Kathleen
Posted by Ms. Kathleen W B. on May 7th, 2012 9:51am

Why read a biography? To understand outcomes in the context of the time that decisions were made. As with a post implementation review, post-mortem or retrospective, we hope to learn from – replicate successes or avoid making mistakes - from our, and other’s past experiences.

How do we choose a biography? We read about people we admire; people who have made a significant impact on the world; people who we feel have a lot to teach us.

Steve Jobs

I started listening to Steve Jobs' biography by Walter Isaacson on a long drive. I had never listened to an audio book before so wasn’t sure what to expect. The unabridged version is 25 hours long. I am 2/3 the way through. I want to finish it but dread the conclusion.

What a story! And what lessons. Steve Jobs was a brilliant, highly flawed individual. But as I type on my MacBook Pro; listening to my iPhone buzz in the background; updating my iPod with the latest download of music from iTunes; and downloading my New Yorker and BusinessWeek to my iPad; I stand in awe of someone who redefined innovation.

I need to "extract the wheat from the shaft" (to use an old fashioned metaphor). There are many things about his leadership style that were terrible. But Steve Job's vision of the future and his focus on business fundamentals are essential lessons that every person should embrace.

 


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Kathleen
Posted by Ms. Kathleen W B. on Mar 26th, 2012 9:57am

BBC 2012 is still seven months away yet today, I am meeting with Kevin Brennan and Tracy Cook to discuss the vision and structure for IIBA’s 2013 conference.

Why?

For the last two years (2010, 2011) and this years upcoming event, IIBA has participated, relatively risk free, in an existing event. When we agreed to participate in the Building Business Capability conference with the Business Rules and the Business Process forums, we had no idea how successful an IIBA conference would be. The three-year deal allowed us to test the market demand with limited risk.

Your support over the last two years more than convinced us that an annual conference is an important piece of the IIBA Value Proposition to its members and other stakeholders.

So starting in 2013, IIBA will be transitioning from relatively risk free to assuming much more risk. Hence the need for the IIBA conference team (Kevin, Tracy and I) to put on its strategic and long-term planning hat to define its vision and requirements going forward and perhaps develop a prototype conference structure to help clarify its thinking. 

Conferences have many components and stakeholders. We want to make sure we continue to provide you with the real-time learning and networking experience you have come to expect.


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Kathleen
Posted by Ms. Kathleen W B. on Mar 25th, 2012 4:46pm

 

On April 1, I fly to Las Vegas to attend in the Association of Change Management Professionals(ACMP) conference. Tracy Cook and I will be manning the IIBA booth for three days in hopes of creating awareness of business analysis and IIBA, and hopefully, encourage many of the change management professionals in attendance to begin to self-identify as business analysts. We all know they are. We just have to educate them!

One of the handouts we will be distributing is a 2-pager on the draft Business Analysis Framework, the first significant deliverable from the BABOK V3 team.

So what is the Business Analysis Framework?

The BA Framework provides a universal conceptual model to support controlled organizational change by enabling Business Analysts to:

 

  •  Understand and communicate why change is taking place
  • Consider the impacts of change
  • Drive organizational agility through the definition and implementation of change 

 

It’s six core concepts and their definitions are:

 

  • Change: a controlled transformation of an organization
  • Need: a problem, opportunity or constraint which motivates a stakeholder to act
  • Solution: a specific way of satisfying a need in a context
  • Value: the purpose and benefits of a change for a stakeholder in a context
  • Stakeholder: a group or individual with a relationship to the change or the solution
  • Context: the part of the environment which encompasses the change

 

Each of these concepts inter-relate to help define the nature and scope of the change and to help identify and select the optimum solution.

We will be publishing more on the Framework in up-coming issues of the BA Connections newsletter. Stay Tuned for more details.

 


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Kathleen
Posted by Ms. Kathleen W B. on Feb 20th, 2012 9:59am

 

Last week I participated in a webinar hosted by the Corporate Executive Boards, Application Executive Council, on its new Business Analysis Competency model.

What?

Won’t that diminish the value of IIBA’s competency model? Another organization with a different model? Which one is better? Which one should an organization support?

The one thing I have learned over the past 8+ years of running IIBA, is that you can’t have too many people and organizations talking and/or writing about business analysis, even if their perspectives vary slightly from ours at IIBA.

While individuals have been practicing business analysis for a number of years, the BA profession is still very young. We need people to talk about it, if only to raise awareness of its existence.

Not to mention that the AEC does an excellent job on its research and has tremendous reach into the applications departments of large multi-national companies. What a great opportunity for IIBA to share its vision of the BA role!

So what are the differences or similarities between the models?

The AEC model is specifically targeted for BAs within information technology. The IIBA model crosses all departments and industries. Other differences:

IIBA:

  • Comprised of 53 competencies, with 5 levels of maturity, tied to A Guide to the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge® (BABOK® Guide)
  • Provides a detailed understanding of what specific capabilities a BA must possess to be effective across multiple functional areas
  • Can be aligned to specific training
  • Supports the needs of BA and hiring managers

AEC:

  • Comprised of 9 competencies within 3 major categories*, with 3 levels of maturity, developed with executive leadership from solutions delivery organizations
  • Provides a high level view of BA's role in project engagement and solutions delivery organizations
  • Can be used to as a tool to communicate BA role to senior leadership

The similarities are that both models identify the importance and criticality of the BA role. That sounds like alignment to me!

___

* Three major categories:

  1. Needs Discovery
  2. Technology Management
  3. Relationship Management & Communications

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Kathleen
Posted by Ms. Kathleen W B. on Jan 17th, 2012 8:58am

 

This year, IIBA has two major objectives – one externally focused, the other internally focused. Both are essential to ensuring the continued growth and recognition of the Business Analysis profession.

  1. Building the Global Community of Practice (GCOP)
  2. Improving IIBA operations

Today, IIBA is kicking off the first of many projects focused on supporting the second objective. “Project Orange” (because orange is now one of IIBA’s core colours), will:

  1. Address gaps in membership registration and renewal process.
  2. Update the member profile and other related membership functionality
  3. Implement a single online shopping cart (IIBA currently supports multiple shopping carts)
  4. Improve our financial processes
  5. Migrate to a new content management system 
  6. Upgrade our software platform, iMIS, to version 15.2

This is a critical project for IIBA as it will position us to implement new functionality much more easily than in the past. Like many of your organizations, IIBA has to balance its investments: do we implement new functionality “quickly” in the current environment or hold off, upgrade to a more robust platform, and then implement that same functionality later, but more efficiently. Any of you who have struggled with your membership registration recently will know which choice IIBA made!

Our plan identifies a June implementation date and our project manager, Sandra Micallef, will do her best to keep us on target. I will keep you posted on our progress both here and in future newsletter articles.

 


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Kathleen
Posted by Ms. Kathleen W B. on Jan 12th, 2012 1:26pm

IIBA has members in a 125 countries!

Depending on whom you are asking, the world currently has 196 countries. That represents 64%. Not bad for an eight year old professional association!

The majority is still located in North America: 51% in the USA; 15% in Canada. But membership growth has been significant all across the world. Australia has 8% of the membership – almost 2000 members. I am proud to see that India has grown to over 1000 members - a significant change over last year’s figures.

Many of the countries only have 1 or 2 members but I am very pleased to see that regardless of where you are in the world, there are Business Analysts there!

 

(My reference http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0932875.html)


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Kathleen
Posted by Ms. Kathleen W B. on Oct 22nd, 2011 3:38pm

It is Saturday in Toronto but I just got off a Skype call to Mexico City where I welcomed the first participants in an accredited business analysis program at Iberoamerican University (http://www.uia.mx/).

I was thrilled about this opportunity for a few reasons:

  • The program evolved out of the active engagement of the Mexico chapter with local businesses and universities
  • It is an accredited program (participants get academic credit)
  • Participants in the course represented not only practitioners but managers and decision makers within their organizations
  • It demonstrates that there is a market for the soon-to-be released IIBA Certificate and Diploma program

Not to mention that it is amazing that I can speak to a classroom full of students while I sit at my desk 2021 miles or 3251.79 km away.

In a few weeks, IIBA will be announcing a bit more about the Certificate and Diploma programs for colleges and universities but here is a sneak preview. Both programs represent the first steps in BA professional development roadmap which ultimately lead to the CCBA® and CBAP® certifications. The Certificate Program will recognize individuals who have completed specific accredited courses and have reached level one of the IIBA competency model (BACM). The Diploma Program will recognize individuals who have competed specific accredited courses and have reached level two of the IIBA BACM.

IIBA will be introducing a similar program for professional training companies in 2012. Stay tuned for more details.

 

 

 


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Kathleen
Posted by Ms. Kathleen W B. on Sep 26th, 2011 2:24pm

The countdown begins…

In less than five weeks, IIBA will be kicking off its 2nd Building Business Capability conference down in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, in conjunction with the Business Process and Business Rules Forum. We have been working on the event since the beginning of 2011 so it is hard to believe it is almost upon us. As of last week, we had 434 total registrants of which 230 were IIBA members.

Last year was a wonderful experience and I am looking forward to another successful event. However, there is one caveat. I need to pull together my first day workshop on Building the Business Case for Business Analysis and my Keynote on Business Analysis: Helping Business do Business Better.

Now, I have touched on themes for both of these topics in the past. But, I need to expand the content to reflect the changes happening across the world and to provide the members of the audience with tools to help them successfully transform their organization. 

So I have been doing my research and I ran across a couple of interesting writers and a couple of Ted Talks that I thought I should share.

Tyler Cowen, a professor of economics at George Mason University in Virginia and a daily contributor to a blog The Marginal Revolution. I first read about him in an article in Business Week. He is a copious reader (something I wish I could emulate) and noted economic pundit. I don’t necessarily agree with everything he says but his opinions stir my thought processes.

Steve Denning writes a column called Radical Management for Forbes magazine. He tends to flatter my own perspectives but my challenge is to draw from all the thinkers who realize that the nature of our economic problems have changed so the solutions need to evolve as well. Of course we all know the solution requires business analysis.

And the TED talk… I must warn you that TED is addictive so you need to control how much time you spend at any sitting.

http://www.ted.com/talks/derek_sivers_how_to_start_a_movement.html

http://www.ted.com/talks/clay_shirky_on_institutions_versus_collaboration.html 

 


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Kathleen
Posted by Ms. Kathleen W B. on Jul 12th, 2011 9:42am

There has been a conversation on LinkedIn to which I have responded. I am cross posting here because my response should be of interest to members.

Here is the post. Please comment.

I have been part of IIBA since its inception and while we have managed to do many things quite well, we have also struggled in certain areas. We are an organization of Business Analysts after all and while we understand and apply certain aspects of running a business very well, e.g., strategy, other areas are a bit more challenging for us, e.g., governance. 


In 2009, IIBA evolved from a working Board, i.e., the folks in Board positions run the organization, to a governing Board. 
So what is a governing Board? And what does it mean to IIBA and how it runs? 

There are actually a few different governance models and while the information I reference is taken from "A Practical Guide to Governing your Volunteer Organization" by Tom Abbott, there are other options as well. 

1. Traditional Model 
2. Complementary Model 
3. Carver or Policy Governance 

The major difference - and I am grossly simplifying it (I would recommend you check out the book) - is how deeply the Board gets involved in the day-to-day operations of the business, with the the Traditional model being the most hands-on, and the Carver or Policy model being focused exclusively on policy development and overseeing organizational performance. 

IIBA has been migrating to a model that falls somewhere between Complementary and Policy governance. IIBA currently has 11 Director positions with an appointed Chair - Indira Mitra. Both Dave Bieg, our COO and I participate in Board meetings but neither of us officially sit on the Board. 

Change is hard and the Board has had to put in place the rules and structures to effectively run as a governing Board. That effort has consumed quite a bit of time over the last 1.5 years. The Board is comprised of individuals with various levels of experience in Board operations so it is a learning process as we move forward. 

I agree that IIBA needs to be more communicative regarding its evolution to a governing Board. It has been an amazing learning opportunity albeit sometimes painful. To support this effort, once a quarter, the IIBA newsletter will contain a section specifically focused on Board activities. Each of the Board committees will provide a status of its activities and progress against its objectives. The newsletter is open to everyone so please take the opportunity to read the contents. Check out the August newsletter as it will be our first effort. 

In the meantime, I appreciate your active discussion. It is great to have a community that cares deeply about its professional association.


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Kathleen
Posted by Ms. Kathleen W B. on Jul 7th, 2011 5:50pm

Like so many of us, I am overwhelmed with information. I receive notifications on conversations from LinkedIn; I get daily updates from a variety of periodicals; I get WAY too many emails; and I get notifications from a few bloggers to whose opinion and thoughts I look forward. 

Peter Bregman is one such person. He always seems to have something to say aligns with my own thoughts. His recent post, "The three steps to handling the unexpected", provided some very relevant advice for members of project teams especially when things seem to be going wrong.

  1. Stop. Ask for a time out. Create an opportunity to assess and think about what is going on.
  2. Don't point fingers and complain. What are the options? Which one makes the most sense especially given the realities of the situation. 
  3. Pick the best solution amongst the options. Set the direction, plan the course and proceed.

Too often we get caught up in the momentum of a project that we no is going no where fast. It is our responsibility to help right the course. 

Here is the link in case you want to read the whole post. 

http://blogs.hbr.org/bregman/2011/07/three-steps-to-handling-the-un.html


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Kathleen
Posted by Ms. Kathleen W B. on Jun 29th, 2011 10:17am

It has been over four weeks since I returned from India yet except for a few comments on the heat and traffic, I have never gotten around to sharing my experiences. I was consumed by my overflowing email and AGM preparation. So it is about time I share some of my insights from my two weeks there.

Insight #1: The locations may be different but the questions are the same.

While BAs all over the world ask the same questions, they don’t necessarily get the same answers. The context determines the response. I realized this while standing in front of an audience at BA World in Bangalore. Almost all of the BAs in attendance worked in information technology. The majority of those individuals worked for outsourcing organizations or for “captives”, non-Indian, usually North-American companies. I was asked the question, “Is domain/industry knowledge important?” While my standard answer is “somewhat”, I realized for BAs in India, it is essential. Before I joined IIBA full-time in June 2009, I ran the offshore, software development area for Bank of Montreal. Even I needed the reassurance that the resources we would be engaging in business analysis had domain expertise. We were always working under tight timelines, often virtually, over great distances. Having domain knowledge not only reassured everyone, it often expedited the ramp up time because both the BAs and application areas spoke a common language. It also helped everyone get over the fact that many of the Indian-based resources were much younger than their North American counterparts.

Net: Domain knowledge, whether it be business or function specific, is critical to IT service industry employees.

Insight #2: Even Professional Services Organizations with 10’s of thousands of employees working in IT are not quite sure how to position business analysis to their customers.

The BAs who attended the BA World conference, Delhi Chapter event or who participated in group discussions at corporate meetings all agreed that business analysis struggles to get the recognition that it is finally receiving in many other countries. Their organizations grew by developing efficient application software or business process outsourcing factories, both highly transactional services that can operate relatively effectively “off-shore”. On the other hand, business analysis can be highly “personal” depending on the initiative and impacted stakeholders. It requires a different set of skills and a less concrete deliverable. While organizations can embrace standards that enable their BAs to be more efficient, it is very difficult to create a BA production line. To make BA services sell, the IT services companies will need to rethink their business models and support structures.

Net: BAs have to help educate their organizations on what needs to change to support them.

Insight #3: Business Analysis will continue to grow as a service offering in India.

The BAs I met were incredibly enthusiastic and engaged. And the companies they work for want to continue to move up the value chain with their customers. BA is the natural next step. Doing BA virtually is tough but I am sure we will see new approaches and tools to help the transformation.

Net: Look for outsourcing companies to enhance their services offerings with more clearly articulated BA products and services.


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Kathleen
Posted by Ms. Kathleen W B. on Jun 27th, 2011 9:07am

Net Results:

  1. All resolutions passed
  2. 921 members voted out of 18,064 (5.10% of eligible members)

Resolution 2011-09: I acknowledge receipt of the Audited Financial Statements for Fiscal Year 2010.

Yes-813  (98.43%); No-13  (1.57%)    total  votes 826

Resolution 2011-10: I ratify the selection of Allen Herblum Professional Corporation, Chartered Accountants as the Auditor for IIBA for the fiscal year 2011.

Yes-811  (98.07%); No-16  (1.93%)    total votes  827

Resolution 2011-11: (Bylaw Amendment) I approve the amendment of the Bylaws to change the term of directors elected by the members from the current term of two (2) years to a term of four (4) years.

 Yes-641  (72.18%);   No-247  (27.82%)    total votes 888

Resolution 2011-12: (Bylaw Amendment) I approve the amendment of the Bylaws to include a provision whereby a director can be removed by a resolution of the Board of Directors passed by a majority of the votes cast at a duly constituted meeting removing the director from office for just cause or for other reasons that the board deems appropriate. The director in question would have at least 10 days’ notice of the reasons for removal and shall have the opportunity to respond at the directors meeting called to remove the director

Yes-841  (94.18%);   No-52  (5.82%)    total votes 893

 

 


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Kathleen
Posted by Ms. Kathleen W B. on Jun 6th, 2011 1:45pm

I was warned. Don’t go to India in May. Especially Delhi. That is the peak of summer and temperatures can hit 45 – 48 degrees Celsius or 113 – 118 Fahrenheit. HOT!

Too bad. I was leaving May 20th for two weeks to meet with corporations in Bangalore, Mumbai and Delhi and to speak at the first BA World event in India, to be held on May 26 – 27 in Bangalore.

The hardest part was figuring out what to pack. I was still living in a 10 – 12 degree Celsius Spring (~48 – 52 Fahrenheit). Hot was something I hadn’t really experienced in nine months. I located my short sleeve shirts and dusted off my summer suits and hoped for the best.

At the end of the day, given that I spent most of my time either in meetings or air conditioned cars, I really had nothing to worry about. In fact, as with most air conditioning, I tend to get cold. I would have liked to have channeled some of that external heat into a few of my meetings.

Not only that, the weather was actually unusually “temperate”. Bangalore never got above 33 C / 91 F; Delhi 38 C / 100 F. The toughest city was actually Mumbai where in addition to the heat, you also have humidity. It had temperatures similar to Delhi but much more humid. Coming inside to air conditioning, you could feel the droplets of moisture on your skin and cool eye glasses would fog up once you went outside. But all-in-all, not too bad. Maybe I brought some of the cool Canadian spring with me on my trip.


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Kathleen
Posted by Ms. Kathleen W B. on Jun 6th, 2011 1:41pm

Before I joined IIBA full time in June 2009, I was running the off-shore software development group for BMO Financial Group in Toronto, ON. During my two and half years in that role, I had the great fortune to travel to India – primarily Bangalore and Hydrabad to visit our India-based teams – but also to Mysore and Agra (location of the Taj Mahal) to get in a bit of tourism.


I had been warned of the traffic there. India’s off-shoring business – both software development and business process outsourcing – had grown much more quickly than the infrastructure to support it. But I thought I knew traffic so I wasn’t too concerned. But there is one thing very different about India than many other places in the world. And that is the number of people who live there.

I live in Canada, a country of 30 million people; in Toronto, a city of 2.5 million people.

India is a country of 1.2 billion people, and many of those people live in the cities. It is a whole different scale – and so is its traffic.

Thank goodness, we had drivers who seemed not to mind the volume of cars and could navigate the apparently discretionary traffic rules. I just had to accept that it takes longer to get anywhere. Sometimes significantly longer.

I just got back from a two week visit to Bangalore and Dehli, with a one day stop in Mumbai (the details of which I will share in future blogs). I must say that in the three years since I was last in India, the country has added significantly more infrastructure – airports, roads and even traffic lights. But the number of people in the cities has also grown and traffic has gotten much worse. On my first day in Bangalore visiting companies, I spent a total of 5 hours in two meetings and six hours commuting.

But everything is relative. While I was pondering the multitude of cars, trucks, bikes (motorized and not), and tuk tuks (auto rickshaws) on the roads of India and the resulting traffic jams, I came across an interesting article in Business Week. Traffic can be worse.

IBM conducted a study where it ranked cities on a scale of 1 to 100 with a 100 representing the worst commute. Beijing came in 1st – sort of. It had the worst ranking at 99. Mexico City was 2nd, also at 99. I have been to Mexico City as well and I can definitely attest to the volume of traffic there! Johannesburg, South Africa was 3rd with a ranking of 97.  I have been there as well, and while the traffic was bad, I didn’t realize it was in the “big leagues”. Moscow was 4th at 84. New Dehli was #5 with 81. It deserves its ranking. What surprised me is that Bangalore didn’t get mentioned. It was definitely worse than Dehli!

And for those of you who live in New York City or Los Angeles, take heart. Your cities received 19 and 25 respectively. Remember that next time you are stuck in traffic.


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Kathleen
Posted by Ms. Kathleen W B. on Feb 28th, 2011 2:02pm

* Branding: Entire process involved in creating a unique name and image for a product (good or service) in the consumers' mind, through advertising campaigns with a consistent theme. Branding aims to establish a significant and differentiated presence in the market that attracts and retains loyal customers.

Time for IIBA to get a new look.

One of the big initiatives for IIBA in 2011 is to refresh the web site. The current instantiation is actually the third version of our Internet presence since our inception in March 2004. We have made huge progress over the years but we still have a long way to go before we would pass any usability tests.

So why update the Brand image? Is there anything particularly wrong with our current colours or web layout?

Nothing too significant but even the little things start to add up after a while:

  • Our colours, while attractive, are muted and often difficult to read on a presentation. We are not sure they shout IIBA to us or the general public.
  • When we started out, we leveraged every free service or volunteer we could find. And while these volunteers did a great job - and got us to where we are now - some of the images and layout are not as crisp as they should be.
  • Our implementation of iMIS, our website platform, leveraged many of the standard templates that were available at the time. Not everyone has been happy with some of the choices we have made. I have yet to meet someone who actually like the woman on the chapter page template!
  • Since we are going to refresh the layout of the website, why not give the brand a fresh new "coat of paint". Hence, a branding update.

I am looking forward to seeing what the future of IIBA might "look" like. I will be sharing the outcome as soon as it becomes available.

Stay Tuned!

*http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/branding.html


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