I’m often asked to recommend simple tools for aspiring BAs to use and I can’t think of anything more simple – or more useful – than pen & paper or, where available, a whiteboard.
For those of you who like to work with pen & paper or with whiteboard & marker, here’s a simple tip: Get a sheet of A4 paper & laminate it. Then get some fine-tip whiteboard markers. You now have a portable whiteboard.
Make an A3 version too, if you wish. Don’t roll them up, though… it’s a nightmare to unroll them when needed. If you want something a bit more robust, laminate a piece of white card instead of paper.
For ‘advanced’ uses:
I also made A3 & A4 versions with an empty multi-level ‘class diagram’ on one side and a blank Swimlane diagram on the other. By using them horizontally or vertically, they can be used to sketch (among other things):
- multifunction swimlane
- activity diagram
- sequence diagram
- class diagram
- hierarchical chart
- system & subsystem diagram
I recommend BAs carry these with them at all times. Whenever you find yourself asked to capture & diagram a process etc (whether in a workshop or 1-to-1 session), use them. Better still, give your stakeholders the dry-erase markers & encourage them to weigh in. Inclusion breeds motivation and using these portable whiteboards is more inclusive than a wall-mounted whiteboard (which some people find intimidating, especially stakeholders).
Feel free to comment with useful / quick & easy tips for BAs
Oh, and by the way, if you accidentally write on your whiteboard (DIY or otherwise) with permanent marker, simply write over the offending ink with a whiteboard marker and it should remove the offending marks.