Many organizations are turning to Agile as a better way of developing software requirements.

Here’s what happens…

Management makes a plan:

  1. Find a suitable Agile consulting/training partner
  2. Send the team on a 3-day Agile training course
  3. Hire an expert to establish a new way of working
  4. Run a few initial projects through the organization
  5. Retain the expert to coach the people involved
  6. Show up physically, demonstrating visible support
  7. Wean expert off and handover to the project team

Management sees the results:

  • Greater collaboration
  • Speedier delivery
  • Improved quality
  • Faster ROI

Management gives pats on the back all round for a great decision.

Yet here’s the thing…

It wasn’t about the methodology, it was about people.

When management shows tender loving care, everyone will be more motivated and everything has a better chance of blooming.

Consequence is all around

Wherever we go and whatever we do, the effect of business analysis plays out in our lives.

Whether we’re navigating our morning commute, performing our job function, or shopping our evening meal, all of our daily encounters, good and bad, are the result of (good or bad) business analysis.

  • Did the train arrive on time or was it late? Were you able to find seating space in a carriage? Perhaps standing room only? Or was the train too full to even get on?
  • Did your work day go to plan or were the goalposts moved? Have you got the capacity to deliver? Colleagues delivered on time? Or are you having to catch up this evening?
  • Did you find the product or was the shelf empty? Were you able to pay for your goods quickly? Via the self-service checkout? Or were there insufficient cashiers open?

All these experiences are a consequence of the chosen configuration of four fundamental elements — the organization that controls, the processes that drive, the tools that enable, and the people that serve — that come together (or not) to operate the business system and shape our place within it.

For better or for worse, it’s designed that way.

The oldest profession

What do farmers, barbers, engineers, horticulturalists, gardeners, prostitutes, tailors, doctors, nurses, teachers, priests, preachers, and even lawyers all have in common?

They each stake a claim to being the oldest profession in the world.

But they’re not. First and foremost they acted as business analysts.

Throughout history, people have found themselves in situations – they’ve seen problems and needs. And they’ve looked at how they can respond – by considering their expertise and resources.

Every profession is essentially mitigating a threat or seizing an opportunity (looking outward) by harnessing a strength or remedying a weakness (looking inward).

Business analysis at its purist.

IIBA-SA PDD Cape Town – July 2019

When Jéan Raath asked me to present a workshop at the IIBA-SA Professional Development Day in Cape Town I jumped at the chance. I’m always keen to help out with events like these.

And there’s nothing more inspiring than an open and trusting invitation:

“Joe, you have creative freedom to do something fit for purpose, fresh & true to your style – bascially do what you like as long as it’s amazing.”

But ‘with great freedom comes great responsibility’…

At the core of a PDD is giving people tangible takeaways they can leave with on the day – building knowledge and enhancing skillsets as a Business Analyst.  

We hemmed and hawed over a few topics:

  • Smarter analyst careers
  • Mobilising stakeholders
  • Proper process analysis

Building your business analyst career the smarter way won out – because we felt it would give people the utmost value.

At the heart of this workshop is my contention that template-driven analysis is bad and that technique-driven analysis is good. And this session will explore business analysis techniques to help you own the template rather than letting the template own you.

You can find out more about Building Your Business Analyst Career the Smarter Way and sign-up here: #CapeTownPDD.

I’m looking forward to it and I hope to see you there…

IIBA-SA BA Summit Track Chair – September 2019

Under its original guise, as BASSA, the (now known as) BA Summit launched in 2012, and I’ve had the pleasure of presenting every year (bar one in 2015).

However, I have decided to take a step back from speaking this year as it’s time for some new voices to take to the stage and share their insights with the South African business analyst community at this annual event.

Over the years this conference has given me plenty, both personally and professionally. It’s a great platform to shape ideas, share insights, build networks and grow careers.

When the conferences release the call for papers, I encourage you to seriously consider raising your hand and getting stuck in.

Keep your eyes on this page for the announcement:

(Though, as most of my readers will know, I’m a keen ambassador for the IIBA® and IIBA®-SA chapter and so I shan’t be hanging up my boots altogether. Instead, this year, I’ve volunteered as a track chair for the BA Summit 2019.)

I’m excited to help shape the 2019 edition of this prestigious conference – and I hope you will be too.

If you’d like to know more about speaking, please ask me.