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July 2011 - The FoCuSeD™ Facilitator eNewsletter

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Business Analysis Skills | Gary Rush Facilitation

I moderated a panel discussion about business analysis at a major insurance company who is establishing a Business Analysis Area of Competency (AoC). I also presented at two IIBA Chapter meetings in New York state. I wanted to share some of the insights I gathered during those sessions.


Area of Competency


The panel discussion that I moderated included panelists from IBM, Accenture, and Wipro. These three panelists focused on business analysis and brought almost 60 years of combined experience to the panel. Highlights of the discussion covered career, tools and methods, and partnerships with clients.


Regarding career, a question was asked about what to focus on in professional development as a BA – business analysis skills or industry skills. The answer was insightful. The consensus was that if you, as a BA, are looking to further your career in IT or business analysis, then focus on business analysis skills. It allows you to be flexible and the business analysis skills are transferable to any industry. You will progress in the business analysis field. If you are looking to progress within the company and industry in which you are working, then focus on industry skills. You need to understand that business – business analysis is just a stepping-stone to another position. It makes sense. So, the first thing that a BA needs to do is to decide where he or she wants to take his or her career and then focus on developing the skills and knowledge in that area.


Another question was regarding tools and methods. It’s a question that I’ve heard many times, “Which method is the best to use in business analysis?” The answer was right on the mark. Use the method that best matches the need. What is meant by that is that always using the same method doesn’t work. Agile methods work in some situations. Waterfall methods work in other situations. Sometimes, a Lean Six Sigma approach is best. There is no “one size fits all.” The challenge is to understand the various methods so that the BA can make the best determination. It is the second of the IAF Core Facilitator CompetenciesPlan Appropriate Group Processes – applied to the Business Analyst (which I strongly recommend). I’ve seen many methods developed over the past 35 years and all work when used properly. I’ve yet to see the one answer for all situations, so knowing when to apply which method is important and must be a Business Analyst Core Competency.


Another important question for the panel was regarding partnerships with clients. This same question was the focus of my presentation to the IIBA ChaptersSee The Facilitative Business Analyst. Developing a strong partnership with your clients is critical to the success of both the BA and the project. It is the first of the IAF Core Facilitator CompetenciesCreate Collaborative Client Relationships. Think about it, can a project succeed if the relationship between the BA and the client isn’t collaborative? How often do you work on a project where the relationship is not collaborative? Given that industry metrics show that 66% of all IT projects fail in some way, you’d think that it would be one of the most important aspects of a project – Create Collaborative Client Relationships. This collaborative relationship – i.e., partnership – significantly improves chances for success. So, how does the BA do this? By facilitating requirements elicitation.


The Facilitative Business Analyst


A Facilitative Business Analyst, one who facilitates requirements elicitation, is more successful if he or she is able to guide the group through a facilitation process to accomplish their task than one who uses individual interviews. It has been proven that requirements elicitation can be done in 1/4th the amount of time – that’s a 4-to-1 improvement in productivity that comes with an even greater increase in quality and develops a collaborative relationship between the client and BA that helps ensure the success of the project.


If you want to learn “how to” facilitate requirements elicitation, attend the FoCuSeD™ Business Analyst - it will enhance your career.logo