Leadership & Management

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I was asked my opinion about whether I’d want project managers to focus on processes first or tools first. Without hesitation, my response was “I don’t really care whether project managers focus on process or tools first,as long as they don’t get in the way of our doing good business analysis!”

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The Agile Extension to the BABOK® describes “business analysis areas of knowledge, their associated activities and tasks, and the skills necessary to be effective in their execution within the framework of agile software development”.  Below are 3 misconceptions that, in my opinion, the current draft of the Agile Extension is helping perpetuate.
 

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In many organizations, culture and conventional wisdom make it difficult for the BA to break out of mostly tactical roles within projects. However, in many ways, the future competitiveness of your organization (and consequently of your future employment) depends on it! So don’t blink or you will miss out on the best BA opportunity of your career.

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In a nutshell, a methodology represents a series of steps in a project specifying Who is to perform What, When, Where, Why, and How (aka, "5W+H"), from start to finish. Perhaps the best way to think of a methodology is as a roadmap or an assembly line where a product is developed over a series of work stations.

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I’m pleased to continue to uphold: the unveiling of this year’s top 10 business analysis trends. This year business analysts (BAs) will need not only the balanced portfolio of technical and business skills they have been perfecting, but also a more comprehensive perspective in order to meet the challenging business environment of 2012.

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Creating a BA Center of Excellence (BA COE) is a proven method for effectively reaching these goals with a BA team. In addition to improving BA performance in the traditional fields of elicitation and drafting, they aid in improving the other ‘soft’ skills that are becoming increasingly mandatory for a BA to possess.

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Lean techniques use a process-oriented approach. In non-industrial organizations however, the process is invisible. In order to apply Lean techniques successfully in this environment, the visibility of processes has to be significantly increased. Employees have to learn to look at their organization from a process viewpoint. Furthermore, it is important that the method is applied to all layers of the organization.

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Instead of taking for granted that either you find a flavor of agile that will fit the needs of your organization, or you must completely dismiss the use of agile methods, a much more valuable approach is to determine, for each individual project, which agile concepts should be embraced or not.

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To remain competitive, it is more important than ever for an organization’s leadership team to use business analysis (BA) practices to execute strategies through innovative solutions. Over the years, business analysis has been rapidly developing as a profession and as a core business practice in many organizations; however, all too often business analysis is still in its foundational stages.

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Your new system just went live and the project, that replaced a critical legacy system, is coming to a close. Business analysts gathered requirements and worked closely with users and developers, but did you capture all of the requirements?

 

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My understanding is that, in practice, successful agilists tend to bring together a number of activities, tasks, and deliverables that are from beyond the boundaries of what may be called “pure agile.” This mixing and matching of software process elements from agile and non-agile (more formal) approaches is a much more practical way of using these methods.

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Why does it take an 'act of congress' for some organizations to realize that what they are doing is not working? I have been in many industries(media, manufacturing, financial and the judicial system) and no matter what industry I've been in I’ve seen some of the same themes.

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When used properly, a performance measurement program can help BAs and their managers identify specific improvement priorities, clarify responsibilities, and drive the desired behaviors required to achieve business goals. However, in practice it's rare to see managers taking advantage of the benefits a good performance measurement system can offer...

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I often get asked, “How can I get stakeholders to attend my meetings?” or “How can I get stakeholders’ buy-in on the project?” These are complex questions and the easy answer is that you can’t. As BAs and PMs we can’t get anyone to do anything, but we can certainly influence them so that they want to.

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Software development process is undergoing seismic shift from traditional waterfall software methodologies towards agile methodologies. Agile software development methodologies deliver high quality software products in rapid iterations with high flexibility and adaptability to changing conditions. This article discusses the dynamics of agile projects by comparing it with the SDLC project framework to help the IT leaders and organizations plan effectively for transitioning to Agile software development methodologies.

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