Leadership & Management

Jan 10, 2019
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Nonetheless, it's a new year, and time to go back to work. January is when we reset the statistics, brace for a new year, and try to prove ourselves once again. Some people have trouble getting back into the swing of work after the holidays; they've probably slept too much, partied too much, and ate way too much, which explains the five-to-eight pounds they've put on. This is why dieting and temperance are among the top New Year's resolutions. Regardless, they are having trouble focusing on their work.

Jan 06, 2019
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For almost 10 years we have enjoyed reflecting on what’s happened the previous year and making predictions for the upcoming year in the realms of Business Analysis, Project Management, and Agile. Some of the recent trends we have discussed: The digital BA, Lean business cases, BAs and PMs in a Dev Ops environment, BAs and PMs in the gig economy, etc.  Here are five industry trends that we have chosen for 2019:...

Nov 12, 2018
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One of my former business analysts on the team asked me this question recently; ‘I am really over being a BA. How do I move into strategy?’ I got to the realization that she was associating ‘strategy’ with a job title which consists of certain tasks.  In my view, it appears as if for some business analysts, before becoming strategic, they have to be given a title ‘Strategic Business Analyst’. This I believe is the mystery that surrounds ‘strategy’ and ‘strategic thinking’, making it appear as a destination to reach, at some point.

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The relationship between a business analyst and the stakeholders is one of the fundamentals to the journey of delivery. If the relationship is dysfunctional, the process of delivering the solution will be negatively impacted... Each one of us is blessed with a different personality that makes us unique. In the case of business analysts, personality plays an important role, thus making it a key to survival. Business analysts are adaptive survivors. It is imperative that every impacted stakeholder is engaged and collaborating. It's fundamental to a robust requirements analysis process. Having mentioned the need to bond with your stakeholders, let’s see what skills are needed to be a successful business analyst.

 

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Quality and service used to be considered paramount in this country. If it wasn't just right, you were expected to do it over again until you got it right. We cared about what we produced because it was a reflection of our personal character and integrity. But somewhere along the line we lost our way and craftsmanship has fallen by the wayside. Why? Probably because we no longer care.
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Success and failure are difficult to define and measure since they may mean different things to different people. An assumption that success can be quantified seldom holds true in the face of an ever-changing yardstick used to measure success. What might be considered to be a successful attribute today can be rendered unsuccessful under the influence of dynamic and multi-dimensional constraints.  A project is primarily implemented to target a predefined outcome, and it is imperative to measure the output in order to determine the benefit derived through the project. However, benefits realized do not necessarily add up to success. Project ‘success’ is different than ‘benefits realization’.

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One of the key aspects to be considered before implementation of Agile methodologies is the degree of agility suitable for the organization. Due consideration should be given to the ‘current state’ before we create a proposal for the ‘future state’ of agility desired. Neglecting this aspect may invalidate the very purpose behind the endeavor.  Degree of agility refers to the relative ability of an organization to adapt to the lightweight methodologies in conjunction with an assessment of current state process maturity.

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Since 2009 we have enjoyed reflecting on what’s happened the previous year on projects and making predictions for the upcoming year. Here are some of the recent trends we have discussed: agile successes and challenges, recognize the importance of roles that help maximize value, Scaling Agile, Certification trends in business analysis, etc...

Here are the seven industry trends that we have chosen for 2018.

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In his classic book Flawless Consulting, Peter Block described three types of roles that consultants might take on: expert, pair-of-hands, and collaborator. Each of these represents a different kind of interaction when working with clients and a different source of satisfaction for the consultant. Business analysts can engage with clients in the same three modes. This article describes some of my experiences with these three modes of consulting engagements.

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Given the speed of change, it is really tricky to predict what trends will grow in popularity or relevance. I am sure whatever emerges will seem obvious in hindsight, even if it would have been difficult to foresee. Yet, I have always thought that making predictions has a useful place in that it creates a conversation and it creates debates. So, what follows is designed to provoke discussion, and is intended to represent ‘potential trends to watch’.

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Are we really trying to promote teamwork or is this nothing more than the latest corporate fad that is being implemented more for public relations than anything else? Let's hope for the former and not the latter. Teamwork is a powerful concept, particularly when there is anything of substance to be done.
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Enterprise Agility means the ability to adapt easily to change. In the business perspective, agility refers to a distinct quality that allows institutions and corporations to respond rapidly to change. It is the ability and capability of a system to respond rapidly to a certain modification by adapting its inceptive and stable configuration.  Agility is also viewed in relation to the results of organizational intelligence. It is the aptness to react successfully to the emergence of new competitors, abrupt shifts in the overall market conditions, and adaptation of industry-changing technologies that are based on the degree of agility in the organization.

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A BA walks into an elevator, is joined by an executive, and suddenly the executive asks the BA, “So, what are you working on these days?” (Sounds like the start of a joke ...)  Most business analysts, due to their project success focus, think of requirements management when questioned about their work. So the BA responds by describing the features of a business solution that the BA is currently working. The BA seldom mentions the associated business benefits with the work (i.e. why the work is vital to the business). Unfortunately, the BA ignores the first rule of conversation: know your audience. The executive asking the question is more likely to understand and be interested in the business value provided by the work, rather than the solution features.
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Estimating is one of the most controversial subjects in project management. There are some people who have turned the subject into a cryptic science involving esoteric techniques. Estimating is simply the process used to determine the amount of effort and cost required to implement a project, in part or in full. It is important to acknowledge that...
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There are some practices that can practically make our life much easier if we adopt them early in the project.  This fourth article of the series “ Business Analysts and Change Management - What we need to know” addresses the minimum that we - as Business Analysts - might need to know about change management, but this time at organizational level
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