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Enterprise Analysis – Do we or don’t we? (Week 4)

by Hermione Del Rey2

Moving Forward

In the Week 3 Blog I finished off with “Moving Forward” in getting the CBAP designation.  Now how do I tie this week’s theme in?

Enterprise Analysis, like sky-diving, is not something BA’s commonly do today.  The irony is that the IIBA has it highly valued as a Knowledge Area (KA) in the BABOK. Even more ironic is that most BA’s would describe the exercise of doing Enterprise Analysis as interesting, challenging, and even fun.  The BA’s take, I suspect for most, is that their enthusiasm for this KA stems from the possibility of doing something new.

BA’s may have all sorts of fears when it comes to applying for the CBAP, however when it comes to moving forward and taking on new challenges on the job they are among the most fearless – often embracing change,  being early adapters,  and champions for new ideas and approaches.

Or maybe we are just some of the more outspoken, opinionated people on a project?

Project Analysis to Enterprise Analysis – not a huge leap

BA’s may be some of the best placed people to understand how to define the “Business Need”.  They already work with the business at a project level to refine the definition of need (requirements).  So why is it so difficult for employers to translate that “up” and have BA’s at the Enterprise level?

As well, being the facilitators between Business and IT, BA’s are often in the best position to quickly assess capability gaps.  With firsthand experience at a granular level, they are able to quickly identify the high level warning signs suggesting potential roadblocks in addressing the identified business need.

More often than not, Business relies on the BA to use their experience to help determine the Solution Approach.  BA’s are typically asked to look or even demonstrate multiple solution alternatives and suggest which one bests suits the Business’s needs.

Then, given a set of constraints, like budget, or timelines, the BA helps define Solution Scope.  Once again their necessary / strong soft-skills allow them to reach across the project team to gain consensus on what capabilities will be delivered.  BA’s help to provide context for the solution being implemented; define what or who will be supported by the initiative; even help decide whether implementation should one-time or iterative. In many cases, the BA is in the best position to identify if the capabilities being addressed will be of benefit to other business areas and their capability development.

A Case for Business

With the BA’s involvement in all the other areas of project preparation, formally participating in Enterprise Analysis and creation of the Business Case just makes sense.  Typically the BA is consolidating the information for the business on the solution option comparisons – the value add to the business based on a deployed solution versus the cost to develop and operate it; benefits, costs, risk assessment, and results measurement (what KPI’s will be used to measure project success, estimating ROI).

So why aren’t more BA’s doing it?  I honestly can’t speak to that.  If you have the answer – publicize it. Please use the comment space below to share your thoughts and comments.

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Hermione has been a BA in some capacity (sometime more Systems oriented than others) for the past 9 years. Before that, she was coding, among other apps, those dashboards execs love to bring up at reviews - budgets, annual, etc. She tried to go for the CBAP when it first started however backed out because the application process was daunting even back then; and few, if anyone where she lived and worked, understood what the designation meant.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Yaaqub Mohamed a.k.a Yamo September 26, 2012 at 7:48 pm

Great post, Hermoine! Enterprise analysis is always a fun activity to engage in for a lot of BAs. However, unfortunately, a lot of Jr / Intermediate BAs don’t get involved with it as much.

I think there could be a couple of reasons:

1. Most BAs progress to other value adding roles in the organization and engage in enterprise analysis there; maybe as business consultants, enterprise architects, etc. They are still doing business analysis, however under a different job title. :)

2. Sometimes lack of enough project experience can hinder effective enterprise analysis. Although often times consultants do get called on to create business cases in short order.

Havind said that, we should also look at Enterprise Analysis as a shorter cycle endeavor too. We could engage in smaller spurts of Enterprise Analysis all along the project life cycle (like for change requests, issue resolution, etc). It doesn’t always need to be a full fledged activity.

Just a few thoughts!

Thanks again for sharing your ideas!
Yamo

Reply

Jake Calabrese September 28, 2012 at 4:56 pm

The problem is that most people have confused the roles and title – even experts in the field. BA as a title has lowered the bar… 1970′s project management still relegates most BA positions to be scribes, documenters, and gatherers… This is so ingrained at this point, many people are avoiding the term and moving on. Look at a number of the prominent authors who used to write in the ‘requirements’ space. Many still do – but they use different terms.

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