Today was the first full day of the Building Business Capability Conference. This is the 2nd year of the conference and first that I have attended. The conference is made up of 4 tracks

  • Business Analysis Forum
  • Business Process Forum
  • Business Rules Forum
  • Business Architecture Summit

I am mainly focused on the BA forum. My goal is to take some things back to CapTech that can be used to increase the effectiveness of our BSA practice and also understand more what are some of the pain points in the industry and what can be done to relieve them. I attended five sessions today and took something away from each.

1. Managing Business Analysis by Barb Carkenord - Barb compared business analysts to tomato plants in how they need to be in a good place to thrive, need nutrients and need to be setup with plans for the future. I thought it was good talk about the unique needs of business analysts and different ways their skills can be maximized. One thing is to make sure they are given enough tasks and variety so they are challenged, but not overworked. It is not always good for an analyst to be only focused on one project. If they have the bandwidth it might be a good idea to put them on various tasks so their energy can be maximized. She said "It's not about managing BAs, it is about nurturing them."

2. Using IIBA Competency Model: A Case Study with ANZ Bank of Australia - In this session an employee from ANZ shared their story of how they used the IIBA Competency Model to evaluate the skills, experience, and knowledge of their business analysts. Their goal was to understand the gaps in their capabilities and begin to move towards remediating those gaps. They tweaked their model to incorporate some of the ANZ values. I think this was a great idea. While the IIBA standards are good to follow, every organization is different and any assessment that is done needs to include those unique cultural values in it.

3. The Dangerous Question by Julian Sammy - Julian was an engaging presenter who spoke about the why question and the effects it can have on stakeholders. The goal of the BA is to understand why and organization is doing or needs to do something. This will help when needing to define the how. Many stakeholders will not like being asked why so it is important for the BA to approach with caution and ask the right questions in the right manner.

4. Key Elements to Road Map a Business Analysis Practice in Your Organization by Ted Perez - Ted spoke on how he implemented a BA Center of Excellence (COE) at his company. When he first set out to do this there were a ton of things he wanted to accomplish. As he began the work he saw that it was overwhelming so he worked at creating a lightweight solution that did not try and do everything at once. He also engaged the BAs in the organization for input. This created a grassroots movement within the company where the BAs stressed to their managers the importance of the COE. It was not seen as an edict from above, but as a desire of the employees. He also talked about the importance of having a roadmap to implementing the COE and tracking status so everyone can see what has been accomplished and what is coming up.

5. Requirements Estimation by Anthony Chen - Anthony talked about the challenges when estimating how long requirements gathering and estimation will take. Many times the PM or management will just give the BAs a certain number of hours to do the work without consulting them. This will either cause the analysts to be overworked or not produce requirements with the level of quality needed to be successful. Anthony's desire to accurately estimate requirements came out of the need for his company to accurately provide estimates for their fixed price client engagements. Underestimating the effort will cost his company money so he wanted to make sure it was correct. They developed an elaborate worksheet where you can input the various deliverables in the project and the complexity of them. Resource numbers are also inputted and the result will be a number of hours and dollar figure for the requirements portion of the project. His tool was customized for his company, but it can be adapted for any organization.

The first day of the conference was full of a lot of information and I am looking forward to learning more tomorrow.