Monday, 17 November 2014 00:00

KISSing Complexity Goodbye

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As I was reviewing the presentations from this year’s Building Business Capability conference, I kept running into slides that looked like the graphic below to describe frameworks which model how organizations operate (the details have been left intentionally blank to protect the innocent):

Hailes Nov18
The Everything Framework

In this one example there was no less than 13 different model components and 25 relationships defined!

As I tweet my latest BA adventures, I ask Siri to find the best restaurants near my hotel, Skype with friends in Mexico, and order my favorite bottles of Napa Valley wine on Amazon, I can’t help but be amazed by how much technology has saturated my life in the last 15 years.

Internet, email, mobile devices, “the cloud” and social media have transformed the personal and professional lives of a huge portion of our world’s population in such a short amount of time.

Visionaries like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos, etc. get most of the media credit for the technology explosion, but instead of focusing on their undoubtedly awesome leadership, I often find myself thinking about project teams. I think about the thousands of programmers, project managers, architects, testers, and of course business analysts—that move the vision to reality.

Given this technology explosion, one would expect that the tools, processes and procedures used to deliver technology have evolved dramatically in the past 15 years as well.

What do you think? Has project life changed in the last 15 years? A lot, a little or not at all? When focusing on the BA role, have the primary functions of the BA evolved? Have BA tools and techniques changed? Have the deliverables changed?

Have the mindset and behaviors changed?

Monday, 10 November 2014 00:00

Less Talk, More Walk

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Analysts are thinking people and don’t always realize the power of the physical body to implement best BA behaviors. We sometimes believe that our thinking can walk us to requirements success; I propose a different, compatible approach – you can walk your way into better thinking.

Let your model do the talking:

Have you ever been a part of the meeting that never ends, the discussion that goes in circles, the misunderstanding that becomes the decision, and the ego clash that kills collaboration?

As a young BA I often tried to hold my own in these discussions, and always felt that I could see the way to resolution, if only they would listen to ME. In trying to talk others into the BA walk, the BA just becomes another loud voice in a chaotic room.

Nowadays when I hear a complex, ongoing discussion, I keep my mouth shut (OK, I try) and work hard outside the meetings to MODEL the issues. Just writing them down can help, because it simplifies REMEMBERING everything.

Even better is to characterize the discussion in BA terms (goals, objectives, business needs, capability gaps, strategic solutions approaches, and scope and business case. Showing these things in pictures AND words means that visual and textual cognition is covered.

What about “hands on” cognition?