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First Critical Issue – NOT!

The first great challenge I listed last month was:

  1. Will the society at large empower BAs to operate at the level of professionalism required of (say) accountants (transparency, completeness, accuracy)?

Why might we want this?  Would it really make things better for project outcomes?  Would it help our professional success?  Watch me contradict myself!

Let’s brainstorm a little.  Don’t accountants “ruin projects” in their own way?  Sure they do.  How about:

  • Enron’s creative accounting, with the knowledge of the CFO (Fastow)
  • The failure of Baring’s investment bank, due to a one month long, 29 billion dollar speculative binge by a single young trader (responsible accountant’s name unknown).
  • Which accountants were overseeing the enormous investments being made in sub-prime mortgages?

What these all have in common is that certain members of each firm, who happened NOT to be accountants (except for Fastow, who clearly was in a position to know better), used their power to bypass accounting standards, intimidate and manipulate the accountants (aren’t you on our team?), and to invent new, unsustainable pyramid schemes, commonly known as no-brainer market opportunities (this stuff is only illegal for small operators like you or me).

This is similar to what happens in some projects: A PM, or executive sponsor uses their power to bypass the business investigation, analysis and due diligence performed by some BA.  The outcomes vary from unnecessary extra costs to complete project failure, sometimes even in the billions of dollars.

The difference is that the responsible accountants in the financial projects tend to go to jail.

Hmmm, maybe we don’t want this – can you imagine yielding to some PM’s pressure to stretch the rules, and ending up in jail when things go wrong?  You think maybe we wouldn’t like this? 


The answer to this question tells us how to change challenge #1.

Mere certification cannot resolve these issues, AND it is a good start.  If you believe, like I do, that BA must rise in our society, please contact me with your ideas – we must lead, or continue to follow, and I for one am tired of being an armchair quarterback.

Thanks for being my reader, if this inspired you at all, please make a comment, so BA Times can know that we care.

Have fun!