One of the greatest skills a business analyst can learn and utilize to add value to business stakeholders and the organization is the ability to Create a Shared Vision. This, in fact, should be the goal of the business analyst in every task or project that they undertake. This can be done at any level of the organization; with executive management, business management, business stakeholders, staff or end users, technical stakeholders and, yes even with, the newest hire in the organization.

Creating Shared Vision

Creating a shared vision is much like painting a picture. You are painting a picture in everybody’s mind and heart so clear that everybody can see and understand the picture. No, painting is not one of the tasks or skills of business analysis. You paint a picture with your words and documentation. Text documents, flow diagrams, use cases, storyboards, user stories, activity diagrams, business process models, wireframes and other mockups can all be used in paint a picture. These can be used in combination to paint an even more vivid picture for your audience. How you communicate using these pictorial tools can bring clarity to the vision. I will talk about targeting your vision to the audience in a minute. Sometimes, as in requirements elicitation, it may mean that you gain the vision of the stakeholder. If in a requirements workshop, focus group discussion or one-on-one interview, drawings on paper or a whiteboard can facilitate shared vision and understanding. Often, it may be that you have the business stakeholders paint the “as-is” picture for you, and then you help them paint the “to-be” picture. By painting a picture so vivid that all stakeholders share the same vision of it, this is how we build the bridge to understanding and ensure that all involve understand the same vision.

The role of the business analyst (BA) is defined in a variety of ways. The BA, in the broadest sense, analyzes the processes of a business, how those processes might be enhanced by technology and/or systems, and makes recommendations for the integration of those processes with technology. The BA, in the course of his duties, serves as an intermediate among those with a horse in the race, ensuring that all relevant parties understand how all the elements of the analysis come together to achieve the ultimate goal, which is to resolve the problem.

All too frequently, the business analyst is defined by the company he works for, rather than the other way around. Many organizations perceive the business analyst as having very little business knowledge, but a wealth of technical expertise in IT systems or architecture. Other companies share the opposite view, seeing the analyst as business savvy but IT illiterate.

Monday, 21 July 2014 08:32

The Nebulous Nature of Leadership

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Leadership has many faces, from teachers, to organizational executives, to the President of the United States, and we look up to our leaders for various reasons. One big reason we look up to them is to be a part of something larger than ourselves, to find meaning and purpose; whatever the purpose might be. In fact, based on some recent research by the statistical scientists at Gallup Poll, it was discovered that the likelihood of everyone getting more than one opportunity to lead during their lifetime has a 97% chance; an enormous stochastic percentage. So, why is it that it seems that fewer get a chance to lead?

It is the nebulous nature of leadership and the narrow perspectives about leadership. When it comes to the definition of leadership, one could call Dorothy a leader as she headed down the yellow brick road. Meeting more characters as she went and inviting them on her journey to the Land of Oz. She led them on a mission of discovery that was deeply rooted in their sense of self. Along the way each character was put into a situation that challenged them to grow. How did Dorothy gather these followers? It was mostly due to the needs of each character; Dorothy inspired them with hope that they might find a solution to their needs at the end of the yellow brick road in the Land of Oz.