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Five Critical Issues that will Define the BA Profession in the Next 10 Years

Well, loyal readers, John Dean didn’t set me off with his recent column (insufficiently fascist, entirely too rational), AND I want to think about what he said before deciding to respond.  This means we can take our discussion about BA and Identity Systems back to the highest level, before we diving for the next drill down (I know, I promised a drill down, AND this is more fun). 

In this case, the highest level issue that comes to mind regarding Identity Systems has to do with “executive sponsorship” for a national consensus on the requirements for such systems.

The ONLY source of executive sponsorship powerful enough for BAs to succeed in Identitying System Requirements are the people themselves, and yet the people (as a whole) rarely rally to a transparent process for the common good, which is exactly what we are proposing.  When the people do rally, the effect is immense.

Let’s face it – half the time, a BA can’t even get quality requirements on projects where the stakes are much smaller than for a National Identity System.  Commonly accepted “project failure” symptoms, such as Failure of user acceptance, Failure to deliver mission critical function, Missed deadlines, Over budget, Poor requirements documentation, Scope creep, etc. sound like Project Management problems to outsiders and executives. 

Most BAs know that these failures are really due to organizational resistance (including stakeholders and IT people) to the BA process.  As the famous joke goes:

Q:  How hard is it to deliver on time and under budget?

A:  It’s easy, how much must I spend by when?

Time and money are very important, but not if the what you are building gets lost in opaque, non-transparent petty politics.  The root problems tend to be deeply human ones, revolving around self respect, conflict avoidance, territoriality, work avoidance, organizational tribalism (silos and secrecy), fear of change, lack of trust and much more. 

To these deeply human issues, let us not forget simple corruption, which is less emotional and more premeditated, and cringes in the light that BA practice can bring.

This suggests the Five Great Challenges to our profession.  These are the issues that will define our profession, and will decide if BA can make a difference.  We believe that we can increase project success and reduce the overwhelming waste and failure rate that is currently an accepted part of the world of projects.  Will everyone else?

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

  1. Given the importance of the what in a project, will PMI agree that BA must precede projects, and BAs must be at least peers with PMPs, instead of answering to their time and budget needs first?
  2. Will the earliest CBAPs actually be a credit to the profession?  Will they generate successes, and word of mouth, to help boost the profession, or will they have the same outcomes as everyone else?
  3.  Can the society at large understand the BA process well enough to understand why they want to support it?
  4. What, if any, are the rules for public disclosure of private malfeasance?  There are such standards for lawyers, doctors, accountants, etc.  What will ours be?
  5. What, if any, are the rules for public disclosure of private malfeasance?  There are such standards for lawyers, doctors, accountants, etc.  What will ours be?

Mere certification cannot resolve these issues, but 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!