Leadership & Management

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Yes, the world is flat, and the reality of today’s global economy is that business analysts (BA) from all corners of the earth – North America, South America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific – often work with one another. But they don’t always understand how business efficiency is impacted by the comprehension of their inherent differences. There are fundamental philosophical and behavioral differences between professionals across the world that impact business success. If BAs aren’t readily capable of adapting to the environment in which they work, they are most certainly setting themselves up to fail.

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For many business analysts (BAs), the IIBA Business Analysis Body of Knowledge (BABOK®) Knowledge Area that is the least familiar is Enterprise Analysis (EA). In some ways, this may be a mixed blessing. On the one hand, the BABOK® Version 2 (v2) EA area describes important topics and techniques that BAs should be conversant with: defining business needs, solutions, business cases, and project initiation. On the other hand, I have issues with the ways BABOK® v2 treats these topics, especially how it portrays business needs and considers defining them as only part of EA.

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In I.T., are we really spending too much time on "maintenance"?  Within any systems development organization, there are but three types of work effort: new systems development, maintenance, and modification/improvements. A mature development organization will spend approximately 5% of its time on new development, 10% on maintenance, and 85% of its time on modification/improvements.

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Business Analysis is a term that covers a wide range of different disciplines, which has grown in scope over the past 10-15 years. BAs can become involved in a variety of different activities, depending on the organisation and the particular project that they are working on – these can range from very technical to very business focused activities.  So if you're working as a Business Analyst, or working with a Business Analyst, what can you expect?
 

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“I may not know much about art, but I know what I like”. This famous punch line to a Monty Python sketch about a fictional conversation between a disgruntled Pope and innovative Michelangelo (who wanted extra disciples, multiple messiahs and a kangaroo in his first draft of the Last Supper), can also be seen to satirize our own modern fixation with creativity, feedback and the idea that ‘the customer is always right’.

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Whether it is in software development, business analysis, portfolio management or business strategy, everyone wants to be Agile - and nobody wants to admit they aren't Agile. But what does it really take to be Agile? What is the state of Agility like?

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Like it or not, every business analyst will have to stand up in front of a group and present. The group might be your business clients, the project stakeholders or just your fellow team members but for many people, one of two things will happen: it will frighten the life out of them OR they’ll umm and ah their way through, sending the audience to sleep.  Why is this so?
 

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If you work with other business analysts, you are fortunate. Together with your colleagues, you can experience greater effectiveness than you could have achieved on your own.  Additionally, your colleagues can provide you with a diverse and convenient pool of expertise from which to draw.

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What we have witnessed in the last 25 years is a series of programmes of change failing to achieve their intended outcomes. Customer Care, ISO 9000, TQM, ABC, BPR. All the research and experience show that the latest panacea does no better than its predecessors. Over and over again improvement programmes are thwarted by commonly-known but illusive forces. The problem is labeled as ‘organization culture’, which typically leads to rationalizations like ‘change takes time’, or ‘each programme is an element in the total change programme’.

Rationalizations prevent learning.

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 Today it seems like every project is urgent due to time-to-market compression and fierce competition in the global marketplace.  In this article we recommend management techniques that can help you and your team manage the complexities that are most likely present in urgent projects, while establishing and maintaining an environment of adaptability, innovation, and creativity.

 

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Great teams, like all great organizations, are those that make a distinctive impact and deliver superior performance over a long period of time. For a project, performance is typically measured in terms of on time, under budget, with full scope of features, meeting quality specifications, and delivering the business benefit that was expected. Project teams do not need to be big to be great...big does not equal great. But all too often contemporary project teams are too large, too dispersed, too diverse, and just plain too complex to manage using typical project management techniques alone. So how can we be successful when a project demands complex teams? Success in the 21st century demands that we acquire new competencies to form, manage, and use large, diverse teams as a competitive advantage.

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The purpose of companies creating Business Analyst positions is to improve IT quality and efficiency while reducing project failures. When I first started as an Analyst, coming previously from the position of Software QA and having an education in technical writing (think documentation), I thought I was the perfect mix for the position. I quickly learned that having a job where I prove my worth through project success can be stressful.

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The Business Architecture has slowly emerged as a new and creative way to deliver value to enterprises that have undertaken this strategic initiative... However, many are rightly questioning the necessity of the Business Architecture, while trying to understand its purpose and realize its value. After all, most enterprises do not have a formal Business Architecture and many do not have plans to develop one.

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 This article considers the unique complexities of large, long-duration, high-cost projects that pose challenges to project success, and offers both old and new management strategies to handle the complexities... The complexities of large projects require that particular attention be directed to planning the project, developing and delivering the solution, selecting team members, and sustaining a high-performing team over the long haul.

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Through development and beyond we hope not to have show stoppers, anticipate builds and releases on time, expect teams to portray efficiency, want our customers to be happy, and hope that boss coming to work and singing melody. Sounds like a perfect five-course scrum, isn’t it?

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