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Business Analysis Love Fest at BBC

Kupe_Oct25I just returned home from the Building Business Capability conference in Alexandria, Virginia.  It was a co-located conference with the IIBA, the business rules community, and the business process community. A common belief among attendees was that the combination of these three communities was a marriage made in heaven.  At the end of the conference Ron Ross stated, in so many words, that we have to stop focusing on gurus of software development and start focusing on building business capability.  As you can imagine, all three camps are big believers in understanding what an organization needs to achieve its strategic goals. Software may enable that, but it is not always the main driver. I had the feeling we were at a Barak Obama campaign speech and the entire crowd was going to scream back, “Yes we can”.

There were three main points in time at the conference where I felt we were at a political rally.  The first was at a presentation given by Barbara Carkenord and Elizabeth Larson.  They spoke about a paper written in conjunction with the IIBA and PMI to highlight the overlap of the PMBOK and the BABOK.  The tone of the presentation was to show how the PM and BA can work together, not against each other.  The 100 plus in the crowd were ready to march behind Barbara and Elizabeth.  I could sense that almost everyone wanted to shout “Amen” at one point.

Next was a presentation on Enterprise Business Analysis given by Jason Questor.  He introduced us to the work being done by the IIBA on the subject.  Most of the attendees there were in alignment that our business analysis skills allow us opportunities in the strategy arena within organizations. These skills give us the ability to go beyond project work. Jason told a story about Kathleen Barret, president and CEO of the IIBA, letting an audience know that she believes business analysts will grow up to be CEOs. Talk about a rallying cry!

The third was at the closing panel, where a number of the audience felt the three communities should band together.  The IIBA viewed as the broader picture with specialties in business process and business rules.  Many attendees were thrilled to have learned more about each community and couldn’t wait until next year’s conference. I could tell many did not want to leave and go back to reality.

I was among those that thought how great it was to all come together, and I think a similar conference should happen next year and beyond.  We need time to come together and learn from each other. Now that we have all hugged and said our goodbyes the real work begins.  It was easy for all us who believe in business analysis, business rules, and business process to agree. 

But, why are there still so many individuals and companies not focusing on these areas?  If we want to make large wholesale changes in our organizations, each of us needs to perform better every day.  We need to continue to show our value to make the changes we all believe in.  Many of us at the conference walked away with ideas on how to improve and make that change. Mark Jenkins, KPMG, said you don’t always have to ask for permission, just do something…anything.  Gladys Lam, Business Rules Solutions, said “just do it”. She wanted to make sure we went out and tried some of the things learned at the conference.  She pushed us to not worry about being wrong and that we will improve iteratively.

What are you going to do?  Don’t stick with the status quo. I am hoping a year from now there are more stories of how our community has helped built better business capabilities.

Please use this as a forum to discuss stories of how you are showing your value.  We can all learn from each other.


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