2012 10 xx bsg uk reflections on ba conference europe version 1
REFLECTIONSBA Conference Europe 2012 BSG (UK) Business Analysts recently attended the Business Analysis Conference Europe 2012 . Shortly after the conference, the BSG delegates collectively identified a number of trends which cropped up across the conference topics. It is our vision that the BAs should not be part of the IT function BA profession If BAs are to be the key change facilitators within an organisation, it’s important that they arebecomes recognised as positioned where they can drive change from a benefits perspective rather than a technology the agents of change capability perspective. Just as it is recognised that software projects should be business led across the enterprise. rather than technology led, so should the agents of change driving these projects (i.e. BAs). Admittedly, it’s not uncommon for BAs to have an IT bias. Many BAs began their careers within IT and the discipline itself was born out of designing software projects. As the profession matures, so should its ability to establish credibility within the organisation as a business change function rather than simply as part of the IT function. BAs should focus on outcomes, not products BAs have to be asking themselves “By producing this project product (e.g. document), am I really going to allow my stakeholder to meet their overall objective?” In order to do this, it’s crucial that we understand our customers’ “why” and how this project enables it. What is their strategic ambition? How does this project’s outcome enable that strategic ambition? How does this project product enable the project to deliver the project outcome? As BAs, we need to continuously check ourselves to ensure that the work we are doing speaks to this bigger picture. We need to be adding value, not merely adding words to a page. The Business Analysis skillset has inherent value The BA skillset allows organisations to repeatedly design and deliver meaningful change. This is not a function of being an expert in a particular industry or product, it is a function of having the skills and experience to drive change. By introducing a structured approach to problem solving and solution design, BAs are able to take transformative roles and drive change. Typically at BSG we try and use blended teams who have a mix of domain knowledge (often these team members are client stakeholders) and BA expertise. Domain knowledge is important, but core BA skills have a significant contribution to make in their own right. BAs need a meaningful elevator pitchHow do you respond to The BA profession is slowly becoming more recognised but it remains difficult to explain to a the question “So tell layman what we do. We need to be able to say, without hesitation, “A BA is someone who …” We need to be consistent in this messaging within our own organisations, across the me, what does a BA profession and outwardly to the business community. If we can’t consistently advocate the really do?” benefits we deliver and how we deliver them, how will our customers put their faith in us to drive change across their business? Business Systems Group (UK), Registered in England No. 6150570, 230 City Road, London, EC1V2TT www.bsgdelivers.com // @bsguk This document can only be reproduced in its entirety. This document does constitute any form of advice from BSG (UK).
REFLECTIONS BA Conference Europe 2012 The new ‘wave’ of design is people focused, not task or process focused The technique of “Design Thinking” was a hot topic at the BA Conference with a number of talks incorporating an aspect of this. Design thinking focuses on a creative process based around the building up of ideas through monitoring people in their day-to-day routines. The key message delivered was that no matter how great the solution you design, how many bells and whistles it has, or how technically sound it seems to be, if it doesn’t meet the need of the person who’s going to be using it, unfortunately it’s going to fall flat. BAs should not forget that the best solution is always the one that has the customer at its core. Documents are no longer good eno ugh The drive to move away from compiling thudware (large documents) toward using collaborative, interactive communication platforms is gaining momentum. Ideally these are online, intuitive to use and provide ready traceability across the design. A quick poll of the audience in attendance in a particular session highlighted that nearly half of the organisations were already using such technologies and seeing the benefit in their day-to-day work. BAs are more than just scribes It’s becoming more and more evident among other professions (our customers) of the value that a BA can add in effecting positive change within their organisation. After all, BAs identify meaningful requirements and enable solutions to be delivered. However, all too often the BA has historically been seen as someone who just “takes orders”, i.e. writes up someone else’s vision into a large document. The scribe role is not particularly value adding for the customer nor is it inspiring for the BA. The profession needs to continue to advocate that we are more than just scribes. More importantly, BA practitioners will only build this credibility through repeatedly delivering on our ambition of being proactive agents of change. In closing, a reflection It was inspiring to witness first-hand the optimism within the wider BA community about the future of our profession. A recurring theme observed in many presentations during the 3 day event – from keynote speakers to seasoned analysts – referred to the prominent rise of the BA in the ‘information age’. Even more encouraging was observing how the message seemed to resonate: delegates were consciously rallying together to take up the challenge with the knowledge that they would be key to success in the future and be seen as the leaders of change, guiding their respective companies through the turbulence that is inevitably part of the journey.At BSG we are passionate To reference conference material, please visit http://www.irmuk.co.uk/ba2012/.about design and deliveryof change which makes a David Reinhardt, a BSG (UK) Principal Consultant, delivered a session titled “Learn to Speak Analyst”. The talk focused on three “orders of Business Analysis” and how the analyticaldifference for our toolset allows BAs to progress from being merely a scribe to being a proactive agent of change.customers and their The presentation, with speaker notes can be found here http://bit.ly/learnspeakanalyst.customers. A collection of BSG (UK) BA practitioner www.bsgdelivers.com // @bsguk insight can be found at +44 20 7390 8674 http://bit.ly/bsgukinsight firstname.lastname@example.org Business Systems Group (UK), Registered in England No. 6150570, 230 City Road, London, EC1V2TT