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New Post 5/6/2010 12:31 AM
User is offline Carl Oellermann
6 posts
10th Level Poster

BACOE - Establishing Business analysis Center of Excellence. 

Hi to anyone who can advise....

I am currently working as a Business Analyst in a company about 180 Employees. The technology division I am part of consist of a few developers, Testers and myself as a business analyst. Due to lack of BA's  people around the business create their own requirements documentation and thus creating various type of documents which is not consistent. This means that requirements are not well defined, no correct techniques are used as part of requirements and the quality is not good either.


I have been reading about creating a Center of excellence which will drive standards and create a support function for the business. Keeping in mind it will consist of a team of a manager, business representative, developer and tester.

Can anyone maybe advise from a knowledge perspective whether establishing a center of excellence will be able to work in a small to medium company.


Many thanks


Carl Oellermann

New Post 5/6/2010 1:30 AM
User is offline Guy Beauchamp
257 posts
5th Level Poster

Re: BACOE - Establishing Business analysis Center of Excellence. 

 Hi Carl,

It can work.

The critical factor in getting it to work is to convince all those that have the official authority to stop it from working that it is worth doing. In order to do that you will need to

1. identify them - not as easy as it sounds. And it only takes one missed person who has the official authority to stop you doing this to appear from nowhere and stop you. These people are likely to be the usual suspects (finance, management in your chain of command) and the suppliers and customers of information that your BACOE would utilise (so "the business" whatever that means but anyway the people who sponsor projects, supply you with requirements, and so on) and also the people who develop the BA requirements in to solutions (IT, testers, implementors, trainers, HR, etc). These can be referred to as "killer stakeholders" as they are stakeholders in the BACOE who can kill it if so minded. A good place to start is by identifying one and asking them to identify others, and then ask the others to identify more. Use organisation charts for clues. You need to find them all and they will be the BACOE steering group.

2. find out what a BACOE can do for these killer stakeholders: what opportunities could the BACOE exploit for them (deliver better projects? reduce rework? Etc?) and what problems the BACOE could fix (solutions that don't meet user requirements? Unintended consequences of solutions? Etc?). Are there any standards (legal,professional, other?) that the killer stakeholders want maintained or achieved? Define these as "smart" objectives so that the steering group know exactly what will be measured and the targets they would like to achieve. If they won't be measured (not necessarily can't be measured but the steering group don't want them measured) then define them as "principles" (as in "we will do this in principle but BACOE won't be assessed by it).

3. in order to do what the BACOE could do for these killer stakeholders, what functions do the BACOE need to perform? Who will they interact with? What infrastructure will they need? In other words, what are their requirements that would enable them to do the job that delivers the results that keeps the people who could stop the BACOE happy? This will likely boil down to set up activities and on-going activities. And what is the scope of these activities in terms of who (organisationally and roles) will be engaged in doing them, at what locations, needing what information and perhaps you can identify the applications (e.g. CASE tool) and/or technology (e.g. internet) they will use. Are there any constraints that the BACOE must work within?

4. At this point you have enough information to put forward a Terms of Reference for the BACOE and provide benefits (the smart objectives of point 2) and indicative costs (estimates to do point 3) and scope (also point 3).

5. Get that signed off by the killer stakeholder steering group, produce a plan to deliver the activities in point 3 and away you go: deliver against plan.

What - I hear you ask - could be easier? :-)

The problems will be many and varied and will revolve around identifying the right killer stakeholders and their smart objectives. It will not be straightforward and will require significant BA expertise to identify best ways of doing the work, significant people management skills to influence and gain approval, as well as significant project management skills (the project here being establishing a BACOE). 

Like any project, the riskiest part will be the start -get the project going down the wrong path and everything that follows will be wasted to an extent. Risk and issue management (formal - not ad-hoc) will be required. 

But you are playing for significant wins - there are plenty of stats on how much requirements analysis pays back on this site, on my own and buckets of the stuff on the net. They all major on the fact that the earlier you spot mistakes the cheaper and easier to fix. And this applies to your project to set up a BACOE. 

it would fascinating to know how you get on with this: perhaps you could post updates on this forum? Perhaps if you post the issues and risks as they arise as well then members of the community might be able to provide practical help as well...just a thought...


New Post 10/31/2010 6:57 AM
User is offline Craig Brown
560 posts
4th Level Poster

Re: BACOE - Establishing Business analysis Center of Excellence. 

 Carl where are you based? If Australia/NZ get in touch and I can give you a hand.

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