Yaaqub Mohamed a.k.a Yamo

The Business Analyst Coach Podcast Artwork

As we complete the second season of the podcast, I wanted to publish something special. This is one of the episodes that I feel can make a real difference to your career. 

I had the unique opportunity to meet Neil in Toronto during the BA World conference. When I reached out to him to do a podcast on a topic that can make a big difference to the careers of business analysts and project managers, he suggested we have a conversation around what causes us to fail. What is the number 1 reason why business analysts fail in projects. Obviously, the narrative around “failure” is about what separates good analysis from great analysis. How to be above average in what you deliver and how you do it.

Here’s Neil Whitten, with our special 50th episode.
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The Business Analyst Coach Podcast Artwork

As you maybe aware that BABOK V3 was launched by IIBA recently. The V3 attempts to reflect the latest developments and evolution in the profession of business analysis.

In this episode of the podcast with Laura Paton, chair of the BABOK V3 team, we look at some behind the scene “footage” of what transpired while BABOK V3 was created.  

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The Business Analyst Coach Podcast Artwork

As you maybe aware that BABOK V3 was launched by IIBA recently. The V3 attempts to reflect the latest developments and evolution in the profession of business analysis.

I had also reached out to the community to elicit any questions that they’d like to know about BABOK V3 and got an overwhelming response. You’ll see answers to some of these questions in the second half of this episode.

Kevin Brennan was with the IIBA when this episode was recorded, however, he has moved on to other opportunities and currently works for Sielevel.   Click to continue

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The Business Analyst Coach Podcast Artwork

In this podcast, Jonathan (no stranger to the podcast and the BA community), shares numerous useful insights on communicating requirements. We dissect the BABOK section 4.5 (Communicate Requirements  Task), and apply the paint of reality to its various components.

Here is communication of requirements coming to life:

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In the first part of this post, I introduced ‘The Golden Circle of Advancing Your BA Toolkit’, as a principle to help us elevate the business analysis toolkit. If I were to summarize and crystallize this principle I would say:
 
“This is a principle of starting with WHAT you or your organization use as existing skills, tools, techniques and BA templates, analyzing HOW you do it through the various BA assessments and determining WHERE you want to take it with the rights steps and setting the required key performance indicators or critical success factors”
In this post, I want to extend this definition and focus on the importance of directionality of the traverse
 
What does it mean to ask the right question in the right order at the right time?

The Direction of Real Progress [Proactive]

When I introduced the golden circle for BA toolkit, I had emphasized the importance of starting with “WHAT“.  There will be unforeseen consequences when there is no accurate and actionable snapshot of the “AS-IS” state.
 
When you start with “WHAT” you are taking a proactive approach. You’ve taken a step back to gain a perspective that helps you see the current state of your skills, capabilities, tools, techniques and templates. Once you get a grip, you move on to the “HOW” to compare, contrast and understand where you can (and want to) take your AS-IS state of the toolkit; extending your detailed assessment. And when you know the “HOW” in a sufficient level of detail, you move to the “WHERE” to act on the gaps.
 
This is the direction of real progress! This is you (or your organization) being proactive. 
 
If we extend the example of use cases that we used in part 1 of this post, once you know that you predominately use use cases as a technique to document your requirements, and gain an understanding of the gaps that exist in “HOW” you do it, you decide to fill the gaps through a training course, mentoring or self-study – to specifically focus on the gaps.
 
This is the inside out direction of real progress and advancement.
 

The Direction of Quick Fixes and Broken Promises [Reactive] 

Now, what do you think happens if we flip the direction? 
 
What happens if you start with “WHERE” and work towards “WHAT”?
 
Let’s see… 
 
You or your organization is presented with a random BA course through a big and reputable training organization. The course is developed by an “expert BA” who was practicing 25 years ago but has many impressive diagrams and huge thick training material. The intent of the training is obviously to improve the capability and skills of the business analysts (and elevate the practice) in the organization. The direction of “WHERE” you’ll be able to take your toolkit is defined by the objectives of the training course. 
 
You enjoy the luncheon, the ambience and the company. Company-sponsored training always has some magical ways of generating a rush of endorphins. 
 
And… you got the much need break from work and ….. so did your BA toolkit!
 
You now come back from your training course with a supposedly stronger “HOW” you can improve your analysis to improve “WHAT” you do. 
 
If you appreciate the importance of requirements and objectives traceability, you’ll quickly realize that the traceability cord was cut too soon. Right after the WHERE! 
 
So, you get the idea.

The Key Takeaway for You (and Your Organization)

If you want to enhance your capability as an individual or organization, you should aspire to start with “WHAT”, by performing a thorough as-is analysis of what’s in your BA toolkit. Followed by understanding (with specifics) “HOW” you’re doing what you’re doing and the deciding “WHERE” to take your toolkit. 
 
Don’t let a mentor or a big BA training company let you decide how you need to improve. Be proactive about who you engage with; or even better, create custom in-house training. Nobody knows you or your organizations challenges better than you! 
 
One of the key principles in advancing yourself as a professional is finding out what your blindspots are and doing everything it takes to address them. If you ever need external help to unravel these blindspots, hire a professional services organization that has genuine interest in advancing business analysis, and puts the interest of the community (and your organization) first. 
 
I hope these insights and ideas will help you to advance your BA toolkit.
 
Now, go start with WHAT and best of luck doing that! 
 
Please use the comment space below to share your feedback, thoughts or any questions you may have.
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