Tuesday, 09 November 2010 09:26

The Bad Ass BA Returns in Didactic Pentameter

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The first annual IIBA conference, was conducted in Alexandria, Virginia in October 2010, entitled Building Business Capability (BBC). The conference was a collaboration between the Rules Forum, the Business Forum and the Analysis Forum (the IIBA). A collaboration - how perfect for a business analysis conference. Attendees were encouraged to visit talks in all three tracks and I feasted! I came to this conference in need of perspective, validation, encouragement, enthusiasm and vision, and came away with all that and more. For me it felt like someone had opened up a fire hydrant and unleashed a high pressure stream of quotable phrases and ideas.

The poem below is a distillation of the business analysis track of the conference. My apologies to people who are skillful in this art of iambic and dactylic meters (da dah vs. da dah dah). Read the poem out loud for the best result.

A is for Analysis

A is for analysis - differentiate and abstract,
yields requirements and rules from science inexact.

B is for business, whose capability we improve.
Maximize throughput? Just a step in our groove.

C is for change, for better for worse,

D is for decisions, or leaderless we curse.

E is for elicit, requirements fall not from trees!

F is for functional, remember non-functional, please.

G is for goals, stakeholders have their own,
non-overlapping, we lament and bemoan.

H is for how, counterpart of what,
a distinction so simple yet a knot hard to cut.

I is for iterative, cyclic nature pervades all,
yet management grips tightly to venerable waterfall.

J is our judgment project managers fear,
twin loyalties to business and to projects dear.

K is for knowledge we continuously accrue,

L is for listening which we actively do.

M is for metric, the chestnut is true,
that which we measure can be improved, can you?

N is for negotiate, can everyone agree?
Cross-functional monkey rodeo, that's no way to be.

O is final outcome, our striving to delight
the blessed product champion who was our guiding light.

P is for process leaving nothing undone,
identifying hidden handoffs, one by one.

Q is for questions we have license to ask.
Assail those assumptions, take them to task!

R is for requirements, our stock in trade.
Oft mistaken for specification, please hand me a blade.

S is for scope, that game of ping pong,
one stakeholder to go,will the decision last long?

T is for trust, partner of integrity.
Armed with the pair, analysis proceeds intrepidly.

U is for users whose lives we make better,
improving usability or efficiency unfetter.

V is for validate and verify, they are different you know,
but it's value, true value that analysis shows.

W is for who, what, when, why and where, the pentagonal key
that unlocks preconception setting ideas free.

X is for executive whose sponsorship we seek,
facilitating these folks is not for the meek.

Y is for yes, magic word of approval.
Can it be heard without a tribunal?

Z is for zilch, either missing or unknown,
the truth will emerge once the seeds have been sown.

* * *


But what about all the other words I could have chosen? I'm so glad you asked! Here's the lexicon I started with; I challenge all of you to write your own poem and have fun!  I would love to see what you come up with.

A agility, action, automate, analysis

B business

C constraint, committee, consistent, compliance, communication, change

D data, deliverable, decision

E efficient, effective, elicit

F functional, non-functional, facilitate

G governance, gathering, goal

H how

I issue, IT, impact, implement, initiative, influence, iterative

J judgment

K knowledge

L list, leverage, listen

M manage, methodology, metric, missing, measure

N negotiate

O operations, objective, organization, outcome

P production, project, product, process

Q quality, questions

R risk, rule, research, record, ROI, relationship, requirement

S success, structure, support, SME, sign-off, supplier, solution, system, specification, scope

T tools, training, terminology, test, TBD, trust

U understanding, use case, unknown, user

V voice of the customer/data/IT, version, vocabulary, verification, validation, visible, value

W work breakdown structure, who-what-when-why-where

X execute, excellence, executive (cut me some slack)

Y you, yes

Z zero, zilch


Cecilie Hoffman's professional passion is to educate technical and business teams about the role of the business analyst, and to empower the business analysts themselves with tools, methods, strategies and confidence. Cecilie is a founding member of the Silicon Valley chapter of the IIBA. She authored the 2009 Bad Ass BA series for BA Times. See her blog on her personal passion, motorcycle riding, at http://www.balsamfir.comCecilie.Hoffman@comcast.net.

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