Free training to celebrate the first class of Mastering Use Cases graduating

Several weeks ago, the first intake of students finished my course – Mastering Use Cases.

It was a fascinating journey for me as well as them with a few bumps along the way.

I’d like to share the students’ feedback on the course followed by the improvements I will be making for the next intake.

Finally, I will let you know about some free training I will be providing in the future along with my plans for the next Mastering Use Cases course.

All the students said they were pleased they had joined the class and learnt a great deal from the class.

Some of the students provide their view of the course below:

Gillian Walton (working for legal firm, UK) said:

I found the course very useful in sharpening up those skills of stakeholder analysis and the level of their involvement, plus re-iterating the importance of communication. It has highlighted to me the usefulness of the use case tool in order to methodically analyse a scenario rather than piecing the puzzle together via the “back of a cigarette packet” method! This was backed up by Alex’s broad experience together with the experience of the other course members which all helped to complete the course.

Pete Cohen (freelance BA/PM, Australia) said:

I really benefitted from hearing Alex’s perspective in light of his professional experience as a BA. I have read plenty of books that describe Use Cases and have tried to include them in my workflow in the past, but it is only now having done the course that I have the information and confidence I need to actually expand my toolbox to include them. Alex is genuinely engaged and enthusiastic to help students in the course, so I would recommend it to anyone looking to expand their BA skill set.

Rebecca Nord (working for higher education institution, US) said:

I just started a new project, and one of my first steps will be developing a use case catalogue, which I learned about in the course.   It will be really helpful to start with the high level use case catalogue, which establishes an overall, maintainable structure for drilling down to more detailed use cases as the project proceeds.  It will also be a big advantage for finding those missing and incomplete requirements!

Nicole Salisbury-Gaumont (working as knowledge architect, UK) said:

I was extremely impressed by this course. I found myself constantly remarking on the elegance of the presentation and the depth and breadth of coverage of the subject matter, not to mention the author’s breezy style.
The course is delivered in a series of easily digested lessons, collected into units of roughly 5-6 lessons each. Each unit is supported by a weekly live tutorial and a series of exercises that progressively build into the full use case workflow, including running focus groups, delivering your work to the developers and designing user acceptance tests.
The instructor excels at breaking complex information down into everyday language: his metaphors are always apt and he gives every student his full attention and concern, wanting to know that you’ve fully understood a concept before rushing to the next lesson. From the very beginning of the course, you get the feeling that you’re in good hands – the course material guides you and anticipates any holes in your understanding, and Alex is regularly in touch to ensure that you are getting the most from the course, providing detailed feedback on your work and quick responses to any questions you post in the forum.
Overall, I would say that Alex Papworth is a master in stakeholder management and in use case design, and a willing and excellent teacher. Knowing that this course was the brainchild of a single person, not a large educational company only added to my positive assessment: I will watch with interest to see what new courses come from the Business Analyst Mentor in the future.

There were two key lessons for me as the course author and instructor:

–    provide clear, accessible, obvious guidance on the course from before the course starts all the way through to the end of the course. (a course and classroom guide was useful but wasn’t enough)
This guidance should include what you should have done, what you are expected to do and addresses any questions that arise

–    group exercises must be justified, valuable and clearly defined from Day 1 (including the amount of time required and when)

The feedback on the content of the course was extremely positive which reflected the weeks of work I invested in this. The challenges related instead to communication. I needed to make it crystal clear how to navigate the virtual classroom and the course material. I also need to provide more guidance on how to complete the group assignments.

I plan to tackle these problems with the following simple but effective improvements:

–    the weekly live tutorials will be re structured to provide a course ‘heartbeat’ ensuring they cover the following:
o    what lessons have been covered (and questions)

o    what assignments have been tackled (and questions)

o    what is expected in the next week

–    provide an initial live course introduction which walks through every aspect of the course explaining how it works and what is expected
(there is already a course introduction as a PDF)

–    review all assignments, especially group assignments, to see if they are necessary and whether more guidance is required

I have also recently run a survey to help me understand your needs better in terms of the challenges you face and how you would like professional development delivered to address those challenges.
My thanks to those of you who took the time to contribute. I shall write a post soon to share my findings (once I have decided what they are!).

I’ll be announcing new products (including a free one) to support your professional development in the next few weeks as well as the dates for the next Mastering Use Cases course.

Email or share this post with any of your colleagues or friends who would be interested using one of the links below.

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