Being "a learning organisation" is very much in vogue and commentary abounds on how a learning culture will help organisations keep pace with increasingly fast-paced change. However, learning organisations require individuals who wish to participate in learning - it is not just the organisation as a whole that needs to learn.
A model or framework often quoted in relation to developing a learning culture is 70:20:10. What might sound like a set of very unusual vital statistics is...
There has been a lot of discussion about the role of the Business Analyst when an Agile development approach has been adopted. And, there has been a lot of discussion about whether or not an Agile approach is relevant to some projects.
Given that all approaches have their strengths and weaknesses, it is always interesting to have discussions about this with colleagues from different domains within the IT industry. BCS has incorporated this discussion within the Diploma in Solution Development...
This week the business alchemist was asked
it is that many organisations fail to recognise the importance of business cases
and benefits management?'
Whilst there are many ways to answer this question perhaps
the thoughts of Albert Einstein may be of use. He reportedly said that the definition of insanity was
the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results'
Now and again the business alchemist hears of and
experiences examples of...
As a business analyst, I regularly need to make presentations to groups large and small. It is often nerve-wracking so I like to pick up new techniques and approaches that might help.
Earlier this week I had the opportunity to listen to a webinar entitled "Presentation Skills for Conferences" that was offered by members of the organising committee for the BA Conference Europe 2017. The webinar was facilitated by IRM UK and the members who made up the panel were Debbie Paul, Adrian Reed and...
Since the election of Donald Trump in the United States, and the EU referendum in the UK, a number of social commentators have drawn attention to what is becoming known as the 'echo chamber' effect, whereby people only interact with social media that reflect, and therefore reinforce, their own view of the world. As a result, they are not exposed to different, and possibly challenging ideas and viewpoints.
In a rather similar fashion, I have noticed that many organisations exist within their...
October 2016 saw the release of a "state of the nation (profession) paper" by the consultancy firm - KPMG. The report is entitled "Business Analysis - Positioning for Success" and is based on a recent and extensive survey of BA and IS professionals who perform a range of roles. http://www.iiba.org/Learning-Development/L-D/research-and-study-impact2016.aspx Whilst many survey respondents will be based in the Americas we might remember that eggs are eggs whatever country you happen to be in....
Over the past two years the Leicester City story has transcended
football and captured the imagination of sporting and non-sporting fans alike. On
4 th April 2015, Leicester City were rooted to the bottom of the
Premier League, and were odds on to be relegated. Turn the clock forward to 2 nd May 2016, and Leicester City were crowned champions of England.
Described as a modern day fairy tale this was one of the
most amazing turnarounds in sporting history.
However, the 'happy ever...
As regular readers will know, your Alchemist, among other activities, presents training courses in business analysis. One thing that sometimes surprises me is when I am asked for the 'right' answer to a business issue, or the 'correct' technique to use in a given situation. Unfortunately, my answers can disappoint as they usually begin with "Well, it all depends..."
The same concern is also evident in online forums like LinkedIn, where there are requests for definitive answers to questions...
The business alchemist can look
back on many glowing achievements but few compare to a first bronze medallion
swim badge that was proudly presented by the then Scunthorpe town player, Kevin
Keegan (pre-perm). Imagine my horror then to overhear a business analyst decry
professional certification as being no better than a swim badge. This is wrong
at every level.
Firstly, the "swim badge" shows a
real achievement, swimming a certain distance, collecting the brick from the
bottom of the...
An earlier blog looked
at how business analysts can support product owners with their agile
development work. This blog looks at another possibility, which is the
situation where a BA is required to actually cover some of the responsibilities
and work of the product owner role. While it is the case that a BA may possess certain
skills that can supplement those of the product owner, we need to think
carefully before assuming that the BA should become the 'Proxy PO' by taking on
The New Year usually raises the thorny issue of resolutions. 'What shall I aim to do, or to not do, over the next year?' we ask ourselves. And inevitably, our good intentions last for a few weeks, or days, or possibly, hours.
However, help may be at hand. Once upon a time the business alchemist was a dedicated smoker - until he read a short paperback called "The Easyway to Give Up Smoking". *
The book was written back in the mid-80's by a converted 100 a day man, Allen Carr. Now "The...
the other day a dreadful thing happened to me. Much to my dismay, Mrs Alchemist decided to start playing Christmas records. Now
when I say 'record' I do not mean a circular piece of vinyl of the sort which
entertained music lovers in the previous century; what I mean, of course, is
she streamed the offending tune online, using a fully legitimate and subscribed
As shop assistants throughout the UK have had
these festive tunes inflicted on them since as long ago as...
More and more organisations are adopting agile development approaches and, accordingly, more and more business analysts are asking the question "How can I support the product owner with their agile development work?"
Scrum.org is clear about the PO role, describing it as " responsible for maximizing the value of the product and the work of the Development Team, which can vary widely across organizations. The Product Owner is the sole person responsible for managing the Product Backlog"....
I was recently asked to review an e-learning product produced by a
major organisation. It used video, graphics and animation and cost tens
of thousands of pounds to produce. Its designers and promoters were keen
to emphasise its use of up-to-date technology. It was relatively
entertaining. However, it had little to do with learning. The designers
had missed the point completely. The objectives and process of learning
had disappeared beneath a host of technologies.
"The principle finding of our investigation is that you're
original surmises was correct and that the problem lays within your process and
systems and not by your people. They are
disinterested but it is the processes that are mainly the problem here.
Enough!!! "This is
the type of English up with which I will not put" (as Sir Winston Churchill
famously wrote in the margin of a memo that displeased him).
There is a fashion at the moment whereby some people...
If you attended the BA Conference Europe last month you may have seen television broadcaster and author Gavin Esler's brilliant keynote speech about leadership, in which he shared his experiences of interviewing some of the world's most famous and powerful figures.
Central to Esler's presentation was the notion of 'telling stories' i.e. how it is through stories that successful leaders define themselves, gather followers and share, develop and defend their ideas. For example, when Bill Clinton...
This year's BA Conference Europe was, yet again, an amazing success. How brilliant it was to welcome 410 delegates from 28 countries! So many stories were shared and new networks formed against a backdrop of presentations and workshops delivered by BA experts.
How often do we get the opportunity to witness new BA frameworks, methodologies and tools and techniques discussed in such depth with so much experience contributing to the conversation?
It was great that all those who attended...
I wonder sometimes about the etiquette of email
communication and whether we fall foul of making assumptions or allowing our
concerns to take precedence to the detriment of the desired outcomes. A few
recent examples brought the following to mind:
The crystal ball delusion. Have you ever
received an email and thought 'I'll get onto that as soon as I can' then found
that this takes a few days or even weeks. In the meantime, your best intentions
to provide a thorough and accurate...
It is interesting how many techniques and frameworks there are available to business analysts - and how rarely we apply them to business analysis itself. The phrase 'cobbler's shoes' often comes to mind as we use analytical techniques to help our customers improve their work but don't think about applying them to ourselves. Some examples where we might gain insights from using such techniques are:
Drawing a use case diagram of the BA services
Building a rich picture of a BA...
BAs are often asked what they do and/or what benefits their existence brings. People who don't "get" business analysis may not be clued into the value it can offer. Some may even not be aware of the existence of the role.
So what is your elevator speech? Does your heart sink at the party when you have to explain what it is that you do? Any answer will be unique to the individual but I have sought out some useful definitions and tag lines for the role that I can share with you. Hopefully some...