated in the business requirements. In the mean time you can start working on test cases or scenarios.

6. Test Solution.

After the solution has been designed you need to validate the business needs raised during the project are met. You work with test team to ensure the solution are met as stated in the requirements. The business analyst needs to work with test team to make sure their no bugs in the systems. The business analyst can perform sanity testing or ask test team to perform. Once we complete the testing we can ask business users to do the testing before the solutions is implemented in the main environment.

7.  Implement
Once all the solution are built into the system you want business users to use the solution. You work with business users and stakeholders as the solutions rolls out. You need to train the users and make them comfortable with solutions. Regardless of how great your solution is the individuals impacted by it determine the success or failure of the project. The big part of your change management plan is managing stakeholders’ experience with change. Failing to address human side of the change the project is bound to fail.

8. Post-implementation Review.
When the solution are implemented the business analyst need to make sure the goals in the project are being met. If you find out that something is missing you need to start another project to fulfill all the needs of the business users and stakeholders and is solving their problems. There is problem with your car and you take the car for repairing. Once the car is repaired you tend to check the car. But if you still feel there is a problem with the car you ask mechanic to recheck the car. Similarly as a business analyst you do the same thing with the project. You validate that your implemented solution solve the business problems. 

Managing requirements in a Lean way

Every Organization continuously thrives to find scope of the improvement to drive best results. One of the many ways for process improvement is lean i.e. removing waste. I studied lean during my masters for quality engineering course where I learned the principles of Lean and how we apply them to the manufacturing sector to improve the productivity. It has been seen that these very Lean principles are being applied by the business analyst’s professionals to eliminate common issues that bloat the project and makes it unmanageable. In this article I will discuss some basics of Lean principles and how business analysts can apply them in their day to day work.

What is Lean?

Systematic approach to eliminate waste. (Muda: Used by Japanese where muda means waste). It was extensively used in manufacturing sector to reduce waste, improve quality, time and efficiency. The lean manufacturing was started from Toyota Production System where they were using seven wastes to improve overall value.

When we think about Lean it was always associate with quality and process improvement to improve manufacturing. Companies saw many opportunities and started to apply same lean principles throughout organization to improve business processes and activities. Similarly lean principles can be applied by business analyst to deliver the projects on time.

Business analyst can use various lean principles to improve processes and deliver project on time.

Reuse Requirements: When a business analyst starts working on a new project usually it starts with requirements gathering phase. But we can reuse requirements which were gathered previously for projects. This may give you a head start for the project, increase productivity and quality. It will also give consistency between related systems. But it has its own risk. It may require more time and effort to work on reusable requirements then write those requirements from scratch. This can happen due to poor quality of existing requirements. Thus the organization needs to create high quality standard where it is possible to use existing requirements for new projects.

Study Application: In organization we tend to use various application with our main systems. But before buying any application a thorough study needs to be done. For example: Main systems updates are released every quarterly. Now we integrate an application with our main system. Unfortunately that application is not updated parallelly with main system updates. After few years the two systems may fall apart. Then the organization may buy new application which will require development team and again train users with respect to new application.

Accountable for the Deliverables: Once all the requirements are gathered it is very important for a business analyst to know whom to assign the requirements. It’s very much necessary the requirements are given to right person for the development and establish timelines.

Stay Focused: Stay focused on deliverables. Don’t work on too many different projects which are not related to deliverables. Dysfunctional team can lead to project to fail rather than scoping, poor requirements issues. 

Using Lean principles will help you finish the project on time, effectively and efficiently. Lean principles are not just bounded to manufacturing but you can use lean to define, measure, analyze, improve and control for continuous improvement throughout the organization. 

The changing face of a Business Analyst

We often call business analyst as a bridge between business and development team but the real challenge of bridging the gap can be best understood by the person who is in the shoes of a business analyst. It is a business analyst’s job to understand what the business does, how it is done and what is the process behind it. If an organization has multiple teams involved, then understand how and why those teams are inter connected.

A Business analysts has to keep changing the colors like a chameleon and mold into various roles in a project from start till the finish. Let us discuss few of them in this article-

Big Picture View: Scope creep is one of the major reasons why a project fails and to avoid this a business analyst must have a bird’s eye view to have a clear picture of the requirements.

In company SFDC316 business had put forward requirements to send emails which was eventually drafted in business requirements document, later there were phone calls back and forth between business and BSA regarding some added functionality which was never confirmed by business in any kind of written communication due to timeline getting affected business analysts started building the system and released the product for User acceptance testing. Business came back to BSA that the application functionality is far different then what was discussed on call and pushed back for rebuild. 

The subtle art of being a BSA

In today’s world, companies need to maintain competitive edge and capitalize on opportunities for growth. Business Analyst need to review the current operation to keep moving and leverage opportunities. Business Analyst is like an architect a person who puts things together. 

We hire an architect while constructing or renovating our house. The architect will create a plan by collecting inputs from the owner. Once the plan is approved the architect will approach the builder to start the work and monitor the build process. But things don’t go always according to the plan. You may face various issues. The architect has to resolve the issues or revise the plan if needed. 

The same way Business Analyst works in an organization. He works with business users, stake holders to gather requirements and develop a plan and then work with IT team to implement the system in the organization. Hence Business Analyst is the bridge between business users and IT development team.

Salesforce – Opportunity Splits

Opportunity split allows sales reps to divide revenue and opportunity credit on sales deals. Splits can be rolled up in the pipeline and forecast reports. Your organization can have more accurate view of pipeline and performance.

Take a example a company uses salesforce crm in their organization where users deal with opportunities on day to day basis. A user has come to you with a request that team working on an opportunity should be given credit apart from opportunity owner. How can this be done?

In opportunity we have an option called Split Opportunities.  Here team members working on an opportunity share sales credit. By doing this each user can roll their individual sales credits into quota and pipeline reports.

Setup > Customize > Opportunities > Opportunity Splits > Settings

Set up Opportunity Splits

By default we have two splits Revenue and Overlay. These splits cannot be deleted but you can rename or deactivate those spits. To add new splits click “Add a new split type” split another currency field, and specify whether splits must total 100% of that field.

Click Save and then click Enable Opportunity Splits

Select Page Layout for which you want to add opportunity splits related list. To ensure that users with customized page layouts see the related list, select Add to users’ customized related lists and save.

In Progress: Enabling Splits.  Edit Split Types is grayed out.

Opportunity splits is now enabled and we can Edit Split Types.

Opportunity Splits related list is displayed on opportunity detail page. To split the opportunity click Edit Opportunity Splits button on related list.

Various tabs are displayed: Revenue, Overlay and Expected Revenue. Now you can add /delete team member from opportunity splits. Define percent, enter the notes as desired. Amount will change with respect to assigned percentage.

Opportunity Splits Related List

Monday, March 30, 2015

Salesforce – Big Deal Alert

A company uses salesforce crm in their organization where users deal with opportunities on day to day basis. A user has come to you with a request that he should be notified when opportunities with large amount are created. How can this be done?

In opportunity, you will find an option called “Big Deal Alerts” this option lets you email notifications for opportunities with large amounts. Customize the alert to send an email when the opportunity reaches the threshold. Threshold consist of opportunity amount and probability. You can only have one opportunity alert for one organization.

To access Big Deal Alert go to:

Setup > Customize > Opportunity > Big Deal Alert

Initially Big Deal Alert is not enabled in the Salesforce. There are four steps to configure Big Deal Alerts.

Step 1: Alert Name:
            Enter a name for the alert.

Step 2: Threshold

            In this we have two fields. One is Trigger Amount and another is Trigger Probability. Enter             a Trigger Probability and Trigger Amount in the corporate currency. Opportunity alert is                 triggered when the probability and the amount is equal or greater than the probability and               amount configured in the salesforce. The alert triggers only for those opportunities that                 meet both the criteria i.e. Trigger Amount and Trigger Probability threshold amounts.

Step 3: Alert Settings

            Active: Select active when you want alert to be used immediately.
From Email Name: Enter From Email Name
From Email Address: Enter From Email Address
Use Page Layout and Language From:  Here select the user that will provide the appropriate page layouts, language and currency settings for the content of the email. The user must have “View All Data” permission.

Step 4: Recipients

In this section enter the Notify Emails, Notify CC Emails and Notify BCC emails to whom you want to notify about the big deal opportunity alert. Notify Email is mandatory fields whereas Notify CC Emails and Notify BCC Emails are optional fields.

Notify Opportunity Owner: Select this option if you also want to notify the opportunity owner in the alert emails and save.

Big Deal Alert has be configured.
Now let’s create a new opportunity. Enter the opportunity amount at $120,000 and probability at 90% and save the record.

As soon as I save the record I receive an email about opportunity alert. 

Saturday, March 28, 2015

About Me

I am a Salesforce Business Systems Analyst with administrator and developer certification. I started my carrier in Oracle ERP and worked in various modules like General Ledger, Inventory, Account Payable, Purchase Order, and Accounts Receivable

I love working as a Business Systems Analyst on force.com platform because it has many uses and can be integrated with so many different applications that I can continue to keep learning. I enjoy collaborating with different people to understand their needs and delivery solution for them. In my spare time I like to play chess, read and hike.

The goal of this site is to help Salesforce Administrators and developers all around the world. To do this, I will cover a random subjects of Salesforce and general business topics hopefully, you’ll even read some posts that challenge your perspectives.

I have taken a lot from this community and I hope I can give back by sharing my experiences and knowledge.

Thank you so much for stopping by to check out my site. 

You can also connect with me on LinkedInGoogle+Email, I would love to connect with you!

Friday, March 27, 2015

Salesforce – Similar Opportunities

A company uses salesforce crm in their organization where users deal with opportunities on day to day basis. A user has come to you with a request of finding similar opportunities. How can this be done?

In opportunity, you will find an option called "Similar Opportunities" this option lets you search Closed/Won opportunities that match attributes of the current opportunity. We have to enable similar opportunity with matching criteria and fields to be displayed. Here you can search maximum 10,000 matching closed/won opportunities. A closed/won opportunity’s relevance is depended by the number of attributes that match the current opportunity.

To access similar opportunities go to:

Setup > Customize > Opportunities > Similar Opportunities

Initially Similar Opportunities is not enabled in the Salesforce. There are three steps to configure Similar Opportunities.

Step 1: Enable Similar Opportunities
                By default Similar Opportunities is not enabled, hence we can’t add similar opportunity related list to the opportunity detail page. Enable the Similar Opportunities, then go to Opportunity page layout and in related list drag and drop similar opportunity related list to opportunity related list.

When Similar Opportunities is not enabled, similar opportunity related list is not available on page layout setup page.

Step 2: Specify Match Criteria
                Here we have to select and add opportunity fields and related lists. Then these fields are used to search to match against other opportunities. We can select 3 to 10 opportunity fields in match criteria.

Step 3: Select Fields to Display for Similar Opportunities.
                The fields which are selected will be displayed on the Similar Opportunity Related List. You can select up to 15 opportunity fields to be displayed on the similar opportunity related list which appear in the list as columns. Using the arrows we also arrange the order of the fields displayed on the related list.

 Step 4: Click Save.

Step 5: Now go to Opportunity Page Layout and add the Similar Opportunity related List to opportunity detail page.

I have 3 Closed/Win Opportunities. I have created a new opportunity and now I want to find out similar opportunity to this current opportunity. On the Similar Opportunity related list click “Find”.
Following page is displayed. Three opportunities are displayed which are similar to the current opportunity. On left side we have Match Criteria and the fields we had selected in the Similar Opportunity settings.

Now I select Match Criteria: Account Name. No similar opportunities are displayed with respect to Account Name match criteria.

I can select more than one match criteria. I have selected Opportunity Owner and Probability. 3 similar opportunities are displayed.
Close Date Within: You can select Last 3 /3 – 6/ 6 – 9/9 – 12 months. Select the relevant opportunity and click Bookmark.

On related list Similar Opportunity are displayed.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Salesforce – Mass Email Leads

Send mass email to leads in Salesforce.

Lead Object > Tools > Mass email Leads

Click Go to get the list of all the users. You can also create New View and filter the users as required. Select the lead you want to send the mass email and next.

Select the email template from folder you want to use to send mass email and next.

Store an activity for each message: Select by default

Enter the Mass Email Name.

Delivery Options: When you want to schedule the email. You can send the email right now by selecting Send now option or you can schedule the mass email on specific date and time and time zone.

Click Send and then finished

Salesforce – Profiles: Desktop Client Access

Connect for Outlook, Connect Offline, Connect for Office and Connect for Lotus Notes are desktop clients that integrate Salesforce with your PC. As an administrator, you can control which desktop clients your users can access as well as whether users are automatically notified when updates are available.

Setup > Manager Users > Profiles (Select a profile) Custom Sales Profile

System > Desktop Client Access

Desktop Client Access > Edit (Select updates and alerts)

Salesforce – Profiles: Password Policies

Password Policies settings specify password requirements, and can be used to customize how passwords are used.

Setup > Manager Users > Profiles (Select a profile) Custom Sales Profile

System > Password Policies

Password Policies > Edit

User password expire in: Set the number of days. After 90 days the password will expire.

Enforce password history: 3 passwords remembered. You can’t use the last 3 passwords.

Minimum password length:  5, 8 10 and 12 minimum characters required for the password.

Password complexity requirement: The requirement for which types of characters must be used in a user’s password.

Password question requirement:  Answer to the password hint question cannot contain the password itself; or none.

Maximum invalid login attempts: How many times you can try invalid attempts before getting locked out.

Lockout effective period: The duration of the login lockout. The default is 15 minutes.

Obscure secret answer for password resets: Hides answer for the security question when you type.

Require a minimum 1 day password lifetime: When enabled passwords can’t be changed more than once in a 24 hour period.

Salesforce – Profiles: Session Timeout

Use Session Timeout to set a time limit for how long a user’s authentication session lasts. At the end of the session, the user will need to log in, again.

Setup > Manager Users > Profiles (Select a profile) Custom Sales Profile

System > Session Timeout

Session Timeout > Edit

Select timeout value from the drop down list and save.

Salesforce – Profiles: Login IP Ranges

Set the specific IP addresses from which user can log in Salesforce.

Setup > Manager Users > Profiles (Select a profile) Custom Sales Profile

System > Login IP Ranges

Login IP Ranges > Add IP Ranges

For each profile you can specify IP addresses. User can log in from specified IP address but when they try to log in from a different IP address it is denied. 

Enter the IP Start and End Address. The start and end addresses define the range of allowable IP addresses from which users can log in.