April 2 2012

This blog highlights the reasons why a Business Analyst would use screen recording software, such as Camtasia, when gathering business requirements for projects using an Agile development approach for an implementation of Oracle Fusion Middleware (FMW) such as Business Process Management (BPM), Service Oriented Architecture (SOA), and WebCenter Content.

Many times, as a Business Analyst or Developer, we ask business users to describe their processes so that we can create an executable process model using Business Process Management Notation (BPMN) in software such as Oracle BPM 11g.   However, many business users feel somewhat overwhelmed with the task of comprehensively depicting their computer processes using: white boards, user story cards, written use cases, or creating their own process model.

As a Business Analyst, our primary objective is to effectively capture how someone does their work. 

 

By installing Camtasia, or other screen recording software on a User’s computer, we can record the output to their screen, thereby capturing their normal computer activities related to the identified process.  Since we can also capture audio into the same files, the User can verbally describe the steps they are performing and provide essential details that may otherwise be left out.  Typically, Users are very comfortable demonstrating and describing the processes they perform on their own system; therefore they tend to move from one computer application to another “seamlessly” as they carry out the comprehensive step-by-step activities in the process which they are involved.    

We can effectively gather these business process requirements in a fraction of the time it normally takes to interview users depicting their processes on white boards, paper tablets, or writing use cases.  Because all windows, cursor movements, and ‘clicks’ are captured, the narration of each step of the process is in the exact context of the applications,  tools, and User Interfaces that they are using to accomplish a given task.  Therefore, we can focus on understanding the process explanations and following up with appropriate probing questions without the distraction of trying to write down every step and requirement during Process Discovery.  This is particularly important when we don’t have a second resource performing the role of a scribe. 

This makes our job of producing detailed process models much easier.   User’s references to other groups or departments they interact with during the process can help us identify other actors and roles to include in our process model.  Also, their description of events that take place before, after, or at the same time as the process steps that they are describing, may be important interdependent processes that need to be explored.  

 

Summary:
Using screen and voice recording software like Camtasia to capture business users’ descriptions of their as-is and to-be processes while they are explaining how they use their current tools and user interfaces (UIs) is an effective and efficient method for gathering requirements.  We, as business analysts or developers, can then replay these recordings and produce the appropriate detailed: process models, user stories, user interface requirements, use cases, or detailed list of requirements for validation by the customer and input for the development team.

If you are interested in learning more about using Camtasia for ‘Gathering Requirements’ and / or translating these recordings into Business Process Models, please post your comments / questions in our blog.

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