It's one thing when an organization talks about supporting its people and quite another when it actually follows through. I'd love to say the International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA) has always been the perfect professional organization and done everything right, but I can’t. Like any organization, the IIBA has had to grow and mature to align with its members’ needs in an ever-changing industry. Through maturity comes self-awareness, and the IIBA was smart enough to become aware of some things that needed to change for the better. Instead of passively waiting to see if they would improve on their own, they have taken a stance to do something about them. There were a number of things that I took notice of, but as a good BA should, I’m limiting my scope in this article to improvements on chapter and member support.
The IIBA gave me the privilege several months ago to craft a mentoring program for all its chapters and members around the globe. When I interviewed leadership for their goals and vision for the mentoring program effort, the one consistent message that emerged was to fully support the members that form the foundation of the organization and ensure that those leading local chapters are equally supported. The target audience was not to be the governing body or long-standing volunteers of the international chapter, but rather the thousands of volunteers and members that make the IIBA the seminal organization for Business Analysts. To note, there was NO mandated direction or heavy-handed oversight, but rather a completely autonomous “Make it Happen” effort driven by the needs that were yet to be discovered.
Mentoring? Why Mentoring?
For those who are uninitiated, mentoring delivers iterative guidance and targeted focus to issues in ways that no traditional learning can do. There is no one-size-fits-all delivery. There is no huge up-front cost. There is no certificate to show that you are smarter (which expires in a year). There is, however, iterative learning; self-discovery; obstacle demolition; self-enablement and empowerment and confidence building. There is growth and development that builds upon itself over time and accelerates overall learning for much greater effect.
The IIBA Global Mentoring Program
The Global Mentoring Program Task Force, along with IIBA leadership, determined that in order to best serve our member base, we needed to break out our global mentoring program into two functions, a Leadership Program and a Member Program. The Leadership Program will cater guidance to Chapter Leaders to facilitate the support of local leaders, make them more successful and bring higher value to their local members. The Member Program addresses the needs of the local members through access to career and professional development opportunities that support the specific needs of the individual and opens wide the door to significantly stronger personal outcomes. As such, this July, we implemented the Global Mentoring Program Pilot, running both program features in tandem.
The current dual mentoring program pilot that has emerged is a serious statement in commitment from the IIBA. The hope is that local members who benefit from better programs and guidance in their careers more frequently reciprocate by getting involved as a volunteer to give back to the community that supported the BA in his or her personal goals.
Upon completion of the pilot, and some expected fine tuning, we plan to release the official program to the world’s members in Q12018. The Global Mentoring Program will target support to the right individuals, at the right time, in the best way for them and leaves no question as to what the most important thing is for the IIBA to focus on...its people. This is the way it should be, and with a host of other chapter/member-focused programs in development or already deployed, BAs should be able to easily recognize value gained from membership. I encourage you BAs to join, rejoin, contribute and grow your careers. http://www.iiba.org/
My opinion is based on my observations and my involvement. See for yourself.