Upcoming Online Courses

We've been pretty quiet on the social media lately. It's not because we don't have anything to share; rather we've been hard at work in developing new online courses. We thought we would share some course previews with you now.

These are courses we are seeking to deliver. We're not 100% sure we can get them all done according to schedule. Nonetheless, we like creating pressure for ourselves by talking up the courses we're developing and then killing ourselves to get them done on time. (:

Here goes...

Gathering Requirements

Requirement gathering is one of the most critical skills for the Business Analyst. But it's incredibly common for gathering skills to be short-changed and underdeveloped. Accordingly we are developing this course. It will focus on how to:

  • Plan a requirements gathering phase
  • Line up the right stakeholders,
  • Choose the right methods,
  • Do the actual gathering and...
  • Document the thing

It should be about three hours long (and that means probably about four hours, because Don talks a lot). We're hoping to launch this online in mid-September.

Intro to Business Process Modeling

Business process modeling is a really important skill for BAs, and like Othello, it takes minutes to learn and a lifetime to master. Well, no, not really. It really will just take this course to learn it, and then the Mastering BPM course below to master. And you have to practice. Any way.

In this course, we'll be providing:

  • An overview of Business Process Modeling... what it's all about, where it came from and why it's important
  • A primer on BPM -- i.e. how to do it
  • Introductions to Lean and Six Sigma and...
  • An introduction to the Business Process Model and Notation (BPMN)

We're aiming to have this be a one-hour course, released at the end of September. Oh, and for the first time, we'll have a special guest co-presenting with Don. Fun!

Business Case Development

There is nothing worse than running a great project and getting to the end of it with the senior stakeholders questioning why the project was even done in the first place. It happens to everyone at some point in their career, but it doesn't have to.

In our Business Case Development course, we'll give our students tools to develop awesome business cases. We'll look at topics like:

  • What makes a great business case
  • Who needs to be involved
  • How to tie the business case into your requirements and planning
  • How to deal with the various possible outcomes of business cases
  • How to effectively push back against senior stakeholders when their pet projects don't hold water

We're expecting this one to be a bit over an hour, and released at the end of October. Happy Halloween in advance.

Agile Business Analysis

Agile? You've probably never heard of it (just kidding). No, it's actually a hot topic in software development, product management and a host of other business and management disciplines. In this course we'll talk about:

  • What agile is all about
  • Common agile methodologies (Scrum, but others too)
  • The role of the BA in agile projects
  • Performing effectively on agile projects (i.e. what to do and how to do it well) and...
  • Tips on evangelizing agile in your organization

This will be about one hour in length (Don will have to talk really fast), and is due out at the end of November.

Mastering Business Process Modeling

Say you take the intro to BPM course, and you feel sad because there was only one hour of it. Well Seventh Morning is preparing a year-end present for you (except it will cost money, unfortunately).

Mastering BPM is so far in the future that we haven't even developed an outline for it yet. But it looks like we'll be developing the core concepts introduced in the intro course, in addition to giving a solid grounding in BPMN.

We're expecting this one to be two hours long and delivered just before the new year.

Woof. If you're tired after reading this, just be glad you're not the ones developing the courses! But we're excited about our plans and hope you are too.

Stay tuned!

Strategy

One of the great things about working for a small company is that you are able to do things that would seem crazy to a big organization. For example, we at Seventh Morning are able to devote Fridays (almost) entirely to strategy and big-picture product development. That's been our focus today, and we're starting to envision some big things coming down the pike.

Or maybe I should say, "pipe." We've specifically been working on our course development pipe line today. Here's a sampling:

Project Management road map

When we started out as a training company, we were exclusively focused on Business Analysis but realized that we would eventually develop training for Project Management as well. As of today, we have the beginnings of a Project Management training road map, and it is pretty hardcore. We're looking at about 10-12 courses, and we aspire to get them all delivered in 2014.

Product Management road map

What we hadn't been planning on developing was training in Product Management. Our rationale was that (1) managing products is done so differently across organizations, industries, etc; and (2) there isn't sufficient demand for Product Management training. But as a young company, we have been learning a lot. The first rationale we discarded, as we have learned ways of getting around it in the course of developing certain BA training. And the second rationale was proved false, as we have heard from customers, partners and other generally smart people. That's one of the reasons we're always looking for input and feedback, by the way.

The Product Management courses will come out in 2015 also, and we're looking at about five courses, in areas like product development and innovation. It's too early to say much beyond that, but stay tuned to this blog and our Facebook page for more info.

Acceleration of course development

This is actually the biggest strategic item that will help out. Our first course,Working with Use Cases, took several months to develop. Our second course,Fundamentals of Business Analysis, took about three months to develop (and that course has a lot more content). We've been looking for ways to reduce our course dev cycle time, and we think we've figured it out using a combination of business process management and agile product development techniques.

What does this mean? Essentially that we believe we can get to a point where we are delivering a course every month. Accordingly, we've scheduled a course for the end of August and the end of every month thereafter. In 2015, we will have the need (and hopefully also the stamina) to deliver two courses per month. We're hoping to learn from our experiences this year to help us achieve that goal.

So yes, everything above is a sampling of things coming down the pipe. But they're also a testament to how focused and concentrated strategy work can help drive big-picture pay-offs.

How are you doing things in your organization? Do you devote time where it's most important?

Who are we?

We're Seventh Morning. Nice to meet you.

Welcome to Seventh Morning's new blog. We're starting this blog because we want to give you a forum to learn what we're thinking. We plan to write something for you once a week or so.

We thought it would be a good idea for our first post to tell you a little bit about us. Who we are, where we came from, where we plan to go.

We're Business Analysts. Fundamentally, at the core of our professional being, we are BAs. We think like analysts; we talk like analysts; we nerd out like analysts. We swim in an ocean of problems, and solutions are our bathing suits. [Editor: Can we find a metaphor that makes sense?] We were analysts in our souls [Editor: OMG, seriously?], even before we ever knew what business analysis was.

We're trainers. We like to watch people learn. Have you ever explained something tricky to someone and watched a wave of realization come over their face? We live for those moments.

We're Seventh Morning. We started up in 2013, with the intention of becoming... well, not the biggest analysis training company in the world, and certainly not the richest. No, we wanted to provide training to analysts that couldn't afford the $3,000-$5,000 training courses offered by those companies that are now our competitors.

We also wanted to cut out the fluff. A lot of training companies decide that a training course should be a certain length, and then they pump up the curriculum to achieve that length. And that makes sense, because a two-day course generates higher revenues than a two-hour course. But the result is, at best, a waste of the students' time. At worst, it confuses the student by giving airtime to concepts that provide little value to their workday. And at even more worst, it convinces the student to perform tasks that don't add value to their employers and clients.

Where are we going? We're moving forward, but we don't know the precise destination. We hope never to. Nonetheless, we know some of the stops along the way.

The first stop was launching online training. Last year, we launched Working with Use Cases, a 90-minute tutorial on use case modeling. Students seem to like it. More than a hundred of them signed up in the first twelve months, and the rating is something like 4.5 starts out of five. Just a couple weeks ago, we launched our flagship online course, Fundamentals of Business Analysis. Only a handful of students so far, but we got our first review and a lot of fantastic feedback from an early-adopting student.

Our next stop is coming very soon. We're expanding into offering our training expertise directly to employers. We have a lot of crazy ideas on how to make this the best, least orthodox and most effective course offering you've ever seen. And we're looking for pilot organizations to work with -- e-mail us atinfo@seventhmorning.com for more info; you'll get free training while we work out the minor kinks. Actually, I lied; it will cost you $1, but that's essentially free.

Where are we going? We're big believers in letting our clients decide the direction. We're here to solve your problems. So tell us what your business analysis problems are. We're all ears.

So that's Seventh Morning in a nutshell. Stay tuned for actual blog posts on all things business analysis.